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The Ringtone of Death

Onemissedcall The shrill ring of a phone has always been an effective fear-heightener in thrillers and chillers. Think of Hitchock’s Dial M for Murder , the classic When a Stranger Calls or even the Collin Farell vehicle Phone Booth. But now with films like One Missed Call (opening this weekend) and The Signal (set for wide release later this year), the phone itself isn’t simply a conduit of bad news, it’s downright evil. Admittedly, a cellphone’s ability to get calls from the dark side (as opposed to the Arctic or the Amazon) isn’t a new idea. The Korean film Phone (2002) featured a mobile phone possessed by a vengeful spirit while the Japanese blockbuster The Ring (1998) always had a creepy call to accompany its videotape of death. But the recent crop of cell-phobic flicks (not to mention Stephen King’s 2006 novel Cell) suggests that Americans are no longer in love with their mobile phones. They feel attacked by them. Next up: The iMurders of iPhone.

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