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A Stranger Calls

Posted: Mon, 1st Dec 2003, 11:30am

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Mark P Warman

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A couple hire a babysitter to watch their two young children while they go to the Opera.
The babysitter arrives at the house not knowing she is about to have the most horrifying experience of her life.

This is loosely based on the 1970's classic 'When a Stranger Calls' starring Carol Kane.

Three quarters of the film was shot on a Cannon Xl1s and the other quarter was on Canon ZR45.

I have submitted multiple download points so things don't get too bogged down.
More Info
Posted: Mon, 1st Dec 2003, 12:23pm

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Simon K Jones

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This really put the chills in me at a few points - particularly when her friend says that she just called her mobile but ended up speaking to a 'weirdo'. The shadow on the stairs then nearly made me fall off my seat. smile

Overall a nice production, very effective in places. A good use of building tension by not showing too much. The visuals could have done with some grading, particularly the exteriors, and some of the stylish filters seemed a bit unnecessary and over-the-top at times. Use of music in the final scene was excellent. The Requiem for a Dream score is always good, but it's perhaps a little too recognisable to work in this context - I found myself recognising it as teh RfaD score, rather than it just working for the film.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it had some cool ideas. With a little polishing it could have been a 5-star movie. As it is, it's still the only amateur film to ever actually succeed at scaring me - nice one. smile

Last edited Mon, 1st Dec 2003, 3:07pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 1st Dec 2003, 1:48pm

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This was really good! As Tarn said, it actually scared me!

I disagree with Tarn though, I think this is indeed a 5 star movie.

I am a sucker for movies posted that have a full thought out storyline and characters.

The good: Almost everything!

The bad: I didn't care for the "trail" effect when the father and girl were waiting for the mother to come down. I felt it didn't add anything.

I hope to see a lot more!

Posted: Tue, 2nd Dec 2003, 12:06am

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I'm sorry, but there is nothing that someone can tell me that will make this movie good to me. Don't take this the wrong way, dude, but I didn't like it at all. I thought the acting left a lot to be desired, I thought there were things in there that really didn't need to be, like the father holding the cigarette, for instance, and the girl smoking the cigarette later on for like 2 whole seconds after finding them in a drawer with nothing else inside. The sound was poorly put together, for instance, the people on the other end of the phone were much louder than anything else, and the music was inappropriate and ended/began too suddenly, with the exception of the suspense building music and the actual "oh no this is a scary movie" music. That was pretty good, although the Requiem theme has been greatly overused lately. Although in the last scene, the song was pretty good, although those "This is kinda like Max Payne" filters and such were a bit much. As were the ghosting and any other types of filters you used. I think it needed a lot more work that it looked like you gave it, but maybe that's just me.
Posted: Tue, 2nd Dec 2003, 1:31am

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That was good, though the music stopping abruptly like that didn't seem right. Also, what I would have done for the ending is that when the father is drinking and smoking, he gets a call, but you don't recognise it as the murderer's voice. He acts as though he is the detective and then when he says "Those ****ing cops don't have a clue!" the music goes like it did when you saw the shadow in the stairs and it goes suddenly to black. Would that have been better?
Posted: Tue, 2nd Dec 2003, 1:52am

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Mark P Warman

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wow, pretty harsh Aculag. It amazes me that you can give it 1 star when you just gave the Spirit Movie 5 stars. I guess he must be your buddy.
Oh well. Thanks for the critisism.

Pooky: I had a few other scenarios that I could of done too. Maybe a sequel? tard
Posted: Tue, 2nd Dec 2003, 2:38am

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No, he's not my buddy. I just genuinely enjoyed his movie, and I did not enjoy yours at all. I told you not to take it the wrong way. No harm done, yeah? It's just my opinion, and I'm really sorry that I don't have a great opinion of it. No hard feelings, I hope?
Posted: Tue, 2nd Dec 2003, 3:06am

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This was very well thought out and overall I enjoyed everything between 3 mins in and 5 mins before the end. You coulda made it a lot more effective by just ending at the point which the screen flashed red. That would have worked perfect. The zoom in on the door handle was poor as an effect, as was the scattered random effect used with the phone. Simply present a hand picking up the phone or just leaving it with a question mark woulda been a great start.

As I said, I really did like the middle of this piece, I thought the door was going to open when she was on the phone for the third time, yet it didnt.

