Director: Suphakorn Riensuwan
Cast: Xu Bin, Damien Teo, Rio Dewanto, Bae Jin Young, Mean Phiravich, Aloysius Pang
Runtime: 1 hr 29 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Violence and Horror)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 1 December 2022
Synopsis: This horror trilogy tells supernatural stories of items displayed in The Antique Shop. Survive – Wadi (Rio Dewanto) is kidnapped by a rival gang and brought to an abandoned building. He is tied to a chair – one which many previous victims were tied and killed… Half Second – Ryan (Aloysius Pang) has no memory of how he ended up in prison. No one can hear him no matter how loud he shouted… Happy Birthday – Long after everyone thought Song (Bae Jin Young) had returned to Korea, his three friends received an invitation to his birthday party where they are the only guests…
This Thai Singapore horror movie will be known as the late Aloysius Pang’s final project on the big screen. And that should be enough to draw crowds into the theatres, especially fans of the young actor who unfortunately died after sustaining serious injuries during reservist training in New Zealand. What’s also unfortunate is that this won’t be the best Thai horror flick you’ve seen – it does feel like a project that is let down by its execution despite a promising premise.
The movie begins with a Singaporean tourist (Xu Bin) walking into a mysterious antique shop. An equally mysterious lady (Pijika Chittaputta) known as Madam tells him that there are tales behind each item. There is also her assistant (Damien Teo) who is suspiciously putting up a mysterious front. We guess the filmmakers were trying their best to evoke a mysterious atmosphere, but the result is baffling instead. Our take is that the delivery of lines by the actors in this setup that cuts across the three segments feels contrived.
The first tale sees an Indonesian man (Rio Dewanto) working for a gang in Thailand. He gets captured by a rival gang and is brought to a dilapidated location and tied to a haunted chair. You can be sure that the ghost haunting the chair is pretty pissed about the whole situation (no thanks to why it became a vengeful spirit in the first place), and Wadi’s captors are definitely not in a good place.
There isn’t really much to say in this segment, but the scenes do go on for quite a bit, and you can’t help but feel that the filmmakers didn’t know what to do to progress the story. It doesn’t help that there is a back story about how Wadi is taking on this difficult job to support his family back home. The flashbacks feel dreary and affect the pace.
In the second tale, we are introduced to a Singaporean guy (Pang) who wakes up in a Thai jail. A self respecting screen writer would have him not remembering how he landed there – and that’s what exactly the story is about. For the next 20 plus minutes, you get to see his past and then try to figure out what exactly is happening.
We understand that production for the movie initially began in 2018, but was delayed because of Pang’s demise in January 2019. After further delays because of the pandemic, we are guessing the filmmakers had to pick up the pieces to try their best to tell a coherent story, which explains the odd plot development and the final reveal. Viewers who are familiar with Pang’s on screen performances would be glad to know that his efforts are evident in this movie.
The third segment tells the story of a South Korean teenager who invites three Thai guys (Phiravich Attachitsataporn, Chayapak Tunprayoon, Setthapong Eosuk) to his birthday party. Two problems here: first, these mean dudes bullied him back when they were studying in the same school; and second, they are the only guests at the party with red balloons and bloody steaks. We would have fled for our lives the moment we entered the creepy big house.
This last story actually has the most potential to leave audiences spooked, thanks to Korean star Bae Jin Young’s eerie and disturbing getup. But the tale does drag quite a bit after the big reveal, and you may find yourself guffawing at the dramatic showdown instead of feeling spooked. Don’t even get us started on why there is a need to include the character of a maid in the house.
One thing that’s poignant about this movie is how Xu’s character offers to bring the supposed spirit of Pang’s character home back to Singapore. It is a moving gesture that is a touching tribute to a life that was gone too soon.
(There are much better Thai horror flicks out there, but there is a touching tribute to the late Aloysius Pang in the movie's final moments that may leave fans teary-eyed)
Review by John Li