Korean horror gets bad reception
OPENS AUGUST 27, CERT 15, 104 MINS
Although the new wave of Asian horror set into motion by Ring still delivers plenty of shocks and surprises, the high level of output leaves plenty of scope for filler. Ahn Byeoung-ki’s supernatural murder-mystery is a fair-enough time-waster for completists, but the endless grinding of its expository mechanics makes it something of a chore. After a creepy prologue set in an elevator, the story proper creaks into motion: Ji-won is a reporter whose articles on sexual abuse have made her the target of crank phone calls (even worse, the new number she gets appears to be cursed). When her friend’s young daughter takes one of these calls by mistake and subsequently starts acting like a little Linda Blair, the jumble of clues, flashbacks and eerie occurrences start to fall into place. Ahn should be credited for couching his scary moments in a sturdier, more complex plot than other films of its type, but following it still feels like hard work. This Phone just doesn’t Ring.