Everyone seems to be late to the party on this one.
Phobia (aka 4bia) (2008)
Directed By: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Paween Purikitpanya, Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, and Parkpoom Wongpoom
We all love a good horror anthology right? I mean just to name a few we have Creepshow, Creepshow 2, and Tales from the Hood! Of course what an anthology is, is different stories that are added together to make one film. That’s just what the film Phobia is. However, unlike such classics as Creepshow there isn’t really one running plot to open and close it. Sure that’s always fun, but this movie really didn’t need it, as it holds up just fine on it’s one being what it is.
Phobia is broken down into four different short horror stories with a different director for each. While naturally some are better than others, I think the weakest story isn’t bad. The films opens up with “Happiness” about a lonely girl who starts texting back and forth with an unknown person after getting a random text from said person. The next story is “Tit For Tat”, a story of school kids that bully one of their fellow classmates and end up in the mix with some black magic. Next comes my personal favorite called “In The Middle”, which is a story of four friends out camping. And as you’d guess when they go kayaking things go terribly wrong. And finally we have “Last Fright” a tale of a stewardess being forced to make a very spooky flight with a dead body!..Good times!
To sum things up, “Happiness” is a weird tale that I enjoyed and really dug the idea of. I think it’s about time someone made a story involving texting someone. It’s probably not the first of it’s kind but it’s creepy and good. “Tit for Tat” was probably my least favorite out of the group. It’s packed with unlikable kids and very bad CGI. It however does have a few good gore moments outside the CGI. “In The Middle” is my favorite of the four and is directed by the same director who directed the original Shutter, Banjong Pisanthanakun. The story is actually humorous with fun characters and good acting. It also takes a page out of Scream and actually updates it by having the guys talk about things in horror that happens recently and poke fun at it. It’s a smart little story that has a pretty clever end. Wrapping things up is “Final Fright”. It a nice little physiological thriller and ends things on a pretty spooky note. Overall, it all is placed well and flows well.
A lot of times when dealing with a movie like this you get one or two stories that are either bad or just awful, that isn’t the case here. While to me the worst story (Tit for Tat) isn’t really my cup of tea I wouldn’t call it “bad”. I just didn’t like it’s CGI which is Spawn-like and corny. Also one cool thing about this film is while it doesn’t have a opening and closing to box it all in, the stories do reference once another if you catch it, it can be subtle.
Each short seems to have a point to make as well which I think is great. Even the weakest one seems to have a strong message about bullying, a message a lot of people need to understand as that still happens a lot in schools today. It being a foreign film, you just know punches won’t be pulled and even if it’s disturbing a point seems to always be made.
Another thing this movie does well is the “jump” scares. While you can probably see them coming a mile away, which I did. I still jumped because they do them a bit differently than most films. Also I liked how each story seemed to have little twist in there that really set them off. It’s kinda missing in the second story but the other three benefit greatly from it, even if it takes you a moment to get what it is with the first film, which is pretty cool in it’s own right. Once the four stories in Phobia wrapped up, I was well happy with what I had seen. So I’d for sure suggest you seek this out and give it a watch.
I think it’s just as strong as the old school Creepshow stuff. Some are little more methodical than fast paced but it didn’t bother me because they lead to a pretty cool end each time. I think there’s something for everyone here and while you may not like each story, I’m sure you’ll like at least two of the four. Worth owning in my opinion so seek it out!
The Rating (7.5/10)