Welcome to the Calendar where only the best of the worst of the worst reside. And there are very few films more poorly reviewed than One Missed Call. Let’s get into it.
What?! A cursed cell phone message is killing nubile college students. Each time someone is killed a call from the future previews the next victim’s imminent death. When Beth becomes the latest player in this deadly game of phone tag she teams up with a local cop to stop the madness. Can she uncover the mystery before it’s too late? Find out in… One Missed Call.
How?! There is a very basic premise that one needs to know to get 90% of this film: People die, when they die their phone calls someone in their contacts list (from the future… bum bum bum!), that person receives a message (from the future…bum bum bum!) that contains a recording of the last moments of their life (from the future… bum bum bum!), and a few days later that person is killed (as predicted) and the cycle begins anew. The entirety of the first part of this film takes place watching as random characters in the film are killed in increasingly silly and decidedly PG-13 ways as a result of these phone calls. When our main character, Beth, finally receives the phone call she’s got enough grit and last-girl-itude to try to solve the mystery (especially after the good people at Boost Mobile are no help at all… gah! Why must their mobile plans provide so many affordable minutes?!). She teams up with Ed Burns, a cop whose sister was also killed by the phone call, to figure it out. They trace it back to a woman who died in a hospital fire after her child died of an asthma attack. They go to the hospital and find the mother’s body, finally bringing her peace and thinking they’ve stopped the madness (phew!). But alas [SPOILER ALERT] it turns out that it was actually the evil daughter who was responsible for all the death and mayhem! In a “climactic” scene Beth is saved from the evil girl ghost by the mom ghost, but Ed Burns is killed. His phone dials a spooky posthumous call and the cycle starts anew. In case you’re confused: none of this actually makes sense.
Why?! Alright, let’s try to explain why this is all happening. The ghost mom had two children. The younger girl kept on getting sick and so everyone thought the mom had Munchausen By Proxy and was doing it on purpose. When the mom discovers that her elder daughter was actually responsible she locks her in her room where she dies of an asthma attack (daannnggg, coooold Bloooddeedd). With her dying breath the daughter dials her mother’s cellphone. This begins the curse as shortly thereafter her mother is killed in the hospital fire. So you see, the motivation for the whole film is a psychotic ghost child who uses her powers of evil to kill at random as a form of revenge for her unsettled spirit. Everyone else just doesn’t want to die.
Who?! Definitely have to give a shout out to one of the kid actors in the film. The evil daughter, Ellie, is played in the flashbacks by none other than Ariel Winter of Modern Family fame. Not the first Ariel Winter film in BMT. She also appeared in Killers. I barely remember the film let alone her role in it.
Where?! Not since The Tuxedo have we seen such a concerted effort to conceal the location of a film. There are fake license plates, fake drivers licenses, and concealed addresses. That is until the very end where Beth receives a letter that claims she lives in Minniwauka, NJ 60209. While that is a mindbogglingly bad fake location and the zip points to Evanston, IL you have to give default to the state listed. This is an NJ film. Makes sense too because I’ve heard that Ed Burns can’t exist outside the tri-state area. Exact but hardly mentioned. B-.
When?! This is clear from the get go. The film opens with a call from the spooky ghost on June 9th. So we got exact details without even trying. An easy slam dunk B+. Not an A because the time of year has little relevance, but it is mentioned over and over.
If you anyone wants to watch a horror film but wants something rididididididiculously not scary then this is the ticket for you. It is laughable for much of the film and I felt like it was right on the cusp of being a really good, funny BMT film. But my opinion doesn’t matter, I’m just the details man. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! One Missed Call? More like No Script At All! Amirite. What once was old is new again was the motto of mid-2000s horror, and for a brief period they were looking for anything that sounded vaguely like The Ring. Well this one sounds exactly like The Ring except with sweet Boost flip phones. Let’s get into it!
The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Woof. Not much was good in this film. Dare I say nothing at all? Even Ray Wise couldn’t save it from itself. This movie was crazy bad … so let’s do a remake! A remake of a remake? That’s right. This time the evil spirit is inhabiting a smart phone, and with access to all that technology it can reach beyond the confines of its sweet but limited flip phone capabilities! Spooky. Throw out your phone? It calls you on skype! Get rid of skype, it is in your email with hangouts! No escape, as it leaps from technology to technology. And this time you actually do make a statement about the pervasive and toxic nature of our connected world, because it turns out just reshooting a mediocre J-Horror film didn’t really cut it. Slash the budget, get inventive, One Missed Call: Unlimited Data Plan (ooooof, what a terrible title).
The Bad (Seven Deadly Sins) – As I said, this movie was crazy super-bad. At a svelte 90 minutes flat the film still felt like it was 20 minutes too long. The acting was top-to-bottom an atrocity. The movie, as I said, is a shot-for-shot remake of an already-not-scary J-Horror. Its existence is questionable, its production is sloppy, and, the biggest sin, it is not even a little bit scary. They couldn’t even do jump-scares properly (I was straight laughing at times). Good-bad horror is funny, and this gets mighty close to that area. Indeed, it would have been legendary if it didn’t feel a little too long. The sin is sloth: copying The Ring, copying the original Japanese film, barely even managing to muster a single scare in the entire film. Weak.
The BMT: Legacy – I think this will go down as one of the worst actual horror films we’ve ever seen. It is worse than The Gallows … The Gallows! The only thing that comes close is something like The Devil Inside, but found horror is a whole different garbage-y animal. As far as actual horror goes, this is a decent example of a film I would trot out if someone asked to watch the worst horror film I’ve seen (competing closely with The Fog). I disliked something like Friday the 13th Part 5 more, but there is something pure and kind of fun about how much this stands alone and proclaims: I am terrible. I’ll mention a small StreetCreditReport.com here because I love it. Sadly, despite being one of the worst films ever reviewed, I can’t find much play in the worst of lists. Possibly because 2008 was incredible (The Happening, Max Payne, Mamma Mia, What Happens In Vegas, etc.), but also because people hate horror films (at least critics seem to). I certainly gets high up on my personal list. Its cred comes from the reviews though, 0% on Rotten Tomatoes is always special.
And finally word about a little BMT Homework where I watched the original One Missed Call. This was the first J-Horror I’ve ever seen. I watched The Ring, but never Ringu. This … was not a good introduction. Too long, not very spooky or scary, a silly concept, and feels like a rip-off of The Ring. Better than the remake, but still, below-average. It did get me interested in watching more though. A very different feel from the slasher genre I’ve grown to love over the past few months. I’m thinking Ringu will be on the docket when we inevitably watch Rings this Fall, and from there, who knows? Maybe I’ll fall in love with that sub-genre as well.