Alone

Alone is a 2007 Thai horror film from Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom, the duo best known for doing the masterful Shutter in 2005.  It starts Thai pop singer Marsha Wattanapanich in dual roles as Pim and Ploy.  In addition Vittaya Wasukraipaisan plays the role of Wee, Pim’s boyfriend.

The plot begins with Pim and Wee living in South Korea when they get a call saying that Pim’s mother is sick, and they get to go home.  But after they arrive, Pim starts to see the ghosts of her sister.  At first, Wee doesn’t believe her so he consults a psychiatrist (and old friend).  As a result, Pim thinks that Wee thinks she’s crazy which causes her to try and drive off (only to be stopped when she accidently back over her dog, Lucky).  And things don’t get better after that.  In one particular scene, she wakes up to find her sister hovering over the bed.  All the while, the relationship with the two sisters and with Wee is shown through a series of flashbacks which help explain how Ploy died.  In the process we find that both sisters were in love with Wee, but he only felt that way about Pim (the more sweet of the two).  Of course, this all leads to a twist that essentially flips the plot upside down.

All in all, the movie wasn’t nearly as terrifying as Shutter.  But it was pretty close, exceptionally scary.  It showed the director’s innate ability to take a plot that is utterly monotonous and turn it into a film that is completely terrifying, perhaps even more so than the aforementioned film (which wasn’t as monotonous).  The pacing wasn’t nearly as fast as most may be used to, but the atmosphere and storytelling combined into a surprisingly gripping peace of film making.  Likewise, it’s nice that this movie didn’t rely too heavy on kill count, gore, or jump scares to get people interested.  Not to mention, the movie also displayed an ability to keep the viewer guessing.  Also Wattanapanich showed great range as an actress in the movie, at times showing herself to be sweet and friendly, scared out of her wits, and as evil and sinister as she can be.  The only thing I could possibly criticize about the movie is that the fire towards the end looked more like bad CGI than an actual fire.

In the end, I couldn’t help but love the movie.  Most of the best directors from the Asian extreme movement either worked in other similar genres besides horror (such as Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho, and the Pang Brothers) or became extremely versatile (such as Takashi Miike, Shinya Tsukamoto, and Kim Ji-woon).  But these two were different.  Shutter was probably the best first horror movie for a director since William Friedkin did the Exhorcist, but Alone was a much better follow up.  I couldn’t recommend it enough.

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