Horror films and thrillers have made us terrified of many things over the decades – clowns, basement stairs, pulling back shower curtains and receiving mysterious phone calls. One of the films I’ll soon be reviewing, A24’s The Blackcoat’s Daughter, features the latter. So, that got me thinking about the films that made us terrified to answer the phone.
Here are my top 5 picks, let me know if your favorites made the list!
A24 and DirecTV will release The Blackcoat’s Daughter in theaters and On Demand March 31, 2017.
5. 976-Evil (1988)
This B-horror film, directed by Robert Englund, features a hotline that is used by Satan to gain control over the callers. It honestly isn’t a great film, but it terrified me as a kid and I still enjoy watching now and then. It holds a special place since 976-Evil is one of the first VHS covers that I remember seeing.
4. Black Christmas (1974)
This slasher classic features a group of sorority sisters who receive threatening phone calls, which amps up to murder. The phone calls are frightening and play a crucial role in the tension building. We often feel like there should be safety in numbers, but that isn’t on the sisters’ side here. They also pull off “the calls are coming from within” twist really well, even though that trope is often more associated with the next film.
3. When A Stranger Calls (1979)
The opening of the film is one of the best moments in horror cinema. A babysitter home alone getting stalked by a madman on the phone, only to find out the caller is… yes, coming from within the house. The twist of the children already murdered hours before sends a chill. The film was used for inspiration by filmmakers for generations to come… ahem, Wes Craven’s Scream.
2. Ringu (1998)
We all know the story by now, largely thanks to Ringu’s American remake, The Ring (2002). People watch a mysterious video tape, which features seriously disturbing images, and get a phone call right after. The viewer is going to die within seven days unless they have someone else watch the film, passing the curse on. The success of Ringu kicked off a new wave of Japanese horror films, with American remakes following shortly after.
1. Buried (2010)
An American truck driver, played by Ryan Reynolds, is working in Iraq and finds himself buried alive in a coffin with only a few items, including a lighter and phone. The film is reality-based, which makes it all the more terrifying, and incredibly claustrophobic. To top it off, the character has full use of his Blackberry phone and it still isn’t able to save him. We often think of our phones as safety nets, but Buried shows just the opposite.