Sunday, November 20, 2011

Review: One Missed Call (2008)

Credentials: 0%, Certified Rotten ( / 3.7 out of 10 ( / 24 out of 100 (

Plot: Things go south for Beth (Shannyn Sossamon) and her group of attractive twenty-something friends when they begin receiving mysterious messages on their cell phones. Mysterious how? Well, it seems the calls are coming from the future and include the exact time said person will die. What’s up with that? Is it some kind of ghostly curse at work? Or is it something… else? Ahh who am I kidding? “One Missed Call” is based off a Japanese film so of course it’s a ghostly curse at work. Japan loves it some ghostly curses. Either way, one-time Teen Choice Award nominee Eddie Burns is out to crack the case once and for all.

Why it stinks: “One Missed Call” is a remake of the Japanese hit “Chakushin Ari.” However, if you’ve seen fellow Asian exports “The Ring,” “The Grudge,” and “Pulse” then you’ve seen “One Missed Call.”  
Essentially it just cherry picks plot devices from those movies, nabbing the phone gimmick from “The Ring,” the vengeful spirits of “The Grudge” and adding in a dash of technology-age paranoia from “Pulse.”
Thusly, it all feels very been-there-done-that. Every twist is plainly telegraphed and should be easy to spot from miles away by even the most fresh-faced horror newbie.
So, in lieu of suspense, “One Missed Call” sticks to cheap musical stings and lots of sudden loud noises to scare its audience. Considering how much it already “borrowed” from “The Ring,” it kind of makes you wish “One Missed Call” had picked up some tips on how to properly execute ticking-clock tension.
                The script by Andrew Klaven is jam-packed with some truly impressive plot holes. For example: I’m not really sure how the cell phone curse works exactly. Or how it started. Or why the ending is supposed to make sense. Or why one ghost is so interested in protecting our heroine. There are a few others, but there's only so much space on the Internet.
                For some reason (I suspect to pad the movie’s 87 minute run time), Klaven gives Beth a truly ludicrous backstory involving an abusive mother and a crippling fear of peepholes. It doesn’t fit into the movie at all and creates a handful of agonizingly long scenes where Beth trembles in fear at the sight of a closed door.  
                The special effects are clumsy at best, the acting is only marginally less dynamic than a rice cake, the final act is way too drawn out and the ending is infuriatingly stupid. “One Missed Call” isn’t even fun to make fun of. The best thing that can be said about it, is that it's only 87 minutes long.

Quick hits
                ---The cell phone body count in this movie is through the roof. Somewhere the “Can you hear me now?” guy and the chick in the pink dress are holding each other and weeping.
---- Honestly, I don’t understand why the characters insist on repeatedly breaking their cell phones. They’ve seen over and over again that it doesn’t keep the ghost away, so why keep doing it?
---Who lets their kids keep pet centipedes? I mean other than the mom of the nutty guy from “Human Centipede 2?”
---Of course she’s evil! She’s wearing a black hoodie. It’s all so clear to me now.
Worst of the worst: Without a doubt, the worst scene in “One Missed Call” is the cell phone exorcism. That’s right, a priest is bought in to expel demons from a flip phone. Someone actually speaks the line: “I command you to be gone from this cell phone!” You can’t make this up. I mean, you can and someone did, but you probably shouldn’t.

                This is one call, you should probably… miss. HAHA! See what I did there? Now THAT’S comedy.  Bumblebee tuna.

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