Saturday, December 08, 2012

3 A.M. (ตีสาม)

Sick Curiosity

One of the oldest production companies in Thailand, Five Star Productions continue in its 3D horror genre films from this year's Dark Flight, with 3 A.M., an anthology of three horror short films put together based on a thematic gimmick where the stories get centered around the said bewitching hour. As different as they can get for the genre, this offering wouldn't be able to send chills and thrills to any seasoned horror fan, having relied on the usual bag of tricks in tame, individual effort to try and whip up some scares.

The first tale by Patchanon Thumajira (Colic) centers around The Wig, which I thought was already a plot element explored to the death by a few Korean movies already. Opening with an ominous scene of suggestion where long hair gets taken from a female corpse, making its way to a wig shop, this segment fell short in not having a proper story behind the ghoul inhabiting its long tresses, focusing instead on two sisters, May and Mint. Their relationship isn't cordial given the latter has sibling envy that her sister has her parents' ears, and so is as rebellious as can be, inviting three friends home - clearly as body count - to party into the wee hours of the morning.

What turned out is an exercise in routine, given that someone will obtain said spooky wig and make fun out of it, before things start to go bump and the body count climbs. Little is said about why the ghoul did what it did, and this short offers no story in any way, other than to accept things at face value, and to acknowledge that it can exploit sound design. Even the twist at the end could be seen a mile away, and what this segment could do, was to set a very low benchmark in which the others, hopefully can build upon.

The second tale deals with The Corpse Bride, directed by Kirati Nakintanon, about a male nurse who gets a stint at taking care of the coffined remains of a couple, Mike and Cherry, who died prior to getting married. The basic ground rules are simple, that he has to ensure that the coffins should not be opened, and the matrimonial room stays locked at all times, not to be entered. But of course for a horror movie to work, rules have to be broken so that strange things can happen. Curiosity kills the cat, and here, a DVD reveals something about the relationship between Mike and Cherry, with an extended sequence involving a lizard going up the thigh of the female corpse. Before you know it, necrophilia comes into play. You read that right, with the camera cutting away and fading to black so that we don't get to see the forbidden bits.

If anything, this segment contains functionary scares of the jump cuts and sudden loud noises to try and make you jump in your seat. It deals with the usual things never being just what they seem on the surface, and often times we know the truth a little too late, finding ourselves firmly stuck in the rut, with no escape. The necrophilia portions of suggestion may be a little bit disturbing and discomforting to sit through. with acts of violence such as the slitting of one's throat that got shown without a blink of the eye. Creepy stuff at best, succeeding in making one squirm when the more intimate bits come on.

And 3AM saved what would be the best segment amongst all for last. It's not an affirmation that it is quality, but when put against the other two short films, this one wins it hands down, with good use of comedy to great effect, in addition to scaring up the audience. O.T. (Overtime) deals with workers who find themselves idling during office hours, only to be staying back to wrap up what they should have done in the first place. To the employer, O.T. is expensive business, so the more they can get their staff to stay away, the better. Which in this segment, management goes to great lengths in whipping out scares so that people will vacate the premises.

Issara Nadee (Dark Flight) conjures a unique and zany story that contains so many twists, turns and formation of alliances, where individuals team up with others to try and out-do, or out-punk/prank any earlier scares they experienced, all in one night. But alas this went on for one prank too many, and you'd soon be savvy enough to catch on that all things spooky being presented, are something that you'd start to be skeptical about, despite the characters still taking things down hook, line and sinker. Sure there's a final twist to the tale, but when that happens it's a sigh of relief that this story actually had a real end point.

Done in the 3D format, some sequences were quite obviously designed with 3D in mind that you'd see hands approaching the screen, or blood spewed toward the direction of. Simple tactics for entertainment value, these simple stories may impress those new to the genre, but will largely remain unimpressive to the seasoned horror veteran.

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