Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
One Missed Call(2003)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Takashi Miike

Kou Shibasaki/Yumi Nakamura
Kazue Fukiishi/Natsumi
7 10
Stop me if you heard this one; the spirit of a little girl (sporting long stringy black hair…what else) is so angry that she executes her wrath upon the living through an everyday device. A videotape? Not this time Robin! I’m talking cell phones.

Death cannot be put on hold...

One Missed Call was released in 2003 and we are now in 2007. This is the first time that I’ve seen it and will admit; I am beyond sick of Asian films with ghost girls with long black hair. ENOUGH! Don’t Asian girls with short hair ever die to come back as angry spirits? How about dames with bleached blonde hair? They never get wronged in Asia? COME ON! On paper, the overly familiar One Missed Called should’ve been a fart, stink and gone but one thing made it supercede its familiar plot and devices and that was Director Takashi “motherf*cking” Miike.

This was hands down the most mainstream Miike film I've ever boogied to and his balls to the walls approach to this conventional and beyond deja-vu story was the main reason the film kicked my skull like a soccer ball all over my padded playpen. Running at an easy flow pace, the flick was filled to the brim with uber frightening and highly oppressive scare set pieces. Efficient shot compositions, dread filled atmosphere, able scare beats, powerful use of silence were also on the menu! Yup, Miike was on fire when it came to slam-dunking his above the norm fright bites. Straight up, I was watching the flick in the dark and at about an hour in, I had to flick on the lights cause I was getting spooked hardcore. Last time that happened was when I hid in the closet while one of my many creditors was searching for money in my drawers…but that’s another story.

Miike's knack at double downing on pure gruesomeness amidst the clichéd ridden turns also stroked me right. In RINGU for example, the final chilling ghost appearance was just that, in Miike’s version of it, we're dealing with an angry, decomposing, zombie like ghost-bitch from hell (i.e. a Victor Salva set). The pushing of the yuk factor within the familiar elements, definitely jacked up the thrill of this ride. Same thing went for the brrr inducing imagery at hand within the kills and through the use of cell phones...SPOOKY! Dark humor was also on the menu, subtle for the most part but it did slyly explode within one particular scene having to do with a victim on a talk show. The latter bit was a clever satire of today’s pathetic TV programs and had me smirking one second and terrorized the next. Perfect balance.

On the grating side of things, as I already said, the story was a tad too by the numbers within the subgenre it was toying in. I felt it bad in the middle section of the film as our heroes went into “investigation mode" and the scares stopped coming. I personally couldn’t give a shite about the “why” behind the horror here since I had seen it too many times in similar Asian fear bon-bons. Then there was the ailment of “not knowing when to end” arising. The flick kept ending and then going on, ending and then going on. END IT! To make matters worse, the final frames didn’t make an ounce of sense to this harmless simpleton, hence capping-off the whole on a "flatter than Keira Knightley's chest" note.

All in all, thank Zod that Miike directed this been there done that party, as he brought an edge, artistry and ferociousness to it all that would’ve been lacking if “Jo Hack” would’ve tapped it instead. This is a very scary movie and that is pretty much what made it happen for me. Now, will you hit, miss, *69 this call or 69 your lover instead?

We get a severed arm, bashed brains, a brutally twisted arm, a rotting corpse, lots of red splats and more! Not overly gory, but nasty enough to please.
I saw the dubbed version of the film and must give props to both set of actors. The Asian thespians conveyed the proper level of emotions and turmoil while the US “voice actors” put out credible deliveries. Good job!
T & A
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny Miike’s hard hitting directing style when it comes to mood, sly shots and a knowledge of what makes a fear scene work. He raised the cookie cutter material to an all new and nail-biting level with his sharp eye.
We get a dread fueled score and a powerful use of sounds.
One Missed Call had “I’ve seen this story before to death” stamped on its right cheek and blah final frames but the pure scares, striking macabre imagery, random moments of freshness (talk show bit being the highlight) and Miike’s horror heavy hand on top of it all made it a RINGU clone to remember. If you’re a Miike fan, well…you’ve already seen it. If you loathe Miike or don’t know his work, this is the right film to bust your cherry with. Take this call, it's worth it!
There are two sequels to this film (not directed by Miike) and a remake on the way (of course).