Movie Review – One Missed Call [remake] (2008)

One Missed Call (2008) is directed by Eric Valette, written by Andrew Klavan and starring Shannyn Sossamon. It is a remake of Takashi Miike’s 2003 Japanese film of the same name, seeking to capitalize on the late 2000’s J-horror remake craze. It is probably the worst among them, and that’s saying something. I never thought that I would see a horror film that was so bad that making fun of it lost its appeal.

While watching it I couldn’t help but imagine aliens observing our planet through our horror films and trying to communicate with us by making their own, except that they do so without possessing any understanding of the human psyche or why these films scare us. One Missed Call would be the result. It is a paint-by-numbers wreck with poor acting, annoyingly frequent but ineffective fake jump scares, terrible CGI, and a script that is unable to tell even a simple, coherent story. What the plot is supposed to be about, though the film makes every effort to make you not care, is a group of college students who receive phone calls in which they hear their own deaths, and then die a few days later in that same way, which in turn prompts ghostly phone calls to be sent from their phone to those in their directory, repeating the pattern. I have not seen the original on which this is based, but I must assume it was far more competent.

The opening scene illustrates the ineptitude perfectly. After some shots of a hospital fire we switch to a girl talking on her cell phone in a backyard garden which has a small pond. The girl is startled by her cat (the cliché of clichés) who is near the pond and then turns back to her homework. When she looks toward the cat again it is gone, and for some reason she seems to think it fell in the water and drowned and so goes to investigate, which proves this scene was written by someone who has never owned a cat. The cat appears at the other side of the water and, just as the girl is visually relieved, a hand pulls her into the water. As silence again settles, the cat is then pulled into the water as well, and the girl’s phone begins to magically dial her friends. Aside from the fact that this is all much more funny than scary, it is also angering how the movie cannot even stick to its own rules in the first few minutes. Did the cat receive a phone call? Did the killer hand not want feline witnesses?

I have seen countless terrible, mostly low-budget horror films that are easily forgettable and often times laughable. However, these bombs are usually made with the best intentions, and even though they are lacking in almost every other way, they contain some heart in their creation. This film, however, is nothing more than a cold, calculated profit machine meant to separate young teens from their parents’ money. It is the horror genre’s equivalent of a boy band. One Missed Call is one call from Shannyn Sossamon’s agent that she should have missed.

Grade: F

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