Genre: Horror
Starring: Mimura, Asaka Seto, Peter Ho
Director: Renpei Tsukamoto
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2005

Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English & Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Widescreen
Sound: Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0
Running Time: 1 hr 46 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Comstar Home Entertainment






One day kindergarten teacher Kyoko visits a Chinese restaurant where her boyfriend Naoto works. All of a sudden, her friend’s cell phone rings in a weird tone, reminding them of a spooky incident last year when people received voice messages from themselves and died 3 days later. Joined by a reporter and her separted husband Yu-Ting, they uncover the secret behind these horrible and fatal calls…And everything points to a girl who was tortured to death with her mouth being literally sewed up!


Is there anything new under the sun of Japanese horror? Once thought innovative by foreign critics and fans for its subtle use of atmosphere and its unique mix of modern technology and traditional folklore (including female ghosts with white faces, long hair and bad attitudes) the genre has become as formulaic as the "Nightmare on Elm Street" films.

Among the most successful of recent J-horror films was "Chakushin Ari (One Missed Call)," Takashi Miike's reworking of a Korean film, "The Phone," that was in turn a rip-off of "Ringu". Instead of videotape, that oh-so-'80s technology, the transmitter of ghostly grudges was the cell phone. Save for a few scares in the third act that were unmistakably Miike, the film had little else that was new, but fans lined up.

All three of the "Ringu" films as well as "Chakushin Ari" were released at this chilly time of year. So followed on was "Chakushin Ari 2 (One Missed Call 2)," which continues the haunted cell-phone saga, albeit with a new director, TV veteran Renpei Tsukamoto, and a mostly new cast, headed by TV drama star Mimura.

The only really new twist are the Taiwanese locations where much of the action unfolds including a sinister, abandoned mine and a decrepit-looking electrical grid. Otherwise the script by Minako Daira, who also co-wrote "Chakushin Ari," follows the narrative tracks laid down by previous spooks, including a back story, set in the misty past, to explain the present-day goings-on. Also, many of the scares, including shadowy black ghosts sidling about in the background and gray hands suddenly gripping wrists with demonic strength, are J-Horror regulars. Also, the cell phones are all the latest models, with big screens and streaming video that make the looming ghosts and panicking victims all the more scary.

In directing this material, Tsukamoto makes little pretense to Miike-esque originality. Instead he serves up what he and his producers think their teenage audience mostly wants: big shocks and plenty of them. In other words, welcome back to Elm Street -- or rather the Japanese version of it. However, it delivers with a force that compels attention and with a persistence that gets under the skin. Neither slumming nor clowning around, he creates the illusion of conviction that gives Japanese horror so much of its power.

The heroine Kyoko (Mimura), a daycare-center teacher, studying to be a child therapist, consequently has little time for boyfriend Naoto (Yu Yoshizawa), an aspiring photographer, are enjoying a rare night out when they hear a melody on her cell phone that sounds creepily familiar. In "Chakushin Ari" it played whenever a message appeared, dated three days in future that foretold the death of the cell phone's owner, down to the recording of the death scream. This time, the fatal event arrives sooner, with equally horrific impact.

Why not, I wondered, ditch the damn phone altogether? But that, to the film's characters, is unthinkable. Better off horrifically dead than without a cell! In that respect, as in others, "Chakushin Ari 2" is a movie for our times. To future generations, with their now-unimaginable techno horrors, it will probably look as silly as "The Mummy" and its Pharaonic curse does to ours.


Nothing more than the usual set-up and scene selection.


Audio equipped with Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0.


Effort apparently put into thought of the play of light and dark spaces but at times fails in extreme dark scenes until you barely see what’s going on. Lucky for us it doesn’t last long too much. Subtitled in both English and Chinese.



Review by Lokman B S

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