ONE MISSED CALL (2003)
Starring Ko Shibasaki, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Kazue Fukiishi. Directed by Takashi Miike. (112 min)
ONE MISSED CALL 2 (2005)
Starring Mimula, Asaka Seto, Yu Yoshizawa. Directed by Renpei Tsukamoto. (105 min)
ONE MISSED CALL: FINAL (2006)
Starring Maki Horikita, Meisa Kuroki, Keun-suk Jang. Directed by Manabu Aso. (109 min)
ON BLU-RAY FROM ARROW VIDEO
Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat😺
Death by cell phone...an increasing sign of the times. Whether some dumbass is texting while driving or attempting a selfie with a bear, perhaps cell phones are God’s way of culling the human herd. Like most technology we’re conditioned to depend on, they’re prime horror fodder and the original One Missed Call came along at the perfect time, just as cell phones were well on their way to becoming another appendage. One Missed Call apparently had greater impact at home than on my side of the ocean. Hollywood was content to rip-off only the first film (badly, too). But in Japan, it quickly spawned two sequels and a television series.
Prior to reviewing this set, I had only seen the first one, which obviously owes its existence to 1998’s Ringu. Still, originality is seldom a prerequisite for good horror and this one makes the most of its premise – people receiving cell phone messages, supposedly from themselves, which foretell the precise moment they’re going to die. Though he’s essentially a director-for-hire here, the audacious Takashi Miike creates a foreboding atmosphere and is totally in his element with the film’s stand-out moment, where one victim meets a grisly demise on live TV.
|Hangin' out with Yumi.|
The law of diminishing returns definitely applies to One Missed Call 2. Only tenuously linked to the first film, it’s nevertheless more-of-the-same, with new characters facing the same phone service issues. It’s certainly watchable, but the characters aren’t as interesting, nor is the angry spirit who’s trying to knock ‘em off. Despite a few eerie scenes, we’ve seen it all before.
|"Guess I shouldn'a licked that light socket."|
But surprisingly, One Missed Call: Final is really good. While not as stylish as the original, this one adds new wrinkles to the concept. A bullied student attempts suicide, then lashes out at her tormentors through their cell phones during a school trip to Korea. This time, however, victims can avoid death by forwarding the message to someone else, which turns most of these kids against each other in the time-honored tradition of self-preservation. Faster and funnier than the previous entries, the narrative only stumbles by squeezing-in a needless connection to the first film. With just a few minor tweaks in the story, this would be a solid stand-alone horror movie in its own right.
All three films are included in this set, making it the first time they’ve been available on Blu-ray in the states. While the only new bonus feature is an audio commentary, plenty of archival supplemental material is included (outlined below), the best being lengthy behind-the-scenes documentaries for each film. Though certainly derivative, the One Missed Call trilogy is arguably more consistent than the franchises which inspired it and a good pick-up for J-horror fans.
SUPPLEMENTAL BOOKLET – Cast, crew and restoration credits; “Haunting by Proxy” essay by Anton Bitel.
REVERSIBLE COVER ART
TRAILERS/TV SPOTS FOR ALL 3 FILMS
One Missed Call:
NEW: AUDIO COMMENTARY - by Miike biographer Tom Mes.
"THE MAKING OF ONE MISSED CALL” - An hour-long behind-the-scenes doc, including interviews with the cast and director Takashi Miike.
ARCHIVAL INTERVIEWS – Individual interviews with director Takashi Miike, actors Ko Shibasaki, Shinichi Tsutsumi & Kazue Fukiishi.
ANOTHER ARCHIVAL INTERVIEW – With Takashi Miike.
"LIVE OR DIE” - Promotional TV special
"A DAY WITH THE MIZUNUMA FAMILY”
One Missed Call 2:
"THE MAKING OF ONE MISSED CALL 2” - A half-hour behind-the-scenes doc.
"GOMU” - Promotional short by director Renpei Tsukamoto.
One Missed Call: Final:
"THE MAKING OF ONE MISSED CALL: FINAL” - An hour-long behind-the-scenes doc.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES FEATURETTES - “Maki and Meisa,” with actors Maki Horikita & Meisa Kuroki; “Behind-the-Scenes with Keun-suk Jang”
"THE LOVE STORY” - Promotional tie-in film.
"CANDID MIMIKO” - Location tour.
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS.