I myself had one missed call when I left the theater after the latest J-horror remake "One Missed Call."
This might have been unsettling if a) the movie had been any good and b) cell phones were in any way frightening.
The only thing I'm scared of with my phone is I'll forget to turn it off during a movie, get a call (I get one, sometimes two a week, so you never know), then get KO'd by a hail of JujyFruits. And JujyFruits aren't even that good, so it's not like I'd have much fun if I ate them afterwards. Not to say I wouldn't.
And not that a film like "One Missed Call" lives or dies by the amount of terror a cell phone can induce. I don't think clowns are scary, in fact I like them, which I know is an unpopular opinion in this anti-jestite age, but "It" and "Killer Clowns From Outer Space" had their moments. Above all others, horror movies can turn common things into powerful things -- it's just that when they don't get the job done, they look all the more ridiculous.
When one of Shannyn Sossamon's friends is drowned in a pond by a ghastly figure, it looks like an accident. Sossamon isn't sure about that, though, and after another of her friends receives a voicemail from herself in the future only to die at the exact time recorded on the message, she begins to suspect something unnatural is afoot.
The policewoman she brings her evidence to brushes her off, but detective Ed Burns, whose own sister recently died under curious circumstances, is more receptive to Sossamon's story. As the calls keep coming, predicting the death of everyone who gets them, Burns and Sossamon begin to piece together the pattern that will lead them to the calls' source.
For most of "One Missed Call's" runtime, which feels lots longer than its 87 minutes, it's in that dull not-very-good stage where weird things happen to run-of-the-mill characters who aren't around for much more than upping the body count as the leads try to unravel the Mystery of the Dying Steamy-Bodied Youths.
Not particularly tense or interesting -- it's hard to build suspense when you have no idea how the magic kill-you guy's rules work -- the movie isn't terrible, either; in fact, if the ending had pulled together all the supernatural nonsense in a halfway creepy manner, it could have redeemed the whole movie. Not up into "Pitch Black" or "The Descent" territory, but maybe something like "Final Destination." A little dumb, but fun enough.
That, however, is not the case here.
Instead, once they finally start figuring out what's going on, it turns out what's going on has been an awful lot of crazy foolishness. Oh, there's a cause for it all, but the paranormal needs to have some logic behind it other than more paranormal Daffy Duckery that makes even less sense. They may as well have said "The Mummy did it! Never trust a man in bandages," then rolled credits.
But like a "Twilight Zone" episode where the writer died halfway through the script, leaving director and crew in a confused gorilla-panic, "One Missed Call" then sputters on for a surprise twist that, in something of a Bizarro World double-twist, doesn't really change anything at all. A pile of crazy foolishness that makes that first pile of crazy foolishness look sane and sensible by comparison, it's a dopey wrap-up that shoots for dark and hits dreadful instead. I tell you what, I walked out with a smile on my face.
That experience is better left for Netflix than a theater, I'd say. There's a reason movies get dumped off in January with just a couple weeks of trailers (that reason is not because they're so great they need no advertising at all). When a movie's biggest draw is its pleasant-looking lead and a few minutes of silliness right there at the end, we've all got better things to do with our time.