One Missed Call

One Missed Call (2008)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Shannyn Sossamon, Ed Burns, Ray Wise

Let me tell you, I never wanted to become a cell phone person. It was the last thing I ever wanted to be, I can't stand those people who walk around acting like you don't exist while they blather away endlessly about unimportant trivial matters. But, my cell phone has become a very important part of my life, and I simply must have it. But at least I have the common courtesy to take a call without intruding into other peoples lives with my rudeness, I step aside and pretend I'm at one of those old fashioned phone booths, back when we wanted privacy, back before technology changed everything for better or worse.

Before I put the Blu-ray edition of "One Missed Call" into the player I was psychologically preparing myself, I had seen the trailer. I thought at the very least, I was going to see some interesting and gory death scenes, somehow…by cell phone. Perhaps I would also see some of those annoying text-messagers wiped out also, that thought certainly crossed my mind.

As unoriginal and pointless as the insipid plotline may seem, it is actually a remake of a Japanese horror film called "Chakushin Ari" directed by the legendary Takashi Miike. This current version is actually directed by French director Eric Valette. It's bad enough that Hollywood can't seem to come up with original horror films and just keeps making remake after unnecessary remake, but to take such a basic concept and screw it up beyond all belief is simply inexcusable. Not that we haven't seen a few worthy remakes, but someone needs to pull the plug somewhere.

The film certainly wastes little time. It opens with a peaceful Japanese garden setting where a young girl is pulled into the meditative waters by a savage hand that grabs her from amongst the tranquil goldfish. In a cheap shock, the cat also suffers the same fate, as its furry mane disappears beneath the once calm waters. Soon enough the camera does a close up of the unwitting victim's cell phone, and sure enough it is scrolling down a list of names of presumable future victims (in case we missed a connection between the tranquil pond and…cell phones).

Later we are introduced to Beth (Shannyn Sossamon), a psychology student who inadvertently gets mixed up in the terror when her friend receives a phone call from herself (in the future) and it plays her own voice followed by a scream. Later she ends up getting hit by a train after being followed by mysterious visions of twisted morphed faces that pop up. It turns out to be more than coincidence when Beth's other friend has the same thing happen to him, people start dying after receiving these creepy phone calls. If you're thinking a poor man's version of "Final Destination", you would be correct. The victim's also have unexplained visions of millipedes for some unknown reason.

Soon the whole mess starts being investigated by a bland and permanently beffuddled and clueless detective Jack Andrews (played uninspiringly by Ed Burns), who starts following Beth everywhere she goes. I did get quite a kick out of watching his unintentionally bad performance, this cop seems so dumb and weak, and yet everyone in the film gives this police chief this completely unexplained respect. We also have a paranormal investigator played by Ray Wise who gets involved in trying to figure out what is happening. The whole thing turns into a confused mess with the obligatory creepy haunted child visions that these types of movies always have, along with some ridiculous suspense moments. The film is an incomprehensible joke from start to finish, and I couldn't wait for it to end. Even the actors in the film had a questioning look on their faces that seemed to say, "What am I doing here?" Edward Burns would have been better off getting a car title loan than acting in this travesty, at least then we wouldn't have to watch. The only good thing I have to say about this film is some of the special effects were inspired and fairly well done.

As for the transfer itself, it actually is quite effective, especially with doing a fine job recreating the dark levels for the spooky and moody look the director is obviously going for. The level of details is very fine and it stands up well with the better transfers from clean new prints of movies newly released. The detail in the background stands out and we can often make out even the slightest details quite clearly, and it fills the whole screen at 1.85:1. This film looks quite good in high definition and picture wise, you won't be disappointed with this Blu-ray.

As for the sound we have an effective Dolby TrueHD track that certainly delivers the goods, with nearly constant yet subtle uses of the surrounds and a decent amount of feedback from the subwoofer, although it tends to get quite loud awfully fast during the many cheap shock scare tactics used in the film where something or someone jumps out at you. The dialogue is also clearly made out and the music certainly holds up well.

Thankfully this is a bare bones release, we don't even get a trailer, and I don't ever recall a high definition title where this was the case, but I could be mistaken. Either way it was a relief because it would perhaps be difficult to endure with the lack of enthusiasm I have for this picture. Featuring a solid transfer and decent audio is more than I can expect from this Blu-ray release. If you have a calling to pick this title up, perhaps this is one call you may want to miss.