One Missed Call Blu-ray Review
PictureOne Missed Call arrives on BD with its 1.85:1 image encoded via VC-1 and is, in my opinion, quite underwhelming. Whilst it does nothing especially wrong - indeed there are no compression defects, no artefacts and only a minimal amount of edge enhancement - the picture fails to lift from the screen for the majority of the film's running time and possesses a subdued, often downbeat aesthetic that reduces the clarity and sharpness of the image to looking only slightly more highly defined than its SD counterpart - which I was able to look at for purposes of comparison. In fact, there are really only two scenes that had anything that resembled the three-dimensional pop that you would expect from a recently-made movie appearing on Blu-ray. The first occurs when several characters are talking on the porch outside Beth's house - with the view of Taylor perched on the rail against the view of the other side of the road offering a nice degree of depth - and the second comes when Beth's bright yellow taxi glides by us in a kind of tandem tracking shot - the image here looks gleaming and resplendent and full of depth. But the film, as a whole, seems to lack this sense of fullness and realism.
Colour can be very good at times. That bright yellow taxi, for instance. Or the eerie blue glow from a phone held against someone's ear. The flames during the fiery prologue are reasonably vibrant too, and the disc certainly makes the odd daytime external shot look crisp and colourful, with a keen sense of green and blue. Skin tones are of the “happy Hollywood” style, but come across pretty well and facial detail, particularly for Ed Burns and Ray Wise, can be acute and finite. Detail elsewhere is not something that offered much to discuss, unfortunately. The rapid glimpses of otherworldly spooks and surreal apparitions are well presented, with even far away phantoms revealing their distinctive disfigurements with some alacrity. The shimmering vapours that curl around the occasional character or spectre may look a tad corny, but their appearance is not the least shoddy in 1080p, with nice little wisps clearly delineated. Detail within the burned-out hospital, sadly, doesn't reveal anything of special interest and the image can often be compromised by the level of noise apparent across it which, although not a distraction in itself, can serve to remove much in the way of background information, rendering some scenes flat and somewhat banal.
I wasn't very impressed with the strength of the blacks either, which may be serviceable, but are nowhere near the depth necessary to convey the appropriate atmosphere of dread. Shadows lose integrity and contrast is not as distinctive as it should be. However, One Missed Call is not strictly a bad transfer - it is merely an unimpressive one.
SoundWith a TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) track that loves its .LFE, One Missed Call can be a pretty bass-heavy experience at times. The first act literally loves its deep, reverberating sub activity with perhaps a little too much unnecessary vigour. Seemingly every effect for the first ten minutes or so is emboldened by thrusting, intense bass - not just the thunderous pounding of a racing heartbeat that pummels the rear speakers, or the galvanising shockwaves of exploding windows and the whole fiery bombast of the blazing hospital sequence, but simple stinger effects, rolling musical ambience and slowly building background noise. This dominant sub-mix during these early scenes, as ear-pleasing as it is, is hardly convincing, its overkill accumulation of floor-rumbling excess not exactly in-keeping with the visuals it accompanies. And to highlight the track's lack of consistency after the first act, listen to the train during one of the early deaths - we've already had tremendous bass, so we know what the mix is capable of, so why is the train so flat and un-dynamic, then? However, the TrueHD does a fine enough job of wrapping you up within the folds of the film's soundscape. All the speakers are very well utilised with steerage reasonably well achieved - although several leagues behind the accuracy and naturalism of, say, I, Robot, Beowulf or, especially, The Orphanage - and plenty of activity within the environment.
There is the obligatory rainstorm, deep body impacts, slammings of doors and the shattering of glass that no self-respecting horror movie should be without and the eerie ring-tone of the accursed phones is always clearly held within the mix. Dialogue is clean and crisp and there is a degree of directionality to the voices around the set-up and an agreeable sense of depth. One element that I didn't like was the high-pitched buzzing-cum-crackling, like radio interference, that tended to emanate from the rear right speaker at intermittent, shock-cut times. At first I though this was a fault with the speaker, itself, but having heard this now on two separate systems, I can only surmise that it is either an intentional effect or a fault with the disc itself. Basically, whatever it is, it doesn't sound good to my ears. But, either way, One Missed Call still packs a punch in the audio department, even if its aural environment comes across as unevenly created on some occasions.
Overall, this is not of a top-tier class, but fans of sudden blurting FX and loud atmospherics will probably be happy enough with the results.
ExtrasIf you would like to know of the director's intentions for the film, or the thought processes that went into making it; or the opinions of the actors captured on-set in snazzy behind-the-scenes snippets; or how they accomplished the effects - then you've definitely come to the wrong place. Not even a trailer has found its way onto this barer than bare bones disc.
Although, to be honest, who actually cares what went into the making of this insipid yawn-fest anyway?
A big fat zilch out of ten.
VerdictWell, I've got to be honest about this, folks - One Missed Call is a woeful excuse for a horror movie. It pitches in a vast amount of creepy incident and a reasonable curse/ghost story explanation, yet it wrecks any mood it may have attained with inept editing, a pace that is all or nothing and characters that you just couldn't care less about. It doesn't help when you have the charisma-bereft Ed Burns as your leading man, sleepwalking his way through the plot and draining it almost completely of tension. Sossamon, herself, does little to elevate the conventions of the modern horror movie heroine, although she is actually not as bad as I had originally anticipated. The other teens around her are uniformly dire enough to make up for this though.
Warner's disc is lacking in every department except for its TrueHD sound design which, whilst occasionally rather clumsily bass-heavy and a little uneven in the showcasing of its effects, still manages to bring the film to life and give your speakers a decent enough workout for the duration. But the image is not at all what you would expect from a recent movie with a 1080p transfer and delivers virtually squat of high-def glory.
In short - avoid the release altogether ... it's 24 carat clag.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.31
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