Thursday, July 07, 2011


Why let GTH have all the fun with its highly popular horror anthology series 4bia and 4bia 2, would probably be one of the reasons behind Sahamongkol Film jumping onto the bandwagon with its own offering Four, presenting well, four horror short stories with acclaimed directors each taking on a segment that offers different flavours to the horror genre, not exactly taking on those of the spiritual realm, but coming off more like an Amazing Stories collection that entertains rather than to send chills up your spine.

And it starts off very brightly with A Noob's Human Holocaust directed by Eakasit Thairaat, the shortest of all the segments which came on before the opening credits, and for a reason quite smartly executed. The story may not come off as much, relying on its technical strengths and make up for its more gory moments. Perhaps it also reflects on the casual, banal conversations of youth these days, where they seemingly are into deep discussions about more serious topics that affect mankind, but coming off sounding quite hollow.

Topics touched on include that of global warming which take precedence if you manage to sift through other topics they crap about, with the feeling that most of the characters are boasting, and making fun of the newbie of their group (hence the title), before it launches into an inevitable, horrific twist in line with films such as One Missed Call when they deal with the ubiquity of the mobile phone, and how it plays into the opening credits, serving in a way to remind everyone of proper phone etiquette, lest anyone falls into the cancerous group of human beings which the mastermind of a virus in the story is set out to eradicate.

If there's a Gift Shop for People You Hate then point me in its direction please. Directed by Konkiat Khomsiri of Slice and Art of the Devil fame, this short is ambitiously dark and pulls itself off perfectly, since it showed its hand midway, but still managed to keep one step ahead of you and surprising you despite expectations drawn up. A recently promoted manager has most of the support in his office save for his fiercest rival who insults him on his promotion day, and a mid day walk about the market resulted in his entering the titular gift shop, meeting a quirky shopkeeper who spends considerable time explaining how seemingly mundane things can be rigged so that the recipient can suffer from embarrassment, or death, depending on the kind of services the buyer engages.

The caveat is of course the revelation that a hit has been already taken out, and with the many gifts sent to him to congratulate him on his promotion, it can be anything, which sets it up for a rather middling mid section before employing some nitft visual effects for a powerhouse finale that went full circle, which was what the clincher was for me, since at times it did feel that this short had well overstayed its welcome.

The Night to Lose Your Mind by Pawat Panangkasiri was the least favourite amongst the shorts, because it had tried a little too hard and it showed. The tale dragged on for quite a bit and was only made bearable with star power. Ananda Everingham stars as a robber who together with two others are some of the most notorious villains though they get threatened by Everingham's mood swings especially when he's the only one wielding a handgun and doesn't hesitate to use it especially against those who stand in his way. It took its time to introduce the characters and show how crazy Everingham's character can be, with most of the story takes place in an abandoned building where the gangsters rendezvous after a big hit, there to split the loot, and as expected things start to go bump in the night.

Saving the best for last, Who R Kong? by Madiew Chukiat Sakweeakul is perhaps the crowd pleaser, containing horror and comedy welded so nicely together, as well as deftly handling an ensemble of caricatures. A old man passes away with something left unsaid to his family members, save for not to cremate or bury him. So a decision was made to keep his corpse in the house, and a geomancer suggests that the old man had something to tell his favourite grandchild on some treasure kept in the compound. Hence the family members in their different factions send their kids to stay within the mansion for hope of some revelation, only for the old man to really spook everyone out, with a very nice heartwarming twist at the end.

Sawkweeakul shows keen ability to amp up scenes that called for hauntings, and delivers the conventional scares coupled with loads of comedy that takes the mickey out of an airhead girl, and the eldest grandchild whose sexual orientation comes into question. In some ways this film deals more with family relationships especially those between cousins, and how the older generation aren't really that blind to what's going on around them, possessing good advice to dispatch to their descendants. The finale here is one of the best I've seen in any film of late, and this short was clearly the highlight of this anthology, which is justification enough for anyone to want to catch this film on the big screen.

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