starring Camilla Belle, Tommy Flanagan, Tessa Thompson, Brian Geraghty
screenplay by Jake Wade Wall, based on the screenplay by Steve Feke and Fred Walton
directed by Simon West
by Walter Chaw There's nothing patently, obviously offensive about Simon West's abominable remake of the already awful "thriller" When a Stranger Calls: It's neither misogynistic nor racist nor really anything more than exactly what you'd expect from a project like this, dumped as it has been in the wasteland of another early-February. It's so studiedly inoffensive, in fact, that you could take an elderly nun to it and there would be nary a flutter in her rigidly tender sensibilities. It tittles no ates, manufactures no suspense, and no one in a packed audience of four-hundred folks at the preview screening rustled an inch when the cat--not once, but twice--provided the false jump before the "real" one, though I confess the reason for that might be that by the time West and company get around to actually having something happen, most anyone with any kind of sense is asleep or halfway home. I've failed to mention that it's acted by heavy-browed lead Camilla Belle (as babysitter Johnson, Jill Johnson) like a toy robot with her key only half-wound. Were she to have run out of juice negotiating a wall and leaned there motionless, I wouldn't have batted an eyelash.