December 8, 2007

Phone: Dial "M" for Misbehavior

Adultery. Incest. Murder. There's a decent number of heinous crimes committed in Phone but the worst is not returning calls or text messages from loved ones. In Ahn Byeong-ki's technophobic ghost story, a spurned succubus exacts revenge on anyone unlucky enough to be assigned her cellphone number by delivering "calls for their death." What final utterance she relates into the ear piece is never made clear but it must be pretty terrible since a car crash, a ruined manicure, and an eye-gouging result. Eventually, she has the decency to concentrate her anger on those who actually led to her untimely demise but not before she's driven a sex-crimes reporter (Ha Ji-won) to the brink. Ha, a scream queen in Asia, is certainly believable as the next slated victim who doesn't change her number because she wants to get to the root of the story and demystify her hallucinogenic visions, yet Phone's real star is Eun Seo-woo as the little girl possessed by the avenging spirit. Eun is one of those creepy little kids who can look downright evil one second then sweet and charming the next. You're never sure whether you should feel bad for her or whether someone should hit her over the head with a brick. It's your call.

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