måndag 28 maj 2012

303 Fear Faith Revenge (303 กลัว/กล้า/อาฆาต, 1999)

303 FearFaith Revenge was the first Thai movie I bought on DVD and it's still a movie I revisit from time to time. If you ask me which the first Thai movie I saw was, I would say something by P. Chalong - because several of his movies was out on VHS here in Sweden. But back to 303. It was the years after Scream and the industry was flooded by slick and very mainstream slasher movies, so it didn't take long until Thailand did their own take on the American tradition of a crazy killer chopping up kids. The Thai's did their own twist and brought back the supernatural twist, which is fine by me - as long the body count won't stop!

St. George boarding school, a Catholic school during the late fifties or early sixties. New students arrived, among them Ghu (Ananda Everingham) who's supported by the church to get a place at the prestigious school. In the Hall of Fame he and his new friends find a photo of Prince Daovadueng, who according to rumours killed himself. They start to investigate the suicide and decides to use an ouija board to contact their dead former school mate - but instead they unleash something much worse, someone who wants to kill everyone at the school! What dark secrets do the school hide?

The story and twists are a bit to convoluted to completely follow, but don't let that stop you to check out this well-made and very visual supernatural slasher. I find it interesting that it uses the same clichés like all movies set on an all girl school (this is a school for boys), including shower scenes and  some not too strong homoerotic undertones (just check out the first scene when two of the boys see each other - it's like from an American romcom!).

That's just a small part of a movie that focuses heavy on the mystery behind the school - what do the priest/principal and school hide? Here famous character actor Suchao Pongwilai make a flawless and complex role as the head priest and Micheal Pupart as his colleague, Brother Wiwat. I guess I'm not the only who noticed the anti-Catholic atmosphere (which I like!) in this movie, from the encouragement of bullying to downright hiding serious crimes and washing away the sins of the past. Its actually very interesting to watch a Thai movie that criticizes the church and very nicely interweave Buddhist faith and traditions from an completely other direction.

The cast is filled with boys who just years later became the brat pack of Thailand and still turns up in genre movies. Most famous of them all is Ananda Everingham who starred in the CRIMINALLY underrated Red Eagle (from director Wisit Sasanatieng in 2010) and still makes the hearts of young girls do somersaults of excitement whenever he show his face. All the grown-ups are very good, much more low-key than usual., Pongwilai of course, but don't forget the always fun Charlie Sungkawess as one of the teachers.

I still don't know what the title stands for or exactly what happens in the movie and it's many twists, but one thing is for sure: it's still a good horror movie that deserves a wider DVD release.