Sunday, June 24, 2007

I don't want to watch Alone alone

While I am admittedly not a big fan of the horror genre, I been itching to watch something that will scare the living daylight out of me. So far I have been disappointed. Amityville does nothing for me despite watching it in a darkened theater. Dark Water was more scary when Silas told me the story than when I actually watched it. Having not watch The Ring, its prequel Ring 0 is more confusing than frightening. Haunted Spirit is so amateurish I don't even want to talk about it. A friend once told me there are only two movies that scared the piss out of him so much he shat. And anyone who knows Pang can attest that it takes a lot to scare this daredevil. That 2 movies are the original Ring and a Thai film Shutter. While I have watch neither, the makers of the latter has recently released a new movie - Alone.

Pim is a Thai woman living in Korea with her husband Wee. News from home of her mother's succumb to stroke forced her to return home and once again face the past she was trying to put behind. The movie then revealed that she was the surviving sister of a pair of Siamese twins, with her other half supposingly perished in the operation that separated them. Flashback revealed her sister Ploy to be vengeful and possessive, especially of her twin sister. When a handsome young patient they met in a hospital fell for only Pim, Ploy became insanely jealous and even refused to budge from the bed for Pim to say her farewell on the day he left. This incident leaded Pim to insisted on living a separate live from the sister she is attached to. Hence, the burden of her guilt as she is convinced that her sister would still be alive if she hasn't make that decision.

What really happened? Here comes the spoiler. They are in red, so just avoid them if you are planning to watch it soon.

The sister who survived is not Pim but Ploy. Jealous of and upset with her sister, she strangled Pim to death. The manner in which it was revealed is brilliant, almost as good as Shyamalan's 6th Sense. In the beginning of the film, the sisters are easily identified with a simple pair of glass, with Ploy being the one who wore them. Pim has always been the sweet one while Ploy is constantly portrayed as the ... well, maybe not evil but definitely twisted sister. In the scene of the operation, Pim appeared unconscious while Ploy has a sad longing expression on her face. What we didn't know is that it wasn't anesthetic, Pim was already dead. Which is why the operation need to be carried out to save the surviving twin. Ploy then lived her live as Pim, corresponding with Wee and eventually moving to Korea to stay with him.

While it was great to watch a horror film with a strong storyline, here is where being too intelligent spoilt the mood of the movie. Suddenly, the victim became the victimizer and instead of rooting for her, we started wondering if the haunting spirit is being far too lenient. We no longer care if she survive and in fact hope she receive her just punishment. Afterall, the film been leading viewer to hate Ploy and to have her as the evil spirit definitely up the scare factor while Pim as the spirit leave us wondering if she has the heart to hurt anyone.

When Ploy scheme was revealed, Wee became the victim of torture as she was enraged that he could not accept her even though he has been living with her as Pim all these year. Earlier in the film, she accidentally ran over Wee's pet beagle and was upset that he couldn't care for the new beagle she bought him. They are identical in look, why does it matter so much that they are not the same, she questioned. An intense scene more suitable for a more grounded genre like psychological crime than supernatural horror, in my humble opinion.

Having said that, did the film did it for me? I wanted scare, so was I?

Hell, yeah. There is the complaint that there was too little of the scary parts and each of them was rather short as the director is more interested in developing the characters, which I should mention that they did well in, but it scared me good. The importance of a good director is evident here especially in cliche scene like seeing the spirit hanging on a slow moving ceiling fan because damn, I closed my eyes during that scene. I mean, I saw it coming but it didn't make it less scary. There is some unexpected scene though, one that I remember vividly is when Pim walked along a beach and turned to find that there were two set of footprint behind her. Too bad, it turned out to be merely a nightmare.

This has been an effective horror film for me but if you read the spoiler above, you would understand that I felt the story is more suited for other genre. Now I understand why most horror film has such a simple storyline because at the core or it, it is the scary part that matter the most. If the director has only added a few more scene, and prolong each of the scene to increase the suspense, then I will definitely be scared so bad I shat.

The scare factor is decent. But don't just take my word for it. I dare you to go watch it.


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