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?