Saturday, March 26, 2011

In short: End Call (2008)

A gaggle of high school kids lead so crappy lives they just can't help themselves when they learn about a mysterious phone number under which the Devil or the Grim Reaper makes one's wishes come true for the small price of the time of life a call takes. Well, plus the financial costs of a never-ending call. Not surprisingly, everyone calling the number ends up dead in increasingly stupid ways sooner or later.

This one's a terrible mess. Kiyoshi Yamamoto's direction is quite pretty to look at, and the acting's decent enough. Unfortunately, End Call doesn't actually contain enough ideas or plot for ninety minutes of film, and what's there of them doesn't make much sense. In a practical turn of events, not making any sense is also what the character motivations do. These very basic problems of the script are only made more clear by a distracting and useless approach to non-chronological storytelling. There are good and interesting reasons to tell a story in out if its timely order - "because the audience would otherwise realize even easier how stupid our plot is" is not one of them.

Add to this Yamamoto's inability to turn his pretty pictures into a moody - and don't even start about creepy or spooky or disturbing - film, and the script's insistence on shovelling every Lifetime Movie (or whatever the Japanese version of them is) cliché about "the youth of today" on screen - there's schoolgirl prostitution, dubious web sites, depression, cutting and everything else you could think of apart from drugs and projectile vomiting - without understanding even a single one of it, and you'll only need an exceedingly stupid double twist ending to really make my life as a fan of Asian horror cinema completely miserable.

In a not very surprising, yet still painful, turn of events, End Call does not disappoint in this respect - the twist is in fact double, and as stupid as any masochist could hope for.


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