Film: One Missed Call

One Missed Call (着信アリ) is a Japanese horror franchise that began with the Yasushi Akimoto novel Chakushin ari

It was adapted into a film, which was Takashi Miike's romp into commercial horror. The story centers on Yumi, a college student whose friends begin to receive mysterious voicemails, announced by a creepy children's song. The only one who believes her friend's deaths aren't suicides (at first) is a young policeman named Yamashita, whose sister also received the Call of Death.

It was later followed by two sequels - One Missed Call 2 and One Missed Call Final and an infamous Hollywood remake. A ten-episode TV Spinoff series was made in 2005. Manga adaptations and a pachinko video game were also produced.

Tropes used by the films:

  • Abusive Parents: In both versions - social Services suspected this to be the case with Marie. Actually subverted - it was an abusive sister. Marie discovered the abuse just before she and Ellie (Mimiko) died
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: Cell phones. Though admittedly, the phones themselves aren't sentient.
  • Black Dude Dies First: In the remake. Poor Meagan Good.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: And will reach you, through any phone. And if you should somehow lose or destroy your phone, it will kindly return it to you.
  • Calling Card: Each victim spits out a hard red candy, which the killer gave to her victim when she was taken to the hospital.
    • In the first sequel, Li Li's victims instead have coal dust from the mine she was sealed in found in their stomach.
  • Cat Scare: In the first movie, Yumi and Yamashita are investigating an abandoned apartment when suddenly a noisy flock of pigeons flies past the window.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: A literal one in Yumi's classroom scene, where we are taught what Munchausens By Proxy is. The ghost has it
  • Child by Rape: Mimiko, as revealed in the first sequel.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Marie, the mother of Mimiko
    • On the other hand, Marie did allow Mimiko to die rather than find help for her and the first sequel revealed that she wished Mimiko was never born and likely abused her, so she is no innocent herself.
  • Creepy Child: Mimiko. And in One Missed Call 2, both her and Li Li.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Yoko is pushed in front of a train and has her arm and leg cut off, Kenji is pushed to his death in an elevator shaft, Natsumi decapitates herself...
  • Dark Secret: The killer ghost wasn't of the mother of the two girls, it was the older sister.
  • Daylight Horror: Some of the gruesome supernatural deaths, in all three movies, occur in broad daylight.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Marie, the mother of Mimiko.
  • Doomed Protagonist:
    • Yoko dies from being pushed to a running train.
    • Kenji dies from being dragged by the feet to the bottom of an elevator.
    • Natsumi dies while being aired on TV by having most of her joints dislocated and is ultimately decapitated.
    • Yumi... just when it was believed she would survive the curse (because her predicted time passed and she was still alive), the watch in her apartment rotates anticlockwise to the predicted time. What happens next is ambiguous, but nonetheless led to Yumi's death as revealed in the sequel.
    • Yamashita was stabbed, he appears to have survived but the Yumi went to him in the hospital with a knife behind her back...
  • Evil Elevator: One of the deaths in the first film happens when an elevator's doors open without the car actually being there.
  • For the Evulz: Kind of subverted, since the spirit has Munchausens By Proxy.
    • More subverted in One Missed Call 2, which clarifies the ending of the first film to explain that Mimiko and Li Li are searching for more people like them to convert, which is still evil but at least a motive. In the remake it is not so subverted however, since after its first few victims, the ghost really seems to have no reason to kill anybody besides plain old sociopathy.
  • Famous Last Words: All of the victims' final words.
  • Gainax Ending: At the end of the first movie, Yumi is confronted by the ghost, but then Yamashita shows up to talk to her and she seems fine. Until she stabs him. And then he sees Mimiko's reflection in the mirror where Yumi should be. Then he wakes up in a hospital bed, and Yumi's alone in the room with him. She has a knife hidden behind her back. She somberly leans over and kisses him, transferring a red candy from her mouth to his. He sucks on it in close-up, then looks up to Yumi, who's now smiling happily as if she were laughing at something. Roll credits! Over a cheery J-pop love song, no less.
  • Ghostly Goals: Mimiko is looking for people like her who felt abused or wronged (her mother left her to die) to turn into more vengeful ghosts. In the second movie, it turns out this was actually Li Li's goal first, and Mimiko was one of the people she "converted."
