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Original Title:

Thailand 2007


Banjong Pisanthanakun
Parkpoom Wongpoom

Marsha Wattanapanich
Vittaya Wasukraipaisan
Ratchanoo Bunchootwong
Namo Tongkumnerd

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Story: Pim (Marsha Wattanapanich) and her boyfriend Vee (Vittaya Wasukraipaisan) have emigrated to South Korea and live there for a few years already. However, one day they get a call that informs them about Pim's mother being in hospital and in critical condition. The two fly back to Thailand, but it's not a pleasent journey for Pim as old memories haunt her when she enters the house of her childhood. Up until her teenage years she was inseparably connected with her siamese twin Ploy. Pim was the one who decided to undergo surgery to finally lead a normal life, but Ploy didn't survive the operation...
Slowly, Pim starts to hear strange noises and sees odd reflections everywhere, until she eventually is sure of the fact that her sister is back. Pim is on the verge of a mental breakdown, but she still refuses the help of her boyfriend, who wants to seek the advice of a befriended psychiatrist. However, Pim's daydreams and visions become more intense and frequent, so that she eventually agrees, and tries to work up her past and fears with the psychiatrist. Yet, it seems that the things Pim sees are not mere imagination caused by feelings of guilt, but that Ploy is actually back...

Review: After Banjong Pisanthanakun's und Parkpoom Wongpoom's "Shutter", expectations were quite high concerning their new horror movie "Alone". To the surprise of many the two directors once again prove, that even with well-known tools, they still manage to scare the living hell out of the audience. The shock moments in the film are first class stuff and makes you jump from the edge of your seat on several occasions. Even though the horror is once again about a ghost of a girl seeking revenge, the movie nonetheless avoids becoming too clichéloaden. There may be some pictures of a long-haired girl, but they also look refreshingly different, as we get to see the ghost in different shapes throughout the film. Sometimes it's just a mere reflection in the mirror, which we can barely perceive and can't distinguish any details, and at other times it's a decayed and disfigured body that jumps at us. If you are looking for a horror flick that makes you turn on the lights after viewing it and to search for ghosts under your bed or in the closet, then this one is the right choice for you.

The main plot itself already promises to provide creepy entertainment. It's about siamese twins, who are forced to be together for all of their life. Even after the death of one them, there still seems to be a mental link between them. The movie also brings up some typical erroneous beliefs, for example that the other twin instantly has to die when the first one is dead. Of course this is nonsense as long as the two don't share the same organs. Still, wouldn't you prefer to die than to lie beside your twin, who is dead and of whom you know that his body is slowly going to decay and that you can't do nothing about it? As you see, there is a high creepy factor to be found in the main plot, and the two directors/writers build the rest of the script on that and deliver a surprisingly well-done horror movie.

After we have been introduced to the life of Pim and her boyfriend, Pim apparently slowly starts to go mad. Only when she accepts the help of a psychiatrist we finally get to know more of her background story. Up until then the movie is held rather minimalistic when it comes to the story and strongly focuses on its scare moments. But even after we know more about Pim's and Ploy's story there are still some parts of the puzzle missing, which however get complemented one after another.
As we wouldn't expect otherwise from a good horror flick, "Alone" first misleads us into a certain direction, only to catch us completely off-guard with a nice twist. It's rare that such a twist really works out and forces the audience to view the movie in a new light, but here the director's certainly succeed. However, after we have digested the story's big surprise, the movie feels a bit too stretched for its own good. The finale, serving us with flames that engulf the family house, may be quite appealing SFX-wise, but it also feels somewhat superfluous.

In the main lead is Thailand's pop singer Marsha Wattanapanich (whose mother is german, by the way), and she does a really good job with her portrayal. Especially during the scenes in which she is about to be going insane, she is very convincing. Still, despite her good efforts she can't hide the fact, that "Alone" makes the same mistake as so many other horror flicks. The character's all seem a bit shallow, which is especially apparent when it comes to Vee. They simply seem to be cogwheels of the story. We can never really sympathize with them, but there is always enough emotional involvement for us to jump off our chair, when there is suddenly a ghost lurking, seemingly threatening their lives.
As it is for most horror movies the story unfolds very slowly, but there are only few moments where the pacing is actually a bit too slow. As already said, the film convinces with some very nice scare scenes and well done picture compositions. The greyish and brownish colors of the pictures play into the hands of the eerie atmosphere, and the soundtrack is also pretty good.

It's difficult to pinpoint what makes "Alone" better than the competition, as there is actually nothing in it that refines the meanwhile hackneyed Asian horror genre. Nonetheless, the scare scenes work out really well, making this film more entertaining than many other movies. That is if you are into horror movies, of course. The atmosphere is pretty tense and the twist also stands as one of the movie's strengths. All in all, I have to say that "Shutter" is still the superior film, but you can't deny that "Alone" is a well executed entry into the Asian horror genre.
You may be thinking throughout the film that it's possible that the ghosts are merely creations of Pim's guilt-loaden conscience, but in order to avoid any disappointment you shouldn't let yourself be mislead by this. "Alone" is a simple horror movie - but a good one.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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