Home For Rent, A Thai Tale Of True Horror

[24-08-2023 04:34 PM]
Feras Al-Werr

(It is advisable for the readers to view the film before reading this review)

Home For Rent is a movie that was released to the cinemas last May of this year. It is directed by Sophon Sakdaphisit and starred Nittha Jirayungyurn, Sukollawat Kanaros, Thanyaphat Mayuraleela, Penpak Sirikul, Namfon Pakdee, Suphithak Chatsuriyawong, Natniphaporn Ingamornrat, Pawarisa Surathin. The screenplay was written by Sophon Sa kdaphisit and Tanida Hantaweewatana. The movie is rated as eighteen plus due its Horror genre.

Hair-raising, terrifying, frightening, unpredictable, yet mesmerizing to watch are the least that could be said about it. Its’ events follow to a certain extent the regular plot diagram or Freytag’s pyramid. We have opening scenes that present the main characters of the film. Ning (Nittha Jirayungyurn) visits an apartment (condo) she owns in a building after hearing from Tom (Suphithak Chatsuriyawong) her real estate agent that it was badly damaged by previous tenants who moved out of it. Upon seeing the damage, the agent tells her that he emailed the pictures to the tenants overseas but they didn’t reply. Tom advices Ning to fix the damage. But she argues that the she is unable to do so as the rent money of the condo pays the mortgage to the bank. Tom accordingly advices that he can rent the two story house they live in for a handsome sum of money whereby allowing her to fix the damage of the condo. Accordingly they can move in the condo, benefitting from the lease money of their two story house. Ning tells tom that she has to discuss this with her husband Kwin (Sukollawat Kanaros) as he owns the house.

Ning while having breakfast with Kwin and her daughter Ing (Thanyaphat Mayuraleela) opens the subject with him. He seems hesitant at first as he doubts the condo will fit all their personal belongings. But upon reconsidering the handsome rent money and the bank installments due, he changes his mind and decides to move into the condo. Very quickly even before they move out, Tom brings in two interested woman to sightsee their handsome property, interrupting Ning even during a job interview. Ning finds herself hurrying to her two story house to partially over hear upon her entrance her husband talking to one of the interested woman for rent. She hears her telling him that a red book will help him a lot and they will talk later on about a matter. Tom introduces her to Nuch (Namfon Pakdee) and Ratree (Penpak Sirikul). The two admire the property greatly and ask as to when they can move in. Kwin suddenly steps in the conversation, to his wife’s surprise, and answers that they can move in next month.

The film’s real horror starts very soon afterwards. Ning and her family move into their condo allowing the new tenants to settle into their house in return. Very soon sinister events begin to happen. Ning notices on the chest of her husband a tattoo of a triangle with two dots in it. When she asks him about it, as he never had a tattoo before, he tells her that he and his boss got them while they were drunk together and daring one another about it . The next day Ning stops by her two story house to take something from its storages. Nuch meets her in an inhospitable way at first and opens the gates. Ning is surprised to see someone shutting the shades of the house while she enters its outside yard. They reach the storage and open its door. Ning notices a triangle with two dots on the back of Nuch’s neck which is an exact copy of the one on her husband’s chest. She hides her shock about it and asks Nuch for any mail that could have arrived. Nuch confirms that she did receive mail and returns to the house to fetch it for her. Ning receives a message from aunty Phorn asking her to drop by. Nuch brings her from inside the house a small pile of letters that are opened. Nuch apologizes informing her that she opened them thinking they were to her attention. Ning leaves her rented house and heads towards her neighbor Aunty Phorn (Natniphaporn Ingamornrat) to check what is going on. Aunty Phorn complains a lot about the new tenants. She says that they have strange rituals that they perform at dawn. She also states that during the ritual huge numbers of crows settle around Ning’s property. She tells her while crying helplessly how she found her dog dead the next morning after she noticed these events.

Ning leaves Aunty Phorn’s house terrified by what she heard. She researches the names of her tenants on a national Medical website to find that their names do not exist. Nighttime falls and we see certain paranormal events take place in her chambers. She is awakened by her daughter Ing’s cries that there is someone in her room. An open balcony door, scores of black crows lurking on her condo’s balcony and the squeaking of her closet’s door that suddenly opens behind her back, causes her spine to chill repeatedly. Suddenly a video from Aunt Phorn makes her feel that something is dreadfully wrong. The video reveals the new tenants in her house as they perform dark and eerie rituals. She suddenly leaves her room to find the shadow of a stranger moving outside her condo’s door. She is surprised that it’s that of her husband. When she asks him as to why he was outside he states that he caught a rat in the bathroom and that he took it downstairs to release it outside the building. Upon seeing the red book the tenant gave him earlier in his hands she asks him about it. He replies that he caught the rat with it and that he will throw it away. However she very soon finds out its importance to him as she see him after a short while returning it in his bag and locking a lock on it.

