4BIA – Eerie, entertaining, delightful, scary

I’m delighted by my newfound courage to face and conquer a great nemesis that has plagued my life since the day I was old enough to understand the concept of fear.

For some reason I can’t adequately explain, I find myself suddenly no longer crippled by horror movies. The nights when I have to sleep with one eye open after watching a horror movie are over!

I was able to watch 4BIA with unreserved enjoyment after succeeding in psychoanalysing myself out of fear. Which is good, because 4BIA is as scary as it’s entertaining.

It’s a collection of four short films made by four illustrious Thai directors.

The story is that one of them latched upon an idea for a horror film, but realised that his material could only fill one short film, so he roped in three other directors to make a feature-length run with four short films.

I like that. It’s like watching episodes of The Twilight Zone. Each bite-sized tale is a surprise and leaves you with a sick feeling in your gut when it’s over.

Happiness

Director Yongyoot Thongkongtoon (The Iron Ladies; M.A.I.D.; Metrosexual) kicks the anthology off with this silent horror.

A pretty young lady is grounded in her grimy apartment thanks to a broken leg. She’s lonely and bored and shuffles on a clutch restlessly between her desk and bed.

Then, a mysterious stranger sends her an SMS requesting friendship. After some cursory hesitation, she texts him back. A peculiar friendship bordering on puppy love develops over the next few days.

Alas, she is alone, crippled and stuck in a small, claustrophic apartment. And she obviously didn’t heed the age-old parental advice to never talk to strangers.

Actress Maneerat Kham-uan delivers a noteworthy, essentially solo, performance which raises your hackles in preparation for the next few shorts.

Tit for Tat

This tale explores the subject of black magic via a bunch of rebellious teenagers facing expulsion from school after being caught with weed. An act of cruel vengeance directed at their tattertale results in an explosive series of unfortunate incidents.

This is director Paween Purikitpanya’s second foray into horror after a successful run of Body #19. Tit for Tat has been described as an action horror, but I would say the action comes more from the schizophrenic camera work and jump-cut editing than from the actual action in the story.

I felt like I was watching an extended MTV. The actors are all beautiful and glamorous (even when drenched in sweat and blood). The shots are visually exciting. The edits are quick and in your face. The lighting is often stark and contrasting. The pace sets your heart pounding from start till end.

Unsurprinsingly, I later read this on the 4BIA website.

Paween’s background in music video perfects his visual smoothness, and he shows his talent in winding up screen tension with such spooky efficiency. “I prefer my films to be like rides in an amusement part, instead of being objects in a museum,” he says.

I actually enjoyed the cinematography and editing more than I enjoyed the story itself.

In the Middle

The third film provides refreshing relief after you’ve been put on edge for an hour. In the Middle is touted as a “comedy horror”. However, despite that tag, and despite the laughter from the audience, this short is no less scary than the first two.

This is the story of four young men on a rafting and camping trip. Scaring each other with ghost stories, one of them jokes that if he were to die on the trip, he would come back and haunt the person sleeping in the middle.

What do you know, he drowns the next day, thus setting the scene for some horror buildup.

Banjong Pisanthanakun (Shutter; Alone) directs this with an equal balance of comedy and horror, which is no easy feat. I mean, how can you feel fear when you’re laughing? This film shows you how.

Last Fright

A flight attendant is assigned to be caretaker of the body of the Princess of Khurkistan, who has suffered a sudden death and has to be flown first class back to her home country.

The body is seated in the first row of the plane, which is eerily empty save for Pim, the beautiful flight attendant, and two pilots in the cockpit. Pim has to make sure that nothing happens to the body during the flight.

But who’s going to make sure that nothing happens to Pim?

Director Pakpoom Wongpoom (also Shutter; Alone) made this film after learning that the royal dead cannot be transported in coffins and have to be seated like regular living people, leading him to wonder what horror could happen on a plane with a dead body sitting around in plain sight.

Being the most visually frightening of the lot, this classic horror very nicely rounds up the anthology. In fact, it was so frightening that Sabrina and Pris ran off 10 minutes into the film and never came back.

Methinks the title is very apt.

I watched 4BIA at the Blog Aloud series by Golden Village, where we got to meet the four directors as well as two members of the cast.