  • Haunted Technology: Phones, mainly. In the third film, this also includes a computer.
  • Hell Is That Noise: In addition to the creepy ringtone, the first movie has the sound of Mimiko's asthma inhaler.
  • A House Divided: The main hook of One Missed Call: Final; a bunch of students on a field trip to South Korea turn against one another when they are sent curse-bearing text messages that they can forward to someone else so that they die in their place.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: The aforementioned ringtone.
  • It Won't Turn Off: Subverted in so far as characters do in fact manage to turn off their phones. Double-subverted when the phones turn themselves back on when the cursed call comes, and then taken to an extreme level of subversion when a character gets rid of her phone only to get the call on someone else's phone the minute she takes it - and then extra-extremely subverted when her original phone shows up again from nowhere. And again when Yumi's phone, which was broken in half and tossed in a fish tank, shows up again perfectly fine at the climax!
  • Jump Scare: All three movies have plenty of these, some more "legitimate" than others. See Cat Scare above.
  • Mirror Scare: In the first movie, when Yumi is in the Abandoned Hospital, she passes by a mirror. A ghost follows her, but you can only see it in the reflection.
  • Mouth Stitched Shut: In the second movie, Li Li, who had this done to her by angry villagers. One scene also shows the main character with her mouth stitched, and an urban legend that may or may not be related to Li Li is mentioned in the movie and uses this trope.
  • Offing the Offspring: Marie allows Mimiko to die of an asthma attack when she discovers that she has been abusing her younger sister for years.
  • Ominously Open Door: When Yumi arrives at the Abandoned Hospital in the first film, she can't find a way in until she comes across one of these... which was closed just a moment ago. Not only is the place filled with ghosts, Marie Mizunuma's dead body is inside.
  • Police Are Useless: Except for Yamashita. Double Subverted in that he doesn't accomplish anything but getting himself killed.
  • Revival Loophole: The sequel shows that if you answer the planned victim's missed call, the victim with survive but you will be killed in that person's place.
    • The second sequel even expands this more; the planned victims receive a message along with their call that if they send their death to anyone on their contact list, the victim will be spared.
  • Shower Scene: Yumi in the first movie. Not just for fanservice; when she bends over to wash the shampoo out of her hair, the ghost is revealed standing behind her.
  • Spooky Photographs: In the first movie, Natsumi gets these instead of a voicemail from the future.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Before she died, Mimiko regularly abused her younger sister to the point of hospitalization. After she died, she got much worse.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: What the curse does to Natsumi.
  • The Unreveal: Most people find the ending of the first movie very, very confusing. The second movie explains it, but still in a somewhat vague way that counts as a Mind Screw.
    • The sequel shows that Mimiko turns people with tragic childhoods into murderers by bringing out the darkness in their hearts.
  • Urban Legends: There's one mentioned in One Missed Call 2 involving a ghost with a stitched-up mouth appearing beside your bed at night and asking you to play with her. May or may not be about Li Li, a ghost in the movie with a stitched mouth - there's no other apparent connection and that's not how Li Li actually operates.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Though it wrapped up the film series, One Missed Call: Final can feel rather incomplete since it doesn't even acknowledge the existence of Li Li, the ghost from the second movie who was revealed to have started the curse in the first place and, as far as we know, is still active.
  • Woman in White: Marie, plus Mimiko. Yumi at the end of the first movie possibly due to her death.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: In the first movie everyone who receives the call dies. Even if the announced time passed and you are still alive, the clock will turn back anticlockwise to aforementioned time and you will still be killed. (Such was Yumi's case.)
    • Inverted in the second and third movies as follows:
    • In the second movie: A person can be saved if someone else picks up the call intended for the doomed person.
    • In the third movie: People get an additional message with their call saying:
    "You won't die if you forward this." Made especially creepy when said by Mimiko.