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THE HOUSE aka Baan phii sing (Thai)

  Publicity Stills of "The House"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Monthon Arayangkoon
Cast: Inthira Chaloenpura, Chamanun Waniwinwasara, Chatcha Rujinanon, Komsun Nuntachit, Kongdech Jaturanrasamee, Nutthawat Plengsiriwat, Natthakan Thayutajaruwit, Vorapoj Nimvijit, Wiboonsiri Khongpool
RunTime: 1 hr 50 mins
Released By: Shaw & Scorpio East
Rating: NC-16 (Horror & Gore)

Official Website: http://www.thehousethemovie.com/

Opening Day: 24 January 2008


Based on true stories, about three murder cases and its connection with one particular house. A female TV reporter is sent on a special mission to make a documentary about a murder cases happened 6 years ago, when a doctor’s wife was killed. It was a big news at the time because the murderer was the woman’s own husband, a well-known professor working for a famous medical institute in Bangkok.

As the female reporter researches deeply into the murder, she discovers two other cases that share many similarities to the first case. 8 years prior, a male medical student killed his girlfriend in a fit of jealousy and sliced her body into small pieces. In another case, that happened 40 years ago, known as ‘The Nuanchawee Case’, a nurse of the same name was murdered by her lover, a doctor.

The reporter begins to put the puzzle pieces together. Why are these crime so similar, yet happened 40 years apart? What she finds out, is more disturbing than the questions. What made these murderers kill their loved ones? Why were all men in the medical field? What did the common thread of disloyalty signify? Why was there so much passion and hatred in these relationships? But the most disturbing fact is that everybody involved had once lived in the same house at that medical institute.

Movie Review:

While the horror genre might be an almost instant formula for a reasonable box office intake in this part of the world, there are some that just tries too hard to impress with an unnecessarily bloated storyline, that you just wonder what's the point of it all as it neither contains any artistic nor entertainment value. The cash cow might be milked for all its worth, but the quality that comes out of it is sorely lacking the good natural ingredients because what mattered - the story - gets grossly overlooked.

The House is supposedly based on true murders that take place in, well, a now dilapidated house. The murderers and victims turn out to be linked to an adjacent hospital, and the crime are those related to passion. Curious, reporter Shalinee (Inthira Chaloenpura, with pouty lips to rival Angelina Jolie's) sets out to investigate the phenomenon, hoping to uncover some juicy angle on which to base her story, and of course the audience will know that she'll get more than she bargained for. Don't they always?

While Thai horror have their fair share of hits (thanks to Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom's Shutter and Alone), The House unfortunately belong to those that missed woefully with lacklustre acting and a bland premise. There were some rather dubious ways of propelling the narrative forward, and it's done in a rather plain fashion, a very textbook style in presenting the details of one murder, then the other sequentially. There's also very little effort expended to link them all up effectively, short of saying that they all involved the house's occupants.

The atmospherics in any horror movie is key to send shivers up an audience's spines. So here's when an unimaginative director will unleash the usual repetoire of tricks, such as creaky doors, slamming windows, power saving lighting, and thunderstorms when the need calls for one. To horror fans, it's a recycling of same old cliche elements used to deliver the "Boos", short of the expected quick editing techniques. What was one major sin here, in trying to ramp up the atmosphere with long takes and deafening silence, is that each of such scenes take forever to move on. The 110 minute runtime could definitely be shortened drastically to improve the pace, as it would now be realized that deliberately dragging out a scene which adds no value, doesn't make for interesting storytelling. I'm quite sure this movie has one of the longest scene with much ado about nothing, happening in a corridor. Or how about continuously panning around the actress face to show her reaction from all angles. You get the drift.

But there are some saving graces to the technical aspects of The House that deserve some kudos. The visual effects were pretty well done, and the makeup was enough to make you a believer of the nasties that go bump in the night. Watching this movie in a proper theatre setup, you can clearly make out the sound design. Copious amounts of (fake) blood too were dripped around the movie, enough to rival those in the sub-genre of torture porn movies, but here there's not much of a bloody scene since it's more in tune to the spiritual.

Ultimately, The House is let down by the inherent weakness in its story. There are so many loopholes and implausibilities (even for a horror flick) that turns this into a yawnfest as you try hard to wait for the next scary scene to entertain you. It tries hard to form a basis from relationships and the constant challenges that surface in coupledom, but unfortunately what got delivered sorely missed its own point.

Movie Rating:

(It's horror-ble)

Review by Stefan Shih


. Body #19 (2007)

. Alone (2007)

. Colic (2006)

. Shutter (2004)

. The Unseeable DVD (2007)

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