Director: Sopon Sukdapisit
Cast: Sukollawat ‘Weir’ Kanarot, Nittha ‘Mew’ Jirayungyurn, Penpak ‘Tai’ Sirikul
Runtime: 2 hr 4 mins
Rating: NC16 (Horror and Some Violence)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 4 May 2023
Synopsis: From terrifying true events to the latest thriller from the director of ‘LADDALAND’. Ning and Kwin are a couple with a 7-year-old daughter, Ing. The three of them decide to move to a condo room and rent out their house to two tenants: Ratree, a retired doctor, and her 40- year-old daughter, Nuch. After the new tenants have moved in, Ning notices that Kwin begins to exhibit unusual behavior. He becomes secretive and often disappears from the condo at 4 a.m. Kwin even sports a triangle-shaped tattoo – the same design as Nuch’s. As her husband’s behavior becomes more and more disturbing, Ning also realizes that her daughter is being preyed on by some unseen sinister force. She has to do everything to protect her daughter from this dark cult!
We love Thai horror movies. Besides having the ability to send chills down our spines, they often come with a mortal tale. The fact that Thailandis geographically near Singaporealso means that we can resonate with the culture, which makes it even creepier when these movies explore supernatural themes which are disturbingly familiar. The latest horror flick to hit our shores is produced by the well known film studio GDH which has given viewers countless feel good romantic comedies. How would this project fare in the department of scares?
Thai director Sopon Sukdapisit, who helmed other successful horror movies such as Coming Soon (2008), Laddaland (2011) and The Swimmers (2014), is the man behind this movie inspired by a real life story. Ning (Nittha ‘Mew’ Jirayungyurn) and Kwin (Sukollawat ‘Weir’ Kanarot) appear to be a happily married couple with an adorable daughter, but as you’d expect, things are not what they seem. The family moves to a condo after deciding to put their house up for rent. Strange things begin happening and Ning finds herself dealing with a dangerous cult which dabbles in black magic.
Like a good horror movie, the story begins laying out the crumbs early. The 124 minute movie makes viewers feel that something is not right when Kwin behaves suspiciously. He has a tattoo on his chest (he tells his wife it’s the result of a silly bet), and he is holding on to a suspicious looking red book which he locks away in his backpack (his wife manages to get hold of the book and to her horror, the pages are blank). Things are definitely not right when she follows him to the rooftop at 3.45amin the morning and finds him alone in a trance like ritual. It’s a cue for her to protect her daughter from whatever’s lurking in the house at all cost.
Kudos to Sukdapisit, who also penned the story, for not telling a straightforward tale which would otherwise feature a predictable lineup of jump scares before concluding the drama with either the good guys or the evil spirits winning. We go back in time and discover that Kwin actually has a heartbreaking back story which involves the death of someone very close to him. Without saying too much, the reason how this person died is something you’d never want happen to anyone you hold dear.
Another important character in the story is the cult leader played by Penpak ‘Tai’ Sirikul. Although she comes across as a little over the top at first (the scary old lady has white hair and a glass eye), we also learn more about her past and empathise with the life choices that led her to her current state.
For a two hour movie, there may be some parts that moves along a little slowly, but the dramatic buildup works and as the story unfolds, you realise this is not a standard scare fest – there are messages of love and sacrifice which you may have seen in other horror films, but will still be moved because of the earnest storytelling brought to screen.
(This Thai horror movie delivers the scares, and also a solid drama about love and sacrifice)
Review by John Li