Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 23rd, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Thailand, 2008
Directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun (In the Middle), Paween Purikitpanya (Tit for Tat), Yongyoot Thongkongtoon (Happiness), Parkpoom Wongpoom (Last Fright)
Writers: Banjong Pisanthanakun (In the Middle), Paween Purikitpanya (Tit for Tat), Yongyoot Thongkongtoon (Happiness), Parkpoom Wongpoom (Last Fright)
Cast: Laila Boonyasak, Pongsatorn Jongwilak, Maneerat Kham-uan, Kantapat Permpoonpatcharasuk, Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, Witawat Singlampong, Chon Wachananon
DVD released: May 10th, 2010
Approximate running time: 112 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: DTS Thai, Dolby Digital 5.1 Thai, Dolby Digital Stereo Thai
DVD Release: Icon Home Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £12.99
Phobia is made up of four stories that all explored the world of the macabre and revenge.
The first story is titled ‘Happiness’ and it revolves around a young woman who has become isolated since a near fatal car wreck. Unable to move around to well due to a broken leg. She spends her time in her apartment suffering the internet and texting. What starts off mundane enough quickly turns sinister when she receives a text from a mysterious stranger.
This story is perfectly paced with each revelation timed for maximum impact. This story is primary confined to one location. The young woman’s apartment. This claustrophobic setting also lends itself to this stories mounting tension which is driven home by the young woman inability to escape her fate. When all is said and done the conclusion does a superb job wrapping everything up via a flashback to the young woman’s past.
The second story is titled ‘Tit for Tat’. This one revolves around a group of high school kids who terrorize a loner classmate who inadvertently got them in trouble with the principle. Not wanting to let go, this group of kids track down and assault this young man repeatedly. After being dropped out of a moving truck. The young finally reaches his breaking point. And with the help of black magic. He executes his revenge against those who did him wrong.
This is easily the most violent and gory of the four stories. Unfortunately there is not much else going on here. With the story moving from one sadistic beating to the next. The gore effects are for the most part pulled up. With a few of the CGI effects standing out like a sore thumb. The film’s predictable ending retreads ground that is all to familiar.
The third story is titled ‘In the Middle’. This story centers around a group of friends who go on a camping trip. one day while rafting one of their friends go missing. After their raft capsizes. And when their friend suddenly appears after they have given up on ever finding him. They start to question is their missing friend. Who has now returned is alive or dead?
This is the only story of the four that injects humor into the mix. And the humor is often derived from the four friends knowledge of cinema. This mixing of humor offsets the eerier tone that the story established in its opening moment. And later in the story when things try to become more unsettling. So much of the impending doom has been weakened because of the aforementioned attempt at humor. In the end, this stories slow build and all to familiar twist ending make it the weakest of the four stories.
The fourth and final story is titled ‘Last Fright’ and it revolves around a stewardess who reluctantly accepts a flight where the only passenger is a princess. It quickly is established that these two women are linked. The story hits its stride once the princess who refuses to eat the food provided by the airline. The princess insists on eating the stewardesses food. The princess is allergic to shrimp. The stewardesses removed shrimp from the dish she gives the princess. The princess dies from a allergic reaction to the shrimp. Once again fate brings the two women back together. When the stewardess is asked to help transport the princesses corpse back to her homeland.
After the initial set up. Things start to move along briskly once the two women are on the plain. The princess characters demeanor early on makes it hard to sympathize with her later. The Stewardess is initially portrayed as a sweet. And once she realizes that the princess has discovered her secret. The stewardess then becomes more aggressive to the princess. Which leads to her death. Just like the first story ‘Happiness’. This story uses one location. This time around a airplane to create a tremendous amount of tension.
Icon Home Entertainment presents Phobia in a anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. The is a strong looking transfers that has solid black levels, details always look sharp and colors and flesh tones look accurate.
This release comes with three audio options, DTS Thai, Dolby Digital 5.1 Thai, Dolby Digital Stereo Thai and removable English subtitles have been included. It should be noted that some dialog in the ‘Last Fright’ segment is in English. All three audio mixes sound clear, balanced and robust. All three audio mixes do a superb job exploiting the more ambient aspects of their soundtracks.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 56 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Thai with English subtitles) and cast & crew interviews (12 minutes 13 seconds – letterboxed widescreen, in Thai with English subtitles). The interviews cover how the film came about and each of the four segments within the film are discussed. Overall Phobia gets a strong DVD release from Icon Home Entertainment.