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Tuesday, 8 April 2008

One Missed Call (2003)

Anything Takashi Miike makes is going to be interesting, though to find a horror film with his name on it that has already been remade in the west doesn't bode too well. The ratings suggest that the remake sucks, which is hardly surprising, but this one isn't too bad. It would seem to be pretty tame material for Miike, being yet another Japanese fear of technology horror movies, but he manages to sneak in some agreeably gruesome scenes. While I watch a lot of eastern horror movies, I've somehow managed to miss the famous ones: Ringu and Ju-On and so on, though I have them all sitting here on DVD ready to watch, so this seems a little fresher than perhaps it might.

It's one of those films where the point is the gimmick and the people in the film don't really matter, but we have a bunch of Japanese college students who spend their time texting each other and talking about potential dates rather than pay attention to the lectures they're in. Then they start receiving voicemails from their near future selves, effectively providing a premonition of their own death with an effective time and date. Naturally it doesn't have much effect to begin with until people begin to die. Yoko is the first to go, going through a metal fence to plummet down onto a moving train, then we discover that she wasn't the first. Then Kenji is dragged down an elevator shaft.

The girls somehow believe that a woman died full of hate and her vindictive spirit is travelling through the phone system, killing one person, then shifting on to another person whose number was in their phonebook. Naturally everyone starts freaking out, deleting their numbers from other people's phones and cancelling their phone contracts, and needless to say the horror doesn't stop quite that easily. It's up to Yuko to try to fathom it all out before she becomes the next victim.

This one starts pretty hokey and I could understand people not making it past the second death, but from there on it engages very nicely. The slightly pixellated look caused by the reduced bandwidth Cox digital cable provided to the Sundance Channel in my area combined with the often deliberately jerky camera movements suggest a low budget handheld straight to video release, though the last half hour is certainly very professionally done indeed. I was dropping into sleep halfway through for reasons entirely unrelated to this movie but it pulled me back awake and kept me that way for the duration. I don't get the end though.

1 comment:

1minutefilmreview said...

Nice review. We're fans of Miike too.