Shannyn Sossamon - Beth Raymond
Edward Burns - Detective Jack Andrews
Ana Claudia Talancon - Taylor Anthony
Ray Wise - Ted Summers
Azura Skye - Leann Cole
Johnny Lewis - Brian Sousa
Jason Beghe - Ray Purvis
Margaret Cho - Detective Mickey Lee
Meagan Good - Shelley Baum
Genre - Horror/Ghosts/Remakes
Running Time - 87 Minutes
Score - BOMB
The horror scene in the late 1990s/early 2000s was an interesting one. After the massive success of SCREAM in 1996 and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER in 1997, American film studios kept cranking out as many teen horror flicks that they could in order to capitalize on this revival of horror. Some films managed to succeed, like URBAN LEGEND, HALLOWEEN H20, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, THE SIXTH SENSE, and FINAL DESTINATION to name a few. But mostly, we were treated to the same exact shit time and time again, causing people to look elsewhere. And that "elsewhere" happened to be in Asia, where the horror scene was becoming quite the talk of the movie world. Films like AUDITION, RINGU, JU-ON, and so on were showing unsatisfied viewers that horror was alive and well in a whole other part of the world.
Unfortunately, American markets caught on to this and decided to bring these films to the Western world. But instead of Asian themes and actors, they would Americanize everything with American actors and American themes because us Americans are just too damn ignorant to want to watch Asian people get frightened by Asian looking ghosts that meow like cats in heat. So in 2002, we got the first major Americanized remake in the form of THE RING. Fortunately, THE RING worked pretty damn well and was a good flick, making tons of cash at the box office. Hell, watching that scene where that little bitch from the well coming out of the television to kill creeped me out for days. Unfortunately, the sequel creeped out in an entirely different way, but there's no need to discuss that now.
Testing the waters to see if lightning would strike twice, the Americanized remake of JU-ON, known as THE GRUDGE, was released. A pretty good flick itself, THE GRUDGE was very successful at the box office. Again, I wish I could say the same about the sequel, but that's another story for another time. Then, things just got ridiculous as studios began remaking as many K-horror and J-horror films as they could just to make money. PULSE bombed and deservingly so. This year alone we've had 4 films so far that were based on Asian horror films: MIRRORS, SHUTTER, THE EYE, and the movie I'm reviewing today: ONE MISSED CALL.
Now I've never seen the original ONE MISSED CALL, known as CHAKUSHIN ARI, directed by famed Asian director Takashi Miike in 2003. I've heard reports that it's actually a decent flick, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from watching the horrible American remake. ONE MISSED CALL is so bad that it made me almost end my plan with my cell phone provider. Let's see the many reasons as to why you should hang up on this one as if it were an annoying telemarketer.
Get this - cell phones ring with some weird ring tone that the owner doesn't even use or have heard of with the call being dialed by a deceased friend. Apparently, the message says you have "one missed call" and a voicemail is left for the listener to hear. The message is the last moments of the owner of the phone's life with a date stamped to let them know exactly when they're gonna die. Since her friends are dying [with red hard candies popping out of their mouths] because of these weird phone calls, Beth Raymond (Shannyn Sossamon in desperate need of a new agent) wants to know what's up with these stupid phone calls.
She goes to the police, but they don't believe her. I mean, why would you believe a woman who named her child "Audio Science" anyway? But I digress. Anyway, a detective named Jack Andrews (Ed Burns cashing a paycheck for his next indie flick) takes her case, since his sister died from the same call. They must work very quickly to figure out what's going on since Beth has received a phone call herself.
And some other shit happens as well, but none of it is gonna make the film sound better than it isn't.
I have three words for ONE MISSED CALL:
WHAT THE FUCK!?
This has got to be the worst film I've seen all year. It's right up there with MEET THE SPARTANS and STEEL TRAP, no joke. ONE MISSED CALL is the reason why I loathe this "let's remake a good film that doesn't need it" trend. There's nothing of redeeming value here. There are no scares. There is no character development. No suspense. No tension. Too much silly CGI. And it's boring. How do you make a horror film boring!? The original must be better by default because I can't see why any studio would remake a bad film and make it worse.
There's some rumor where director Eric Valette refused to watch the original version, CHAKUSHIN ARI, even telling the actors not to watch it either. I think he wanted to make his own film without being influenced by the original, although he had no problem copying themes from THE RING or THE GRUDGE and keeping the same cliches going from those films by using them here. Yeah, great idea dillhole! Don't bother watching the original so you could, I dunno, improve on it. Why would anyone want to do that? Give me a fuckin' break, dude. I can't believe Warner Bros. thought that was actually a great idea on Valette's part. But then again, they did release BATMAN & ROBIN to the public years ago, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised.
The story is also absolutely ridiculous. Cell phones? Really? That's supposed to be scary? "Oh my God, someone is calling me from some strange ringtone that sounds like an ice cream truck is pulling up the curb! Someone help me!" And not only that, but the ghost on these phones actually scrolls through your call lists and picks a sucker to murder in a few days. Who knew the afterlife was so tech-savvy?
