Movie Date: Grace (NC16)
THE SKINNY Grace (Sakuljaroensuk) is a faded Internet idol who becomes upset when she is unseated by rising star Care (Surawan), who is gaining popularity with her cute looks and bubbly personality. Together with Jack (Kotimanuswanich), Care’s obsessed No. 1 fan, Grace plots a perverse plan to kidnap and torture Care.
STARRING Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, Nuttasit Kotimanuswanich, Napasasi Surawan
DIRECTORS Pun Homchuen and Onusa Donsawai
MARS by JASON JOHNSON
One of the most underrated films of 2015 was Knock Knock, and this Thai offering reminds me of it.
Like Knock Knock, it's a wackadoodle kidnapping picture with a playful, erotic edge.
The perps in that movie were buxom, bonkers women, and the maniacal mastermind in Grace is a similarly crazy yet comely female.
Both films are a little skeezy, but stop short of being outright disgusting.
Most importantly, both Knock Knock and Grace are loads of fun.
The young Sakuljaroensuk obviously relishes playing a psycho, and brings a lot of smarts and sass to the role.
There's a dark humour to her performance.
In flashbacks, we see how she transformed into a baddie, and the character becomes even more sympathetic.
It of course helps that Sakuljaroensuk is a stunner.
You may find Grace a bit mystifying in the early stages, but by the end the story is crystal clear.
Though the budget appears quite limited, this is a nicely put together little thriller.
Largely set in the world of anime nerds and cosplayers, it has a bright poppy look that sets it apart from most thrillers.
VENUS by TAN KEE YUN
Before watching Grace, my knowledge of Thai cinema was limited to two genres - the high-octane Ong Bak movies headlined by action hero Tony Jaa, and masterful horror flicks such as Nang Nak and Shutter.
Thanks to this gripping psychological thriller, I now know that Thai filmmakers are just as talented when whipping up disturbing stories of violence caused by demented minds.
Grace is the first full-length feature from directors Homchuen and Donsawa and their inexperience shows.
Editing-wise, it is slightly choppy and overall production values are a little rough around the edges.
Minor quibbles aside, Grace is a great debut for the filmmakers, who deserve top marks for the casting of lead characters Grace and Jack, both borderline psychopaths.
What makes young people become kidnappers, rapists and killers?
This was the question in my head as I watched the villainous duo commit one crime after another. How scary it is to see overwhelming jealousy (in Grace's case) and unhealthy fanaticism (in Jack's case) manifesting into rage and madness.
Without being preachy, Grace serves as a cautionary tale to teenagers: Ditch the computer and don't spend so much time seeking fame or worshipping idols online.
THE CONSENSUS Grace is surprisingly good for something both guys and girls can appreciate.