One Missed Call





The film begins with a group of college students at a restaurant. While Yumi Nakamura is trying to turn on the pot for sukiyaki, Natsumi Konishi tells her friends about Yumi's fear of peering into holes. Upon being asked whether her fear stems from a past trauma, Yumi has a flashback involving somebody clipping nails and an eye peering through a hole. One boy, Kenji, at the table relates a story about how a friend of his moved into an apartment and committed siucide and how he was haunted by the ghost of a woman. A ghostly hand appears on Yumi's shoulder and slithers out of sight. Yumi turns to see Yoko Okazaki (Anna Nagata) dressed in all black. She just came from the funeral of a high school friend.

Yumi accompanies Yoko to the bathroom while she changes clothes. Yoko tells Yumi how her friend died. Apparently she and others were swimming in a lake when the girl drowned. She was found encased in a block of ice with a terrified look frozen upon her face. While washing her hands, Yoko's cell phone rings. Yumi notifies Yoko, but Yoko says that isn't her normal ringtone. She picks up her phone and notices that she has one missed call. She and Yumi listen to the message that comes from the day after tomorrow. They hear the bell of the warning of an incoming train and Yoko saying, "Oh no, it's raining." Then both girls are shocked by a horrific scream coming from the phone. The message is replayed for the benefit of the rest of the group at dinner. After a bit of discussion, Kenji says that a friend of his has a hotel at a nearby lake and they all make plans to spend a weekend there together and program Kenji's cell phone number into their phones. The mysterious message is seemingly put out of mind.

In a morgue, a man approaches the body of a woman and he opens her mouth to search inside the windpipe for something. He is caught by a worker.

Cue to two days later. Yumi, Natsumi, and Yoko are in a child psychology class and Yoko is too busy text-messaging Kenji (for whom she is dumping her boyfriend) to pay attention to the lecture. Yoko is called upon the professor to reiterate the day's lesson, which is "Abuse spawns abuse." The bell rings to dismiss class and Yoko leaves for her part-time job. Natsumi notices that Yumi is lost in her own world, a sullen look upon her face. When asked what's wrong, Yumi gives a fake smile and says she's fine.

Later that evening, Yumi receives a phone call from Yoko. The same warning bells are heard from the message from two days ago. Yoko invites Yumi to go swimsuit shopping for the trip to the lake. As Yoko is talking, several chains on the chain link fence on the bridge that protect bystanders from the train tracks are broken by an invisible force. A few raindrops fall on Yoko's hand and she says, "Oh no, it's raining." Both girls freeze as they recall the message. An odd sound is heard and Yoko turns around. She screams the exact scream from the message and is thrown through the fence onto an incoming train. She is trapped between the moving train and the steel beams holding the cables. Two girls who were talking on the bridge have witnessed this event. The camera then shows Yoko's severed arm dialing a number on the cell phone.

At Yoko's funeral, Yumi goes to Yoko's room and while upstairs, she notices a strange man (the same man from the morgue) roaming the premises. She leaves with Natsumi where they hear a group of high school girls talking about Yoko's death. One says that Yoko must have gotten the phone call. Yumi confronts the girl and Yumi and Natsumi are told about a phone call that comes from a time in the near future that is also the time of the recipient's death. The girl whose funeral Yoko attended earlier received a similar call.

A couple of days after Yoko's death, Yumi and Kenji are talking about the death and Kenji is a little freaked out. He hands Yumi his cell phone which has a message that comes from only two minutes from that point in time. In the message, Kenji says, "Aw shit, I totally forgot", and then screams. Kenji convinces himself that it's just a cruel prank and heads to the elevator. A girl Kenji knows calls to him and tells him that he is supposed to be at their study group. Kenji says, "Aw shit, I totally forgot", and gets a look of horror on his face. The elevator behind him opens up to reveal nothing but the shaft. The odd sound that is heard right before Yoko was thrown from the bridge is heard again and invisible hands grab Kenji's ankles and drag him down the elevator shaft. The doors close and Yumi falls to her knees. The doors open again to show a group of students in the elevator car and notice a shocked Yumi. Kenji is shown at the bottom of the elevator coughing up blood and a red candy ball.

