One Missed Call

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Starring Shannyn Sossamon and Edward Burns. Rated 14A.

While exiting the theatre after a screening of One Missed Call, I overheard a barrage of extremely negative viewer comments. The derisive chatter was enough to renew my faith in today’s mainstream horror crowd.

The latest Americanization of a Japanese fright flick (renegade director Takashi Miike’s Chakushin ari), OMC is one lame-assed effort. It concerns a gaggle of college-age friends who suffer violent deaths shortly after receiving voice-mail recordings of each other’s final moments. Shannyn Sossamon of the vampire TV series Moonlight tries desperately to bring some substance to her role as heroic victim-to-be Beth Raymond, but Andrew Klavan’s preposterous script makes it a lost cause.

Edward Burns fares even worse with his hokey portrayal of a sensitive detective whose sister’s untimely demise is connected to the predictable chain of Final Destination–type deaths. Slackers and bimbos alike get impaled by flying metal rods and strangled by invisible hands before comically coughing up little red balls of candy.

The moronic tone of the film is set before the opening credits roll, when a young woman is drowned by a disembodied hand that pops up out of her rich parents’ back-yard pond. Moments later, the victim’s curious cat suffers the same watery fate. By all means, take out the self-absorbed chatterbox with the shameful cellphone bill, but spare the poor kitty.

No wonder the marketers at Warner Bros. did not preview this embarrassing clunker for critics. Anyone searching for an effective supernatural-horror fix in theatres right now should visit The Orphanage instead.

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