An excellent horror film, starring Japan’s superstar heart throb Kou Shibasaki, that sadly loses steam because of the hordes of movies that are just too similar.
One day, Yumi’s (Kou Shibasaki) friend finds a weird voice message on her cell phone.
The voice sounds just like hers but it ends in a bone-chilling scream.
The call apparently came from her own cell phone number and is dated three days into the future.
It’d be easy enough to dismiss as a prank call were it not for the fact that three days later, at the exact same time and with the exact same scream, the friend dies.
The coincidences begin to pile up as the circle of cell phone death warnings widen.
Until one day, Yumi realises that she’s also got one missed call!!!
Isn’t it a shame when a multitude of crap movies that deal with the same content matter bring down another film that has the potential to knock THE RING off of its almighty pedestal?
Let me say it straight out, right here right now, ONE MISSED CALL comes so close to succeeding over THE RING it’s not funny.
The reason it isn’t funny is because, despite my hate for THE RING, so many movies have stolen allot of elements from THE RING and completely softened the impact of what should be very scary elements. ONE MISSED CALL has “borrowed” a lot of these elements but without a doubt is the best rip-off of THE RING as you can get and if THE RING didn’t exist at all, ONE MISSED CALL would be that singular movie that defined the genre for decades to come.
Then again if THE RING didn’t exist then ONE MISSED CALL probably wouldn’t either.
The plot of spirits contacting the real world through technology as become pretty common since that notorious defining moment of the unmarked Video cassette, almost all technology horrors since the haunted video tape have bombed out and failed miserably, and along comes Takashi Miike and decides he can do what Korea couldn’t (they had a notoriously unoriginal film called PHONE) using a cell phone as the main median for the spiritual world.
Thus brings the birth of ONE MISSED CALL which not only features haunted technology but also a number of days left to live in fear before your unfortunate demise AND a long black haired vengeful femme fatale spirit.
Yeah, yeah, I can hear your brains ticking away wondering why you’d even bother with a movie like this that seems to be a blatant rip-off, well despite how over exaggerated I was about it’s negatives, ONE MISSED CALL features loads more substance than THE RING could ever hope to deliver and on a larger scale is far more entertaining.
Thank god Takashi Miike is the director because he has helped elevate this film and give it that little Miike touch that makes anything of his worth watching.
The general atmosphere is not as dark and moody as THE RING but has that intense air of mystery and uncertainty that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat.
The acting all-round is very good and while the lead isn’t as convincing in the role as she has been in others, she certainly isn’t bad (except for her hair which doesn’t do her any favours IMO).
Casting Kou Shibasaki (BATTLE ROYALE, GO, GOOD LUCK!!!) as Yumi is perhaps one of the best decisions made for the film. Kou Shibasaki has a huge fan base in Japan for acting in some immensely popular Japanese dramas and is recognised internationally for her role as Mitsuko in BATTLE ROYALE.
Miss Shibasaki’s talents don’t end there because she is also a chart topping J-pop artist.
The side characters and extras do a very good job and it’s obviously the casting agents didn’t just cast any old schmoe for the roles because each character is believable and well-played.
The story progression is one of the things I love most about this movie.
It takes the characters places they’d actually end up had this all been real.
One of the girls is chased down by a film crew and is put on TV to have an exorcism performed during her last moments as the clock ticks down to the deadline (one of my favourite scenes in the film).
The characters never muck around in this movie, and they certainly aren’t as dumb as previous horror movies portray the victims.
Even before the first death Yumi has a nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right and after her friend has passed away, Yumi knows that whatever’s going on isn’t of this world and she has few problems convincing the others she chooses to tell.
I think, in a way, ONE MISSED CALL makes fun of a lot of past horror movies, including THE RING, with it’s presence of the cheesy TV show (including a lame set and voice over introductions) because it never denies that past horror movies don’t exist within the ONE MISSED CALL reality which is why Yumi catches on so quickly and the TV show recruits the next victim so suddenly.
Sound-wise it’d be pretty standard were it not for the fact you get to hear the chillingly catching ring tone whenever the spirit makes contact with your cell phone, plus you get to hear a Kou Shibasaki song in the credits ^^.
Visually it’s one of the better looking Asian movies in recent history and is helped by the green tinge that comes into play during the last 30mins of the film.
Overall if it weren’t for the hordes of failed movies with similar ghosts and same-ish storylines, ONE MISSED CALL would have a much larger impact on the viewer.
Aside form that there are numerous reasons for giving this film a look, buy it for Kou Shibasaki! Buy it for Takashi Miike! or just buy it because it updates the tried and true formula, either way ONE MISSED CALL is one of the best Asian horror movies released this year.
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