One Missed Call (2003 film)

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One Missed Call
One-missed-call-poster.jpg
Japanese theatrical release poster
Directed by Takashi Miike
Produced by Yoichi Arishige
Fumio Inoue
Kazuo Kuroi
Hiroshi Okawa
Naoki Sato
Screenplay by Minako Daira
Based on Chakushin Ari 
by Yasushi Akimoto
Starring Kou Shibasaki
Shinichi Tsutsumi
Kazue Fukiishi
Anna Nagata
Renji Ishibashi
Atsushi Ida
Mariko Tsutsui
Music by Kôji Endô
Cinematography Hideo Yamamoto
Editing by Yasushi Shimamura
Studio Kadokawa Pictures
Distributed by Toho Company
Release dates
Running time 112 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Budget $1.7 million[1]
Box office $16,234,612[2]

One Missed Call (着信アリ Chakushin ari?) is a 2003 Japanese horror film directed by Takashi Miike and written by Minako Daira. The film is based on the novel Chakushin Ari by Yasushi Akimoto.[3] The plot revolves around Yumi Nakamura, a young psychology student whose friend Yoko gets an unusual voice message on her cell phone. The message is dated two days in the future and Yoko can hear herself screaming in it. After Yoko mysteriously dies, her death sets off a chain of events which leads Yumi to discover that this phenomenon has been occurring throughout Japan long before Yoko received an anonymous call from her future self. When Yumi receives a call with the date and time of her future death, she struggles to save herself and learn the identity of the mastermind behind the calls.

In 2008, it was remade in the US as One Missed Call.

Plot[edit]

In Tokyo, during an evening get-together with friends, Yoko Okazaki (Anna Nagata) has just arrived from a memorial service for her former high school friend Rina. Yoko heads to the restaurant bathroom to change into more comfotable attire and her friend Yumi Nakamura (Kou Shibasaki) comes along to freshen up. While in the bathroom Yumi asks Yoko how Rina died. Yoko tells Yumi that Rina was diving, got separated from her group, and drowned. Suddenly Yoko's cell phone suddenly rings in an eerie, unusual tone. Since the ringtone isn't Yoko's, she doesn't think anything of it until Yumi tells her that it's Yoko's phone ringing. Confused, Yoko comes out of the bathroom stall to answer but doesn't pick up soon enough and the call goes to her voicemail (chakushin). Upon opening her voicemail messages, she sees that the call/message was from her own phone number and dated two days into the future. As Yoko retrieves the message, she and Yumi listen intently to it. What they hear is a train crossing signal and the voice of Yoko saying "Oh no, it started raining", followed by a horrendous scream and then dead silence, which visibly disturbs the two girls.

Back at the dinner table Yoko attempts to laugh off the message with her and Yumi's friends, who are just as clueless as them. Although she tells her friends that she received the call to her cell phone at the current time (April 16 at 9:44 p.m.), the message is actually dated April 18 at 11:04 p.m. Although Yoko eventually dismisses the call as nothing but a prank on her by her boyfriend, Yumi is still clearly unsettled by it. On April 18, Yumi, Yoko and their friend Natsumi Konishi (Kazue Fukiishi) are attending a night class for psychology at their university. While their professor is discussing a case on child abuse, Yumi seems intrigued by the lesson, but Yoko isn't paying attention and is texting her boyfriend Shunsuke saying that she wants to break up. When Natsumi asks Yoko why, Yoko says she prefers Kenji Kawai (Atsushi Ida), a student attending the same university as the three girls. Shortly afterwards Yoko gets in trouble for texting in class but is nonetheless relieved about her breakup with Shunsuke. Yoko then leaves Natsumi and Yumi after class for work.

Later that evening on April 18, Yumi is at home when she receives a call from Yoko on her cell phone. Yoko invites Yumi to come shopping with her for bikinis the next day as she wants to look nice for Kenji. During that call, Yumi hears a train crossing signal that sounds like the one that was part of Yoko's voicemail. Curious, she asks Yoko where she is; Yoko is walking on a pedestrian overpass over train tracks. When the call starts to break up, Yoko asks Yumi if she can hear her. Yumi asks Yoko if she remembers the call she got and remembers that 11:04 p.m. on April 18 was the receiving date, but Yoko still cannot hear Yumi well. Light rain starts to fall and Yoko remarks, "Oh no, it started raining". As a terrified Yumi remembers that was exactly the same message on Yoko's voicemail, she suddenly she hears Yoko scream into the phone. Yumi screams for Yoko, but as the clock strikes 11:04 p.m. Yoko is violently thrown by an unseen force through a chain link fence and onto a speeding commuter train passing by below, losing her arm before dying moments later. As Yoko's severed arm still holds the phone, her thumb suddenly begins to dial a phone number, and she also vomits a strange red candy.

