Takashi Miikeís Japanese horror effort (which is based on the novel of the same name) has so far spawned two sequels and a TV show in its native Japan, as well as an American remake (the recent One Missed Call).
I watched the remake before this original film so that I would view it on itís own merits and be able to review it fairly without comparison (everyone else seems to have done it the other way around). Having now seen the original, I felt that both versions of this story were about equally as good as each other, with both having strengths and weaknesses.
The film starts slightly differently here but essentially follows the same path more or less throughout. The odd narrative structure remains and most of the deaths are similar, but there are less well accomplished effects here and an even more confusing ending.
The cast do good jobs, the scares are creepier, some parts make better sense (the glowing aura around potential victims in OMC was never really explained, here itís the manifestation of the killer and is used sparingly, itís almost as though a translation problem occurred causing the Americans to mess that up) and we get to see more in the death scenes.
I should point out that whilst One Missed Call is essentially a straightforward re-tread of this film, I was pleased to see that the Americans did not incorporate the now done to death long black hair part, which popped up here and angered me.
Overall, Chakushin Ari is creepier than One Missed Call as it used a rapidly changing technology to great effect and demonstrates on a grand scale (via aerial shots of a bustling City full of cell phone users) just how many people use cell phones in Japan and that the possibilities for the curse are endless. Miike demonstrates here that using social commentary can give horror films more depth.
Chakushin Ari is not the best Japanese horror film Iíve ever seen and is not nearly as frightening as Ringu or Ju:on, but itís still worth seeing.