That night, Natsumi spends the night at Yumi's apartment. Natsumi's cell phone rings, but it's only her ex-boyfriend. Yumi hangs up the phone and turns Natsumi's and her own phones off. The girls go to bed, but Yumi is restless and gets up a few hours later. A phone rings. It's the same creepy ring that came from Yoko's phone. Yumi wakes up Natsumi in a panic and the girls check Yumi's phone. She's safe. But that means Natsumi's phone was the recipient of the phone call. This time, instead of a message, it's a picture on the phone's screen. It's of Natsumi and the ghostly appearance of a young woman behind her.

The TV news media has gotten wind of these frightening messages and they soon corner a fearful Natsumi and offer her an opportunity to appear on a TV show with an exorcist. They promise to get rid of whatever maleovent spirit that is planning to kill Natsumi. She accepts, despite Yumi's objections, willing to do anything that will prevent her upcoming death. The TV crew drags her away, leaving Yumi alone. She notices the strange man from Yoko's funeral and runs to confront him. His name is Yamashita Hiroshi (Tsutsumi Shinichi) and he's been obsessively following the case of the odd phone calls ever since his sister, Ritsuko, supposedly received such a call and later died of severe burns from a fire. The two team up to solve the mystery, hopefully before Natsumi's time is up.

They start by finding the owners of a phone number off of Hiroshi's sister's burnt phone. It is a hospital and they have no records of either Ritsuko or Yoko being there. While at the hospital, Yumi hears the odd sound that appeared at the deaths of both Yoko and Kenji. It turns out to be the spray of an inhaler for an astmatic girl in a wheelchair downstairs.

They go to the police station for help, but are denied by the police chief. They later go to a guy who has various pictures of corpses looking for a bit more information. He shows them, amongst others, a picture of a ten-year old girl named Mimiko Mizunuma (Karen Oshima) who died of an asthma attack. They learn of a woman named Marie Mizunuma (Mariko Tsutsui) who is suspected of abusing her two young daughters.

No closer to solving the mystery, they go to the studio where the TV show that Natsumi is appearing on is set to film. The exorcist is starting his ritual and there's a large clock counting down the seconds to where Natsumi's message is from. Strange things begin to happen and Yumi and Hiroshi break past security onto the set. A disembodied voice says, "Let me take you...", and Natsumi's body starts twisting around abnormally. Her head is turned around and around until it completely tears off, Natsumi's body falls to the floor. Natsumi's severed head coughs up a red candy ball, like Kenji and it rolls to Yumi. Yumi's cell phone then rings the ringtone of death, signaling that she is next in line. Her message comes from just 16 hours in the future and says only, "Why...?"

Hiroshi takes Yumi to her apartment and he notices cigarette burn scars on Yumi's arm. He becomes upset when Yumi tells him that the injuries were inflicted from a cruel mother. Her father worked too much and never was around. Her grandmother tried to protect her, up until one horrible day. Yumi has a flashback to coming home from school as a young girl. Her mother, clipping her toenails, tells Yumi to get her grandmother. Yumi obeys and goes to her grandmother's room. She sees a hole burnt through the paper wall and she backs away, right into her mother. Yumi's mother burns the little girl with her cigarette and grabbing Yumi by her hair, she forces her to look through the hole. She sees her grandmother has hung herself. Young Yumi screams and present-day Yumi completely falls apart.

With little time left, the two work on unraveling what's behind the calls. They figure it has to be Marie's spirit, still wanting to cause harm to people. Hiroshi is led to a little girl named Nanako Mizunuma at a children's hospital. She is mute, supposedly due to abuse. Nanako is pretending to listen to her teddy bear's heart with a play stethescope. One of the women who works at the hospital presses the teddy bear's belly, which in turn plays a song. It happens to be the exact tune that is the ringtone heralding death. It is from a popular children's program. Hiroshi asks Nanako if she knows where her mother is, but Marie has been nowhere to be found for the past six months.

Hiroshi and Yumi end up at Mizunuma's apartment, which has stayed exactly the same, though the tenants have left six months ago. Yumi finds the torn picture of Nanako, Marie, and Mimiko, and also sees the ghost of a woman in the cabinet above her.

