VideoVista logo
MONTHLY WEB-ZINE OF  
DVD & BLU-RAY REVIEWS
 
action | adventure | art | cartoon | comedy | cult | disaster | docu | drama | fantasy | horror | kung fu | monster | musical | parody | romance | satire | sequel | SF | sport | spy | surreal | 3D | thriller | TV | war | western
VideoVista covers rental and retail titles in all genres and movie or TV categories, with filmmaker interviews, auteur profiles, top 10 lists, plus regular prize draws.

HOME PAGE
INDEX OF ALL REVIEWS
SEARCH THIS SITE
COMPETITIONS
FORTHCOMING REVIEWS
TOP 10 LISTS
INTERVIEWS & PROFILES
RETRO REVIEWS SECTION
ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORS
READERS' COMMENTS
SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
SITE MAP
LINKS


SUPPORT THIS SITE -
SHOP USING THESE LINKS

In Association with Amazon.com


visit other Pigasus Press sites...
The ZONE - genre nonfiction
Soundchecks - music reviews
Rotary Action - helicopter movies

June 2010

Phobia

cast: Laila Boonyasak, Maneerat Kham-Uan, Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, Witawat Singlampong, and Pongsatorn Jongwilat

directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom, Youngyooth Thongkonthun, and Paween Purikitpanya

112 minutes (18) 2009
widescreen ratio 16:9
Icon DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
review by James A. Stewart

Phobia

This is a film with almost as many other titles as parts, Phobia (aka: See prang) has also been marketed as 4bia (my favourite title), and is effectively a four-part anthology within a film, each with a different cast and director as some of the most acclaimed Thai horror and suspense pull together what is a very crafty set of vignettes.

The directors of Phobia (we'll use the UK release title) were also involved in well known movies such as Body 19 and Shutter. It is an interesting concept to have four directors in a single release and in many ways it could make the whole release stronger as there is an air of competition at play.

The first of the four stories is Happiness directed by Youngyooth Thongkonthun, and is a quite compelling thriller which gets creepier as the time moves on. A young girl, perhaps early twenties, has broken her leg in a car crash and her only contact with the outside world from her bedsit is via the computer and text messaging. Things start to get weird when she receives a flirty text from an unknown sender. Her boredom compels her to keep in contact and this is a massive mistake. This is by far the strongest storyline in the series and the use of texting is weirdly wonderful resulting in a really tense atmosphere.

Tit For Tat follows, this story is directed by Pawen Purikitpanya, and tells the story of a bullied schoolboy who turns to the dark side for help with his mistreatment. Much like Happiness, this is an edgy segment and really keeps you in the edge of your seat. Where Tit For Tat deviates from the first offering is the excessive use of gore and violence, which is given to us in an array of imaginative and gruesome deaths. Of course, with a subject matter such as black magic some of the results are rather clichéd but an enjoyable half hour or so nonetheless.

The third section is another strong story but not quite as good as its predecessors. In The Middle is a ghost story within a ghost story and uses the camping in a forest style to make for a quite sinister backdrop to the group's stories sort of coming to life. Then things get interesting. Shutter director Banjong Pisanthanakun takes on this segment and on its own is a quite eerie piece but I was still reeling from Happiness to get too disturbed by In The Middle.

To end Phobia, Parkpoom Wongpoom directs Last Fright which has the most uncouth premise (a flight attendant escorting the corpse of the woman with whose husband she was having an affair with) but, regardless, the setting, the sounds and the tension all made for a fun vignette which really did have the last fright in Phobia.

This is a very strong release that has horror, suspense and thrills running right through it. I should mention it is subtitled (obviously) but somehow I find this adds to the intrigue forcing the viewer not to look away when the tension rises. The four parts have an air of Twilight Zone or Hitchcock to them and is an excellent introduction to the genre of Thai horror and these moviemakers as well. 'Phobia 2' is on it way as well, I will be watching out for it.



Premonitions in paperback - click to order

VideoVista copyright © 2001 - is published by PIGASUS Press