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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2006), PG-13 ["Hard" PG-3*] (1hr 22min)
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(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Screen Gems Inc., Davis Entertainment
Distribution (US): Screen Gems Inc.
Director(s): Simon West
Producer(s): Paddy Cullen, John Davis, Wyck Godfrey, Ken Lemberger
Screenplay: Jake Wade Wall
1979 Screenplay, Steve Feke, Fred Walton
Cinematography/Camera: Peter Menzies Jr.
Music: James Michael Dooley
Film Editing: Jeff Betancourt
Casting: Nancy Nayor
Production Design: Jon Gary Steele
Art Direction: Gerald Sullivan
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
If time and funds become available, I may conduct an analysis of the 1979 version of this film for comparison to see whether the morality content has worsened over 27 years. I think this likely since we have become so drugged by and addicted to the narcotics of extremes in and as entertainment that what once was morally unacceptable has become morally invisible.
The story opens with a carnival in Buford, Colorado in the Elan Valley. As images of frivolity and merriment drift across the screen, ominous and foreboding music and sound effects paint the mood in contrast to the imagery ... an effective emotion manufacturing device. Even WorldNetDaily.com Managing Editor, David Kupelian, author of the best-selling book, The Marketing of Evil is wise enough to recognize this by his eloquent commentary on Brokeback Mountain: And believe me, skilled directors and actors can manufacture emotion by the truckload. It's what they do for a living.
You say movies don't influence people? The American Medical Association disagrees. The American Psychological Association disagrees. The American Academy of Pediatrics disagrees. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry disagrees. The American College of Physicians disagrees. [Ref: Joint Statement...] God disagrees. [1 Cor. 15:33] And I disagree.
As the film descends deeper into sensory darkness, a figure is yanked from casting a shadow on the window drapes of a modest two-story home. Once Detective Hines (Steve Eastin) arrives, the unnerving suggestion is of massive and heinous gore as he scans the room. First around the floor then slowly up the walls. As Hines scans the room and as the police carry off blood-stained body bags apparently filled with the parts of a murder victim, Eastin's expressive talents make clear to the audience the gravity of the situation. I fully expected the writers to have Hines launch his lunch at the sight of the implied gore but they didn't. He almost did but didn't.
In another part of town at the local high school, teenager Jill Johnson has been disobedient with her cell phone, narrowly avoiding a teacher discovering the phone in her locker. Not only is Jill disobedient with it at school, her father is miffed at her disobedience with the cell phone minutes limit. At least her father (Clark Gregg), who pays for the phone and its minutes, holds her responsible for its use. The nerve of him! Jill blames the excessive cell phone time on her ex-boyfriend, Bobby (Brian Geraghty) who kept calling her and talking for so long. But doesn't it take two to carry on cell phone conversations? For over 800 minutes? Eight hundred minutes over the limit?
As a disciplinary measure, Jill must not only miss the bonfire the high school is holding, she must babysit for Will and Allison Mandrakis (Arthur Young, Madeline Carroll), the young children of Dr. Tim and Lisa Mandrakis (Derek de Lint, Kate Jennings Grant). Dr. Mandrakis and Lisa are headed out for some high priority affair.
There is a positive note here. Even though Jill was being punished and must miss a high school fling because of her misdeeds, she was mature and responsible in her duties in caring for the children.
The Mandrakis' live in a luxurious lakeside high-tech three-story house that has a closet bigger than Jill's bedroom. The housekeeper, Rosa Ramirez (Rosine 'Ace' Hatem) lives on the third floor. The Mandrakis home even has a guest house. Todd, Dr. Mandrakis' son from a previous marriage who is never seen, occasionally spends the weekend at home from college. When he does, he stays in the guest house. Their home even has lighting that comes on as someone enters a room and goes out as they leave. And in the middle of the main house is an enclosed aviary over a fish pond large enough to have a bridge over it. So opulent was the house that when Mr. Johnson arrived at the Mandrakis house with Jill, he commented "Maybe I should have been a doctor."
Since Rosa is at the Mandrakis home when Jill reports to babysit Will and Allison, Mrs. Mandrakis warns Jill that she is to expect some minor noises as she sits for the children. But soon, Rosa disappears and leaves her cleaning cart in a hallway and the bird and fish food lying in the aviary. Rosa disappears, but the minor noises don't.
A soon as Dr. and Mrs. Mandrakis leave the prank calls begin. At first, it is just a friend of Jill's ex-boyfriend antagonizing Jill. Even when Jill's BFF, Tiffany Madison (not credited) appears at the Mandrakis home to keep Jill company (and to swipe some Tequila) the annoying phone calls continue. But now the calls are not funny. Not funny at all. Tiffany left the house but never made it off the grounds.
Eventually, when Jill asks the caller what he wants, he tells her "Your blood ... all over me."
After some frantic attempts to get the police involved, through call tracing the police find that the caller is in the house! From there the stranger's heinous hijinks begin as Jill becomes the intended victim in a series of murders by the stranger (Tommy Flanagan but voice of Lance Henriksen).
Now to the good stuff.
The terror/horror content coupled with the violence (the Wanton Violence/Crime (W) investigation area) makes this film clearly equivalent in magnitude to some R-rated films. Since this film was relatively short (82 minutes), the "filthy language" content (the Impudence/Hate (I) investigation area) was found also to be typical of some R-rated films. [Col. 3:8, Isa. 13:11]
The Sexual Immorality investigation area (S) found content limited mostly to dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure plus the use of the camera at an angle to force the viewer on private parts, giving the film a face much like other PG-13 films. [Matt. 5:28, 1John 2:16] And if that were not the intent of the filmmakers, why didn't they have Jill dressed in a loose button-up blouse instead of a skin-tight pullover shirt.
But the other three investigation areas found programming to be equivalent to many G- or PG-rated films.
Drugs/Alcohol (D) found only attempted teen abuse of alcohol, theft of it and "bragging" of drinking/drunkenness as if they are routine which, subjectively speaking, is an extremely bad influence concerning the MPAA rating causing the film to be targeted at the elementary school age stratum. At least the American College of Physicians think so. And so do I. [Eph. 5:18] See the links in the Eph. 5:18 reference below for more information.
Offense to God (O) found a number of uses of God's Name in vain but none with the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11] Murder/Suicide (M) found nothing. Note that since no murder was seen in the film, viewing of the murder victims was incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area.
While this Summary/Commentary section is indeed a good nutshell description of the content of a film, it cannot even approach the detail of the listing in the Findings/Scoring section. Please inspect it closely before you decide whether to let your kids (which includes at-home teens) or yourself view When a Stranger Calls (2006).
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.
***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
(The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary/
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
Christian Educators Association International
|There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
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