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Movie Review: Phone (2002)


In Phone, a chilling horror flick released by Asia-Extreme, Ha Ji-won plays an investigative reporter named Ji-won who has just recently finished up a series of articles responsible for exposing an underage sex ring, enabling law enforcement to prosecute many of the men involved. She has already received death threats, but just shrugs them off since the prosecution should be over in a few day time. However, when one actually starts stalking her, she changes her cell number and moves into the giant house that her sister had renovated a little while back.

Of course, the terror doesn't there, for if it did you really wouldn't have a horror movie now would you? First, when she went in to get her new phone number, the computer freaked out and would only allow her to have one specific number. Then she starts to receive calls where the only sound on the other end is a bone-chilling screaming/moaning type noise. And when she checks the phone records to see who made the call... it shows that those calls were never even made.

Then one day when Ji-won and her sister, Ho-Jeong, were visiting an art gallery, and Ji-won's cell phone rings. She quickly runs over to turn it off, but as she heads back over to her sister, Ho-Jeong's daughter, Yeong-ju, takes the phone out of the purse. It rings again, as almost as soon as Yeong-ju puts the phone to her ear, she drops it and begins violently screaming.

Yeong-ju isn't the same after that. She still acts like a perfectly normal child most of the time, but then out of nowhere she'll become what I can only describe as evil. So Ji-won begins her own investigation to find out what is really going on with those phone calls, and there's no way she could ever have imagined where that investigation would eventually take her.

At first I thought this movie was just going to be a slightly altered version of Ringu (or The Ring if you prefer), with a haunted cell phone in place of a haunted videotape, so I was planning to look out for all the similarities to help me make comparisons between the two... but then I actually started watching the film and I totally forgot all about that other movie. So I just have to say right now that this was an awesome horror flick!

The visual style, although not quite as nice to look at as A Tale of Two Sister, was still very well done and was most definitely effective. The audio and music were also merged together smoothly to create the exact atmosphere that is needed during each scene. Most of the acting was up to the task of matching the quality found in the other departments, although there was one really outstanding performance I need to mention, and that's of Seo-woo Eun who played Yeong-ju.

This child was amazing. She was so cute and adorable as Ho-Jeong's innocent young daughter, but then out of nowhere she would transform into this evil looking devil child who looked like she would rip your still-beating heart from your rib cage just so she could have something to play with. I am so glad that my wife was sleeping when I was watching this, because that little girl would have given her nightmares for days.

This movie doesn't have a lot of blood, or even violence for that matter, but it still manages to provide an abundance of terror. And it does all this in conjunction with a story that's not only nicely flushed out, but also never confusing or too "out-there". Bottom line: if you are into horror flicks, this one is a must see.

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