Scared (2005)

Scared Thai slasher reviewThai Title: Rap nawng sayawng khwan

Starring Sumonrat Wattanaselarat, Wongthep Khunarattanrat, Amornpan Kongtrakarn, Atchara Sawangwai

Directed by Pakpoom Wongjinda

What is it with these deadly education-linked excursions in the Far East? If I ever study there, I’ll have second thoughts about going on field trips!

This is a bit like Battle Royale meets Friday the 13th in a Thai jungle. A bunch of students at a design school have to go out into the sweltering boonies to do some orienteering as a part of their initiation. They head out in high spirits with some musician dudes jamming out on the bus and everyone singing along and videotaping each other. Then this weird feller arrives on the road dressed in black. He’s the kind of guy you would probably decline a ride from if you were hitchhiking, so what this bus driver and the head honchos from the design school were thinking in accepting him as a guide is anybody’s guess.

There’s an extremely rickety bridge up ahead, and creepy guy assures the bus driver that it’s no problem to take the heavy vehicle across it. Before you can say “River Kwai,” the bus and students are plunged into the drink, and during the fall the bus driver bites it big time via a wood plank through the head.

The students who didn’t die in the crash make their way out of the water into the woods, not knowing what the hell is going on and generally freaking out. Now we’re in Battle Royale territory – one by one the remaining students are offed in imaginative ways by a hooded stalker who could easily be a disgruntled ex-member of Sunn o))).

The deaths are quite good, but that’s about all this film has to offer. The characters are daft to the point that the entire movie theater was laughing hysterically at their plight, which I’m not sure was the intended effect. If it was meant to be funny, fine, then kudos to the filmmakers. If not, then I don’t really know what to say. It was definitely watchable, but when you can’t tell if it was supposed to be funny or not, you’re kind of left furrowing your brows and grimacing in contemplation. I don’t like doing that when I’m supposed to be focusing on what’s happening in the movie at hand.

If you can’t guess who the killer is in this film, then I’d suggest you go back to playing your four-square version of X’s and O’s. If you want a satisfactory conclusion to a film, look elsewhere because the twist ending here makes about as much sense as an orange peel sandwich.

If inventive splatter and time-wasting silliness is enough for you, don’t be scared; grab a six-pack and watch this sucker. You might like it more than I did. If not, skip it.

1 1/2 out of 5

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