Left to right:
Maneerat Kham-uan (Actress – Happiness)
Paween Purikitpanya (Director – Tit for Tat)
Parkpoom Wongpoon (Director – Last Fright)
Kantapat Permpoonpatcharasuk (Actor – In the Middle)
Banjong Pisanthanakun (Director – In the Middle)
Youngyooth Thongkonthun (Director – Happiness)

Director Paween Purikitpanya told the audience that if everyone likes their film, they would make a 4BIA 2.

Well, I would really love to see a sequel, so please support this film!

21 thoughts on “4BIA – Eerie, entertaining, delightful, scary

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    Relax: Yes, and the contents are rather creative too. :) You live in M’sia right? Not sure if it’s showing there. Well, it’ll probably come out in DVD eventually anyway. ;)

    Leaf: Aww thanks for the sweet compliment! I’m glad to know you enjoyed the movie! Were you scared at any time? Hehe!

    lawless: Is that Stephen King’s novel? I don’t think I’ve watched that. But I think I might have read it. Can’t remember! lol. So what does your version of “crippled” mean? :P

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    No. I am not in Malaysia now.

    I prefer to watch it at cinema haha…
    DVD, hard to tell if it is original. Better support the artists by watching at cinema :P

    I think Repo! won’t be at Msian/sg cinema *sob*

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    Oh, so where are you now? If you’re in Singapore, then you definitely can watch it because I watched it in a Singapore cinema, lol. Yeah, good shows are better to watch in the cinema anyway!

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    The film was adapted from Stephen King’s novel of the same name. If I remember correctly, Salem’s Lot was the film that sparked the creation of vampire movies. Being the 1st modern-times vampire movie, it was pretty scary if u had watched it back then. I had to sleep with a bible within reach for many years thereafter. Since then, I only catch the occasional horror film which inevitably resulted in my sleeping with the lights on.

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    Relax: Noooo. I was talking about 4BIA, not Reop! lol.

    Jesta: You’re very welcome. Always aim to please! ;)

    modchip: Haha… that’s what I was thinking exactly, when writing the review. :P

    lawless: Yeah, okay, gotta go check out the book to see if I’ve read it. I’ve read so many Stephen King novels that I can’t remember which I’ve read and which I haven’t. lol. There was once I bought a book and then three chapters later, I realised that I’ve already read that book. Haha.

    Did you watch Pet Sematary? When I read that book, I was so creeped out that I told myself never to watch the movie, ever.

    Leaf: I thought the scariest were the 3rd and 4th because those happened in the night… and night time more scary. Heheh. Especially the last one. I wanted to close my eyes at one point, but didn’t. :P

    aig: Yeah, it’s a clever title! I didn’t get ite at first. Was wondering why the title was an abbreviation. lol.

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    I enjoyed all four stories, and thought all of them were pretty well acted. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the CGI effects in story 2…

    Haha, your “newfound courage” could be due to having acted in a horror film yourself, albeit sometime ago! :)

    Any news of it so far?? :P

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    Actually, my “newfound courage” IS indeed attributed largely in part to our horror film last year. Heh. I mentioned it in this post.

    I chatted with Jon recently. It’s still not complete. They just kept running into problem after problem, which could only be solved financially, which means it keeps having to wait till they have the finances. Oh well.

    Haven’t seen you in ages. Hope you’re doing fine! :)

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    Yeah it has been quite a while! I’m doing great, thanks! :)

    Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed that they’ll solve their finances, and that “Hole” won’t take too long to complete! Actually I just hope that it WILL get completed.

    I’m itching to do another horror film now though! LOL

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    Haha. Yeah, horror films are pretty fun, aren’t they? ;) Btw, have tried to go to your blog a few times, but dunno why it keeps getting stuck at Loading status forever.

  10. Avatar

    I REALLY LIKE THIS FILM!!!

    AMAZINGLY, FULL SURPRISE.. . .

    I ALWAYS TALKED TO MY FRIENDS TO WATCH 4 BIAAAAAAA

    FOR EVERYBODY EVERYWHERE… . .

    ENJOY THIS FILM…. BYEEEEE BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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