By Lisa Schwarzbaum
January 09, 2008 at 05:00 AM EST

One Missed Call punches the contemporary fear buttons of infernal technology and child abuse. But, toredial applicable catchphrases, this garbled American remake of Takashi Miike’s already staticky 2004 exercise in J-horror is a wrong number. The bad machine is the ubiquitous cell phone, specifically ones that herald death by recording the sounds of each recipient’s demise — from the future. And the child-abuse subplot involves an all-purpose blend of bad mommy and demon child archetypes, souped up with the wandering-ghost consequences so beloved in Japanese popular culture, and a touch of dialing from beyond the grave.

You’ve got to deliver a lot more than a customized ringtone to impress the iPhone generation, or to scare anyone familiar with the old glimpsed-human-who-morphs-into-ghoul routine — a demand that defeats French director Eric Valette. (This is his first American production.) Shannyn Sossamon plays the Pretty Girl Who Survives with a minimum of particularity; Ed Burns offers even less as the Cop Who Believes Her. As the cop who doesn’t, the comic Margaret Cho shows up for a line or two — and her on-set experience should make for another good monologue someday, considering the riffs she’s done about answering-machine messages from her own very unghostly mother. D

type
  • Movie
Genre
mpaa
  • PG-13
runtime
  • 87 minutes
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