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Wide World of Horror: ‘Pen choo kab pee (The Unseeable’)

Wide World of Horror: ‘Pen choo kab pee (The Unseeable’)

Pen choo kab pee (The Unseeable)unseeabledn0nq1


Written by Kongkiat Khomsiri
Directed by Wisit Sasanatieng
Thailand, 2006

Motion is important in a horror movie. There doesn’t need to be action, or dramatic events, or even scares. But, there’s needs to be motion of some sort. That can mean anything from an encroaching atmosphere to a killer chasing down teens with a machete. No matter how it is achieved, it is of the utmost importance that a horror film establish motion and maintain said motion. Pen choo kab pee is a film bereft of motion, and that’s why it’s such a boring and uneventful attempt at a horror film.

In essence, Pen choo kab pee is every haunted house horror film you’ve ever seen in your life. There’s nothing, outside of some nifty camera work here and there, to separate Pen choo kab pee from the countless other haunted house horror films that exist. This lends an air of predictability to the film, a predictability that does the film no favors. There’s no surprise to the way the story unfolds or to the actions taken by the characters in the film. The film presented in Pen choo kab pee has been done so many times before that it ends up being a slough to finish.

There were a few moments near the end of Pen choo kab pee when it appeared as if the film was attempting to offer a new twist on the haunted house tale. Unfortunately those moments were not sustained, and were almost immediately diffused by a script that was intent on giving away too much. For a movie that is supposed to be about the unknown, Pen choo kab pee sure as heck wants to explain everything and anything that takes place during its run time. Most horror fans love the idea of ambiguity in the horror genre. Pen choo kab pee takes the opposite approach and spends its final ten or so minutes explaining every nook and cranny of its story.

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There were a few instances where the camera of Wisit Sasanatieng is impressive. There’s a lilting quality to the way he moves his camera around. The camera roams around the house as if it is being carried by the wind, or by whatever spirits are haunting the house. The problem with the lilting camera is that it also helps to give away any secrets the film hopes to hold close to its vest. The camera movements give away the haunted nature of the story and the truth behind many of the characters in the film. Khun Sasanatieng shows a lot of skill with the way he moves his camera, but his film was lacking when it came to integrating his camera movements into the story.

Horror is still a new genre in the Thai film industry. A movie like Pen choo kab pee may not deliver as a complete movie but at the very least it shows the ability for future Thai horror films to be much better. It’s not scary, surprising, or suspenseful, and for all those reasons Pen choo kab pee is a disappointing horror film. The hope is present for the Thai horror industry to better mix story with visuals, but Pen choo kab pee isn’t quite there yet.

-Bill Thompson

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