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One Missed Call
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Japanese horror remake features frequent tense scenes and some grisly deaths, with mutilated bodies and screaming victims. The movie's thematic focus on child abuse is vague and incoherent, but it might still provoke questions from attentive younger viewers. Violence includes choking, burning, stabbing, a rod going through a chest, and a girl getting hit by a train. Several girls show cleavage, and there's a very brief shot of a college girl in her bra. Language includes "s--t" and "damn," and there's some drinking and smoking.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In this remake of a Japanese horror film, psychology major Beth (Shannyn Sossamon) is puzzled when her friends start turning up dead. Beth not only studies child abuse but is also a survivor, which helps her understand the motives of the killer – an evil entity. Beth tries to decipher the murder mystery and eventually gets some help from detective named Jack (Ed Burns). When Jack's sister is killed, her cell phone sends out a message -- a call from the receiver's future self, screaming in terror at the moment of his or her death -- to someone Beth knows. Meanwhile, a smarmy TV producer (Ray Wise) solicits one victim-to-be for his show, American Miracles. But once a girl suffers a very nasty death on set, the show's resident exorcist reveals that he's not "real" at all. As Beth's friends grow frustrated, get phone messages, and die, she pursues answers. Jack helps when he can, but Beth must figure out the original trauma and so put the ghost to rest.
Is it any good?
ONE MISSED CALL suffers from predictable characters, over-used conventions of the horror genre, and a plot that never really makes sense. For example, Beth goes through the usual scary movie motions: exploring dark hallways, conducting Internet research, and finally, coming to terms with her emotional baggage. Also, it's a shame that the reality show sequence is cut short, because the satire shows promise (and Wise is always fun to watch).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the many U.S. remakes of Japanese (and other Asian) horror movies. How do these moody, strange films translate for American audiences? Why do you think their focus on spirits and hauntings is so popular? How do you think the remakes are similar to and different from the originals? And why do you think many of them revolve around media (videos, cell phones, etc.)?
- In theaters: January 4, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: April 21, 2008
- Cast: Edward Burns, Ray Wise, Shannyn Sossamon
- Director: Eric Valette
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and terror, frightening images, some sexual material and thematic elements.