Phone Review

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A muckraking journalist (Ha Ji-Won) receives unsettling calls and text messages on her mobile phone, seemingly from a ghost. She learns that previous holders of her number have met horrible fates and tries to solve the mystery before it's too late.


This Korean Ring-style thriller gets its chills from a mobile phone. The first half collects anecdotes — about an underage sex ring, a bedraggled ghost who shows up in an elevator, a taxi driver who became a mad murderer and a schoolgirl who blinded and deafened herself to get away from the phone — but when journo heroine Ha Ji-Won retreats to an isolated house owned by her best friend (Kim Yu-Mi), the haunting comes closer as the friend's daughter (Eun Seo-Woo) is possessed by the spirit of the phone number's first owner. Perhaps a growing familiarity with Asian ghost movies hinders the effectiveness of each effort. Here, again, we have a long-haired, wet, vengeful but not guiltless girl and a child in peril of losing her identity, if not her life, thanks to supernatural intervention. Not to mention a curse which strikes at random before homing in on the guilty parties, a heroine skilled in investigative work and a mix of modern gadgetry and ancient haunting techniques.

Thankfully, though, remarkable supporting female performances come from Kim as the conflicted best friend and, especially, child actress Eun as an angelic girl who conveys inner evil simply by a change of expression.

Asian horror can't go on much longer adhering to such standard rules, but for now it's frightening and effective.