Saturday, September 13, 2008

One Missed Call 2 (Chakushin Ari 2)

At a Chinese restaurant, a phone belonging to a girl named Mei Feng rings, but no one answers it. Her father, Mr. Wang, picks up the phone, and sees that the call is from her boyfriend, whom he complains about. But in the kitchen with a waiter, a boy named Naoto, the phone rings again. This time, it's the cursed tone from the first film, and sure enough, the caller ID reports that it's Mei Feng. Mr. Wang answers it, and hears his daughter scold him for leaving the oil on the stove, before she suddenly screams. But before they can question what they just heard, in comes Mei Feng, who is happy that her dad found her phone, but angry with him for messing with it.

Naoto's girlfriend, Kyoko, and her friend, Madoka, show up at the restaurant. It turns out they are also friends of Mei Feng, and since Mei Feng's cell is apparently a new one with a new number, she calls Kyoko and Madoka so they can save her new number. Madoka's phone rings with the cursed tone, however. This prompts the girls to discuss the girl who got killed on TV, informing us in the process that the events of the previous movie happened a year ago. Meanwhile, Naoto goes back into the kitchen and find Mr. Wang dead.

A reporter named Takako is interested in the case. She learns from the detective that there was no red candy, and that Mr. Wang didn't have a phone, which separates Mr. Wang's death from the killings a year back. The following day, she talks to Naoto. Naoto confirms the sound of the ringtone, and remarks that he heard it again on Madoka's phone. He tries to call Madoka, but only gets weird static, so he and Takako head for Madoka's place.

Meanwhile, Kyoko was taking care of Mei Feng and talking to Madoka on the phone with a video chat. Kyoko is startled to see a girl behind Madoka. The girl appears to be reaching for Kyoko, so she throws the phone away. Madoka, puzzled, notices she had a missed call from herself while talking to Kyoko. She listens to the voicemail, and hears a sound like running water, and herself screaming. Nervously noting that the time of the voicemail was just a few minutes in the future, she hesitantly looks for anything unusual in her apartment, when she hears the shower dripping in the bathroom...

Kyoko goes to Madoka's apartment, where she finds Madoka's body. Moments later, Takako and Naoto arrive, just in time to hear Kyoko's phone ringing with the cursed ringtone. They get a picture of Kyoko against a fence near a danger sign, from three days in the future. In an effort to save Kyoko, Takako continues her investigation, which leads the three of them to Taiwan, where mysterious cell phone killings have been happening since before the ghost in the first film was even dead...

In an effort to cash in on the success of the first One Missed Call, we get a sequel with a different director. And while One Missed Call 2 does have its moments, it's nowhere near as good as the first.

For starters, you'd think the new director (Renpei Tsukamoto) thought that the first movie was successful because of how liberally it borrowed from other horror films. Tsukamoto continues to the trend by adding a spunky divorced female reporter, a well, and a creepy ghost crawling down the stairs scene. There's even a psychic scene where we're shown what happened to the ghost in the film, and naturally one of the main characters starts to feel sympathy, ala Ryoko for Sadako.

The movie has it's moments. The ghost in this film is pretty active, and there are some scenes that definitely made me jump. The problem was that even while I was jumping, a voice in the back of my head was saying, "What the heck? This movie makes no sense." For starters, since this was a different ghost, why'd their calls sound the same? Even though it's hinted that this ghost was responsible for the death of the ghost in the first movie, the ringtone itself had a very specific tie to that ghost. The movie fails to explain what, if anything, Takako's dead twin had to do with anything. And finally, in an effort to help explain the ending of the first movie, One Missed Call 2 tries to tie everything back to the ghost in the first movie, but offers no logical explanation to make the connection stick.

If you're a fan of Asian ghost stories, you'll probably get some enjoyment out of One Missed Call 2. But confusing plot points and half-baked ties to the first one make for an overall poorer sequel.

Final Score: C


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