Thursday, November 19, 2015

My defense of the When a Stranger Calls remake

Much of this is copy and pasted from something I originally wrote on the remake's IMDB board.  So when I refer to “This film” or something like that without clarifying I’m referring to When a Stranger Calls 2006.  I like both versions, they're both good but very different.  Also this will have spoilers.

The original is more like 2 or 3 movies in one. With this only really remaking the 1st 20 minutes in a more drawn out fashion, and I tend to like drawn out more. I prefer the 2006 film and I don’t think I can fully explain why, it simply thrilled and entertained me more. But I have no objections to people who prefer the original, I simply want to defend the Remake against unfair criticisms.

This remake (Which I saw before the original) is the most legitimately suspenseful film I’ve seen in recent years, that’s why I have little tolerance for the haters whining about it being PG-13. The only thing the original Halloween has that this doesn’t is 1 or a few very brief shots of Nudity. It is in no way any less Violent then this movie.

It wold be cool if in 2013 they made a sequel to this remaking the stuff from 7 years latter. Wouldn’t be the first time an adaptation was split into 2 separate films.

The kids not being killed is a problem for many. In the original the kids are killed off screen, I have no problem with that, us simply being told what he did makes it more disturbing because we can use our imagination. We also don’t see the kids who are killed alive at any point, we never get to know them, the kids we see are Jill’s years later who do survive. In the original this is the first time Kurt has done this, at least in the States.

In the Remake we see that other Babysitters had been stalked and killed previously. The opening scene is basically how the 1st act of the original ends (or second act begins depending how you define it), with an after the fact crime scene, where we barely see glimpses of the aftermath of the killer having killed 2 kids and a Babysitter, and that he did so with his bare hands. So in both the Killer kills off screen 2 little kids we never see, in both it serves the purpose of telling us what he’s capable of for reference later in the film. So I apologies for not seeing the massive difference between the 2.

I also see Jill in the remake being called Stupid by it’s critics. The only basis for this being that it’s popular on the internet to call modern Teenagers stupid, especially modern Teenagers in modern Teen films. But in fact here is no great difference in how they react to the phone calls, the remake jumps forward less and is closer to telling the story in real time, which is part of why I find it much more suspenseful. But if you try to break it down the Remake’s Jill may well have actually decided to call the police sooner, but I wouldn’t bet on that, I’m going by memory.

A lot of it is generational I’m sure, people who where Teenagers in the 70s and early 80s can relate to a late 70s Teenager like Carol Kane more. I was a Teenager from October 31st 1998 to October 31st 2005, this is part of why I prefer Episodes I-III to IV-VI in regards to Star Wars, and part of why I relate more to Camilla Belle. But also a big reason I think so highly of Camilla Belle’s Jill is because we see her being brave enough to risk her own life to try and save the kids she doesn’t even know. I don’t think I would have had the courage to do that. And we get to see her fight back, which is one of the things I love most about Slasher films, Carol even in the last act doesn’t really fight back, the Detective saves the day.

On a very superficial note, the Title more accurately describes the 2006 film. In the original is applies to the gloried prologue, but ultimately the film is more about Kurt then it is Jill who is completely gone for the middle 40 minutes. In the 2006 film the “Stranger” remains a mystery which is far more appealing to me.

I do have mixed feeling about the final scene being all about how scared Jill is.  It is realistic for such an experience to be traumatizing, but it bugs me that male character in films like this seem to much less likely to be as traumatized.  Another reason I'd like a sequel based on the later part of the original made years later (it's now past 2013 of course) to show that she was able to recover from it.

But other then that I really love the movie.  I think it's a underrated suspense film.

Update: copied from another old post I made later on.

I just re-watched it, my opinion remains the same but I will amend 1 thing.

There is some difference in the reactions to the Phone Calls, but let’s see who’s smarter. Both films the first time she talks to the cops they ask if she was threatened and Jill says no. In the Remake I see this as accurate as it’s still before he asks if she’s checked on the Children. But in the original he said that from the start, and I feel that’s definitely a veiled threat.

In the remake Jill does check on the children the first time he says that. In hindsight in the original we know that was bait, she’d have been dead if she’d checked, but still I feel the more believable instinct is to check once you're actually worried.

In the remake the second time she talks to the Cops she has a very logical reason for knowing she’s being watched. In the original we the audience don’t question cause as film viewers we suspect it’s probably true, but she had no real reason to suspect that.

During the ending Jill is very clever, remembering what certain things do in that house and takes advantage of them, it’s not easy to think that fast and clearly in a high tension situation.

It’s not fair to compare their intelligence, as in the original Jill’s decisions don’t even make much of a difference. In the original she’s a blank slate, her personally is vague to make it easier to imagine ourselves in her shoes. In the remake I outright admire Jill, she’s brave, intelligent and resourceful, my kind of woman.

No comments:

Post a Comment