“ONE MISSED CALL TRILOGY”— Two-Disc Special Edition

“ONE MISSED CALL TRILOGY”

Two-Disc Special Edition

Amos Lassen

“One Missed Call Trilogy” presents a modern, high-tech twist on that mainstay of Japanese folklore, the yurei or vengeful spirit, in the form of its own iconic antihero the terrifying Mimiko.

In the first installment in the trilogy (2003), student Yoko (Anna Nagata) receives a phone message from her future self and it ends with her own death scream. Two days later, she dies in a terrible rail collision. The mysterious phone curse spreads, claiming more young lives. Yoko’s friend Yumi (Ko Shibasaki) joins forces with detective Hiroshi (Shinichi Tsutsumi), whose sister met the same gruesome fate. They work against the clock but can they unravel the mystery before the clock runs out on the next victim, Yumi herself?

Mimiko’s curse continues to wreak bloody havoc in two sequels One Missed Call 2 (2005) and “One Missed Call: Final” (2006), and a TV series and an American remake. This collection from Arrow Video brings together the original trilogy and many in-depth bonus features for the ultimate spine-tingling experience.

The phone messages become an epidemic, while each following the same  pattern of supernatural terror. Director Takashi Miike is an innovator than an imitator, and he normally pushes genre filmmaking to outrageous extremes. For the first reel or so, Miike seems depressingly resigned to adding another film to the pile of mainstream thrillers but we soon see that the director has tricks up his sleeve. 

The turning point comes in a gruesome piece of black comedy. After the second victim receives a message from the future that plays back the moment before she’s going to die, she’s thrown off an overpass and onto a moving train, that decapitates her. Continuing the cycle, the next diabolical call is placed… by her severed arm! From this point, Miike ups the ante with a bizarre macabre twist. Once word leaks to the press about this pattern of scheduled murders, a TV show hijacks the next potential victim for a prime-time special with smiling commentators, a weird psychic, and a countdown to her demise. As her companions die off one by one, and Yoko’s brother try to figure out the identity of this vengeful ghost and what they can do to stop it. 

At a certain point, Miike stops the black comedy and reduces the angry-ghost mystery to a lesson in child psychology and staging the climax in a spooky old abandoned hospital. Miike could have done more to shake up the formula, but he’s still expert at delivering shocks, and his level of craftsmanship is high.

“One Missed Call” is almost totally without  elements designed to capture and hold the viewer’s interest. The film follows a group of teenagers as they’re forced to battle an evil spirit that’s haunting their cell phones – moves slowly while Minako Daira’s convoluted screenplay ensures that even the most astute viewer will have problems following the storyline. At the movie’s core is a mystery that simply isn’t even interesting, even though it’s clear immediately that the complete and utter lack of interesting characters gives us no one to root for.

Set a year after the original, “One Missed Call 2” follows a young teacher (Mimura’s Kyoko Okudera) as she receives a message forewarning her own death and subsequently embarks on a tedious investigation to figure out who/what is behind the deadly phone calls (which has already claimed the lives of a friend and a friend’s father). Although there are just a few creepy images and sequences, the film suffers from an atmosphere of pervasive pointlessness that’s compounded by its overlong running time and slow pace. There’s simply never a point at which the viewer is drawn into what is happening on the screen. There is a lack of character development preventing us from caring about the characters.  The opening hour is dull and the last bit is almost oppressive with  the surviving characters stumbling around a dark mineshaft searching for clues and avoiding the villain. Director Renpei Tsukamoto’s took his images and elements from other, better horror movies. His efforts at establishing an atmosphere of spookiness doesn’t work.

In “One Missed Call Final” the phone call loving ghost is back again. The main characters started an email attack on the demon possessed computer in order to flood its Inbox and cause it to explode and that is what happened. This time the story is about a group of high school kids on a class trip. One of their classmates hung herself due to bullying and now her friend or a ghost or somebody is giving “death calls” to the students and they have an option to forward the “death call” to another person. The story becomes more and more convoluted as it goes on.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

  High Definition Blu-rayTM (1080p) presentations

  Lossless Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and PCM 2.0 soundtracks

  Optional English subtitles

  New audio commentary on One Missed Call by Miike biographer Tom Mes

  The Making of One Missed Call, an hour-long archival documentary on the film s production

  Archival interviews on One Missed Call with actors Ko Shibasaki, Shinichi Tsutsumi and Kazue Fukiishi, and director Takashi Miike

  Archival interview on One Missed Call with director Takashi Miike

  Archival footage from the One Missed Call premiere

  Live or Die TV special

  A Day with the Mizunuma Family

  One Missed Call alternate ending

  The Making of One Missed Call 2, a half-hour archival documentary on the film s production

  Gomu, a short film by One Missed Call 2 director Renpei Tsukamoto

  One Missed Call 2 deleted scenes

  One Missed Call 2 music video

  The Making of One Missed Call: Final, an hour-long archival documentary on the film s production

  Maki and Meisa, an archival behind-the-scenes featurette on One Missed Call: Final with actresses Maki Horikita and Meisa Kuroki

  Behind the Scenes with Keun-Suk Jang, an archival featurette with One Missed Call: Final‘s South Korean star

  The Love Story, a short film tie-in for One Missed Call: Final

  Candid Mimiko, an archival location tour with the series iconic villain

  Theatrical trailers and TV spots

  Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin

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