Another terrorizing night follows as she gets up from her sleep and cracks open her bedroom door. She notices her husband leaving the living room where he usually sleeps, with his red book, then coming back in after a while. Suddenly she sees a dress hanging on the door knob of her closet swinging by itself in her room. Shaken wildly by what she sees, she barely regroups her strength, and approaches the dress. She grabs it and places it in her closet swiftly. Her eyes meet on the mirror of her closet door immediately a ghastly figure lying in her bed besides her daughter. Within the midst of wild fears she turns on the light to find it gone from her room.

Ning recognizes another triangle immediately after carved on her daughters chest. I believe at this point did the circumstances truly convince her that her husband and daughter were involved in something very sinister. She decides the following night to follow her husband after he leaves their apartment at night. Following him to the roof she discovers him performing the same rituals that Aunt Phorn sent in the earlier video. Chanting strange verses and reading in the red book surrounded by scores of crows are among the blood curdling events that meet her within the nights’ darkest hours. The image of a child that appears suddenly in front of her startles her and sends her back to her room, deeply shaken by what she sees.

The next day Ning takes the book from her husbands bag and goes to the bathroom with it. She discovers that the book is full of empty pages. Surprised by her husband asking about it she decides by coincidence to hide it in the bathroom cabinet. Once opening it strange figures and symbols meet her causing her a deep shock. The next events present a mini climax in the film as she goes to pick up her daughter from school. Entering the school premises she sees Ratree talking to her daughter on a bench in the school courtyard. She hurries to where she saw her but doesn’t find her. After looking she succeeds in locating her among the school children. She decides to go back to her house with her daughter where she decides to spend with her a couple of nights away. At that point she is surprised to see her husband at the premises. A huge argument erupts between them as she accuses him of following a cult to hurt their daughter. He denies stating that his mother (Ratree) will not hurt their daughter. Shocked at calling Ratree mother she firmly decides to break up with her husband. The building Guards intervene between them allowing Ning to flee the sight with her daughter.

Ning decides to stay at a hotel. At the hotel lobby she meets an influential relative whom she asked earlier to search for the real identity of her tenants. He tells her that their papers are forged and shows her the inaccurate ID’s they used during renting their property. Shocked by the outcome of things she returns to her room to find her daughter missing. A housekeeping attendant informs her that she left with her father. She runs to the condo to search for them but finds no one there. By coincidence she notices a strange black liquid seeping from under her bed. She moves the bed mattress and finds drawn underneath her bed on the wooden support the eerie triangle with the dots. She runs to her two story house but to only find it vacant and without electricity. There she sees a bloodcurdling scene of the shrine’s cult her husband and tenants are involved in. Swarming with crawling insects, the sight sends shivers throughout her soul. She calls Tom and asks him to take her to where Ratree lives, believing that her daughter is with her. On the road Ning discovers that the triangle tattoo is on Tom’s body as well. She attempts to escape but to no avail. Tom strikes her hard making her go unconscious.

At that point we see a very powerful flashback that is well delivered by the director of the film. The unexplained involvement of Kwin with the cult is unveiled suddenly through very dramatic events. We find out that Kwin had a daughter from an earlier marriage. Being well attached to each other their peaceful life gets disrupted one day by the child’s death. During her shower the electric water heater explodes burning her to death. Kwin then on gets devastated by the accident and goes through a severe phase of depression. Buried by devastating memories of his daughter when she was alive, and living within a poorly cleaned house, Kwin’s painful days change when Ning, then an insurance agent, mistakes his house for Aunty Phorn’s house. Their brief introduction to each other leads to their marriage, giving Kwin some power to forget the past. He eventually manages to place his dead daughter’s toys in his house’s attic and continues his new life. Everything goes peacefully for a while till we see the new tenants with tom, cunningly and secretly, arrange the condo’s damage. By doing so they forced Kwin’s family to make them rent their two story house to arrange money for fixing the condo. Successfully fulfilling their plan we see how Ratree convinced Kwin that she could make him contact their daughter through their rituals whereby using Ing’s body as a vessel. Moved by her words, and missing his daughter very much he agrees and commits to her cult. The latter events continue to unravel Kwin’s mad and mysterious actions throughout the scenes of the film. Towards the final scenes Ning eventually kills Tom and makes it to her two story house, as Ratree proceeds with a blood curdling ritual to replace Ings soul with a foreign soul. Kwin finding out that he was only a victim to Ratree’s lies tries to stop them but ends up being killed by Nuch. Ning despite her arrival to the house fails to stop the ritual in the proper time. Part of the property falls apart after a vicious confrontation rendering all involved either dead or unconscious. The film holds an unexpected ending as Ning and Ing have to adapt to new shocking changes.

