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Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything in life has it's challenges and it's reasons...any crime can be explained logically, 9 Nov. 2007
This review is from: One Missed Call [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Currently working as an Account Manager for one of the World's largest telecommunications companies, having five contracted lines to my name (in addition to a "Pay As You Go" SIM card), rarely receiving bills for anything less than £100 (in a good month - and that is with discounts!) and having used three separate networks since my first flirtation with my now frighteningly-frequent text messaging, it would be safe to say that I am in a better position than most when it comes to talking about the dreaded mobile 'phone. What has to be the most frustrating time of my day is that moment when I pick my 'phone out of my bag on one of my far-too-infrequent breaks, only to find a call from a "withheld" number. Natural curiosity makes you wonder who has been calling you - and why, if it's so important to call you during your working day, would you withhold the number: I mean, how are you meant to ring that person back if you don't know who they are? Having watched "One Missed Call", however, I can now envisage one scenario more intimidating than the dreaded missed call from the withheld number ("intimidating" because you always get the feeling that the nature of the phone call would have inevitably been serious had you picked it up) - and that is the missed call from your own number, the "death-messaging call", with your voicemail merely reflecting your fear from the future - forewarning your own demise.

Briefly, "One day, Yumi's friend finds a weird voice on her cell phone. The voice sounds like hers but it ends in a bone-chilling scream. The call apparently came from her own cell phone. It's dated three days into the future. It's be easy enough to dismiss this 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 widens. Until, one day, Yumi realises that she has also got one missed call!"

How you rate this film will largely depend upon how "bored" you already are with mainstream J-Horror itself. Essentially a commerical film, created to appeal to a wide audience, "One Missed Call" will give those of you who are already familiar with "popular" (by "popular", I mean "well-known", not "widely-acepted") Asian Horror (and it's subsequent Western remakes), an overwhelming sense of de-ja-vu. No doubt you will recognise the cyclical revenge story, focussing upon a long-haired female ghost with a "grudge" (excuse the pun), who systematically murders as many people as possible via the most mundane, domestic medium she can (if you replace the mobile 'phone for the TV, you can see where I am going with this), until the "truth is uncovered, and the wrongs are righted" (as another reviewer pointed out). It is this lack of originality that has led other reviewers to describe the film as "bland", "generic" and "ineffective" - with one reviewer even suggesting that the financial motivation behind the film largely accounted for an under-developed script containing "flat...wasted...one dimensional characters, who are trapped with one facial expression, one tone of voice and one purpose - to aid the plot, (hence)... back-stories which are clumsily brought out by an awkward expositional dialogue". Some may find this analysis hyper-critical (I know I did) - particularly those of you who are either satisfied to see "more of the same", and especially those of you who are new to the genre altogether: for you, I am certain that you will see this as a dark, apprehensive and melancholic film, filled with atmospheric suspense.

Personally, I found the film a little "hit-and-miss". On the one-hand, there are some genuinely creepy parts to the film, aided by the viewer's knowledge of the inevitability that haunts each call - the unavoidable fate attached to the monophonically-simplistic, sinister and disturbing ring-tone - sounding even when the handset is turned off. Credit must also be given for the effective use of (literal) reflection (in the TV camera and mirrors)- here, representing clarity - which allows us to see the spirit, even when the characters can't. I also like the fact that, in many of the scenes, the characters do not bow to the predictable: they do not do what you would expect - for an example of this, see the scene towards the end of the film, where the undertaker is standing with an axe in the hosptial, poised to smash the door when the ghost eventually reaches it. This scene is all the more effective for NOT having this occur - instead, a phone rings elsewhere, disorienting and confusing the viewer in the process.

On the other hand, there are aspects of the film which are subject to justifiable criticism. The inconsistencies in the film are so obvious as not to be over-looked - without wanting to give the true identity of the spirit away, once you have watched the film, ask yourself "how" this person managed to obtain all of the telephone numbers of those people who she sought out for death. There are also parts in the film that are designed to make you jump, but don't even raise a single hair on the back of your neck (for an example of this, see the "abnormally" thin hand that appears on Yumi's shoulder at the dinner-party - this was hinted at in a story related to us by another guest at the party, but the lack of tension means the "climax" to the scene never emerges). The other problem with the film is that it may require a second viewing due to it's subtle nature - a second viewing which will inevitably frustrate those who are already bored with the genre. I have watched it three times now, and have only just picked up on the significance of the quote right at the end of the film - "There are various skies to everyone". Take this as an indiciation of misinterpretation and it will clarify the illogically-twisted climax to the film...if only slightly.

For those of you who are expecting a DVD laden with extras, you will be disappointed - there are none. For those of you who have surround-sound, you won't be disappointed - just don't forget that if you turn the volume up to hear the quiet conversations, don't forget to turn it down for the horror scenes...
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Nov 2007 16:18:53 GMT
Elaine says:
Well written and witty.

Posted on 12 Oct 2011 16:02:12 BDT
S. Ahmed says:
so the ending has got me a little confused ? does it show that the small girl who is hurting people likes the hero of the movie because he saved her from asthma attack while she was plae when her mother left her there ?
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