Kenji's phone is next to receive a call and, like Yoko, he misses it. He and Yumi are hanging out when he tells Yumi that he received a voice message with himself cursing and then a loud scream; he lets Yumi listen to the message before she realizes the receiving time is in two minutes. Kenji gets angry and believes Yumi and his friends are trying to scare him. He walks towards the elevator while Yumi runs after him. Kenji sees a friend that he had to meet with and he suddenly speaks the same words as in the voice message. Frightened, he looks at Yumi while the doors of the elevator suddenly open without the cabin. An invisible entity grabs his ankles and suddenly pulls him down the shaft while he screams. He falls to his death at the bottom and also vomits a red candy. His phone suddenly presses buttons on its own, dialing a new number and looking for another victim to kill.

Natsumi is staying over at Yumi's apartment. Yumi has switched off both hers and Natsumi's phones in the hope this will prevent either of them receiving a "death call". However during the night, Yumi is unable to sleep and goes to her kitchen to get a midnight snack when she suddenly hears one of the cell phones ringing the eerie tone and frantically wakes Natsumi up. After finding out Yumi has no new messages on her phone, Natsumi realizes that it's her who has received the call. This time, unlike Yoko and Kenji, instead of a voicemail message quoting her final words, Natsumi receives a strange video of her in a dark room as a mysterious woman with long black hair appears from around a wall behind her, which upsets both her and Yumi. The next day Yumi takes Natsumi to a phone store where Natsumi cancels her phone contract and her number, hoping that discontinuing her cell phone line will prevent her from getting killed.

When she and Yumi return to Natsumi's apartment, Natsumi is instantly bombarded with reporters and journalists who claim they are investigating the calls. One of the reporters tries to get Natsumi to re-enact the moment she found out she received the call by giving her a camera woman's cell phone to use as a prop. Fed up, Yumi tells the reporter and his crew to leave Natsumi alone when the cell phone suddenly rings the tone of death. The same video that was sent to Natsumi's old phone also appears on the phone, revealing that the curse is still active, and that Natsumi is still destined to die. Upset and scared, Natsumi screams and throws the phone. The reporter who gave her the phone picks it up, views the video and tells Natsumi that he and his crew can help her and that they know a man who is famous for his exorcisms who can help Natsumi. Yumi, knowing that the reporter will only exploit and embarrass Natsumi, tries to stop him and the other reporters from taking Natsumi to the television broadcast station where the exorcism will be held. Natsumi, now desperate to make this madness stop once and for all, agrees to go and tells Yumi that she doesn't want to end up like Kenji and Yoko, disappointing Yumi.

Shortly afterwards, Yumi meets Hiroshi Yamashita (Shinichi Tsutsumi), a detective who has been investigating the mysterious cell phone phenomenon since the death of his sister, Ritsuko, a nurse at a local hospital who, like Yumi's friends, received an anonymous phone call, missed it, and three days later, was saved from a fire in her house but suffered third-degree burns and subsequently died. Before her body was taken to the morgue, Yamashita discovered a red candy in Ritsuko's mouth, just like the ones found in Yoko and Kenji's mouths. He and Yumi to the television station on which Natsumi is to appear. The exorcism turns into a disaster and the video of Natsumi real. Yumi and Yamashita watch and attempt to subsequently help Natsumi, but as they are helping Natsumi get on her feet, her right hand snaps back and her complete arm turns to the back of her neck and keeps turning until her head falls off, with a voice saying "Don't worry, I'll take you to the hospital". Her decapitated body walks several paces and falls to the floor. A red candy rolls out of her mouth and stops at a horrified Yumi's feet as the ringtone sounds on Yumi's phone.

