Asian horror remade in the new millennium Part 2

I caught all four missed calls—3 Japanese installments and the American remake—but should I have missed them?


It’s like they took the phone call aspect of The Ring, the techno ghost transmission aspect of Pulse, and the predictive death aspect of Final Destination and made yet another movie that eventually evolves into a tale of an angry little ghost girl.

I would have liked One Missed Call a lot better if it had gotten to the point sooner instead of running 112 minutes long. It is painfully padded before getting to the really good stuff in the final act. And as with most of these Asian ghost mysteries, there are a few too many elements tossed in along the way to complicate the plot.

A young woman receives a message on her flip phone in her own voice. Two days later she is on the phone with her friend and dies by falling in front of a train while saying exactly what she was saying on the message.

The friend is now stuck with this curse as her friends start getting similar messages and dying off. There’s a ringtone that is meant to instill fear in us and become an iconic sound of the horror genre, but it didn’t particularly do much for me.

The story about the deadly supernatural phone messages goes viral before going viral was even a thing, and one of the friends ends up on a live television exorcism show.

Meanwhile, a detective who lost his sister to the phone message helps the main girl investigate, and an Asian horror ghost girl legend is born about a girl with asthma, her abusive mother, and the reason a red jawbreaker is found in the mouth of every victim.

It all leads to a derelict hospital for the best part of the film, with a corpse terrorizing the main girl and detective, and a horrendous moment when the main girl apologizes to her abusive mother as if she was the one at fault.


Here is one of those sequels that rewrites horror history to create a convoluted new origin story of the curse.

The phone messages and ringtones of terror strike a new group of friends, and the case from the first movie is referenced for some sort of continuity.

Then a reporter steps in to help them out. The jawbreakers are out and the stomachs of victims are now lined with coal dust, which leads to the grandfather of asthma girl from the first movie, because he lives in a mining town.

Let’s do something totally different…
scary crawling girl with SHORT hair!

It seems the curse actually originated with a girl who lived in the town and could make awful things happen just by saying them out loud. So the locals sewed her mouth shut and buried her in the mine.

A terrible idea in any language.

The reporter and the main kids go into the mine to find the body and are terrorized by the ghost girl until the end…when the jawbreaker aspect suddenly pops up again, even though that was tied to the myth of the first movie’s asthma girl, not the second movie ghost girl. Ugh.


How about a heap of headache with a side order of no scares? The final film in the Japanese trilogy fully injects confusion to the max as it returns to asthma girl and her jawbreakers as the source story.

A girl bullied viciously at school falls into a coma after a failed suicide. Her friend gets revenge by sending a curse through her computer to the phones of all the bullies then checks them off in the yearbook like it’s Prom Night.

To save themselves from dying, the bullies start forwarding the message to each other because doing so is supposed to be the key to passing off the curse. What do you expect when all your friends are bullies?

This shit gets all forgive and forget as our main girl apologizes to coma girl, which supernaturally catapults them both back to school and drags them into a realm of cheap ghost scares—the best part of the movie.

They also get a live viral campaign going to help defeat asthma girl and then live happily ever after as BFFs. Yawn.


This is what I’m talking about. After three bloated One Missed Call films, the U.S. remake sticks to the plot of the original and simply streamlines it to a sleek 80 minutes (minus the 6 minutes of closing credits).

Unfortunately, it also exploits the cheap “demon face” app effect everyone and their mother was playing with on the internet back then, which is why I hated this film at the time. But comparing it to the original version, I’ve gained a whole new respect for it.

Even with trimming the storytelling time by 30 minutes, the remake still manages to add some info visually that was just mentioned in dialogue in the original film. For starters, the first kill—a drowning—is only referenced in the original, but it plays out here in a silly scene involving death by fish pond. Not even the cat survives this one.

Shannyn Sossamon (Catacombs, Devour, Sinister 2) stars as the girl on the phone when her friend gets creamed by a train in a scene loaded with CGI specters and a splat. Much different than the original.

Ed Burns plays the main detective who lost his sister, and I have to say, I never realized what a gorgeous long nose he has. Yum. Margaret Cho has a very brief cameo as a fellow detective, and Ray Wise appears as the guy with the exorcism show.

Anyway, it felt very reminiscent of The Ring as victims start dropping dead after having delusions of centipedes, hideous dolls, and other creepy things. Turns out they are all objects in the house of asthma girl when the main girl and the detective get there, which is much sooner than in the original, thankfully.

Dang, this movie moves fast. Before you know it, the pair is at the abandoned hospital, and once again it ties back to objects in asthma girl’s house. The corpse attack is freakier because it takes place in a damn vent, and thankfully, there’s no bullshit apology to the abusive mother.

As for the ending, aside from the presence of the jawbreaker, the final scene is totally different—much more explosive and Hollywood, for sure.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at
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