Director: John Sutherland
Writer: Stephen King
Cast: Deborah Harmon, Arthur Taxier, Rhonda Dotson, Katherine Britton, Brandon Stewart, Nicole Huntington, Catherine Battistone, and Paul Sparer
Composer: Ken Lauber
Air Date: 11/22/1987
Late one evening, a woman named Katie (Deborah Harmon)—wife of horror novelist Bill Weiderman (Arthur Taxier)—receives a disturbing phone call from an unknown number. Recognizing the voice on the other end of the line, Katie assumes that one of her female family members might be in trouble—with an unexpected outcome.
“Sorry, Right Number” should be commended for its serious tone, haunting atmosphere, and believable characters. Psychological horror fans in particular may enjoy this offering, which relies on subtle misdirection to build and maintain suspense.
Similar to every Stephen King story, “Sorry, Right Number” features a bizarre scenario with many ambiguous and unexplained elements. By introducing a likable, well-adjusted family into the heart of his narrative, however, King compels the audience to overlook his implausible subject matter and instead focus on the realistic drama, tension, and character interactions at the center of this episode.
“Sorry, Right Number” also benefits from many effective red herrings, which obscure the obvious danger facing one member of the Weiderman family.
Replacing the fictional Spider’s Kiss with Dawn of the Dead footage, “Sorry, Right Number” may evoke criticism—especially from horror movie buffs—for its lack of originality.
Sustaining an air of impending doom from start to finish, “Sorry, Right Number” employs the power of suggestion to explore connections between mortality and the supernatural—possibly inspired by King’s fear of death, which appears to manifest in the character of Bill (likely a stand-in for King himself).
Combining paranormal implications with a poignant twist, “Sorry, Right Number” is a powerful entry of Tales from the Darkside. Series enthusiasts will therefore appreciate this episode, which carries the unique style of a typical King novel.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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