I remember I bought this DVD from Hastings years ago. I think it was in 2010. For some reason I put off watching it for a few months. At one point I was sick for a few days and feeling awful, so I decided to finally give it a shot. After watching it from beginning to end, I remember feeling disappointed. I put it back in the DVD case and never really gave it a second thought until the other day. Four years later, I decided to give it a second chance, figuring maybe I was too harsh on it and perhaps too sick to appreciate it. It was nice to revisit it, though my new conclusion is that One Missed Call is lightweight like the froth on beer. Let me explain.
The concept is simple and similar to The Ring. In One Missed Call, you'll receive a voicemail where you hear yourself during the last seconds of your pathetic life. The voicemail also gives you the exact time and date of your death. Unlike the nice ghost girl in The Ring (Samara) who gives you an entire week to plan your funeral in advance, the bastard who dials you in One Missed Call only gives you TWO nights to prepare for your death. That's not even enough time to plan a hair appointment, much less prepare to meet your maker. Eh.
Shannyn Sossamon (40 days and 40 nights) is our heroine here. Her character, Beth Raymond, witnesses the deaths of several friends who all received voicemails of themselves in their final moments. Similar to the victims of the haunted VHS tape in The Ring, the victims here not only have to sit around waiting to die, but they also see all kinds of weird and creepy images to keep them freaked out in the meantime. In this movie, the victims see people with weird faces and creepy crawler caterpillar things. And then before you know it, your time is up and you expire. Oddly when the victims die, they burp up some type of hard candy. Yes, candy. Well, that's one nice thing the ghost dialer does, I guess. You don't wanna die with a dry mouth, do ya?
She teams up with a Police Detective named Jack Andrews. (Edward Burns) Yeah, his name is quite tough. Jack Andrews. But the guy was a real weenie. Burns played the character as if he were just going through the motions. It's as if he knew his character was going to die late in the film so he just said, "F**k it." Here's another spoiler while I'm ranting. Killing off the black girl mere minutes into the movie was ridiculous. Hold on. Scratch that. She actually died before the opening credits. This is more than cliche. And the ghost killed her damn CAT too?? Come on man. Basically, if you're a minority or a kitty, this movie made sure to get you outta the way super early. I'm calling Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and every animal rights group known to man!
Ahem. Now for some good things. One thing I liked was that Jack Andrews was quick to believe Beth's claims about the haunted phone. His sister had died previously (in the same manner as Beth's friends) so he believed her right off, saving us from the general "friend who doesn't believe the main character until it's too late" stereotype we get in many horror movies. Jack failed to protect his sister and makes it his new mission to protect the attractive Beth. I don't blame him. You go, boy.
But, poor Jack's heroic attempts are made in vain because he dies before he can sleep with Beth. Bummer, especially since she invited him to "hang out" when they thought they had defeated the ghost.
Another similarity to The Ring and The Grudge was that the antagonist was a child. Yep, a ghost child with asthma was the one doing the dirty work here. I'm being serious. It may have worked better if they'd given her a Darth Vader voice. (After all, Vader was famous for the wheezing he juxtaposed to his deep tones). Talk about a missed opportunity. They could have called up James Earl Jones for a voice-over. Better yet, they could have reached out to me.
I don't get scared when I watch movies but the creepy factor here was decent, especially when you see something that you don't expect to see, particularly the sudden images the victims see before they die. It can take you by surprise and startle you. Luckily there are not many annoying "boo!" scares. The pace of the movie was good and they didn't waste a lot of time. Like I said earlier, the main things that hurt the movie was the terrible ghost origin story and the laid back characters. Although Beth was a little too level-headed for someone about to die in two days, her friends seemed to accept it and didn't even try to stop their impending doom. To me, that's not realistic.
To sum it up, I think it's worth viewing once or at least on rare occasion. I've seen much worst films. This had potential, but proved to be the beginning of the end of the "Japanese Ghost Story Remake" phase that Hollywood went through. I rate this one five stars out of ten. It could have been a lot better but it could have been so much worse. One Missed Call was one missed opportunity.
***** out of 10.