On Second Thought: “One Missed Call (2008)”

Trends in film are seldom a good thing. One film, maybe two, may be able to replicate the success of the first film, but after that, it’s all downhill. One tired and lazy film after another. At some point, you’d think studio’s would’ve just stopped trying.

The Warner Bros. Pictures film “One Missed Call”, may have a somewhat creepy plot, but nothing could’ve ever been done that would’ve made it worth anyone’s time.

This horror film stars Ed Burns (“Public Morals”, “Louie”), Shannyn Sossamon (“Wayward Pines”, “Sleepy Hollow (TV Series)”), Ana Claudia Talancon (“Paraiso perdido”, “Palabra de Ladron”), Ray Wise (upcoming “Halloweed”, “Batman: The Killing Joke”), Azura Skye (“Minority Report (2015 TV series”, “Take Me to the River”), Johnny Lewis (“186 Dollars to Freedom”, “Lovely Molly”), Jason Beghe (upcoming season “Chicago P.D.”, “Law & Order: SVU”), Margaret Cho (“Family Guy”, “TripTank”), and Megan Good (“Code Black”, “Minority Report (2015 TV series)”).

The film was directed by Eric Valette (“Transporter: The Series”, “Crossing Lines”) and written by Andrew Klavan (“Dark Hearts”, “Haunting Melissa”).

The film originally opened on Jan. 4, 2008.

I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see this film again. I knew it was probably going to suck, especially as my TV provider lists the Rotten Tomatoes rating (which is a depressing 0%), but that didn’t stop me. No really, it didn’t stop me. It kind of made me feel like it was a challenge. I had to prove the critics wrong. After all, I was someone who ate up all of these Japanese horror films when they came out, usually regretting it later. Fortunately, which I learned whilst watching and being bored by this film, this film was the final theatrically released Japanese horror remake. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) wouldn’t lie would it? However, none of that really matters as other foreign horror films, and foreign films in general, were remade, are remade? Horror films such as “The Uninvited”, a remake of the Korean film “A Tale of Two Sisters”, “The Eye”, which is based on a Chinese film, “Mirrors”, which is also based on a Korean film, and “Shutter” based on the Thai film “Shutter”. I’m sure there are others out there, but this causes enough of a headache. At least studios got wise with regards to Japanese films. If only all the other trends could be dealt with too.

In case you were wondering, and just wanted to have it stated outright, this film sucks. It’s not good, even in the so bad it’s good way. It’s just bad. Worse so if you’re a fan of horror films.

This one, well, I can’t even figure out if it ever stood a chance. I’ve never seen the original film, so I have nothing to compare it to. Possibly it’s for the better.

If there’s even one upside to this film, it’s the simple fact that it’s watchable. Probably overly obnoxious as nothing ever truly occurs, but watchable. Think of it like just another bad SyFy Original Movie. Well, the ones that aren’t even worse than this film.

This film has nothing. Okay, next to nothing. If we were solely rating a horror film on it’s level of creepiness, this one would probably pass with a decent letter grade. Sadly, that’s not what we’re doing. However, now that I’ve mentioned this, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to detail this slightly positive aspect.

For starters, there’s the really creepy cell phone ringtone. I don’t know where the creatives came up with this, or borrowed it, or whatever, but it’s effective. The first time I heard it again, I was instantly on edge. Under my skin. Each of the other times it played also managed to get me to react. For a bad film like this to achieve even that, it’s at least got one slight positive to it. There’s also something disturbing about how technology could be so evil and menacing, you know, in that similar way “Pulse (2006)” is. But, none of that matters, as that can’t make the overall experience worth it. It’s like sitting through a terrible TV show just for one character.

Then there’s just the general creepy atmosphere and plot, complete with disturbing images that don’t come with a reason for existing. Yes the characters say they’ve been seeing creepy things, but why? As we learn later, the little girl died and had certain sounds and images with her, which come back to haunt the victims, but nothing about creepy ghostlike people. If you scare really really easily, like some seven year old might, then this is good, but if you’re older than 10, it’s just sad. All I ended up thinking was how I’d have a hard time looking at random people on the street. Any one of them could turn ghostlike.

Setting all this aside, which again isn’t much, and all you’re left with is some lazy, non-scary paint-by-numbers film. I’ve come up with a new title for it, or some sort of category. I’ll refine it and get back to you. I call it, jump scares and noise. That’s all this film is. Jump scares and noise. Nothing was even well set up. There was no true reward for what you gave. Cheap gimmicks. At some point, which is even sadder than I thought it could be, I noted that I was bored. I was bored? Oh that’s bad. But it’s not that surprising when you think of the fact that here wasn’t anything keeping your attention to begin with.

How could there be? This film followed a formula so well, I’m surprised I didn’t see a research montage going on, or any kind of montage for no apparent reason. There’s always a montage! Or so I thought. There was, however, research. Characters in search of the truth, so they can break the cycle and resume living a life where they’re not even remotely shaken or in need of psychological counseling. Granted most of what they’d share would land them in the nuthouse. What makes this even sadder, unlike with “The Ring”, I didn’t care to find out anything. Little girl survives a fire, the mother was mean, other crap, not at all interesting. Perhaps it’s the way it was presented. It didn’t draw you in. You just saw it and went with it, but that’s it. It wasn’t even really an attempt at making the film interesting. Much like with the character back stories, which may have existed, it all fell flat. In so many ways, I just wanted everyone to die. Let the spirit win! It’d be a much more interesting story outcome than the one I got.

Who would’ve thought that there could be a worse trend or sub-genre of horror than Torture Porn or Found Footage? I certainly didn’t. And while I may have just now posed the question, and am ready to believe that this film trend or sub-genre is the worst, I don’t fully believe it. Torture Porn is pretty bad, as is Found Footage. Maybe they can all tie for first. While this Japanese horror remake trend has long since died, and only remnants remain, for those who seek out such awfulness, we can all take comfort. There aren’t any more. Remakes, as it turns out, no matter the type, are dreadful. A waste of time and effort, and that’s before the viewers sit down to watch. One aspect of remakes has died, hopefully the other does too.


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