One Missed Call Trilogy

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domino harvey
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One Missed Call Trilogy

#1 Post by domino harvey » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:46 pm


An iconic trilogy of J-horror films comes to Blu-ray for the first time! Tapping into the same brand of terror as the Ring and Grudge movies, visionary director Takashi Miike (Audition, Blade of the Immortal) presents a modern, high-tech twist on that mainstay of Japanese folklore, the yurei or vengeful spirit, in the form of its own iconic antihero – the terrifying Mimiko.

In the first instalment in the trilogy, 2003’s One Missed Call, student Yoko (Anna Nagata, Battle Royale) receives a phone message from her future self, ending with her own death scream. Two days later, she dies in a horrific rail collision. As the mysterious phone curse spreads, claiming more young lives, Yoko’s friend Yumi (Ko Shibasaki, Battle Royale, 47 Ronin) joins forces with detective Hiroshi (Shinichi Tsutsumi, Space Battleship Yamato), whose sister met the same gruesome fate. But can they unravel the mystery before the clock runs out on the next victim – Yumi herself?

Mimiko’s curse continues to wreak bloody havoc in two sequels – 2005’s One Missed Call 2 and 2006’s One Missed Call: Final, in addition to spawning a TV series and an American remake. This lavish collection from Arrow Video gathers together the original trilogy – with the third instalment making its UK debut – and a swathe of in-depth bonus features for the ultimate spine-tingling experience.

• High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentations
• Lossless Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and PCM 2.0 soundtracks
• Optional English subtitles
• New audio commentary on One Missed Call by Miike biographer Tom Mes
• The Making of One Missed Call, an hour-long archival documentary on the film’s production
• Archival interviews on One Missed Call with actors Ko Shibasaki, Shinichi Tsutsumi and Kazue Fukiishi, and director Takashi Miike
• Archival interview on One Missed Call with director Takashi Miike
• Archival footage from the One Missed Call premiere
• Live or Die TV special
• A Day with the Mizunuma Family
• One Missed Call alternate ending
• The Making of One Missed Call 2, a half-hour archival documentary on the film’s production
• Gomu, a short film by One Missed Call 2 director Renpei Tsukamoto
• One Missed Call 2 deleted scenes
• One Missed Call 2 music video
• The Making of One Missed Call: Final, an hour-long archival documentary on the film’s production
• Maki and Meisa, an archival behind-the-scenes featurette on One Missed Call: Final with actresses Maki Horikita and Meisa Kuroki
• Behind the Scenes with Keun-Suk Jang, an archival featurette with One Missed Call: Final’s South Korean star
• The Love Story, a short film tie-in for One Missed Call: Final
• Candid Mimiko, an archival location tour with the series’ iconic villain
• Theatrical trailers and TV spots
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the films by Anton Bitel

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Re: One Missed Call Trilogy

#2 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:38 pm

I have recently rewatched the first One Missed Call film (I have not seen the two sequels as yet) and feel a lot more positive towards it than I did on first seeing it a decade or so ago. I don't think its a film I would recommend as an entry point for newcomers to the 'J-horror' genre, as it sort of relies on an audience's familiarity with the way certain previous films were structured for its impact. For example I really love the scene of our protagonists going to a funeral and getting the backstory of earlier victims explained to them by a group of schoolgirls, that is pretty blatantly riffing off a very similar scene in Ring. Though the One Missed Call version multiplies the characters in that scene, and has some characters speaking on behalf of, or in place of, others who are more reticent in speaking up. Similarly we get a couple of investigators who follow the path of investigating the ghost curse similar to those in Ring.

