Overwhelmed by horror movies; Review of The Screen at Kamchanod

Will people stop making horror movies already!!

At Golden Village Marina Square last night, they were showing four horror films and one film with a cheesy title: Step Up 2 The Streets. What kind of a stupid selection is that?!

I picked one of the horror films. Better to risk traumatised sleepless nights than to suffer through a teen blockbuster wannabe.

Of course, we could have chosen not to watch a movie and just gone home. But I felt like watching a movie, okay? Even if it had to be horror.

For your general information, I hate horror films for the simple reason that I spook easily. It took me more than a year to get over The Ring. For the longest time, I couldn’t even look at the poster without breaking out in cold sweat.

So I’m a little more than annoyed that we’re now inundated with more horror film selections than I can deal with. It’s like, every corner I turn, I see a horror movie poster featuring a freaky giant eyeball staring at me.

In fact, some corners even turn up dead bodies.

Although I have to admit that the dead body displays admirable marketing finesse, I must say I don’t care too much for it. I really don’t want to see dead bodies every corner I turn, thankyouverymuch.

Oh, stop already!

I didn’t fancy getting further acquainted with Ms Dead Body with her parts scattered around in separate evidence bags, so I chose not to watch Rule #1.

I chose The Screen at Kamchanod because the synopsis engaged my curiosity. I do enjoy a good storytelling, if not a good scare.

But it was a mistake.

The Screen at Kamchanod is a stupid, stupid movie.

It’s based on an actual news report in 1987 of a group of outdoor film projectionists hired to screen a movie in a spooky Thailand forest. The unlucky chaps reported that there was no audience until the end of the screening, at which time a mysterious group of people drifted out of a clump of trees and stood in front of the giant screen. And then they vanished into thin air.

The speculation is that the movie was screened specially for ghosts. Fast forward to 2007, which is when the film starts. A doctor takes it upon himself to unravel the mystery of that news report, in the process exposing himself and his friends to supernatural calamities.

The premise sounds good but everything else is really bad. The plot is weak and uses flashback tactics to try to impress you and gain your attention but ends up confusing you, instead.

You also get a main cast of psycho characters whose motivations aren’t adequately explained, who all seem to have been written into the plot for the sole purpose of conveniently moving the story along to its insipid conclusion.

You’ll probably find yourself spending most of 96 minutes asking questions that never get answered satisfactorily.

“Why is this doctor so determined to solve this senseless mystery at all costs?”

“How did he so conveniently find all the clues and leads he needed?”

“What the hell is wrong with his girlfriend?”

Most of the acting is either really bad or maybe Thais generally talk that way, I’m not very sure. But the actors all look and sound like they’re reading lines off cue cards.

The scare tactics employed by the movie with clever combinations of editing, sound effects and camera placement are quite impressive the first five or so times.

But, by the 800th scare (half of which are false alarms), you’ll be ready to curse the director and editor for giving you heart attacks for no good reason. I would challenge anyone to find me a movie that has more scare scenes than The Screen, but then I would not actually recommend anyone to watch the movie in the first place.

The Screen tries to be literally scream-a-minute the way comedies try to be laugh-a-minute.

Well, we all understand laugh-a-minute. Everyone enjoys laughing. More is better in the case of laughs. But—honestly!—nobody wants to scream-a-minute! It’s not healthy and just plain stupid.

In fact, I was so annoyed by the unending stream of cheap scare tactics that I resolved not to be frightened by them at all. To my credit, I didn’t scream or jump a single time in the entire 96 minutes even though many scenes were actually quite scary. (I usually scream at the slightest provocation, even at non-horror movies and especially at cockroaches.)

Leading actress Pakkaramai Potranan is really pretty, which, to me, is the only saving grace of the movie. She’s a 30-year-old Thai singer/actress who has a website that takes literally forever to load (I quit waiting after 10 minutes).

To wrap it up, don’t watch this movie unless you’re one of those perverse types who enjoy watching bad movies just to laugh at how bad they are.

In the words of the Goonfather, “It’s a stupid show.”

Now, I’m hoping someone can tell me why there’s a sudden craze in horror movies right now. Not only did Golden Village slap horror posters in our faces at every junction, the cinema also chose to screen three horror movie trailers for us before our show started. Like, can you say horror overdose?

We didn’t even get a single non-horror trailer. Do these people (whoever they are) think that people who watch horror only like watching horror and can’t get enough of horror?

Next you know, some freakshow entrepreneur is going to build a horror cinema that specialises in screening horror movies in haunted-house settings. For a dollar extra, maybe, you can get real-life spook effects with your very own ghosts-in-attendance.

Wouldn’t you horror freaks like that?

24 thoughts on “Overwhelmed by horror movies; Review of The Screen at Kamchanod

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    Why i don’t watch horror movies:

    1. most are cheap productions. think blair witch project. no bang for the buck.

    2. background music usually “scare tactic” sound effects… bad for the ears…

    3. my life is already a horror movie, so why don’t you watch mine? lol.

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    Those dead bodies are cool! I love horror movies, especially those japanese ones, hehehe. Are there any singaporean horror flick that you recommend?

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    Mince Pye: Duh. Bored today? :P

    victorkoh: Haha. America enjoys remaking Asian horror flicks these days. Now they’ve just made another one called Shutter, based on the Thai horror film of the same name. Actually, the Thai Shutter was really good. :P

    PG: I thought you were enjoying your life. How horrible is it really? Hehe. Anyway, some horror movies are really good, I mean, judging them as a regular movie with a story to tell.

    modchip: Oh, you’re so morbid! :P Well, I think the best horror movies are Japanese and Thai ones. Of course, not all are good, but the good ones are really good and scary. Singapore hasn’t made any good horror films. Maybe Rule #1 will be good but I don’t know, I haven’t watched it. :P

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    I don’t understand it.. actually I do, but I refuse to pay money to scare myself.

