A chain of people receive terrifying cellphone messages of their own final fatal moments
Director: Eric Valette
Starring: Ed Burns, Shannyn Sossamon, Ana Claudia Talancon, Ray Wise, Azura Skye, Johnny Lewis, Jason Beghe, and Margaret Cho
Running Time: 87 minutes
A poster of One Missed Call
The odd death of a young woman in a Japanese-garden-style pool appears to trigger a series of freakish, abrupt demises among her good-looking students in an unspecified U.S. college town. These fatalities are linked by social or professional ties, with each victim's cell-phone address book providing a next-in-line supply of designated deaths. Eerily, they all receive a cell-phone message from the previous victim - the sound of his or her own last, violently terminated moments. Turning off phones, removing their batteries, throwing them away or even smashing them to bits doesn't seem to reduce mortal peril for those already given a voicemail death sentence. On the plus side, director Valette demonstrates considerable assurance maintaining suspense in a presumably for-hire Hollywood-entree job. - Variety
Shannyn Sossamon and Ed Burns try to find the supernatural cause behind people getting cell phone previews of the moment of their death. But the tipped-off victims treat this only slightly more annoying than a call from a telemarketer, which doesn't help the film's momentum. The two investigate clues linking the victims by their phone books and leading down a path of loose affiliations. The script blends deaths from bad circumstances and unexplainable supernatural murders too casually. Adding to the confusion is a glazed-over explanation of how the dead are communicating through the phone lines. While director Eric Valette provides the occasional chill, the disturbing spooks aren't enough to make this boat float. Burns sleepwalks through One Missed Call totally devoid of charisma, and Sossamon muddles along, going through the motions. - Chicago Tribune
Richard James Havis
The film is a remake of cult director Takashi Miike's Chakushin Ari. The thin plot hinges on a series of cell phone messages that contain recordings of the phone owner's future death cries. When friends of Beth (Shannyn Sossamon) start dying nasty deaths, she discovers that they all received horrifying messages at the time of their murder. Investigating with Jack (Ed Burns), a cop whose sister was a victim, she tries to discover the murderer before she, too, gets that call. They think the ghost of an abusive mother is doing the killings, but then the story takes a different turn. Miike's films are overrated, but at least they're peppered with black humor. But One Missed Call is so straightforward, with a predictable plot and ghosts that look as if they've bought their costumes from a Halloween supplies store. A slight twist at the end provides a moment of interest, but because it's not adequately foreshadowed in the story, it's hardly satisfying. - The Hollywood Reporter
If your cell phone vibrates while you're watching One Missed Call, go ahead and answer, because even a wrong number will be more exciting than what's happening onscreen. Up there, college kids are receiving voice mails in which they hear their own deaths. The calls are always time-dated a day or two in the future, and sure enough, at the appointed hour, the kid in question kicks, sometimes at the hands of a flickering, hooded demon, and sometimes less directly, as when a flying construction spike impales a cocky disbeliever. J-horror has been highly influential, but sooner or later, it all tends to come down to an abused child or wife rising from the dead in anger, a bit that's become as humdrum as masked hulks stalking horny teens with kitchen knives. - LA Weekly
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