One Missed Call (2003)

This Japanese horror film — directed by Takashi Miike (Ichi the KillerDead or AliveThe Happiness of the Katakuris and a few other movies that will either upset you or make you happy) and written by Minako Daira (who wrote all three films in the series) — is all about a psychology student named Yumi Nakamura (Ko Shibasaki, Battle Royale) whose friends begin getting messages from the future that gives the time and date of their deaths. And then — you guessed it — they die. Now, Yumi has received her message.

Based on the novel Chakushin Ari by Yasushi Akimoto, this movie was remade in that mid-2000’s time when every single J-horror movie was getting Westernized.

Detective Hiroshi Yamashita (Shinichi Tsutsumi, Why Don’t You Play In Hell) begins helping Yumi, telling her that she isn’t crazy. His sister was one of the early victims, who are all called an hour after each murder and then die at the time and date that the message prophecizes. Then, they spit out a red jawbreaker.

Everything points to Mimiko Mizunuma, a girl who died from an asthma attack and whose ailments would indirectly happen to her sister Nanako like some psychic Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

There’s also a televised exorcism that goes horribly wrong, more possession, stabbings, severed hands clutching cel phones and the kind of twisted imagery that would be beyond the scope of most directors. However, this may be one of Miike’s tamest movies. That’s not a slight, but he has a tendency to go well beyond the boundaries of sanity. There’s also plenty of light and shadow here, along with a Bava-esque blue and red color palette in some scenes.

If you enjoy Japanese horror, consider this a greatest hits collection. A ringtone plays music from Miike’s Gozu, the idea of the curse itself is from Ringu, the apartment building with a water tank shot is from Dark Water, the idea of ghosts in the machine of modern technology comes from Pulse and The Grudge lends the ghost child imagery.

This film is available on the One Missed Call Trilogy release from Arrow Video. Not only does it have all three films in high-def 1080p, it also features plenty of extras for each film. This one has new audio commentary by Miike biographer Tom Mes, archival features like The Making of One Missed Call, interviews with actors Ko Shibasaki, Shinichi Tsutsumi and Kazue Fukiishi, and director Takashi Miike, footage from the premiere, an alternate ending, the Live of Die TV special and a feature called A Day with the Mizunuma Family.

DISCLAIMER: This set was sent to us by Arrow Video.

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