Saturday, November 18, 2006

Colic (Dek Hen Pee)

Colic is the latest Thai horror movie to hit our shores, and given the gimmicky promotion in local theatres, where a cradle with that nasty picture of the baby inside, you'd start to wonder if this movie will actually give you the creeps, without resorting to the usual cheap gimmicks which plagued the slew of horror movies of late.

By the look of that powerful palm imprint on the baby's body, you'd think that there are devilish (pugilistic) forces to be reckoned with in Colic. However, sorry to disappoint, things that start to go bump in the night, are as tame as a pussy cat exhibiting a hissy fit. While the movie scores in its dealing with the atmospherics, it had forgotten that an engaging story is king, nevermind how implausible (ghost stories what) the premises is. Colic actually has potential, in taking something that couldn't be very much explained in scientific terms, and adding a dash of the spiritual to it. But it turned out to be wasted potential instead.

Newlyweds Pong (Vittaya Wasukraipaisan) and Phrae (Pympan Chalayanacupt) have an infant son who suffers from cholic - that incessant crying for reasons attributed to various factors unexplained in the movie, until the end, more or less. Should there be a hidden message in the movie, it'll probably be not to smoke when you're expecting, or that karma will work against you if you have pre-marital sex and have to undergo a shotgun wedding if not adequately protected.

Anyway I digress. The happy family move to the suburbs, and there's where unexplained happenings start to occur to them. I must warn you that it takes a long time for the family to move, and for the first of such bumps in the night. In between bumps are uneventful stuff that seem to be put in as fillers, which made the entire narrative storyline very episodic, and extremely dragged out between scenes. The horror here has a familiar look and feel to it, kinda like old Hong Kong horror flicks.

What the movie couldn't decide, and it shows in the film, is what to do with the inexplicable stuff. Do we want to deal with spirits, or ghouls, maybe poltergeists, or gore like Saw or Hostel. There are some truly intense moments though which will leave you at the edge of your seat, but when looking back at hindsight, they're pretty much a mixed bag and seem all over the place. It takes a long time for things to build, and during this time, it's pretty boring, as you literally observe an infant grow up, in quarterly stages.

So long as you don't expect too much, and not expect the cholic phenomenon to be explained in detail (from both the scientific and occult standpoint), you could actually enjoy this movie. Like I mentioned, the atmospherics is top notch, though the finale looked more like an action movie instead. And when the filmmakers do explain something important in the end, the reaction I'd reckon will be "Huh? That's it?" in a much ado about nothing manner.

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