This coulda been a 5/5 at 8mins long, instead its a 3/5 at 19mins long.

You didn't need to kill the babysitter either, someone always survives in a horror (but them again.. you didnt need that ending at all) smile
Posted: Tue, 2nd Dec 2003, 7:09pm

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This is a difficult one for me...

First, I loved the intro shot with the spinning chair. When I saw that I thought "NOW I'm gonna see some great cinematography".
But then the next shots were already less well done unfortunately. sad

Some things in this film are great and well done. Others are just purely random. Especially all the filters. I didn't see no purpuse in them being there. It was blurry, then a bit of ghosting, then blurry again, ghosting, colorfilter.... But I couldn't see a system in it, it just seemed purely random. Like they were just done because you could. sad

Wich is a shame, cause from the real good parts, this could have been easily a 5 star film. But the downsides are more in the 3 star area, wich leaves the final film at about 4 to me.

It was quite freaky in times though, that was cool. And the shower scene was nice! (allthough she seemed to have forgotten to take off the slip) wink
Posted: Tue, 2nd Dec 2003, 7:23pm

Post 10 of 16




I wanted to have that camera too butn its too expensive.... :'(
Posted: Tue, 2nd Dec 2003, 9:38pm

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Pretty nice! Pretty Nice! I agree about the filters though. The only ones I like were the still ones that kinda looked like a coming book. Those were Genius. I am doing stuff with that for one of my upcoming films. But it did seem like yours were kinda radom. The ending was absolutely Psycotic! Which is what makes it brilliant as a scene. One of my favorite directors. Quentin Tarontino uses seemingly happy music in the background of extremely violent scenes and that's what you have reminded me of. GOOD F*****G job. 4 stars!

Posted: Tue, 2nd Dec 2003, 10:25pm

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Aculag, allways the rebel of the forums... biggrin

I thought that was really good, for a first attempt (as far as we know). I won't go into much detail, but you needed to adjust the colours in some bits of it to make it more realistic.

Overall, It was great - 5 from me.
Posted: Thu, 4th Dec 2003, 2:22am

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Spanish Prisoner

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I thought this film is at least 6 minutes too long. not because you can't do it, no because I think you didn't handle the additional length very well. random stuffs like smoking and overlong waiting sequences etc. are going to make a movie long very fast. I made this mistake in my first attempts of making movies, now I know it's mostly better to get rid of some scenes for a better movie.

I liked some ideas and some scenes, but that's not eneought, because there was a lot more potential... unfortunately unused. Indeed you could've made the creepy sequences longer instead of the boring ones wink

I didn't like the requiem for a dream music... it didn't fit in this movie, or at least not in the scenes you used it.

with a tighter editing and a better use of suspense and drama, this one could have easily be 5 star movie and in my top10 list.

but at this point, its a 3 star, not more.
Posted: Fri, 5th Dec 2003, 7:22pm

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Force: 0 | Joined: 26th Nov 2003 | Posts: 1


I think "a stanger calls" is genius. These damn star wars films and the nerds that get wet from them get old real quick. Dont get me wrong star wars is cool but good lord they're over doing it. It's nice to see a good short film with some substance in it. 5 stars all the way. The only complaint i had is at the end where they used the cartoon style bubbles with text in them. I think they should of just left that out. The film was fine if not better without them. I cant wait to see more from the creators. biggrin
Posted: Sun, 7th Dec 2003, 11:39am

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I felt that this was a god movie, enjoyed watching parts of it, but some bits were just to slow. after the dad leaves there a couple of mintues feels kinda unnececery, also the scene were she takes of her clothes felt to long, but otherwize i thought it was a good movie.
the acting was good at some bits and bad at some, as usual then. when the cop comes there, terrible acting otherwize the girl did a good job, but where did the cop come from?

I think it would have been scarier if there were some scenes with the children. also some scene making us care more about the girl and the children, we didn't get to learn them so we didin't care so much about them.

the filters were to much, the ones that i liked were the blur thing, worked good the cartoon could have been left out.

music was overall good, elvis in the end was reallly great, +'s for that'!

last thing, was this based on the book "the babysitter" ?

good work
Posted: Sat, 20th Dec 2003, 7:17pm

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Mark P Warman

Force: 220 | Joined: 29th Aug 2002 | Posts: 98

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Thanks for all the reviews.

It was just a sh|t load of fun to make and we have already started on our next project.

thanks again!