Monday, September 3, 2007

One Missed Call (2004)

Fear 3/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 3/5
Creepiness 2/5
Nightmares 1/5

Takashi Miike is well known for pushing the envelope when it comes to his film making. Whether it's uncompromising gore and violence or just plain weird and awful stuff that makes even die-hard horror fans cringe, he has developed a reputation, for better or worse, of creating films that demand your attention. However, when one looks at the sheer volume of work that he has pumped out in the last 16 years, you can't expect everything to be controversial and/or disturbing.

This is the case with One Missed Call, an entertaining and often genuinely frightening ghost story that, despite its solid storyline and effective scares, just can't quite escape the fact that in concept, twists and plot it is nearly identical to the American remake of Ringu (The Ring). Maybe this was done to cash in the success of The Ring (2002), who knows.

So yeah, the plot is pretty similar: Young college students begin receiving phone calls on their cell phones from their own number. The ring tone is not one that they have every heard and when they listen to the voice mails left (no one ever actually answers any of the calls) the call is from themselves, a couple of days in the future at the moment of their death. One by one the students start to die off until we are left with the "final girl" and male protagonist who are both scrambling to unravel the mystery that reveals the origin of the calls. There is a child involved who seems to have been murdered, but maybe not. Then it's possibly the child's mother who "wants to be found", etc. etc. - are you getting this? Because if you've seen The Ring you know how it winds up (more or less). It even has a false ending like The Ring.

If you can deal with the lack of originality and simply sit back and enjoy the show, you'll probably enjoy One Missed Call. It's very well executed and written, makes more sense than most J-Horror Onryo tales and has a few scenes that are absolutely creepy as hell. The corpse-ghost near the end is especially gruesome and genuinely scary.

Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed this, but was disappointed both by how conventional it was and by how unoriginal it was. But it has some great scares and certainly kept my attention throughout. Worth a free viewing on Fearnet if you have access to it, that's for sure.

It has two sequels and it also slated for an American remake to be released in 2008. Of course.

- Complaint Department

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