Many things made this film frightening to watch. A horror movie lover myself I’m accustomed to the scares and chills that accompany me during my movie night prior to beginning a review or an article. However this film literally sent bolts of fear tearing through my body as it progressed towards its climax then to its’ unorthodox ending. I remember pausing its events once to take a break when Ning was running down the building stairs after seeing her husband perform the cult’s ritual. While walking to the kitchen to refill my coffee I suddenly noticed that the kitchen door was ajar and the lights turned out. Seldom does a family member or I close the kitchen door. Only then did I feel the films’ powerful effects on me. I approached the dark kitchen cautiously, totally overwhelmed by what Ning was seeing in her bedroom. I felt jitters running through my body as I cautiously opened the kitchen door and turned on the lights. Everything of course was just as normal as usual. I took a sigh of relief, and refilled my cup, feeling a cold vibrant summer current seeping through the open window. The currents must have closed the kitchen door partially. I smiled and sat back down continuing the film on my laptop computer.

If we were to analyze this film in depth we will find out that many elements played a key role it its success. Terrifically built horror scenes filled it from beginning till the end. The ghastly supernatural events Ning and Ing witnessed in their room repeatedly left us sitting at the edge of our seats. The scores of crows that swarmed their balcony at dawn and on the roof top when her husband was performing the cult’s ritual, the mirror image scenes that reflected the macabre apparition that visited their room, the well filmed “damsel in distress” theme that Ning was playing, all was just terrifying to watch. What hell opened its gates by the cults followers that hurled this small family into vicious pain and agony. I loved the part when Ning entered her room one night and found the coat hanger swinging by itself. Totally thrilled by the actors’ excellent performance in their roles, I just watched with satisfaction as Ning, shaken by the incident, ran up to the hanger and crammed it in her closet. Once closing the door, her spine chilled as she watched the macabre mirror reflection of an apparition on her closet’s door. She gasped hard as the apparition sat besides her daughter in their bed trying to speak to her.

Another incident I found totally horrific was when Ning towards the end of the film was trying to smash the dummy that held the soul that was about to enter her daughter’s body. Rasing the heavy hammer in hand suddenly she found herself unable to lower it downwards. She felt her arm just stop in mid air. Suddenly we see the terror behind it all. A blood curdling mirror reflection showed a score of ghastly ghosts grabbing her arm, rendering her helpless to smash the doll in time.

Kwin’s exquisite mysterious behavior gets unraveled half way through the film through a thorough flashback leaving us shocked at what he was doing behind his poor wife’s back. His disturbing dedication to the red book, the black ritual he was doing on the roof top of the building, his secret visits to Ratree’s house, his mad consent to use his daughter’s body as a vessel to contact his dead daughter’s soul, the way he drew the triangle underneath his family’s bed to complete the rituals, his formal consent to Ratree to send the apparition to draw the second triangle on his daughter’s chest, all suddenly unraveled to explain thing perfectly. It was like a huge missing piece of a puzzle that was finally put into its place, swiftly moving us to the alarming ending we saw.

I literally for the first time watched a flawless film with at all no critique to discuss. Every single detail of the film was obviously well studied and well directed. Even comparing this film to any other feature film of its likes is not easy. Analyzing the script of the film while watching it was something I tried to do, but only to reach a conclusion that obviously it was a well written one. The director did a good job at telling us this story through his camera, mesmerizing us with its horror. The actors all were extremely professional as well and awesome in presenting their roles. A big thumbs up goes to the children that took part in the film, as they were convincing in the roles they presented. Last but not least, its message basically cautions the viewers and the public to not get involved with strangers with disturbing statements and proposals. If Kwin had only weighed his decisions well, he would have avoided with his family this horrific experience with Ratree’s cult.

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