Being another Japanese chiller remade for American audiences, 'One Missed Call' is a simple premise which cuts far to close to 'The Ring' and 'The Grudge' to be very effective. Despite a tried and tested formula, coupled with some pretty funky CGI, the film is not all that chilling and leaves you with a definite feeling of mediocrity.
If you don't know already, the premise is the usual story of a curse, this time in the form of a voice-mail message sent from a dead persons phone, from the future, with a message recorded of you moments before you die, and the desperate hunt to track down the source of the curse before its too late for those who have received the message.
The plot in itself is not a bad idea, but as I said above, and I'm sure you will agree its not a million miles away from a cursed video which gives you 5 days to live like in 'The Ring'. This plot surrounds an abused child, and the mystery of her death, allowing one of the lead characters to be developed as a child of abuse herself; well at least they tried. To be honest I was quite looking forward to viewing this movie as it is one of the only US versions of Japanese movies for which I have not seen the original, and I aimed to view it without the need for comparison, however, after only viewing the first fifteen minutes I found it far too cliché it annoyed me. It starts at a party, with the usual pin-up actors prancing around chatting the usual relationship trauma bollocks. Soon the main characters are identified, and their deaths followed. The acting isn't amazing and I didn't really find any of the characters particularly likeable, but with the limited script I guess they did their best.
I admit the movie does have some merits. Some of the drawn out death sequences are pretty creepy and of the ghost models, most of which were pretty grim contorted faces of normal people, are certainly freaky; again though, this sort of thing is pretty common in these movies and all part of the formula. I thought the story was OK and the sequence in the hospital involving a claustrophobic location and one fucking creepy corpse certainly stood out. It's amazing, this bit, which I'm sure was done with CGI, but could have easily been done with prosthetics, was the eeriest bit, where as the other freaky stuff, clearly was done with CGI was just too 'fake' looking to be scary. Perhaps that's the difference between actually scary and trying to be, the US movies just look to polished.
The violence felt a little toned down, and whilst I recognise that it only carried a 15 certificate to reach a wider audience, I thought that they could have gotten away with a little more, especially considering the supernatural and pretty unrealistic nature of the deaths. Most of the deaths have a sizeable build up, and as the movie has a small body count, I thought that with all the suspense the camera cut 'kill-shot' left you feeling a little robbed!
Overall, this film is watchable, probably scary if you are a 15 year old girl but for anyone who is familiar with the genre, you've seen it all before. I'm trying to think of something witty to say but in all honesty I think I will just leave it at that.