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Chakusin Ari

One Missed Call

Japan 2003
produced by
Yoichi Arishige, Fumio Inoue, Naoki Sato, Hiroshi Okawa (executive) for Kadokawa Shoten, Daiei
directed by Takashi Miike
starring Ko Shibasaki, Shinichi Tsutsumi , Kazue Fukiishi, Anna Nagata, Atsushi Ida, Mariko Tsutsui, Kumiko Imai, Keiko Tomita, Kayoko Fujii, Yoshiko Noda, Azusa, Tetsushi Tanaka, Mitsuhiro Sato, Kaoru Hanaki, Hassei Takano, Koji Yazawa, Daisuke Iijima, Minori Fujikura, Shoichi Kamiya, Mika Yagisawa, Karen Oshima, Sena Shimuzu, Sakuya Yamada, Kohei Yoshida, Shinnosuke Abe, Noriko Eguchi, Saeko, Kiyomi Kobayashi, Yuna Mikuni, Megumi Okada, Erena, Atsuko Murakawa, Kosuke Kimoto, Kana Ito, Akira Matsuda, Yorihito Kinouchi, Yasuhi Nakamura, Masanobu Matsuda, Barae Tagaki, Sachiko Isarai, Kenichi Endo, Yutaka Matsushige, Goro Kishitani, Renji Ishibashi
screenplay by Minako Daira, based on the novel by Yasushi Akimoto, music by Koji Endo

One Missed Call

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Two friends (Anna Nagata, Atsushi Ida) of college student Yumi (Ko Shibasaki) have died, and their deaths have one thing in common: On their mobile, they received a voicemail from the future, apparently from their own phone, and apparently chronicling the moment of their deaths. So when Yumi's roommate Natsumi (Kazue Fukiishi) gets a message from the future (this time it's a photo), too, she's understandably worried - but the media love her and make her - pretty much against her will - the subject of a live TV-show, complete with a talk show host, some doubting experts and a phony exorcist. Natsumi dies anyways, in exactly the manner the photo on her mobile has shown.

... then Yumi receives a phonecall from the future, predicting that she is next. But Yumi won't go down without a fight, and she receives some unexpected help from Yamashita (Shinichi Tsutsumi), a young man whose sister has been killed following a mobile-announcement as well. Soon, the two of them find out several clues that link all the deaths together: The mobiles of all the deceased made calls to a now abandoned phonenumber that once belonged to a hospital - that has since moved -, on all the phonecalls there were sounds of breathalizers for asthmatic patients, and somehow everything leads to an abusive mother and her two little daughters. Yumi and Yamashita soon find the abandoned hospital - where they find themselves in a virtual horrorshow, culminating in them finding abovementioned abusive mother, who turns out to be dead but returns and prepares to kill Yumi. Now Yamashita has since found a way to stop the terror, but with Yumi's death only seconds away, will he succeed in saving her. And even if, does he have the perfect idea how to put an end to things for good ...

 

Now I'll have to address the elephant in the room first, yes, this movie is a bit reminiscent of J-horror superhit Ringu, which was released only a few years prior, what with a curse using modern means of communication to spread, and all killings being announced in advance to the exact time of death. Also, in direct comparison, Ringu is the much creepier film.

That out of the way, One Missed Call still has plenty to go for, not only because it tells a really engaging mystey yarn that gradually tightens to suspense to actually more than one finales (you'll understand when watching the movie), but also because of its weaving social commentary and satire into the plot, from more decent hints about our dependency from mobile phones to the full-on parody of a sensationalist live TV show where pretty much everything, first and foremost an innocent girl, is sacrificed for ratings. And of course, a strong cast helps bring all of this across in a nice piece of horror that truth to be told might not rank among director Takashi Miike's best, but is still well worth a watch.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD