In Thai with English Subtitles
Director: Pakphum Wongjinda
Cast: Sinjai Plengpanich, Kanya Rattap, Pongpit Preechaborisutkhun, Chatsoroth Thanuthipayakul, Theerapong Leowrakwong
RunTime: 1 hr 36 mins
Released By: Shaw & Clover Films
Rating: NC-16 (Some Disturbing Content)
Official Website: www.whorumovie.com
Opening Day: 13 January 2011
A mother Nida lives with her teenage son Ton who isolates himself in his room for several years. He never leaves the room, or directly speaks to her. Every morning she merely prepares a meal for him and places it in front of his room, and then goes to work. She is the only one who speaks to him while he sometimes communicates with her, only through a piece of paper. She never feels it strange until several people are involved. A television program reporter sees it the bestselling scoop for his television program. At the same time, a girl at the opposite house, who locks herself in the room due to the allergy, is also curious to know why her childhood friend Ton tightly hides himself in the room with no single holes to the outside world. A taxi motorcyclist also breaks into the room to seem what is inside. Ton's father also tries to convince his ex-wife to confront the truth. But do they really prepare themselves for the truth they are about to encounter?
There are two kinds of horror flicks: those that rely on pails of blood, cheap shocking scenes and the ugliest of ugly to visually attack viewers and those that let much of the scaring happen in the audiences’ minds. Now we all have our tastes of course, but there is just something about the unseen that is a bit more unsettling than the image of a ghost or monster fully revealed to us in all its ghoulsome glory. Maybe it is just one of the perks of being a member of Generation Y, but growing up on a diet of visual violence and gore has left some of us uneasily frightened.
Without obnoxiously stereotyping, Asian horror, as compared to its contemporary western counterpart, takes more advantage of our 21st century desensitized state (and its subpar special effects, too, perhaps) by freaking us out by holding back and leaving things to our imagination. Definitive scary Asian movies like ‘The Ring’ and ‘Shutter’ all revolve around an unexplainable mystery that challenges logic and our ability to stomach creepy supernatural beings. ‘Who Are You?’, the latest scary-movie serving from the land of the smiles, fits into the mould with its suspenseful plot and the creepy character at its center.
Refusing to step out of his room for the past five years, Ton is thought to suffer from adolescent social withdrawal – a real-life disorder that the Japanese have termed as ‘Hikikomori’. Though she regularly sends him food and magazines by leaving them at his door, even his own mother, Nida, have not seen how he looks like or truly know what is going on behind the locked door. As if things are not strange enough, she does not seem to want to draw him out into normality. Instead, she dedicates herself to a dodgy self-help class called ‘Who Are You?’ that attempts to help its students harness their mental powers.
With its flashback storytelling and subplots involving the opposite neighbours and a television supernatural investigation show, the audience is given quite a lot to try to piece things together that it can get a bit confusing. But the anticipation of the inevitable unlocking of Ton’s door is what primarily glues the audience to the screen, especially with the weird noises and shadows that are observed coming out from his room and the surrounding neighbours’ sighting of him being outdoors.
And like any decent horror flick, it climaxes with a crazy, almost unforeseeable twist that is worthy of the wait and is almost freakier than seeing Ton when he finally steps out of his room. However, the movie does quite shoddy work in terms of introducing the subplots, other than for the convenience of the main plot, or giving them a proper closure. There are also parts of the movie where it seems like the audience is supposed to be scared or shocked, but the poor editing just leaves us perplexed.
(Does anyone else have that CSI intro song in your heads? Umm, nevermind. Here’s the first horror movie of the year - go watch it)
Reviewed by Siti Nursyafiqa