Directed by Ahn Byong Ki
Produced by Kim Yong-Dae
Written by Ahn Byung-KI & Lee Yu-Jin
Cinematography by Moon Yong-Shik
Music by Lee Sang-Ho
Cast: Ha Ji-Won, Eun Suh-Woo, Choi Woo-Je & Kim Yu-Mi

2002/102 mins/Color/DTS
1.85:1 anamorphic/Korea/South Korea/NTSC Region 1

Review from the Tartan US DVD

A beautiful, lonely and young reporter (Ha Ji-Won) starts receiving menacing calls through her cell phone after publishing a rather controversial article about child sex scandals. Even though she changes number and moves to a new place the calls are still coming. One day, a friend's daughter accidently answer the phone seem to become possesed by someone or something. The poor little girl act violently and grow a rather unique and passionate love for her father. Chang Hoon and Ho Jeong don't know what to do and to help their daughter which they can't control anymore. Soon enough the young reporter learns that the people who used to have the same phone number became obscessed with it and soon died. It will be up to her to discover the mystery behind this curse or die.

PHONE is without any surprise another clone of Hideo Nakata's overrated and highly successful THE RING. What separate this one from the others is that PHONE is quite effective and creepy especially due to the amazing performance by the little girl played by Eun Suh-Woo! Here the cell phone, which is certainly one of the most popular electronic gadget of the Asian pop culture, is replacing the creepy videotape from THE RING. The beautiful and haunting cinematography by Moon Yong-Shik also elevate the visual aspect of the movie beyond its predecessors. He used a wide color palette which made it very interesting to watch. Unfortunately, the twist ending which happen at about two third of the movie and the whole explanation we are given completely turned me off and reminded me why i'm growing tired of the Asian girl with long black hair killing poor innocent people type of film. Still if your a fan of THE RING, DARK WATER, JU-ON, KAIRO and others you must get this one.

Tartan US did a great job on this DVD. First of all, i'd like to mention that apart from the packaging and menus this is the same edition as the Korean two disc released in 2002 by Bear. But this time, there is English subtitles to all the extras so we can finally understand what the hell was happening! The movie is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and it is anamorphic. The colors are rich, vibrant and nicely saturated with little sign of compression or artifacts appearing only in the darker scenes but nothing alarming. We have the choice of either a Korean 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS audio track. Both are loud, clear and make great use of the directional sound fx capabilities giving all the audiophonic atmosphere you need to get into the film. There is optional English and Spanish subtitles which are easy to read.

This disc features lots of cool extras, the first one is six interviews with the director and the leads. There's an interesting 35 minutes behind-the-scenes featurette which show us lots of cool stuff about the making of the movie. In 'Production Notes' we see how some of the fx were created and used in the film. 'Behind-The-Scenes' is twelve minutes of the cast and crew mostly fooling around and having fun. We get two deleted scenes which aren't completed. There's a screen specific commentary with Eun Suh-Woo, the little girl in the movie. There the short but way effective tv spot, trailers for other Tartan Asia Extreme titles like OLD BOY, DOPPELGANGER and A TALE OF TWO SISTERS. My disc was a screener so that might be the reason why I couldn't access two features on the disc, 'Epilogue' and 'Original Promo Footage'.

The disc features some very nice animated menus with music and sound which look much better then the Bear edition. The movie is separated in only 9 chapters, comes in a keep case with no booklet or inlay card, here the Bear edition is much better since it comes with a nice 4 pages booklet and a nicely designed slipcase. Overall a very good DVD and a must for fans of THE RING and ghost movies.





This Film Features:


Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©

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