What do you get when you bring together four of Asia’s newest horror directors? The answer is predictable and quite simple, 4bia. A compendium of short horror films by Paween Purikitpanya, Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom plus some of the guys from Shutter.
As a person who loves horror films but scares far too easily, I found myself drawn in by the overly jumpy trailer and made the decision to watch during the day. A good choice on my part.
4bia consists of a series of short films using the theme, if you haven’t already guessed, of fears. They range from gory to intense, scream-out-loud scares, demons, devils and twists. Asia really does hold the crown when it comes to the horror genre. There is something about their warped and twisted minds that the west just don’t quite always have a hold of.
Horror films seem to be stretching further than ever to shock and scare. The western trend is adopting the trend to display scenes of hideous and grotesque torture that is sometimes so extreme, that it fails to entertain and will only cause severe distress (think Hostel Parts one and two). This is not a valid reason to sit down and watch such overtly perverse films and certainly a massive stretch from the tongue-in-cheek character Freddy Krueger created by Wes Craven.
To pick the favourite from all four films featured in 4bia would be Happiness. There is no dialogue, just haunting music. The plot is about a girl stuck in her apartment with a broken leg who communicates with a stranger by text messaging. The story unravels rapidly and the predictable nature works in favour, sometimes the worst frights are the ones you are expecting.
Despite the two-year gap between its original release and its issue in the UK, this was worth the wait. It is not so insanely frightening you will need the lights on to sleep for a week. It contains just the right amount of chills and thrills to entertain without grossing out the audience. At the end of the day, the film industry is here to entertain, not to cause psychological damage.