Monday, February 17, 2014

Film Review: 9-9-81 (2012)

9-9-81 (Review)
Thailand/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Hong Kong) (Vicol Entertainment Ltd.)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...creates a very diverse horror experience."

Bride-to-be Wipawee (Patitta Attayatamavitaya) leaps to her death from the top of her apartment building...

9-9-81 is a horror anthology/compilation. The introduction shows Wipawee mysteriously committing suicide. Then, we are shown several different perspectives, from several different characters, of the event prior, during, and afterward. All of these short stories connect to develop a strong character for Wipawee, as well as to obviously explain the event that occurred. What we get is a somber supernatural tale. The final story, which follows a police officer's investigation into the matter, was a bit underwhelming, but didn't leave any more unanswered questions – so, it was good.

9-9-81 isn't exactly a traditional horror anthology, like Tales from the Hood or Tales from the Darkside. Instead, 9-9-81 uses the horror anthology formula to form one story. Anyway, each story has a different director – in some instances, different directors – and different forms of horror. Some stories focus solely on spooky visuals, others focus on jump-scares, and so on – and it's all very effective. Fortunately, this also creates a very diverse horror experience. 9-9-81 also features a very ominous atmosphere which I really enjoyed. Despite having multiple directors, most of the short stories feel eerily similar. Only one, maybe two, of the short stories really has a distinct style. Also, some of the pacing is inconsistent, where one story will move at full speed, and the next may move at a very slow pace.

Patitta Attayatamavitaya is the star of the film, appearing in each short story as a human or ghost, and she delivers a good performance. In fact, most of the acting can simply be described as good – and that's fine by horror standards, so I was more than happy. The cinematography is great in creating a dark yet visible film, a film with a really strong mood. The music is also fantastic, it's a blend of haunting chants and somber tones that really help develop the atmosphere and send chills down your spine. The directors do a great job at matching each other and forming a complete story through several short stories. For the Hong Kong Blu-ray, the English subtitles were great with very few flaws; the picture and audio quality were also up to standard.

Overall, 9-9-81 is a great horror film. It delivers the horror tenfold, and a great variety of horror, as well. The anthology-like storytelling worked well and kept me engaged, too. I do prefer Phobia 2 a bit more, though, as it was a bit more creative and versatile. Regardless, fans of Thai horror should not be disappointed.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood, some sexuality. (A young man has a panty fetish – not long or graphic)

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