Thursday, September 16, 2010

Phobia 2 - Goosebumps with Pleasure

Phobia 2 has 5 short disquieting stories. These unrelated stories are a well chosen hybrid of morality and folkloric tales. In the 1st segment, "Novice", Pey (Jirayu La-ongmanee) is a petulant young man who's being dropped off by his mother to serve his buddhist duties as a novice. Belligerent to his superiors, Pey is resistant to everything his temple offers, located in the bowels of a lush jungle. At the Feast of the Hungry Ghosts, where monks are supposed to fast, Pey pinches off the offerings, only to impetuously suffer from the wiles of a pissed off forest monster.

But this apologue originates from earlier misdeeds. Prior to this, Pey lives the life of a depraved juvenile, riding his motorcycle with an accomplice. They deliberately stone on-coming cars from deserted roads, then steal their stuff. One night, Pey unknowingly stones his father's car, killing the innocent prey in the process, thereby leaving Pey in a state of moral dilemma.

My other favorite segment is "Backpackers". It starts off light heartedly with 2 Japanese tourists hitching a ride on a cargo truck with a disturbed driver. While on the road, they hear shots coming from behind. When they checked it out, corpses of illegal migrants made carriers of illegal drugs pile up. But like "Resident Evil", the dead didn't stay dead! And soon, the surviving Japanese tourist and the driver's assistant (Charlie Trairat) had to run for their lives, as "zombies" pursue them. With enough gore on display - along with its eerie setting, this segment alone will give you the willies.

The other segments include: "In the End" - a remarkably witty satire on Thai horror movie making; "Salvage" - about a woman selling second hand cars with fatal past; and "Ward" - about a young man who bunks in with a comatose old man at a hospital room. Each one has an atmosphere thick with tension and uncertainty. This omnibus project deftly shows the cinematographic genius of the Thais. The pictures sparkle, and each scene piles up goosebumps, the way you want to be scared! My only issue with this film is its cinema copy. It displays 3 subtitles: English, Bahasa, and Chinese - and these subtitles encroach more than half the screen, providing a major distraction to the general viewing experience. In "Backpackers", the subtitles were a minimum of 4, since it involved Japanese tourists! All these distractions somehow lead you to believe that the film distributor actually bought the rights from a second-hand merchant. I could have lend them my DVD copy instead! ;->


Pey gets hungry.

Charlie Trairat's cargo of corpses in "Backpackers".

Charlie Trairat, of "Dorm" fame, grows up.

Charlie Trairat

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