Kou Shibasaki, Anna Nagata, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi
When I first saw this Japanese horror film available for
rent, I imagined it couldn't be much different than Phone,
another haunted cellphone flick. Fortunately, One Missed
Call takes the haunted cellphone theme is a vastly different
direction and manages to work well. In a genre (Asian horror)
that is hard to stand out in, this film does a good job are
presenting a solid mystery and more than a few creepy moments.
As with Ringu, One Missed Call
starts with an urban legend - this time around it involves
a person getting a phone call from their own cell. The phone
message that is left is the person's voice just before they
die. After a dinner party between friends, Yoko gets this
call. When she dies, her cellphone is found with an disconnected
number dialed moments after her death. The urban legend spreads
as people find out that the curse jumps from phone to phone
through personal phonebooks.
When another one of the friends is cursed, she's dragged
onto a television special in hopes that she'll be blessed
and survive the curse. During this time, the main character
and the brother of another victim look for the reason behind
the curse. Their research ends them up with a mother of two
who suffers from Munchausen's by Proxy - she injures her children
so she can get attention. As the curse jumps to Yumi Nakamura's
cellphone, she's lead to an abandoned hospital, where she
and Hiroshi run into the deceased mother in an intense series
of events that culminate in what should be the endgame of
And, if they had stopped the movie right there, I would have
been fine. In the last five to ten minutes, the movie undoes
a powerful sequence and some pretty constant horror by getting
pretty weird and throwing in an unnecessary twist. And, that's
the real shame of it all, as the rest of the film is quite
excellent. It's paced pretty well and the horror events are
done exceptionally well. The acting is pretty good (if you
turn off the dub) and the cinematography is captivating despite
not being a big-budget feature.
Of course, one can not watch One Missed Call without
seeing the obvious influences of both Ringu and Ju-On.
This time around, though, it's not as bad as with other films.
One Missed Call works hard not to fall into the ease
of carbon-copying those films in terms of presenting its horror.
I will have to say that One Missed Call was a bit
of a pleasant surprise. I thought it would fall in line with
some of the other clichéd Asian horror, but the film
managed to deliver on a solid experience that takes the urban
legend concept in a different direction. Since there is a
fleshed out backstory, the events that play out certainly
have a good bit of power to them. If you see this in your
rental store, give it a try.