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2nd Oct 04
Soon after Ji-won gets a new cell phone, her friend's young daughter, Yeong-ju, puts it to her ear and immediately begins screaming in terror. When other strange things start happening in connection with the phone, Ji-Won investigates, discovering that almost all of the people who had the same number before her before her, had died suddenly under unusual circumstances.
It starts with a phone call - sound familiar! Well, you'd be forgiven for thinking you've heard this story before: A teenage girl/s gets an
ominous phone call on a dark and stormy night, the usually domestic hum of the ring suddenly becoming the portent, foretelling of a disaster! And with this latest instalment of the increasingly popular Japanese/Korean cycle of cult-horror films, the basic premise is the same.
This time the recipient/s of the phone call/s are not only tormented by their landlines but also by their mobile phones. Which leads to some interesting nowhere-to-run, nowhere-to-hide scenarios, as the victims become increasingly desperate in their attempts to escape the danger.
The plot is typically made up of a female heroine who has recently begun recieving these messages. And as is usual for this kind of movie, she decides unlike the other victims to try to get to the bottom of the mystery, as there is no other way to survive this vengeful ghost that has returned from the dead. What makes the situation worse is the fact that like in Ring which this film mirrors strongly, the vengeful spirit is not just restricted to phone calls but is also able to cross over from the other world into this one by means of demonic possession!
This elevates the level of terror up a notch or two as the daughter of a friend of the main protagonist becomes possessed by this spirit and only then does it very slowly become apparent that the heroine's close relationship with
the childhood friend's family might have something to do with the events that are unfolding, and it's at this point that the film tries to establish a link between the victims and does a pretty good job of weaving an elaborate tapestry of cause and effect!
Unfortunately the film does drag a little in the middle and it takes rather a long time for things to start to make sense. Also the film doesn't tie up all of the loose ends, and by the end you will still be asking a couple of questions about who, what, where, when and why! But thankfully these small problems don't ruin what is essentially a reasonably scary film, It is however a shame that because the film has appropriated the Ring cycle's blueprint so thoroughly the audience is naturally going to end up drawing comparisons between the two films and judging one against the other, a fact that will not help the film as it wins no points for originality and Ring was clearly a better film.
But then in an industry where all films are an amalgamation of ideas or elements borrowed from other films it's not always such a bad thing to release a film that copies a tried and tested formula, as long as the said film has something new to offer. This film doesn't really offer any particularly noteworthy new twists or takes, but is still entertaining to watch and at the end of the day that's what's important, right!
4th Oct 04 With its fine blend of dark humour and shock horror, you will barely be able to avert your gaze from the screen; from the opening sequence on the desolate moors, to the thrilling finale in Piccadilly Circus.