People are obsessed with cell phones. They talk while shopping for groceries, getting their hair done, even running on treadmills at the gym. Hell, I've seen a person talk on their cell phone while swimming in a pool. With this in mind, it isn't surprising that there's now a horror movie about ghosts traveling through cell phones. Want to witness the exorcism of a cell phone? Behold One Missed Call.
The cell phone-jumping ghost plays by unique rules. Sometimes, it's a physical creature and attacks people like the ghost from The Ring. Other times, it causes fatal freak accidents like the ghost in Final Destination. Often, it finds victims by searching through the former victim's cell phone address book. It gives a few days notice by leaving a post-dated voicemail of the victim's voice right before death. The ghost is kind enough to leave red candies in the deceased's mouth, too. Article continues below
The people dying are college students befriended by Beth (Shannyn Sossamon
), a former abused child who is searching for answers in her study of psychology. After several of her friends receive these mysterious post-dated missed calls and meet horrifying demises, she approaches a burnt-out detective named Jack (Edward Burns
) for help. Since Jack's sister was killed by the cell phone ghost, he shares her concerns. Eventually, Beth receives a call from the ghost, too. Can she uncover the mystery before it's too late?
One Missed Call -- a remake of Takashi Miike's Japanese horror film of the same name -- should have gone the Final Destination route and used the cheesy concept to exploit creative death sequences. Even with wooden acting and slack direction, the movie could have worked as torture-porn like Hostel and Saw if the body count was high enough and the methods of disposal fresh and interesting. With a PG-13 rating, however, there isn't much One Missed Call can do to satisfy horror fans.
What goes into a studio's decision when editing a horror film to achieve a lower MPAA rating? They probably base the decision on statistical information about middle and high school students attending movies twice a week. With a PG-13 rating, all those adolescents can see the movie without parents. But do the studios really feel that the only way to ensure a horror movie's box office success is to make the film appropriate for the under-16 crowd?
In fact, R-rated horror films are quite popular these days. Final Destination grossed twice its budget and spawned two sequels, both of which also grossed twice their budget. Saw grossed enough to spawn three sequels (with a fourth on its way). What happened with Hostel? The Hills Have Eyes? Cha-ching! Adults are loving R-rated horror movies. They can't seem to get enough violence and gore.
But adults won't find much violence or gore in One Missed Call. One hand is all that's needed to count the family-friendly death sequences during the film's 87-minute running time. During a time when torture porn has reached a roaring level of popularity, why censor a creative -- albeit ridiculous -- idea and make the film unappealing to the real audiences just to make it accessible to kids who can't even drive to the movie theater?