Fun-loving freshmen get more than they bargain for in "Scared," a rough-and-ready thriller from Thailand. Completely devoid of pretension and cohesive plot, this shoddy effort nevertheless has a perverse attraction that will appeal to Asiaphiles and indulgent fans of the genre. Pic garnered respectable B.O. upon domestic release last year, but international opportunities are more likely to be confined to Asia-themed fests with horror sidebar.
As a first-year bonding exercise, a group of Thai university students descend upon a holiday camp in the jungle. Disaster strikes en route to the camp when a rickety bridge collapses under their rented bus, drowning many. Confusion reigns as pic fails to decide whether it's a ghost story or a slasher yarn. Nor does the story take much time to differentiate between characters, settling for quick introductions before killing students one by one. Some of the deaths are outrageously inventive, but the finale is just plain lazy. Helming is perfunctory, but urgent cutting maintains a kind of nonsensical momentum. Rough tech credits do the job, but an insistent soundtrack propels this film into hysteria of an unintended kind.
Camera (color), Jiradej Samsiangsanoh; editor, Thawat Siripong; music, Pathai Puangcheen; production designer, Kanchai Kaewmak. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (market), Feb. 13, 2006. Thai, English dialogue. Running time: 80 MIN.