FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 2, 2005

Day 2: (ring ring) "I'll get it... ee-y-a-a-a-a-h!"

So when the 2002 Korean film Phone arrived via Netflix and the description on the envelope read...

A vengeful ghost with a cell phone terrorizes anyone who answers its murderous ring in this twisty horror film. After exposing a sex scandal involving children, gritty reporter Ji-won begins receiving disturbing phone calls. She changes her number, but the ominous calls continue. Ji-won's search for the source of the mysterious calls reveals a rash of unsolved murders- and leads her straight to a serial killer.

...I have to admit I wasn't too excited. In fact, the only image I could conjure in my mind was this one:
Lucky me, though- instead of hokey prosthetics and an actual murdering phone (hey, it's not that outlandish- has anyone seen The Refrigerator?), I got a superior Asian-style horror movie/thriller.

I'm not going to go into the usual amount of detail I tend towards in reviews, because hopefully you'll soon see it for the first time, and I don't want to ruin anything. I will say that it's got the benchmarks you've come to expect from a Tartan Video/Asia Extreme release: vengeful spirits, grotesque imagery, incongruous elements juxtaposed, and lots and lots of hair, usually disembodied. Oh, and if you love to be freaked out by little kids, well, you're in luck. This film has one of the best child performances I've seen in a horror movie- by far the most creepy. Take that, Haley Joel Osment!

Visually, I thought it was stunning. Virtually every scene is bathed exclusively in shades of orange and blue to eerie, I love that liet motif shit. The soundtrack, including the repeated use of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, is noticeable only at the most opportune times- exactly what you want in a soundtrack, particularly in a horror movie. No need for Marilyn Manson blasting over the "scary" moments here.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is on the list for an upcoming watered-down American remake. But seek out this version now for a night of chills. I give it 8-and-a-half out of 10 "Can you hear me now? Mwa ha ha haaaa!"s.

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