Genre: Horror, Thriller
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 33m
Director(s): Surapong Ploensang
Writer(s): Eakasit Thairaat, Onusa Donsawai, Pun Homchuen, Surapong Ploensang
Cast: Nichkhun Horvejkul, Chayanit Chnsangavei, Nina Nutthacha Jessica Padova, Byron Bishop, Dream-Passalak Supasiripaisarn, Pu-Sahajak Boonthanakit, Jim-Kunkanit Khumkrong
Language: Thai with English subtitles
Where To Watch: premiering via VOD& DVD on May 26, 2023
RAVING REVIEW: CRACKED is an Asian horror film that promises chills, thrills, and a dose of cultural heritage, all rolled into one cinematic experience. An ardent fan of horror, I admit that CRACKED left me with mixed feelings, with an over-reliance on some repetitive scare tactics rather than pushing the boundaries of the genre. That isn’t to say it didn’t work, and that ending was a home run for me. After three years of tireless effort, the director and his dedicated team triumphed over countless hurdles to create this film.
Our leads, Ruja, played by Chayanit Chansangavej, and her daughter Rachel (Nutthatcha Padovan), travel to Thailand to take care of a family inheritance. At first, a standard process of taking care of her father's estate quickly transforms into a chilling ordeal as they uncover a set of ancient paintings with secrets just waiting to spring forth and change their world.
K-pop sensation (I must admit I don’t know about the genre, but I thought it was an interesting little detail) Nichkhun steps into the role of Tim, an art restorer who is the crucial link, allowing the dreadful secrets hidden in the painted canvas to come to the real world and ensnare our lead characters in a somewhat predictable and repetitive survival saga.
CRACKED pays homage to art and artists, highlighting their vital societal role. Each art piece is a testament to creative genius, skillfully weaving threads of suspense and terror into their canvas, transforming them into masterpieces of fear. The personal touch adds another layer of intrigue to the film. These aren’t just generic off-shelf pieces; they’re genuine art with heart and beauty.
Chansangavej and Nichkhun deliver solid performances, while Nutthatcha Padovan adds depth to the film as the young Rachel. The cinematography is another shining light; the film's visuals often overtook the story. The stirring visuals pair with astute editing to create a relentless journey of dread and suspense.
The backdrop of CRACKED is as engaging as its storyline. The ancestral estate, wrapped in a dense forest and battered by the weather, is the perfect setting for the eerie events, ultimately giving the film another element that creates the look and feel of a horror film with so much potential.
CRACKED blends Gothic elements from different cultures, although the film s struggles to keep focus with flashbacks throughout and reliance more on dialogue that doesn’t always reach the heights that are being attempted.
Despite my love for Asian horror, CRACKED seemed too comfortable resting on its laurels of genre cliches instead of venturing into new, unexplored territory. Some plot decisions stretch the limits of believability, yet, there's enough intrigue to keep even the most seasoned horror fans entertained. As I’ve mentioned before, a 2.5-star rating from me isn’t bad; it’s mathematically in the middle between a film I didn’t love and one I didn’t hate either. It was an experience that I think many will enjoy.
CRACKED is like Pandora's box, releasing a haunted past that offers the viewers a lot of potentials. As Ruja unravels her father's history and the unsettling secrets concealed within the artwork, the line between art and horror blurs.
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[photo courtesy of FILM MOVEMENT]