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One Missed Call

Review by: 
Don't Feed the Dead
AKA: 
Chakushin Ari
Release Date: 
2003
Studio: 
Korean Import
Genre: 
Horror
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
0 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
1.85:1
Directed by: 
Takashi Miike
Cast: 
Kou Shibasaki
Shinichi Tsutsumi
Kazue Fukiishi
Movie: 
4
Extras: 
3
Bottom Line: 
4

 One Missed Call is not an original idea, which is unusual to see from Takashi Miike. In fact, it's more of a combination of notorious Asian horror films than an independent director's venture. Although One Missed Call features recurring attributes seen in the Grudge, Ringu and Phone, it is Miike's strategic collaboration of these films that makes this feature so successful.
 
Yumi is a college student who has a well known past of parental abuse, a trauma buried deep in her head but often revisited when she encounters specific settings in everyday life. She surrounds herself with her closest friends to compensate for the lack of quality parenting she received, so it becomes a shock to her when her friend Yoko gets a message on her cell phone from her own number, with her own voice and blood curdling scream. Even stranger is that the call is made 2 days in the future from Yoko's own phone number.
 
Two days later, Yumi gets a call from Yoko close to the time of the message received and at the exact time the phone displayed the message being received Yoko relives the spoken words of the message and the scream. Her body is found the same night after being thrown on the train tracks. Although her limbs were dismembered, Yoko was alive long enough to suffer a great deal. The police brush it off as one in a series of recent suicides, but Yumi and her remaining friends know better.
 
Shortly thereafter, Yumi's friends begin to receive the same type of message, a call made from the future featuring their voice and a deadly scream. It is only after one more of her friends falls prey to the message death once more that Yumi runs into Yamashita, a man who's sister suffered the same fate and who may hold the answers to the prophetic phone calls. He points out that after each of the victims die, a call is made from their cell phone to the same number, a phone number registered to a cell phone owned by a woman named Marie Mizinuma. After doing some detective work, Yamashita and Yumi discover that Marie was an accused child abuser who has mysteriously disappeared. Drawing closer to solving the mystery, Yumi finds out that her best friend Natsumi has received the dreaded call and is next on the hit list. 
 
A television station catches wind of Natsumi's bad fortune and offers to exorcise her demons on a live broadcast, which is one of the more terrifying scenes in the film. It then becomes Yumi's mission to uncover the truth behind the phone calls and mysterious deaths before Natsumi's life is claimed and the grudge moves on to a new victim.
 
What makes One Missed Call such an effective film is that it takes the abstract and confusing elements of the successful horror films the Grudge and Ringu and eliminates them from the get go. Rather than eluding to the presence of a "grudge", Miike spells the situation out early in the film, but leaves its origins a mystery until the very end. Scare tactics such as dead children, reanimated corpses and a virus like ghost, all scene in past horror films are then used as vehicles to terrify the audience, an emotion that Miike draws on effectively and often.
 
The second disc in the R0 Special Edition features a lengthy behind the scenes "Making Of" documentary and a handful of trailers for both One Missed Call and Miike's other new release, Zebraman. Because this is an unofficial release of the film no interviews with either Miike or the cast are featured.
 
One Missed Call can be seen as Takashi Miike's second attempt at scaring the audiences, his first being the highly successful Audition. Although a bit trite with the storylines and ideas associated with the film, Miike once again creates a masterpiece that transcends the language barrier and offers up a solid plot and plenty of heart stopping sequences. Missing from his latest feature is Miike's trademark wackiness, but it is heartily replaced with some of the more terrifying imagery to come from the Far East. One Missed Call is a Miike film that Asian Horror fanatics should not, well.... miss.

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