Director: Peter Manus / Writers: Nuttiya Sirakomwilai, Peter Manus, Worrawit Kattiyayothin & Khamrob Wonngot / Cast: Chulachak Chakrabongse, Sririta Jensen, Paula Taylor, Woarajan Sangngem, Rawit Riwin, Titinun Keatanakon, Thepparit Riwin.
Body Count: 7
I love Thailand, it’s one of the best countries I’ve been to and probably my favourite in Asia. The people are great, the culture has a way of uplifting you and they make some entertaining movies there too.
So the legend goes in this Final Destination pilferer, if you dial 999-9999 after midnight, you can ask for anything you want and you’ll get it. The only catch being that once you have it, you’ll die. This is the death trap which ensnares a group of rebellious high school kids who call themselves ‘The Daredevil Gang’ because they like nothing more than playing pranks around campus. See how mischeivous they can be:
After it is reported that a girl was found impaled halfway up a flagpole at a school in the north (magazine byline: “so young, so hot, so sad!”), the gang finally learn of 999 (‘gau gau gau’ as it sounds) from pretty transfer student Rainbow, who went to the same school as flag-chick. She advises them not to call but as they become desperate to win TV contests, grab places at the Thai-Japanese space academy, own their own Ferrari or simply be accepted by their peers, so they begin falling victim to the curse of gau-gau-gau when the creepy voice calls them back to collect payment.
Cue gory deaths by gas explosion, a vacuum chamber/circular saw scenario and the car wash from hell. While cheap special effects work and some questionable comedic implants (most of which come from an overweight wannabe who makes the fatal error of asking 999 to turn him thin!) makes some of these sequences laughable (see below!), the intentions are spot-on with the counter advantage of same ace camera work and its creepy Ring-style eastern influence. And while the real mystery behind 999’s murder spree is never satisfactorily resolved – leisurely setting things up for a sequel if one were needed – this is an engaging film with some great ideas helping to cement Asia’s reputation as producers of great horror.
If you can’t tell, that’s half a head floating around inside a no-gravity chamber thingy
Directors: Gi-hun Kim & Jong-seok Kim /Writer: Chang-hak Han / Cast: Eun-hye Pak, Seong-min Kang, Dal Bae, Chae-young Han, Min Jung, Jae-hwan Ahn, Mayu Loh, Jun-Hyeong Bae.
Body Count: 11
Korea might not have made as big a mark on the horror genre as Japan in recent years but they did discharge this fitfully amusing carbon copy of I Know What You Did Last Summer…
Two high school girls invite shy nerd Sung-mook to a wooded cabin one of their parents’ owns and the trio are attacked by three masked assailants armed with a knife and a camcorder. They beat the girls and set upon poor Sung-mook, eventually stabbing him to death on the bed and remove their masks to reveal themselves as the girls’ school friends, making a little horror flick with the intention of selling it (!). Stunned to realise that the knife they used wasn’t fake, the group panic and decide to burn and bury the corpse, only for Sung-mook to leap from his grave in flames and tumble over a cliff edge!
One year later, the gang find themselves stalked by a weirdo in an inconspicuous bright orange suit, who makes it clear he intends to level the score with them. Is it Sung-mook back from the dead? His creepy goth sister? A dressy Hollywood producer anxious to get his mits on the boys’ film? Good girl Hui-jung attempts to put together a plan to trap and unmask the killer before he gets to her first – though why isn’t clear as she wasn’t even involved in the prank.
There’s a fair amount of stalkery in Record: the killer somehow manages to taunt the group by feeding their tape into the TV broadcast at a road stop and skulks the corridors of their old school in the cat-and-mouse finale. Incoherent at best, some of the translations didn’t make total sense to me:
- “Everybody die not long time.”
- “You are a not get. I have found the path to outcome you.”
- “You are nothing but a hell kite!”
Maybe that’s it… He’s an orange kite from hell that flies up to avenge poor dead Sung-mook. Cooool…
Record is worth seeing not only for the train wreck that is its subtitles but also to see just how influential American culture and horror cliches are on Eastern horror before the whole situation flip reversed for Ring.
Blurb-of-interest: the homeland title is Zzikhimyeon jukneunda - try asking for it at HMV.