Director: Byeong-ki Ahn
Reporter Ji-won (Ji-won Ha) sees her already rough day go down the tubes when her cell phone begins to ring up some mucho eerie calls which make way for some chop busting poltergeists. Our brave hottie takes it upon herself to unravel the mystery behind these happenings and soon finds out that before you die you hear the "Phone".
"The last call you'll ever get..."
It was midnight, I was hung over (again) and I so wanted to hit the sheets to count some Playboy Playmates dressed up in "munchkin" suits. Alas I had to hit Phone for review tonight. Duty called and I had to answer! In the end, I was pleased that I did!
This South Korean horror paddy kept me on the phone line via its effortless, fly by your pants pace, its compelling storyline, its all around dead-on performances (that little girl owned and gave me the chills) and its army of spooky ghostly going-ons. The movie meticulously went through the Asian genre checklist and just wouldn't stop bombarding me with horror shenanigans, left, right & center. There was nowhere in sight for my sorry self to take cover at! It was HORROR NAPALM in this graveyard! The whole of the events were jacked up in impact through Director Byeong-ki Ahn hypnotizing visuals which reminded me of Argento on caffeine pills, a couple of "holy shite" moments (girl + staircase = ouch!), an infectious morbid aura, an engaging mystery and commanding human drama.
Sadly the line was at times "busy" where Phone moved a little too fast for its own good. It would rush through its plot turns or execute its frightening scenarios so swiftly that they wouldn’t have the leisure of kicking my butt as much as they should. Then we had the film's "red herrings" which were as transparent as Paris Hilton’s “talent” to say the least. They should've nixed that wannabee misleading subplot out of there! Lastly; yes Phone rang a bit too much like RINGU in places with the long haired spirit, the creepy kid and the journalist lead gal in tow. After Dark Water, The Grudge, Ju On and my last disastrous date, having milked similar elements dry already; the movie lost some of its luster due to a case of over-familiarity.
But when all was dialed up, phone sexed and hung up, Phone resulted in a zippy ride that wasn't as frightening as it should have been but that still sported enough depth and macabre goodies between its buns to make for a yummy genre Big Mac. So you gonna call 1-800-PHONE or 1-800-F*CK YOU ARROW?
Ketchup was not this one's "raison d'etre" but it sill put out a corpse, some nasty wounds (eyes, ears) and some minor blood shed.
Ji-won Ha (Ji-won) played her lead role very well with focus and a forceful sense of stillness on her side. Yu-mi Kim (Ho-jeong) tackled her emotionally torn part like a champ.Woo-jae Choi (Chang-hoon) did okay as the Korean "Ken Doll"; that gelled up hair did a lot of talking! Ji-yeon Choi (Jin-hie) not only touched me via her performance but she also scared the shite out of me when the time ccame to go coo-coo for Co-Co-Puffs.
T & A
We get a sex scene that was as exciting as my naked foot and that showed jack all. The ladies get naked cell phones with sexy ring tones.
Byeong-ki Ahn must have gone to high style school because this cinematic live-wire was all dark mood (you bet it was ALWAYS raining here) , with a brilliant use of colors (reminded me of Suspiria at times), stylish angles galore and an energetic demeanor that would put The Road Runner in a tizzy.
We get a spine tingling score, an effectual use of ambient sounds and Beethoven's heart breaking Moonlight Sonata.
Distributor: Tartan Films
Release Date: January 25, 2005
1.85:1 Anamorphic image
Dolby Digital 5.1, Digital DTS Surround and a Dolby Digital 2.0
Scene specific audio commentary by child star Seo-woo Eun - Interviews with director Byeong-ki Ahn and the cast - The Making Of Phone documentary - Behind The Scenes featurette - Two deleted scenes - Epilogue - Trailer and TV spots - Asia Extreme trailer reel
Phone was a quick-clipped film, that brutalized me with every Asian Ghost movie anvils in the yard while keeping my eyeballs on the screen through its heart wrenching human drama and enchanting bleak atmosphere. Sure the flick was too hasty to fully nail its main goals and echoed mucho previous Asian horror films; but it still made for a full tilt boogie watch; one that demanded little effort from my glazed brain cell (singular). I say check it out! It's worth the dial up! Now, I'm going to bed! Let me put my answering machine on... MESSAGE SINGS: Believe it or not Arrow isn't at home, please leave a message at the beep. I must be out or I'd pick up the phone. Where could I be? Believe it or not I'm not home...BEEP!
Director Byeong-ki Ahn also directed Scissors and Ouija Board
What was that “Toilet Films Presents” monicker during the opening credits all about?
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TARTAN FILM SITE HERE