Takashi Miike, the director who gave us Ichi the Killer and The Happiness of the Katakuris (among others), is also the name behind One Missed Call (Chakushin Ari) from 2003. The Japanese original has been adapted to a Hollywood remake...and completely butchered. I just finished watching the original and I'm completely hyped! I've been searching for a film to give me the creeps, and One Missed Call got the closest so far; I am pleased.
The premise of the film is basic scary teen flick fodder: three days before you are to die, you receive a phone call from yourself from the exact date and time of your death, along with your last words (or pictures, as it is). This is right up there with Final Destination (which was the first film of the horror genre I actually enjoyed) and, in this film geek's humble opinion, that's not a completely rotten place to be. Regardless of the fact that One Missed Call is filled to the brim with clichés, recycled ideas, stereotypes and really close-up shots of terrified eyes, I really didn't guess the events beforehand. In this particular genre, that's a rare treat.
Right off the bat, we are told everything we need to know of the main character, Yumi: she is afraid of peeking in holes for fear of what she might see, and she is a little strange. No time wasted for nonsense, her friend Yoko arrives to inform her of the death of her friend while diving. In the very next scene Yumi is present when Yoko receives a phone call from herself to her voice mail – from the future. The message bears her last words and her final scream. In no time at all, Yumi receives a phone call from Yoko, which ends just like in the message earlier.
Bwah-ha-ha! I like the death toll already!
For the next death, Yumi is personally present; she is also there when the next victim receives her call. So far, we have killed the usual stereotypes: the hype girl and the player. The next stop will be with the goody two-shoes and then it's up to Yumi to confront her own death. Happily, we have already met her hero, a detective called Yamashita, whose sister Ritsuko was the first victim of the mysterious mobile phone killer. We have also met the opportunist crowd; the cynical, gruff old male who refuses to believe anything that is going on; the cute but mute child who holds the key to the mystery.