Blu-ray Review: One Missed Call Trilogy (2003 – 2006)

February 22, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Those rascally rascals over at Arrow Video have gone and collected some choice cuts of J-horror and put them in one handy dandy creepy collection with the new One Missed Call Trilogy set and your’s cruelly is going to go through that shizz step by step!

In 2003’s One Missed Call, Yumi (Ko Shibasaki) and her gal pal Yoko (Anna Nagata) experience a phone call from the future featuring Yoko herself sounding like she’s in some dire fuckin’ straits! to make matters worse, ol’ Yoko finds out she can’t fly when she takes a flying leap off an overpass on the date the call originated from, and more of Yumi’s pals fall victim to a similar fearsome fate! It’s soon up to Yumi to try and end this evil business while dealing with her traumatic past… but can she do it before the curse catches up to her?

Directed by that madman maestro Takshi Miike (Audition, Gozu, Ichi The Killer), One Missed Call arrived more on the ass end of the J-horror deluge that exploded in a maelstrom of black haired female ghosts and supernatural shenanigans… and while this fright flick has touches of Miike’s trademark insanity, this is more a straight-up horror flick, jump scares and all.

That’s not to say this doesn’t have plenty of interesting things to parade in front of the eerie eyeballs of us slavering horror hounds, such as death scenes that are ever-escalating in their outrageousness, and a nice eleventh hour twist that changes the paradigm on this haunting and makes the last portion of the film particularly engaging.

As for extras on disc one, we kick things off with an audio commentary by author Tom Mes, who provides a great listen as he explores the film’s production and themes while diving into the ways this film serves as a semi-parody of the genre it exists within.

Next we get an archival “making-of” doc, archival interviews with actors Shibasaki, Shin’ichi Tsutsumi, and Kazue Fukiishi, as well as two conversations with Miike, followed by a piece on the film’s premier, a duo of expanded video artifacts from within the film, and an alternate ending.

Also included are the film’s theatrical trailer, a teaser, and TV spots.

Moving on to disc two we get the appropriately titled One Missed Call 2

Our gal Yumi has gone and pulled a vanishing act, and Detective Motomiya (Renji Ishibashi) is on the case of solving a preternatural mystery involving a rash of unexplained deaths that seem eerily familiar to the ghoulish goings-on of the previous yarn. Joined by reporter Takako Nozoe (Asaka Seto) the investigation stretches all the way to Taiwan and a cursed town that may be the birthplace of all this horror business.

While still an entertaining affair, this entry is basically a retelling of the first film with a few slight… and at times confusing, variables… right down to almost the same climax, just at a different, though equally off-putting, locale. This one also mixes and matches elements from other J-horror as well, especially Ringu‘s rural village investigations.

Following that we come to One Missed Call: Final

Bitchy-bitch Azusa (Miho Amakawa) receives a call from herself which features her hangin’ from a rope with a chain letter deal that if she forwards that shit she can escape her fate. Of course she ignores that shit and disappears the next day. Soon more and more students get the call, and the rest of the class goes apeshit awaiting the next call. Thankfully Emiri (Meisa Kuroki) and her deaf boyfriend Jinwo (Keun-Suk Jang) are attempting to end the curse once and for all.

Now this is more like it boils n’ ghouls! One Missed Call: Final is a great examination of the perceived mind-set of Japanese youth, definitely a target demographic for this type of fright flick, but as is the way with this sinister series, even that is a target for bleak satire and dark comedy. We also get injections of some surprising gravitas as those that survive some of the goings-on feel some serious remorse over their inaction to help those in dire straits. Also as a plus, we get a dour ending that really makes the series a step above most “main stream” horror biz and provides a bit more emotion than expected mixed in with our ghosts n’ ghouls.

Well, that’s the films, so what of the extra features on disc two…

The bonus material on disc two is pretty damn solid actually! Included in the creepy cornucopia are:  a “making of” featurette for both films, a duo of short films set in the OMC universe, a host of deleted scenes from part 2 (introduced by director Renpai Tsukamoto), featurettes focusing on the stars of Final, a music video, a location tour, theatrical trailers, teasers, and TV spots.

All of that freaky fabulousness comes in a case adorned with artwork by Matt Griffin and crammed fat with a collector’s booklet featuring an essay by film critic Anton Bitel.

If you love J-horror (or just a good ol’ yarn about a curse), One Missed Call and it’s follow-ups will surely satisfy; providing plenty of supernatural spills n’ chills while providing some dark humor and deep emotion these come recommended by yours cruelly!

 

 

 

 

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