Thursday, October 23, 2008

4bia [2008]

"A mixed-bag of Asian horror...unoriginal, yet effective and satisfying."

Synopsis:  A 4-part anthology from Thai directors Youngyooth Thongkonthun, Paween Purikitpanya, Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom.  "Happiness" - A young woman is cooped up in her apartment due to a broken leg, when she becomes increasingly interested in a mysterious text messager. When the messages become more and more aggressive - fear, panic and horror ensues.  "Tit For Tat" - A young boy is relentlessly bullied by a group of schoolmates to to the point that ultimate retaliation is his only option.  "In The Middle" - Four teenagers embark on a trip of camping and white water rafting. When one of the boys goes missing after a down river accident, the boys must cope with the loss of a friend and the neverending fear created by themselves.  "The Last Fright" - A flight attendent is summoned to escort a single passenger from A to B, and then back again. The only catch is the passenger has a personal vendetta with the flight attendant and won't stop her vengeful plot, not even when she dies before the return flight.

Review:  "Happiness" is ultimately an unoriginal formulaic technological-device jump-scare film with few redeeming qualities; however, it's short runtime, basic yet tight construction and compressed nature make it successful.   There is little time to breathe or to pick apart it's flaws before it's over - concluding with it's predictable twist ending.  The tried and true methods have worked before and work again here.  "Tit For Tat" is pretty f'n weak.  From it's thrown together plot, piss-poor non-frightening CGI, and only a couple of redeeming scenes, it's easily the bad beer of the case.  "In The Middle" could quite easily be the funniest movie I have ever seen in a theatre.  In The Middle is cleverly written and hilariously acted by it's incredibly animated cast of misfits.  It mocks the genre, mocks it's continent of original and even mocks itself.  "The Last Fright" takes off where Happiness was left.  The story has shades of The Twilight Zone, and uses the same aforementioned jump-scare tactics used so often in Asian horror cinema.   A fun and frightening finale to the efforts from an ensemble of young Thai horror directors, that we haven't heard the last of I'm sure.


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