I dunno about you, but if I received a call that told me I was gonna die two days from now, I would - I dunno - cancel my service!? Break the damn phone [which doesn't work by the way]!? Move away where there are no phones!? I would do anything but actually continue to answer the damn thing, like Beth does. Boy, she's so hard up on listening to morbid phone calls and wonders why she's part of this bullshit. That's what happens when you're nosy, bitch! Curiosity killed the cat, remember? And you're on your last life, sweetheart. Yeah, you keep answering the stupid phone with the weird ass ring tone and hearing yourself die. Duh? And then the scene that really pissed me off - Beth lying in her bed with earphones on in the dark after she was just smothered by some dead person in a vent. Sure, why not relax after some zombie wanted to kill you? It's not like that's a daily occurence? Put that iPod on and listen to Miley Cyrus sing her big teeth mouth off. That's gonna change alot of shit. Stupid whore.
The rest of the characters are just as stupid. One girl gets on top of a train platform, knowing she's gonna die that way. Some dude utters exactly what he said in his voicemail message before getting impaled near a construction site. Let's not forget the detective who will not break down a door because it's against his moral code, but knows exactly how to use a card to jam the lock and open said door. He also enjoys looking through peepholes when someone evil is banging on a door, not realizing looking is a two-way thing. What a genius. And the hot Latina chick, who goes through a faux-exorcism hoping the ghosts will leave her alone. Babe, when some TV producers has cameras on you and is counting the cash he'll receive from the ratings, he's not helping you rid of evil. He is evil.
And of course, we have to create a connection between Beth and the killer, who were both abused by their mothers as children. Beth is even a psychology major who takes classes on abuse, yet can't deal with her own. And the killer, well, let's just say that never mess with anyone's asthma pump. That's right. The killer is pissed off because she had no more medication in her pump. The little things that will motivate people into murder these days, geez! What a bunch of whiny bitches!
The story, written by the guy who wrote DON'T SAY A WORD [I'll never tell...his name, not like I care to know anyway], is horrible. The dialogue is bland. The situations just make you want to pull your hair out. The characters have no personalities other than stupidity and boredom. Even the motivation of the killer and the ending itself is just really painful to watch. And why do the victims begin seeing CGI millipedes and cartoonish looking ghosts anyway? What the fuck does that have to do with what the killer saw in her final moments? Wait a minute - the producers couldn't afford REAL millipedes? Oh, that's just pathetic. This is just bad screenwriting from beginning to end.
The deaths could have been cool if FINAL DESTINATION and its sequels didn't do them before and/or better. I will say the first death was pretty funny, especially when even the animal within the scene wasn't even safe. It's not gonna raise my score or anything, but I did giggle when the scene happened. I would have cared if these characters died if the movie actually focused on them and not on the stupid cell phones that popped up everywhere in this flick. Subtlety is nice sometimes.
What is there to say about the direction by Eric Valette? It's not the worst visual filmmaking I've seen in my life. There are some moments where style is attempted, although I'm getting really sick of seeing ghosts who have head twitches everytime they want to kill. But it was pretty much "point and shoot" here. Nothing great like his work on MALEFIQUE, which is a good flick if you haven't seen it. But there's no tension, no suspense, no nothing that would make you think this film is supposed to scare you. I do know this film was supposed to be rated R instead of PG-13, so maybe the studio reined Valette in from doing what he does best. That's a shame because if they had let the guy do his thing, it probably would have been a much more interesting film to look at.
The acting was just terrible. Shannyn Sossamon is a very good actress and I love her like a lot of other people. But she's totally wasted here beyond belief. She looks bored the entire time and seems to be sleepwalking through the film without a care in the world. I think she still was on the drugs she took in RULES OF ATTRACTION and carried them over to here. New agent, Shannyn - get one! Ed Burns is no better. It's obvious he did this film so he can get paid to finance his next indie flick. He's a good actor himself but he has no business being in this film. Plus he and Sossamon have no chemistry with each other whatsoever, even though you're supposed to believe that they could hook up. Their match wouldn't even make a spark. Ana Claudia Talancon is hot as hell and I believe has some decent acting ability. But she's just silly here as well. Still, I enjoyed looking at her and her ass. Ray Wise seemed to be having fun in his small role, but seemed out of place. Azura Skye is a good actress stuck in a bad film. Johnny Lewis was alright too. And was that Margaret Cho as a detective? Yeah...I think I'm done here.
THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE WISHING I HAD PICKED UP THAT ONE MISSED CALL WARNING ME NOT TO WATCH THIS PIECE OF SHIT
- If you're female and own a cat that happens to be missing awhile, don't look for it near a body of water. You'll probably gonna get pulled in by some mysterious arm to your death. Unless you're a lesbian, you shouldn't be on the hunt for wet pussy anyway.
- Brian got impaled by a metal rod after some explosion. I heard about experimenting in college, but that's just ridiculous.
- Some TV producer played by Ray Wise believed Taylor was possessed because of the weird phone calls. The Devil performing exorcisms - oh, the irony!
- Beth had a day to figure out the origin of the phone calls before her death. I'm sure she wished she had more time like 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHT or something. But then again, death doesn't follow any RULES OF ATTRACTION.
- The victims see millipedes whenever they're about to die. Too bad they're not centipedes. Rebbie Jackson could use the money from royalties and give it to Michael.
- Ed Burns pretty much ruins a major stereotype about his heritage. If he had the Luck of the Irish, why would he be starring in both this and 27 DRESSES? I guess he's not magically delicious, no matter how many women think so.
THE FINAL HOWL
Zzzzzzzz....huh? Oh yeah. ONE MISSED CALL sucks donkey dick and can kiss my ass. Save yourself the time and energy to watch this boring, clueless, and silly horror remake that had no business being released into theaters. Unless you really need a cure for insomnia or just want to rip into a film for whatever reason, then maybe check it out. Other than that, put ONE MISSED CALL on hold - for good.