Sunday, April 22

4bia Movie Review

Asian Horror Movie Synopsis

4bia is an Asian horror anthology consisting of four shorts. Loneliness tells of the story of a young woman stuck in her small apartment because of an accident which has left her wearing a cast on her leg. Her only means of communication with the outside world is her mobile phone. A male stranger befriends her by sending text messages. It all goes well until strange things begin to occur inside her apartment. She discourages the sender from coming over but the stranger has other plans.

The Deadly Charm tells the story of Ngeed, the son of an undertaker, who gets beaten to death by his fellow classmates for reporting their drug habit. Before he dies, he places a curse on the teenagers. One by one, they die a gruesome and horrible death. Pink, a member of the group, was the only one who did not beat him up. Will she also face Ngeed’s wrath?

Four friends take a camping trip in the woods. The boys swap stories of movies and ghosts. Ae jokingly tells his buddies Ter, Shin and Puak that if he dies, he will come back to haunt the man who sleeps in the middle. The next day, Ae disappears while trying to save Ter during a rafting accident. As the remaining three discuss the chances of whether Ae will stay true to his word, Ae appears from out of nowhere. Has he come back to haunt the remaining three?

Pim is a flight attendant who is called for an emergency assignment to assist Princess Sophia on her trip to Phuket. The princess is vengeful of the woman having an affair with her husband. She mistreats Pim, knowing that she is her husband’s mistress. Pim tries to get revenge but accidentally kills the princess in the process. Now, the princess is getting her revenge.

Asian Horror Movie Review

*Warning: contains spoilers*

Loneliness takes a more minimalistic approach to creating a scary movie. There are no flashy effects or unusual camera shots here. The horror is created by introducing subtle details one at a time up until the reveal.  It is interesting to note that there is no actual dialogue involved between any of the characters in the first short. All of the conversing is done thru the display of cellphone messages. Much of the movie plays out in a single location, namely the woman’s apartment. Our main character lives alone with a broken leg while all of her companions are away for several days. Her actual apartment is small, dark and dingy and is located several floors from the street. She talks to a guy who has been cooped up somewhere for as long as she has had her leg broken. These subtle details and more add up to create a feeling of helplessness and loneliness, in line with the title of the film. All of the details may seem disjointed at first but will lead to an “Ah!” moment by the end of the short. Unlike other Asian horror movies that involve ghosts, you see the actual ghost only once in this movie. Yet, the gradual introduction of details creates for a good sense of horror.  

After Loneliness, there is The Deadly Charm. The second short is more fast-paced in line with using more youthful and energetic characters. Unlike the first short, The Deadly Charm uses a lot more of creative camera shots, gore and special effects coupled with some alternative/rock music. I like seeing CGI effects being used in a film when it is done properly but that is not the case here. The monsters here seem too rough. It would have been better if the actual character were used instead and changed using makeup or some other means. The swooping and sometimes shaky camera shots, combined with images of blood and gore may look good but they are used more to shock viewers and conceal a somewhat shallow storyline.

Next, we have Man in the Middle. The story also delves into friendship of a different kind using a mix of horror and comedy. Making people laugh in a horror movie is difficult as it combines two contrasting genres. Horror films are meant to scare you and make the viewer feel distressed and uncomfortable. Comedy is supposed to make viewers laugh and feel good. Oftentimes, when both genres are combined, you end up seeing more of a light film infused with monsters, lots of gore or has a more gothic feel, such as in the case of Sleepy Hollow or Sweeney Todd. Man in the Middle takes place in the present time. The situation can be considered commonplace. It has an interesting twist at the end but what makes it funny is the interaction and banter between the four characters. For instance, you have the guys sleeping connected end to end inside a tent to avoid getting haunted. The light-hearted and sometimes witty remarks coupled with some shots of ghosts make for a good interesting Asian horror comedy short.

The Last Flight has an interesting plot but it does not deliver when it comes to horror. There are not a lot of frightening scenes and in most instances, the scenes do not make you scream or even make you squirm from your seat. Use of displaced body hair is common in a lot of Asian horror films. Its use can either help give you chills or make you gag. For this flick, it seems more of the latter. The flight attendant’s acting does not help as it appears a bit flat as well. Viewers may admire the flight attendant’s spunk and creativity when it comes to punishing the princess although using this flick as the ending is a letdown for a good compilation of Asian horror shorts.

For viewers that are not sure about sitting through an entire horror movie, films such as 4bia and Phobia 2 are worth looking into. Each short is normally created by a different director. This offers viewers a greater variety of choices. Japan is a country well known for producing experimental shorts in Asian horror. Viewers should try checking those out as well.

I do not own any of the Asian horror movies posted here so kindly give your love to the people who posted them online for your enjoyment. If you like what you are reading, let me know. I am also open to accepting donations if you want to buy me a coffee or two.


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