One Missed Call (2008) Ending, Explained: Who is the Killer?

2008’s ‘One Missed Call’ is a supernatural horror film directed by Eric Valette. The film is based on the Japanese thriller, ‘Chakushin Ari,’ and features Shannyn Sossamon, Edward Burns, Ray Wise, and others. Psych major Beth Raymond witnesses her friends die after receiving voicemails about their dying moments alongside the date and time of their death. Once the police get involved in the investigation, Officer Jack Andrews, a victim’s brother, teams up with Beth to uncover the haunted mystery behind the killings. If you’re curious to see where Jack and Beth’s investigation leads them and what secrets it reveals, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘One Missed Call.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

One Missed Call Plot Synopsis

Shortly after a fire at Saint Luke’s hospital, a college student, Shelly, dies after being dragged into her pond by a mysterious hand that leaves behind a single red candy. However, when the police find her, Shelly’s death is written off as a suicide. Later, Shelly’s friend, Leann, the last person who spoke to Shelly on the phone, arrives at Beth’s house after returning from her funeral. The two girls escape the college party downstairs and retrieve to Beth’s room. After a while, an eerie ringtone rings through Leann’s phone with a call from Shelly. When Leann checks the voice message dated a few days into the future, she hears herself crying out in distress.

As time passes, Leann starts to hallucinate creepy worms and figures in the streets. Eventually, as the voicemail’s date nears, Leann panics and calls Beth on her walk home from the library. As Beth rushes to her location, an invisible supernatural force pushes Leann from a bridge onto the path of an oncoming train. As she dies, Beth witnesses Leann’s phone autodial. Afterward, the police find a red candy inside Leann’s mouth. A few days later, one of Beth’s friends, Brian, starts acting weirdly sensitive when other people discuss Leann and Shelly’s deaths which suggest a strange pattern.

When Beth follows after Brian, she discovers that Brian received a similar voicemail from Leann after her death. The voicemail dated the same day comes to fruition, and Brian dies after an explosion from a nearby construction site impales him with a metal bar. When Beth gives her account of Brian’s death to the cops, she tries to bring attention to voice messages, but the cop ignores her. Nevertheless, she catches the attention of Jack Andrews, another officer. Jack’s sister, Jean, interned at the same hospital as Shelly and died two days before the latter. As such, Jack believes there to be a connection and shares his number with Beth.

Once Beth returns to her apartment, she finds her roommate Taylor sitting alone in the dark. Even though Taylor hasn’t received a voicemail yet, she believes she’s next in the line of victims. At night Taylor’s phone rings and shows her a pixelated recording of her dying. Beth tries to support Taylor and keep her safe the next day.

However, soon Ted Summers, creator of a reality TV show called “American Miracles,” approaches Taylor with promises of helping her by exorcising her on his show. Despite Beth’s disapproval, Taylor decides to do the show behind Beth’s back. Meanwhile, Jack discovers a lead suspect, Marie Layton, an old age home nurse. Andrews and Jack break into Layton’s apartment and find evidence suggesting Marie Layton’s involvement in the killings. Soon, Beth realizes Taylor is with Ted Summers after coming across his show on TV.

While Beth and Jack rush to Taylor’s aid, the “American Miracle” host tries to perform an exorcism on Taylor. Nevertheless, Taylor’s hallucinations grow, and supernatural forces wreak havoc on the set. By the time Beth arrives at the scene, an invisible hand chokes Taylor to death. Shortly afterward, Beth’s phone rings with the same eerie ringtone, with a missed call and a voicemail from Taylor.

One Missed Call Ending: Does Beth Die?

Throughout the film, characters die one after the other after receiving voicemails from the most recent deceased victim. The voicemails always include information about their death, like the time of their death and dying words. After Beth realizes she only has a day left to live, Jack tries to talk to the police department about her predicament, but his boss doesn’t believe his claims. As a result, Jack stays at Beth’s house. While at her house, he receives information from the Missing Person department after they locate one of Marie Layton’s daughters, Laurel, at a foster home.

After Jack and Beth visit Laurel, a young kid, they fail to get any information from her. However, they realize the ringtone in the victims’ phone is the same song as the one that plays inside Laurel’s teddy bear. Additionally, Laurel’s caretaker informs them that Laurel was held back at the hospital by CPS after she came in with a slit wrist. Later, a fire broke out in the hospital, Laurel went to foster care, and her mother hasn’t visited her since.

