DIRECTOR Monthon Arayangkoon WRITER Sompope Vejchapipat; Monthon Arayangkoon STARS Inthira Charoenpura; Chutcha Rujinanon; Chamanun Wanwinwatsara DVD 4 June
Of the vast number of horror films coming to us from Asian territories, Thailand is responsible for a relatively small number, so I was much looking forward to seeing what The House had to offer. Sadly, not an awful lot… Ironically, this is largely due to an attempt for too many story-telling approaches on the tired old haunted house subgenre. None of these stick, making for a forgettable experience that feels long, even at a not unreasonable run-time of 103 minutes.
A familiar story. Shalinee (Inthira Chaloenpura) is an investigative journalist, commissioned to work on a documentary about a man jailed for the grisly murder of his partner. Her investigations reveal that the home in which he did so, a place rumoured to be haunted, holds a history of such acts, couples seemingly happy on moving in, only for the male to change character and eventually kill. Naturally, the house’s influence begins to reach into Shalinee’s life, the realisation of which comes too late.
Visually, there are some good moments. The very first ‘live’ appearance of the house’s presence — until now, only shown via Shalinee’s visions — its long, shadowy limbs stepping out of the timber, is quietly creepy, this brief glimpse complementing and underlining the building’s insidiousness. This subtle approach is however thoroughly ruined by other ghostly encounters being far too visible, their effectiveness amounting to very little after several too many instances, constant warnings to stay away eroding any anticipation of the impact to come.
An overall experience of boredom is assisted in no way by Chaloenpura; with literally no change to her facial expression on encountering her first gruesome scene, it’s fair to say the actress adds little to proceedings. In fact only one performance is particularly worthy of commendation here: one of the house’s killers — visited in prison by Shalinee in a scene very reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs — is intriguing, his amusement at the reporter’s approaching horror rather chilling. I’ll be interested to see further work from Komsun Nuntachit, the actor responsible. But other than this, there is nothing to take away from The House. Had the filmmakers decided between jump-scares, gore or a psychological approach, perhaps a better film would have emerged. As it stands, a hotchpotch.