“ Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / Theatrical Release: 2006 / Director: Manabu Asou / Actors: Maki Horikita, Meisa Kuroki, Yun-seok Jang, Erika Asakura, Yû Kamiwaki ... / DVD released 2009-07-07 at Tokyo Shock / Features of the DVD: Colour, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, NTSC „
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Having watched and reviewed the first two in the Chakshin Ari (One Missed Call) series, it was only a matter of time until I got my hands on installment three - Chaskushin Ari Final
Before I start my review, it's best if i tell you all something about the first couple of films. The basic premise, as in most good Asian horror, is a 'grudge' curse. That is, some narked off ghost or other coming back to kill people to get her own back.
One missed call's ghost is your standard grudge spirit...wraithlike, pale skin, long dark hair, and a preference for crawling (what is it with the Japanese and crawling? Every ghost in every J-horror I've watched always CRAWLS downstairs, up walls, hanging from the ceiling, but always crawling)
The whole cycle throughout the original one missed call was that people would hear their phones ringing with a spooky ringtone (not the crazy frog then), and before they could answer it the caller would hang up. The strange thing was the calls were always from their own phone, from a date in the future, and always left a message containing the recipients final anguished screams as they died, usually in a horrific manner.
And again, in J-horror fashion, the next lined up victim set out to find the cause, unearthing more ghosts and many tales of abuse. But she gave the ghost some love, ghost was happy, and the curse stepped....
But only for a little while, and then we had Chakushin Ari 2, with the scene shifting slightly as instead of coughing up candy, the victims of the grudge barfed out lumps of coal, leading to a big old expedition to a mining village to find out just what was getting up this ghosts nose. Same eerie ringtone, and same basic premise though , ending with making the ghost happy and everything stopping again for a while .
Chakushin Ari- Final
Right from the start this third installement has a different vibe - whereas in the previous episodes, recieving the phone call from your future meant it was pretty much a given you were going to soon cark it in some horrible way, this time, the message tells you that you can exempt yourself from death by forwarding the message .
It all starts when a bullied student, Pamu, is found hanged at school . She hung herself as a result of violent bullying, and she is found by another student, Asuka, also severely bullied,who is the recipient of the phones first message . Tormented by the fact that the students seem to have laughed off Pamu's death, She see's an opportunity in the death exemtion clause, to rid herself of some of the bullies that have made her life a misery, and while the rest of her class are on a school trip, she stays at home (missed only by her friend Emiri) in front of her computer, with a photo of her classmates up on screen, plotting her revenge .
Meanwhile, on the trip, one of the popular girls in school recieves a phone call, from her future self, showing her with a rope round her neck . Naturally she dismisses it as a joke, and a couple of days later is found dead, with a rope round her neck, while asuka watches the whole death on her computer . A red candy fall out of the victims mouth, and the next call is made to another student, who fails to pass on the message, and also dies in the manner predicted by his phone . The students start to realise that a strange curse is stalking them, and that they need to forward the message - but when you know people will sacrifice others to save themselves, nobody can be trusted, and hysteria and panic breaks out amongst the students .
I'm all for changing it up a little in sequals, it does help to keep things fresh. However, I found the many changes in this film a little confusing. For a start, we're back to red candy in the mouths thing, and the original angry ghost from the first series - and it's not clearly explained why this is . Perhaps something is lost in the subtitles here, but it makes it all a little confusing . I know that Japanese grudge curses like to hang around waiting for an atmosphere of anger and bad feeling that they can feed on, but it seems very coincidental that Mimiko would just be lurking around a group of high school students waiting for one of them to have a bad day so she could hijack their emotions and go on another killing spree .
I liked the forwarding the call to evade death element - although it seems a little as if this was filched from the Ringu movies - as it gave the film a strong air of hysteria and distrust. I also liked the surprise element of Pamu not actually being dead, but in a coma - which then leads to wondering whether it is really Asuka controlling the spirit, or wether Pamu, unable to act for herself, is posessing her mind .
This made the film a little confusing, but I think with horror movies that can sometimes be a positive, as it keeps you guessing right up to the end, and I was surprised by the conclusion of the film .
One negative I have to make is the 'Engrish' in the subtitles , which frankly, were pretty appalling and read like they'd been pushed through an autotranslate program . 'I feel painful' was one of the more noticable ones along with 'Why it's me ?'. They didn't make the film impossible to understand, but they were irritating .
Whilst I enjoyed the film, I can't help but feel that with it being the third in the series, they've tried to hard to change it up, which left it feeling a little botched, and certainly no match for either of the preceeding films . It's still worthy of a watch, but it won't make sense unless you've seen the others, and while it's still a good horror film, with some original and suspenseful moments, it just isn't great .
3 stars - decent, but nothing amazing, with some loose ends that needed tying up .