Thursday, November 05, 2009

PHOBIA 2 - The Best For Last

PHOBIA 2 (horror anthology in Thai)
Cast: Jirayu Laongmanee, Worrawech Danuwong, Chalee Trairat, Nicole Terio and Masha Wattanapanich.
Directors: Songyos Sugmakanan, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom, Paween Purikitpanya and Visute Poolvoralaks
Time: 122 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

A scene from the segment, 'Backpackers', of PHOBIA 2

PREAMBLE: While the original Phobia anthology had four shorts, this sequel of sorts provides one extra that turns out to be the cream of the crop. As for the roll call, they are the works of horror film directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun (Shutter, Alone, 4BIA – In the Middle), Paween Purijitpanya (Body, 4BIA- Tit for Tat), Songyos Sugmakanan (Dorm, Hormones), Parkpoom Wongpoom (Shutter, Alone, 4BIA – Last Fright), and Visute Poolvoralaks the producer of Shutter, Alone, 4BIA, and Coming Soon.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Paween Purijitpanya's Novice is about a boy, Pey (Jirayu Raongmanee), who is sent by his mom to hide out in a Buddhist monastery to escape punishment. However, he can hide but he cannot run from his Karma!

'Ward' by Visute Poolvoralaks is about accident victim Arthit (Worrawech Danuwong) who is moved to hospital room that has a dying leader of a religious cult. Of course, we can expect things to go bump in the night.

Songyos Sugmakanan's 'Backpackers' is about a couple of Japanese hitch-hikers getting a nightmare of a ride; while in Salvage (by Parkpoom Wongpoom), a car dealer (Thai-American singer Nicole Theriault) makes her living by refurbishing used cars, sometimes with tainted pasts. One night after closing, she discovers her son is missing!

The closing act, In the End (by Banjong Pisanthanakun who gave us in In The Middle in Phobia), is about four boys filming a horror movie. As they are shooting their last scene, one of the actresses dies mysteriously. Going by the axiom 'the show must go on', they have to make her complete her scene, dead or not.

HITS & MISSES: There seems to have been a great deal of thought put into the line-up of the shorts. Novice, the first, is not frightfully scary but it sets the Phobia mood with its theme about redemption and regret. The middle three are rather weak, with Backpackers resorting to heavily made-up zombies for its scare.

However, the last, In The End, makes up for the flaws of the predecessors. It is a 'hormedy' that pokes fun at thrillers like Alone and Shutter and will have most of its viewers in stitches.

THE LOWDOWN: Technically better than the original Phobia but overall, inferior.


At 8:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to tumble across this blog and recall Lim Chang Moh from my favourite Malay Mail column long long ago.(I have not bought newspapers since the Anwar event in 97 ?)

Lim may have very high standard for the movies now but I don't quite agree that Phobia 2 is an inferior effort. I think it is one of the best horror movie in recent years. The last episode, Ending(most creative idea of a horror) is already worth a movie ticket of a 4.The other 4 episodes are bonuses. For that I think it deserve 3 or 3.5 since I gave the original 4Bia a 3.

At 3:47 pm, Blogger Lim Chang Moh said...

Hey, I am glad you hit my blog. I don't recall saying that Phobia 2 is an inferior effort. It is just that I wasn't that impressed with the first few shorts - until the last.

So while you consider the first four bonuses, I thought the last was THE bonus. Anyway, 3 stars is still a good rating for it. Appreciate your feedback. Thanks a lot, pal.

At 5:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lim,

Didn't you mean it(inferior) in your last sentence of your review ?

I think 2.5 is too stingy la and you mentioned it's technically better than then first Phobia ? Then I wonder how much you gave the original.


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