Afterward, Jack and Beth decide to split up, with Jack tracking Marie’s trail and Beth looking into the hospital fire. At the library, Beth starts hallucinating menacing figures, an omen of her upcoming death. Eventually, Beth tracks Laurel’s doctor, Dr. Painter, who tells her Marie spent the entire CPS review process beside Laurel. Lastly, Beth decides to visit the ruined hospital, Saint Luke’s. After her arrival, supernatural activity starts happening around the place. Soon, Jack arrives to help Beth, but invisible forces knock him out.

Beth finds an entryway into the hospital’s crawlspace, where she finds the dead body of Marie Layton, with a phone clutched in her hand. The body comes to life and starts chasing after Beth. As the predicted time of Beth’s death nears, Beth begs Marie not to kill her. Marie pins her to the ground, whispering for Beth to forgive her. Beth’s time of death passes without her dying, and Andrew finds her alive and well beside Marie’s dead body.

Who is Behind The Killings?

After Beth escapes the hospital with her life intact, she can’t help but credit Marie for her survival. Marie shows Beth the way into the hospital’s crawlspace, where she inevitably escapes from the killer. Nevertheless, Jack and Beth decide to call it a night. Beth returns to her home, and Jack returns to Laurel’s foster home to give her news about her mother’s passing. However, at the foster home, Jack finds one of Laurel’s drawings of a family portrait with her trusty teddy bear. Due to the same, Jack realizes that Laurel’s teddy bear is a nanny cam.

Earlier, when Jack and Beth investigate The Layton apartment and Jean’s case files, they conclude that Marie is an abusive mother to her kids. She had to bring her kids into the hospital nine times in two months with several injuries to Laurel. Eventually, one of Marie’s daughters, Ellie, dies from an asthma attack the same day that Marie brings Laurel to the hospital with a cut on her wrist. However, once Jack finds a CD inside Laurel’s nanny cam teddy, the story takes a turn.

Jack watches Ellie use a big kitchen knife to cut Laurel’s wrist on the cam’s recording. After Marie finds Laurel in pain, she realizes that Ellie has been the one who was hurting Laurel all this time. Marie locks Ellie inside her room, after which Ellie experiences a fatal asthma attack. Unable to reach her inhaler quickly enough, Ellie spirals out of control and dies while trying to call her mother. After watching the video, Jack approaches Laurel and asks her about her sister. Laurel tells Jack that Ellie used to hurt her often but would give her a red candy as compensation.

Jack realizes Ellie’s spirit has been behind the killings all along. As the “American Miracle” host suggests on his show, Ellie’s spiritual energy exists on the same wavelength as light and microwaves. Therefore she is able to travel through cellphones and latch onto her next victims through voicemails, leaving behind red candy on the victims’ bodies. After the revelation, Jack rushes to Beth’s house, realizing she isn’t out of danger yet.

After Jack arrives at Beth’s house, someone bangs on her front door. Jack peeks through the peephole but gets stabbed in the eye. Jack ultimately dies. Ellie’s spirit tries to kill Beth after blowing up her house’s doors and window. Nevertheless, Marie’s spirit comes after her and stops Ellie from killing Beth.

Why Does Marie Save Beth?

Although Marie’s spirit has been around since her death, she only ever intervenes in Ellie’s attempts to kill Beth. Likewise, after foiling the same, Marie leaves the living world and moves on to another. As such, Ellie is left to her devices and continues her haunting. One of the reasons why Marie only ensured Beth’s safety could be Beth’s past with her mother.

Early in her investigation of The Laytons with Jack, Beth assumes Marie has been hurting her children to get their attention. She forces situations where her children would need medical help and inevitably seek her out. Beth is a psychology student at college. Therefore, her instinct to diagnose Marie with a syndrome isn’t entirely unfounded. However, it’s also worth noting that her perception of Marie is mirrored by her past traumatic experience with her own mother.

When Jack stays at Beth’s place, he notices marks of cigarette burns on Beth’s hands. When Beth was a child, her mother used to abuse her. Once, after abusing Beth, her mother taunted her to go tattle on her father about her. However, Beth’s father was in the attic where he had hanged himself. Therefore, due to Beth’s dark past, Marie might have sympathized with her and wanted to protect her from Ellie’s actions. Nevertheless, Marie only stays long enough to save Beth, leaving Ellie behind. In the end, Ellie stops trying to kill Beth but dials another voicemail on Jack’s phone, presumably continuing her violent cycle.

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