One Missed Call
This review was written for the theatrical release of "One Missed Call."
Little wonder that this remake of a J-horror slipped out during the post-Christmas lull. The direction is uninspired, acting is lifeless, and the script borders on the inept. A PG-13 rating means that it's short on shocks, too. "One Missed Call" probably will die a quick death.
Eric Valette's film is a remake of cult director Takashi Miike's 2003 "Chakushin Ari." The thin plot hinges on a series of cell phone messages that contain recordings of the phone owner's future death cries. When friends of Beth (Shannyn Sossamon) start dying nasty deaths, she discovers that they all received horrifying messages at the time of their murder. Investigating with Jack (Ed Burns), a cop whose sister was a victim, she tries to discover the murderer before she, too, gets that call. They think the ghost of an abusive mother is doing the killings, but then the story takes a different turn.
Miike's films are overrated, but at least they're peppered with black humor and outrageous doings. But "One Missed Call" is so straightforward, with a predictable plot and ghosts that look as if they've bought their costumes from a Halloween supplies store. A slight twist at the end provides a moment of interest, but because it's not adequately foreshadowed in the story, it's hardly satisfying. Some scenes, including a priest trying to exorcise a cell phone (!) in a church, are simply ridiculous.
The story has elements of "Ringu," the terrifying movie that stated the J-horror craze in the past decade. Instead of a cell phone call, that movie had a spooky video signaling the death of the viewer. Valette makes a brief reference to the visual shocks of "Ringu" with a single use of a degraded, black-and-white video image.
ONE MISSED CALL
Alcon Entertainment and Kadokawa Pictures present in association with Equity Pictures Medienfonds GmbH and Co KGIV an Intermedia Films production
Director: Eric Valette
Screenwriter: Andrew Kalavan
Based on the novel by: Yasushi Akimoto
Producers: Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove, Scott Kroopf, Jennie Lew Tugend, Lauren C. Weissman
Executive producers: Shinya Egawa, Timothy M. Bourne, Martin Schuermann, Josef Lautenschlager, Andreas Thiesmeyer
Co-producers: Steven P. Wegner, Elizabeth Cushman, Alison Haskovee, Manfred Heid, Gerd Koechlin
Director of photography: Glen Macpherson
Production designer: Laurence Bennet
Music: Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek
Costume designer: Sandra Hernandez
Editor: Steve Mirkovich
Beth: Shannyn Sossamon
Jack: Edward Burns
Taylor: Ana Claudia Talancon
Ted: Ray Wise
Leann: Azura Skye
Running time -- 87 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13