Yumi and Yamashita further investigate the phone calls, learning of a woman named Marie Mizunuma who had two daughters, Mimiko and Nanako, both of whom were sent to the care center where Ritsuko worked at after Marie was supposedly abusing them for the sake of attention. Mimiko died a year ago after a lethal asthma attack, while Marie vanished shortly after a hospital fire. Yamashita visits Nanako, now mute and living in an orphanage, where he also discovers the ringtone's origin. Yumi visits the old hospital where Marie was last seen, followed by Yamashita. They eventually find what appears to be Marie's dead body, clutching a phone that comes to life. She approaches Yumi while Yamashita is blasted by a force out of the room, where he meets the spirit of his sister who wishes him good luck. Yumi recalls the abuse her mother inflicted upon her and apologizes to Marie, crying and saying she will never leave her mother again, with Marie believing Yumi is her daughter.

The police arrive and insist that Yamashita comes to the orphanage where Nanako is to watch a tape which is actually a nanny cam Marie placed in her living room. There, it is revealed that Mimiko is the one who had abused Nanako all along, with Marie only finding out after arriving home to see that Mimiko had cut Nanako's hand. Marie took Nanako to the hospital while Mimiko succumbed to a sudden asthma attack. Nanako appears and talks for the first time in months, saying that although her sister abused her, she still loves her regardless.

Realizing that the source of the curse is Mimiko, Yamashita races to Yumi's apartment while she is haunted by Mimiko's ghost. Yamashita arrives to find nothing wrong and relieved, he hugs Yumi. However, Yumi stabs him, and as he drops to the ground, the reflection of Yumi in the mirror reveals that she is possessed by Mimiko. Before Yamashita faints, he hears Yumi saying that she will take him to the hospital, much like what Mimiko said after she cut Nanako's hand. Yamashita dreams of being with a dying Mimiko and he has her use the inhaler to survive. Later, Yamashita wakes up in the hospital with Yumi in the room, who is hiding a knife behind her back. She leans forward and gives him the same kind of red candy that appeared inside the mouths of the victims, then waits. When Yamashita seems to enjoy and fully chew the candy, Yumi smiles, showing the spirit of Mimiko has obviously found Yamashita as her new replacement of Nanako. The knife foreshadows Yamashita will keep being treated after torture at the hands of the possessed Yumi like what Mimiko did to Nanako. The deaths of Yamashita and Yumi are later mentioned in One Missed Call 2. The film ends with the song "Ikutsuka no Sora" by Kou Shibasaki.

Cast[edit]

Character Japan Actor (Original) United States English Dubbing
Yumi Nakamura Kou Shibasaki Kate Davis
Hiroshi Yamashita Shinichi Tsutsumi Liam O'Brien
Natsumi Konishi Kazue Fukiishi Stephanie Sheh
Nanako Mizunuma Shimizu Seinami Mia Bradly
Masakazu Hirayama ???? Doug Stone
Yoko Okazaki Anna Nagata ????
Detective Renji Ishibashi ????
Kenji Kawai Atsushi Ida Sam Regal
Rina Tsuchiya Kana Ito ????
Marie Mizunuma Mariko Tsutsui ????
Ritsuko Yamashita Takehana Azusa Cristina Valenzuela
Mimiko Mizunuma Karen Oshima
Ichiro Fujieda Yutaka Matsuchige Kim Strauss
Oka Goro Kishitani Joe Cappelletti
Additional voices - Stephanie Sheh
Steve Staley (Phone Salesman)
Karen Thompson (Voicemail)

Funimation Entertainment produced the English dub.

Critical reception[edit]

One Missed Call has received mixed reviews by critics, who generally cite it as being too similar to previous J-horror films such as Ring and Ju-on: The Grudge.[4]

Entertainment Weekly wrote, "One Missed Call is so unoriginal that the movie could almost be a parody of J-horror tropes", yet "Miike, for a while at least, stages it with a dread-soaked visual flair that allows you to enjoy being manipulated."[5] LA Weekly called it "a prolonged, maddening, predictable—yet curiously pleasurable—descent into incomprehensibility."[4] The Philadelphia Inquirer stated that "Miike, whose work usually veers into more surreal, experimental terrain, uses creepy-crawly juxtaposition, grisly violence, and dark humor to create a nightmare scenario for the text-message generation."[6]

Sequels[edit]

A sequel, One Missed Call 2 was released in 2005. One Missed Call, a ten-episode Japanese television drama was released the same year. One Missed Call: Final, the third installment and the end to the Chakushin ari mythos was released in 2006.

Remake[edit]

In 2008, Warner Bros. remade the film as One Missed Call, starring Shannyn Sossamon.

References[edit]

External links[edit]