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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.98%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 4.65%
Pretty Bad: 20.93%
Total Crap67.44%

4 reviews, 19 user ratings

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One Missed Call (2008)
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by Peter Sobczynski

"It Sucks--Can You Hear Me Now?"
1 stars

One of the reasons that “Airplane!” remains one of the greatest movie parodies of all time is that none of the actors ever betray the fact that they know that they are in a comedy–they all tackled their roles with the kind of grim determination that they might have deployed if they really were in a cheesy disaster movie and a lot of the fun came from the disconnect between the increasingly lunatic material and their utterly sincere and straightforward approach to performing it. “One Missed Call,” an Americanized remake of the 2003 Japanese horror film from the relentlessly prolific Takashi Miike (one of five projects he completed that year alone) takes that approach to the next logical step–not only is it performed by actors who seem unaware that they are making a comedy, it appears to have been written and directed by people who were also somehow unaware that they were making a comedy as well–and the result is one of the more hilariously deadpan spoofs to come along in recent memory. That is, unless it turns out that everyone involved was actually really trying to make a genuinely scary horror film. If that is the case, and please drop me a line if you can confirm this, then I will have to adjust my judgement slightly and announce that it is one of the most brazenly idiotic things ever made–a film so utterly misbegotten that it almost makes “Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem” look competent by comparison.

The film is yet another one of those things involving technology-based horrors, abused children, mysterious curses and evil spirits from another dimension who have returned to our world to get revenge on those who have wronged them as well as anyone else who happens to wander along. The premise this time around is that a chain of people begin receiving mysterious voice mail messages that are dated two days in the future and contain the sounds of their last moments on Earth before dying–over the next two days, they begin having strange hallucinations involving doll-faced weirdos and giant centipedes (in the case of the latter, they may just be flashing back on David Cronenberg’s “Naked Lunch,” one of the 40,000-odd films you should watch before even contemplating checking out this one) and at the appointed time, they wind up getting killed in ways that are both spectacularly elaborate and grisly yet safely within the bounds of the all-important PG-13 rating. As the bodies start piling up, a college student who appears to be next on the list (Shannyn Sossamon) and a police detective (Edward Burns) race against time to piece together the clues to figure out who (or what) is behind the killings, if they can be stopped and whether future calls from yourself count towards this month’s minutes or next.

Here’s why I am guessing that “One Missed Call” is actually a straight-faced parody of J-horror films and their American remakes instead of a straightforward version of same. For starters, the plot is little more than a collection of elements that appear to have been lifted wholesale from past examples (such as “The Ring,” “The Grudge” and “Pulse,” to name the three most blatant examples) and jammed together at random. Furthermore, said plot is remarkably incoherent even by the not-exactly lucid standards of its genre–while it does eventually sort-of answer the questions involving who is responsible for the events in question and why they are occurring, it never even tries to explain the mechanics of how they are being achieved and towards the end, it basically throws the whole phone-based curse conceit out the window so that people who haven’t received a call can suddenly be dispatched in a more direct manner in order to bump up the body count. There is the relentless use of “Boo!” moments in which the characters are suddenly startled by loud noises or people sneaking up on them in a last-ditch effort to jolt presumably drowsing audience members–used sparingly, such moments can be undeniably effective (as you can see in “The Orphanage, another one of the 40,000-odd films that you should be watching instead of this one) but “One Missed Call” hits this particular button so often that it quickly turns into an inadvertent running joke.

Finally, there are the elements that are so ridiculously beyond the pale, even for a movie top-lining Edward Burns, that all you can do is laugh and wonder what the filmmakers could have been thinking when they decided to include them. In one, we are treated to the risible sight of a demon baby wielding a cell phone, a image that sounds hilarious in theory but is even more inadvertently funny when you actually see it. Then there is a subplot involving Ray Wise as the sleazy producer of a paranormal-themed TV show that is introduced and quickly abandoned, though not before treating viewers to the sight of a man actually attempting to perform an exorcism on a cell phone. You read that correctly–“One Missed Call” includes an attempted cell phone exorcism. On the grand scale of what-the-hell? screen concepts, that isn’t quite as over-the-top nutty as the sight of Lindsay Lohan and her robot hand in “I Know Who Killed Me” but it comes pretty damned close.

Okay, so I guess that “One Missed Call” wasn’t designed to be a clever deadpan parody of the lunatic excesses of the J-horror genre–to properly pull that off would require basic levels of talent and core competence that this film is never in danger of approaching. Instead, this is the kind of movie that seems to have been designed specifically to play in empty auditoriums for a few dreary days in January before being consigned to oblivion on the Sci-Fi Channel. The only person whom I can possibly imagine emerging from a screening of this film and being happy for its existence is Uwe Boll, the man behind such legendarily bad movies as “Alone in the Dark” and “Bloodrayne”–his new film, “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale,” comes out next week and I am fairly certain that no matter what artistic depths that particular film may plunge (tune in here next week to find out), those who attend it will come out of it thinking “Well, at least it was better than ‘One Missed Call.’”

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originally posted: 01/05/08 08:45:15
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell the original is alot better 3 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. some parts that were supposed to be scary were funny. it's just ridiculous. 2 stars
11/01/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
6/12/08 Jayson Should have missed this movie. 2 stars
5/17/08 Steve One missed hour an a half of my life I'll never get back. 1 stars
5/09/08 Misti K disappointing, and not very scary 2 stars
2/11/08 sam it sucked. made me laugh a few times though. like the baby holding the cell phone. xD 1 stars
1/22/08 Darkstar Just burn $40, then have someone kick you in the nuts. Same result. 1 stars
1/14/08 Demon Baby It reminded me of Silent Hill in the hospital 5 stars
1/13/08 Emily This movie sucked. I fell asleep 3 times, and when I was awake I was laughing hysterically 1 stars
1/13/08 Adison 0% rating on this must be good 1 stars
1/11/08 Mike why do i comment so much?? 5 stars
1/11/08 misty it was not that bad. You have to like it for what it is. 3 stars
1/07/08 Mike It stinks 1 stars
1/07/08 Georges It was HORRIBLE. It was only fun because we were 10 friends and we were all laughing at it 1 stars
1/06/08 Mike F 1 stars
1/05/08 mike not a good start to 2008 1 stars
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  04-Jan-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 22-Apr-2008



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