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Film / When a Killer Calls

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"Have you checked on the girl?"
The Caller

When a Killer Calls is a 2006 Slasher Movie released by The Asylum, the company's rip-off of (what else?) the When a Stranger Calls remake released the same year.

Just after sunset, Linda Hewitt and her two young children, Holly and Ryan, are butchered by a sadistic knife wielding psychopath, who documents the family's deaths with his camera phone. After the slaughter, the killer methodically washes up, and leaves.

Elsewhere, Trisha Glass, former babysitter for the Hewitts, has taken a babysitting job for the Hewitts' friends the Walkers, who are on their way to a dinner party and in need of someone to look after their young daughter, Molly. As Trisha and Molly get to know each other, the Walkers leave, but on the way to their appointment, they are murdered by the Hewitts' killer, who they obviously knew. With the Walkers dead, the killer disposes of their bodies, and heads to their home, killing their neighbor, Charlie, when he arrives. During this time, the killer sends creepy phone calls and text messages to Trisha, starting with just heavy breathing before escalating to threats. Trisha thinks nothing of this, dismissing the calls as jokes, possibly perpetrated by her boyfriend Matt, but as they continue, she calls the police, who inform her that they may be able to trace the caller's location if he continues his harassment.

Put at ease by this, Trisha is overjoyed when Matt shows up, but that quickly turns to disappointment when he reveals he has dragged his obnoxious stoner best friend Frank, and Frank's equally over the top girlfriend Chrissy, along with him, due to the two needing to lie low after Frank pulled a gun on some rival punks outside a bowling alley. As both couples get comfortable and wait out both the police who are after Frank, and an oncoming storm, the killer enters the house after sending Trisha photos of his victims. He stalks and systematically whittles down the stragglers, while still continuing to taunt Trisha, saying he is doing this all for her, that he will eventually get to her to, very soon.

This film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Cop Killer: The killer kills the two police officers who arrived.
  • Creator Cameo: Director and co-writer Peter Mervis plays one of the responding police officers.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The killers murders his wife by thrusting a knife into her mouth, while she is inexplicably without pants, on a bed, and after lovingly stroking her face.
  • Dull Surprise: Frank. As Horror Movie a Day wrote about his actor in their review of Halloween Night:
    "He doesn't act in the film so much as he just sort of hangs out in it, and nearly all of his lines are delivered in a sort of muttering, half-assed manner. It's pretty much the exact way I would act if I was the lead actor in a direct to video movie about yet another escaped mental patient hacking up some folks in an isolated house. I was completely entranced by his pseudo-performance throughout the entire film."
  • Fan Disservice: The breast torture, and the killer forcing Matt to molest Trisha (the only scene containing actual nudity).
  • Fanservice: Chrissy and Trisha in their undergarments, and Matt shirtless.
  • Fear of Thunder: Molly.
  • Final Girl: Trisha.
  • Fingore: Matt's hands are broken.
  • Flashback: How the deaths of the Hewitt children are shown.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Frank seems to be this to Trisha. However, Trisha is very sad to see him dead.
  • Hope Spot: The police showing up, and Matt getting free.
  • Hostile Weather: It is a stormy night with a thunderstorm for most of the film.
  • The Klutz: Frank somehow smashed the Hewitts' china cabinet which got Trisha into a lot of trouble since she took the blame for that while she was dusting.
  • Leave the Camera Running: While it's presumably prolonged to create tension, the scene where Trisha wakes up after being knocked out seems very... draggy.
  • Mistaken for Prank Call: Trisha thinks that the calls to her phone are prank calls from her friends or Matt, but later finds out that it's the killer.
  • The Mockbuster: To the 2006 film When a Stranger Calls which is a remake of the 1979 film of the same title.
  • Monster Misogyny: The killer targets both genders, but the female victims tend to get it worse.
  • Motive Rant: Richard became obsessed with Trisha after raping her, and claims he did all this for her.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The film has weird editing. Just watch that popcorn scene.
  • Nice Girl: Trisha, Molly and Mrs. Walker.
  • Nice Guy: Charlie, Matt and Mr. Walker.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Molly is found dead, leaving what the killer may have done to her up to the viewer's imagination.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: Frank has a knife strapped to his ankle.
  • Offing the Offspring: Richard himself was the father of the children he murdered in the opening, along with their mother (his wife).
  • Once is Not Enough: Matt splashes burning liquid in the killer's face, then kicks him, but instead of finishing him off with Frank's knife, focuses on freeing Trisha, which leads to him getting killed.
  • Pater Familicide: The family killed in the opening was the killer's own.
  • Pipe Pain: The only other weapon the killer wields, using it beat both Chrissy and Matt.
  • Police Are Useless: They knock on doors, walk around a bit, then get stabbed before they knew what hit 'em.
  • Pummeling the Corpse: After shooting the killer in the face, Trisha opens fire on his body a few more times.
  • Punk in the Trunk: The killer stuffs Mr. Walker into the trunk of his own car.
  • Rape by Proxy: The killer forcing Matt to molest Trisha at knifepoint.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The pictures of his victims that the killer sends to Trisha are deemed fake (but "sick as Hell") by her and Matt.
  • The Reveal: The killer is Richard Hewitt, Trisha's old employer.
  • Rousing Speech: One has to be given by Mr. Walker.
  • Self-Deprecation: Dead Men Walking, another film made by The Asylum, is shown airing on TV. Trisha's response to it?
    "This is terrible."
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Frank could have been eating out Chrissy.
  • Shadow Archetype: Frank and Chrissy, who are like more obnoxious, irresponsible and loutish versions of Matt and Trisha.
  • Shirtless Scene: Matt and Trisha, as well as Frank and Chrissy.
  • Slashed Throat: Every non-stabbing death, though there's only two of them: Mr. Walker and Chrissy.
  • The Sociopath: The killer who is actually Richard Hewitt. He murders his whole family, even taking pictures of the murders. He stalks Trisha for his own sick amusement and he is willing to torture her friends. In the past it's also revealed that he raped Trisha, who was much younger than him, which lead him to become obsessed with her.
  • Staircase Tumble: The killer falls down some twice.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The Central Theme of the song that plays over the credits.
  • The Stoner: Frank and Chrissy.
  • Tap on the Head: Lots of blows to the head.
  • Teeth Flying: Matt loses some teeth after being smashed across the face with a pipe.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The victims are stabbed like, a million times each.
  • Torture Porn: The finale.