    I just read the papers. It’s enough to scare me. My bank account does a good job too

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    hahahas reminds me that i use to love watching horror dvds at home in the middle of the night, alone, lights out. and i wld refuse to go to de toilet after that. wahaha. so dumb.

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    Should have watched Rule #1! I’ve watched it. It’s not a bad movie, though it starts a little slow. Plus, you’ll be supporting a local movie! :D

    p/s, other than the usual shock tactics in horror movies, Rule #1 is really not that scary. It’s more like a thriller/cop movie.

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    I like horror movies but I don’t watch them. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I do so. Why should I pay to scare myself and have many many many sleepless nights? *sweats*

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    Back in the 70’s and 80’s (God I’m old), horror movies were cool.

    It all goes back to that desensitizing thing. After a while things seem pretty tame. Blood and gore just don’t interest people anymore.

    I hate to say it but all the good horror movies have already been written. Everything else is just a spin on what others have written in the past. Now it’s all about how many times they can scare during the screening.

    As you said, “A scare a minute.”

    I think you have this movie thing down. You know angles and editing and tricks to make the action come to life. I have a ffeling it won’t be very long before you are up on that big screen and we will all be watching you from the seats.

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    OMG, yes….Pak is damn hawt lor! And her website…tongforever, is taking forever to get downloaded for me too.

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    I do not watch horror shows.

    On the other note, Justin says Leap Years is very good. He caught the first 30 mins (long story) and wants finish the whole movie now.

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    I hate and absolutely hate to watch horror movies. Actually, I’m too chicken. Guess this came from the years that I lived alone in Australia and now, Greyee travels quite a bit as well. Don’t want to be spook or frightened by any creak or sound….

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    Helo there, I spot this article through blogsphere. Honestly, I hate those horrors film-maker dramatized on the actual or real situation. In Indonesia, sadly almost all of the film maker without feeling any guilts and social responsible are in the race of making real scared to death to your nerve kind of movie because it is a profit guarented story line. I watched once and surprisingly and sadly, there were 6 to 10 years-old-kid also watched along with their parents.

    I wonder what is Indonesia film censored board is doing? Thanks for bringing this up :)

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    wonder if there is a real murder case on the cinema.. and the body been hid on that corner.. would anyone noticed it.. hmm..

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    rn: Haha. There are different kinds of scares in the world. For example, the Cowboy Bar scares me, too. lol.

    shin: Wow, you’re really crazy. I guess you really enjoy scaring yourself. :P

    Juz: I hate watching horror movies, you see, so I’ll only watch one if the plot really attracts me and I have to watch it to find out what happens. Haha. Rule #1 sounds interesting enough as a normal movie, but doesn’t make me need to find out what happens, so I don’t want to scare myself for nothing!

    Christina: Yeah, I know. I was really nervous before watching The Screen and every minute before the movie started, I regretted agreeing to watch it. Haha. But okay lah, it’s not all that frightening after all. :P

    Mike M: I think the trend in horror movies is moving away from blood and gore. I would say a good horror movie is something that takes something very ordinary and mundane in life and making it into something scary so you’ll feel scared even in the day because you always come into contact with it. The Ring started that for me, by making the TV a really scary thing. It was really so bad that I even felt frightened looking at my computer monitor. Haha.

    modchip: The trailer looks pretty good, actually.

    Mother: Hah, yeah. She’s really pretty. I couldn’t stop admiring her throughout the whole movie.

    Minou: I didn’t watch horror movies until last year, when I was forced to end my horror-boycott because I had to do research for a horror short film I was acting in. Strangely, those few movies didn’t freak me out as much as I expected, so I was able to watch more and more horror after that. Maybe acting in horror shows helps. lol.

    Monster: Oh, I wouldn’t watch horror movies if I lived alone, too!!

    Melly: Hiya! Thanks for visiting my blog and dropping a comment! I don’t think I’ve ever watched any Indonesian horror films. Now I’m curious to see one! Hehe! So would you say most Indonesians really like being scared to death, that’s why all the movies are like what you say? :P

    JokeDiary: Nope, I decided to stop playing those free online games. They’re usually not very good. I mean, they can be fun, and I’ve spent many hours playing them, but they’re not as good as paid games and if I have time to spend on games, I want a really good game. :P

    zield: lol, that would be really freaky!! But I think people would notice because a real body would smell.

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    They have been doing “prop horror” for many, many years. The Ring is just an extension of Poltergeist with the TV prop. What is left is blood and gore and how real the effects look.

    I suppose the reason horror has stalled is because it really never went beyond the “B” category. You won’t be seeing a horror flick winning an Oscar unless it’s in a technical category. And even thats a stretch.

    I will tip my hat to the person who can make an original horror flick because so far everything up until now has been done several times. It will take a great writer a great director and a great acting team to pull something off original.

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    Mike M: Hmm, I haven’t seen the Poltergeist so I don’t know. I’ve heard so much about it but I don’t dare to watch it cos everyone who’s watched it told me how freaked out they were by it, even the guys! Haha.

    Actually, I went to a scriptwriting seminar once. It was said that everything in the world has already been written. Nothing is original anymore and everything is just a rewrite. If you think you’ve got an original idea, it’s not. It has already been made into a film or is in a book, you just don’t know it yet. lol.

    So I guess it’s not just the horror genre? It’s hard to get anything original in any genre.

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    kormmandos: Yeah, I realise that, heheh. But a bit too much lah they all… show us 3 horror trailers and nothing else. Even horror fans like some variety mah. :P

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