One Missed Call 2 (2005) / Horror-Mystery
aka Chakushin ari 2
MPAA Rated: R for violence and disturbing images
Running time: 105 min.
Cast: Mimura, Yu Yoshizawa, Renji Ishibashi, Haruko Wanibushi, Peter Ho, Asaka Seto
Director: Renpei Tsukamoto
Screenplay: Minako Daira (based on the novel, "Chakushin ari" by Yasushi Akimoto)
One Missed Call 2 takes place about a year after the events of One Missed Call, and though it alludes to its predecessor in characters and basic storyline, this is mostly a new film with a new cast. The ominous ring tone has continued for reasons initially unknown. The same pattern exists -- those who get the dreaded phone call find out they will die at a precise time in the near future. Kyoko (Mimura, A Heartful of Love) and Naoto (Yoshizawa, Pyrokinesis) are two of the potentially doomed people trying to reverse their fates. Their investigation leads them to Taiwan, where it is discovered that an ancestor of Mimiko, a pariah in her own community, once gained the ability to predict deaths, for which she was severely dealt with. The cycle of retribution continues.
This sequel not only is missing practically all of the cast of the original film, but the prolific Takashi Miike is out as director, replaced by relative newcomer Renpei Tsukamoto (Gosuto shaoto). The result is a glossier, less dark approach that is probably easier to follow than the previous outing, but it's also less creepy and less artful. Much of it plays as a standard mystery, with many people questioned as far as what they know regarding any answers as to why people are being killed and by whom. A few jolts are interspersed at regular intervals, but for the most part, it's all standard formula J-Horror.
Although I realize that most critics and J-Horror fans would probably score this film less than the first effort, mostly due to Miike's reputation as well as this one regurgitating similar events, I would tend to put them both on the same level, precisely because the original film was also a regurgitation of many other films on its own. At the very least, as a sequel, screenwriter Minako Daira does to to shed more light to the mystery, although making the same errors of trying to throw in a needless twist ending yet again. At this point in the genre, it's becoming farcical how much the filmmakers adhere to convention, as you can practically make your own film once you come up with a new technological contraption for ghosts to communicate with the living. If you've seen one of them, you've probably seen nearly everything the entire genre has to offer already, with only slight variations between them.
I claimed the first film suffered from boredom induced by its redundant nature, and I'll be redundant myself by attributing this to the sequel. It's not terrible, but not terribly good either, merely fodder for a rainy day when you want a creepy flick that won't tax the brain much. Of course, when you're dealing with J-Horror, and horror films in general, there are so many examples to choose from, it's not even worth debating as to which is better than which. They are so interchangeable, just pick any of them and get nearly equal results. I think the entire genre of grudge-carrying ghosts whose pain needs to be put to rest needs to be put to rest itself.
-- Followed by One Missed Call Final.
©2007 Vince Leo