In fact it is kind of impressive just how much Miike mines the entire J-horror trend for material and imagery in his entry, making it a megamix of genre tropes. I would perhaps not argue too vehemently with someone using the term 'rips off' instead of 'homaging' the subgenre, but I really felt that I got a lot more out of it having seen other titles now. I mean what other film has the audacity in its final moments to
copy the structure of the final act of Ring (in the way that we have solved the horror by cuddling a wet corpse whose skin sloughs away, but oops that has not stopped anything!), using imagery from The Grudge (kids peering out of cupboards, and ghostly hands and hair surrounding those marked for death), before taking the key image from Pulse of the blurred ghost implacably walking towards camera, to lead into an astonishing coda that works best if you think of it in terms of the final torture scene from Audition!
It is an enormous repurposing of imagery from other sources and blending of it all together into something different. In this case (like that South Korean film Phone) the big theme that kind of appears out of nowhere to blindside the audience is the really heavy one of child abuse and torture within a family, which although aspects of such are present from the very beginning of the film in flashes is a really big tonal shift to accommodate from the more spooktacular, set piece based fun of the first two-thirds of the film of a cursed mobile phone sending voice messages from two days in the future that tell you how you will spend your last moments and then on that person dying calling the next person in their phone book! I think perhaps that tonal shift makes it a difficult film to entirely get behind, and in a way it is another example of the film picking up on aspects from other Japanese horror films, as it has a very similar 'issue' to the way that the VHS tapes in Ring are the most evocative and novel visual elements but eventually get dropped for an investigation into the curse's back story (at least until they make their reappearance in the final moments as having been the true key to the curse all along). Similarly here the mobile phone is the evocative technological hook for the horror that then falls away after its purpose of 'transmitting the infection' has been accomplished.

I remember that was what disappointed me about One Missed Call on the initial viewing as I was more infatuated by the idea of the medium than the message (and understandably so I think, because the horror of a cursed mobile phone is the key image and idea used to sell the film), whereas on revisiting it I was now more prepared for the 'message' to take primacy in the later stages (I guess that I am still waiting for the Marshall McLuhan-style "the medium is the message" techno-horror film to match Videodrome! Although maybe that is Pulse?) However if you are prepared for the film to change tones quite severely once the curse has worked its way through her friends to reach the main character then it is still pretty interesting.
Really the implication appears to be that the only person able to properly face off against the ghost of a mother who abused her children is the heroine who herself was abused in childhood also, so that the encounter becomes strangely cathartic for both of them! The slightly worrying over simplistic approach to the subject (though an amusing one, suggesting that the ghost has met its match by accident more than design!) being something which then gets wonderfully upended by the final twist that it was actually the older sister who was abusing the younger one whilst the mother covered up for her, until she just left the older sister to die of an asthma attack after a particularly bad encounter. So our main character gets the catharsis of having overcome her traumatic childhood experiences by proxy and putting the vengeful spirit of 'mother' to rest in both general and more specific terms, but also then unfortunately gets targeted by and gets possessed by the spirit of the older sister and from that point seems destined to get involved in a sadistic Audition-style relationship with our male lead of constantly stabbing or torturing him, then caring for his wounds and offering him sweets to ease the pain before beginning the cycle all over again, much as the older sister did with her younger one! The ambivalent response of our male lead to that situation perhaps only adds to the frisson of the coda.

There is also that interesting suggestion that Yumi herself might have been the dangerous element in the centre of the film almost in spite of herself, from the way that she is rather withdrawn from her friends at the beginning to the way that the is the only person able to 'understand' the ghost of the mother at the end, and forgive her. Not to mention the final merging with the older sister perhaps 'self actualising' her in the most disturbing of ways! Truly "abuse does breed more abuse" (as mentioned in the early lecture scene) in this film in the most horribly literal manner, even when the person who was abused had at first seemed to have escaped the cycle.
So it is an interesting film, and kind of one which calls time on the whole Japanese horror cycle in some ways. Or at least it makes for the perfect ending point of the 'pure' Japanese horror cycle, as it was around this time that other horror films from different parts of Asia (The Eye from Hong Kong/Singapore; Shutter from Thailand; Phone from South Korea; the Hong Kong/Japan/South Korean co-production Three Extremes anthology films) start taking up the mantle often with a much more pronounced moral/religious/cultural deep dive element to them (or at least one which does not treat the priest as a bit of a pompous and phony authority figure used for laughs as he is in the televised exorcism scene in One Missed Call!) that sort of underlines that cultural shift from the more modern and Western-influenced, perhaps overly technologically influenced, Japanese setting. I assume from seeing that the One Missed Call sequels start doing the same thing (One Missed Call 2 apparently goes to Taiwan at some point; and One Missed Call: Final takes a trip to Korea) that it might be illustrating that trend within its own series to a certain extent.

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