Now positive that it's Marie that is behind the deaths, Yumi ends up at a long-abandoned hospital late at night. Yumi only has a very short time left. As she enters the hospital, she hears a cell-phone ring, and the ring-tone sounds like Yamashita's. She then heads to look for the source. She finds a cell-phone crawling with maggots, that has a call waiting for her; as she runs out of the room, the ghost of a woman creeps up behind her. Then, she is being haunted by a ghost pushing jars of preserved fetuses towards her, and the ghost eventually puts a jar in Yumi's arms. She flees, then something is dragging her, and then she sees a girl slamming a cupboard shut, and is then found by Hiroshi. As they head for the door, they find the door to the outside chained; when Hiroshi tries to unlock the shackles, a woman's hand grabs his hand, and then something slams the door with force, and then a force makes an imprint of what appears to be a face. They then run into a room, and they get ready for whatever that was, and just when they thought they were safe, they both hear the sound of the ring-tone of death; the phone displays "Your life remaining: 56 seconds". After the ring-tone stops, Yamashita sees the corpse of Marie with a cell-phone calling Yumi's phone. Yamashita stops the call, Yumi then goes toward the box with Marie, and Marie reanimates, and walks towards Yumi, Hiroshi pulls Yumi away from the corpse and as they are about to leave, and invisible force separates Yumi and Yamashita. Marie then closes in on Yumi, and gets ready to choke her. Hiroshi, who is trying to get into the room, hears his sister's voice. He turns to see her, and she tells him that each person has "several skies". Then she disappears. Yumi then "sees her mother" in the corpse and embraces her. Hiroshi then breaks in the room and finds Yumi with the corpse.

Hiroshi drops Yumi off at home and goes to the police station. The same woman from the children's hospital has brought in a video tape from a camcorder in the Mizunuma's apartment. The tape shows an incident where Mimiko slits Nanako's arm with a large kitchen knife. Mimiko tells the crying Nanako that she'll take her to the hospital. Marie Mizunuma comes in to find Nanako on the floor and Mimiko holding the knife and a cell-phone. Marie is upset that it's been Mimiko abusing Nanako all along and that she has been unjustly accused of the abuse. Mimiko begins coughing and goes into an asthma attack. Marie picks up Nanako and takes her to the hospital, momentary glancing at her older daughter, turning blue from lack of oxygen. When Mimiko fell to the floor, she landed on Nanako's teddy bear, which played the song from before. Mimiko dies shortly thereafter.

Nanako is brought in, and, silent at first, she speaks up when Hiroshi finds a red candy ball in Nanako's purse. Nanako then explains that whenever her sister hurt her, she would give her candy and wish her a speedy recovery. Hiroshi runs to Yumi's apartment in light of this new information.

Yumi has showered and while drying her hair, she doesn't notice that her clock is going backwards. It resumes normally when it reaches the time when Yumi was supposed to die. Yumi hears Hiroshi at her door, asking if she's OK. Yumi runs to the door, but realizes that it sounds like Hiroshi's voice on repeat. He keeps asking her if she's OK. Yumi, getting over her phobia of looking through small holes, notices Mimiko standing there. Yumi moves out of the way just in time to avoid getting impaled by a sharp metal object. She goes to her living room where she finds Mimiko sitting on her couch, eating candy. Yumi asks, "Why...?" which appeared to be Mimiko's cue. She slowly comes toward Yumi, who then screams in horror.

Hiroshi bursts into Yumi's apartment to find Yumi sitting on her couch, reading a magazine. She looks up at Hiroshi in puzzlement. He asks her if she's OK and she goes to him saying that she's fine. He hugs her and then looks down. Yumi has stabbed him in the stomach. He falls to the floor and looks into the mirror to see not Yumi's reflection, but Mimiko.

Hiroshi blacks out and has a dream that he is at the Mizunuma apartment and finds a barely-breathing Mimiko on the floor. He holds the little girl and administers the inhaler medication. He wakes up in a hospital to find Yumi standing nearby. She goes over to him, holding a large kitchen knife. She leans down and drops a ball from her mouth into his. Hiroshi accepts the candy and enjoys the flavor. Yumi steadies her grip on the knife and smiles as the film ends










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Directed by Takashi Miike
Produced by Yoichi Arishige
Fumio Inoue
Naoki Sato
Written by Yasushi Akimoto
Minako Daira
Starring Kou Shibasaki
Shin'ichi Tsutsumi
Kazue Fukiishi
Anna Nagata
Atsushi Ida
Mariko Tsutsui
Kumiko Imai
Keiko Tomita
Music by  
Distributed by  
Release date(s) Jan 17, 2004
Running time 112 mins.
Language Japanese


















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