Takeshi Miike’s original 2003 One Missed Call was second-rate techno-phobic J-horror tripe, meaning that Eric Valette’s even lousier American remake is something like the next generation of suck. Unbearably slapdash and scare-free, the film concerns a group of friends who begin receiving mysterious voicemail messages that contain the sounds of their deaths, which—mercifully, given the gibberish that comes out of their mouths—follow shortly thereafter. As befitting a J-horror tale, abusive parents and a ghoulish tyke are responsible for these paranormal phenomena, though Valette’s film doesn’t effectively mimic its genre’s terror-through-irrationality hang-up so much as it makes no sense thanks to sheer ineptitude. For baffling moments, nothing quite tops the opening scene in which an African-American student (Meagan Good) is drowned in her backyard Zen garden’s koi pond by a pale hand that also kills her pet cat for good measure. Yet what follows is similarly inane, from the laughable image of a severed hand dialing a cellphone, to a live TV broadcast of an exorcism during which Valette fails to mask amateurish set design and even worse acting by overworking his smoke machines. Shannyn Sossamon plays the cipher at the center of this awfully shot, poorly scripted, wholly tedious vehicle for attractive but vapid twentysomethings, embodying a nobody named Beth whose only established character trait is that—thanks to childhood trauma brought about by her mother’s (Laura Harring) penchant for burning her with cigarettes—she’s afraid of front door peepholes. One Missed Call valiantly attempts to compensate for its cast members’ blankness by populating its periphery with random personalities like Ray Wise and Margaret Cho, all while striving to generate tension with pitiful special effects and lethargic shock tactics. Ultimately, however, the only scary thing about One Missed Call is the sight of Ed Burns (as a cop) once again trying mightily, and failing miserably, to realistically emote.
- Warner Bros.
- 87 min
- Eric Valette
- Andrew Klavan
- Shannyn Sossamon, Ed Burns, Ana Claudia Talancon, Ray Wise, Azura Skye, Margaret Cho, Laura Harring
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