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October 02, 2023

Creepy Crawly

creepy crawly.jpeg

Chalit Krileadmongkon & Pakphum Wongjinda
WellGo USA BD Region A

I admittedly have not been keeping up with Thai cinema as I had in the past. It has been a while since I last wrote about any films and even longer since I have seen any Thai horror films. I would think the most ideal way to watch Creepy Crawly would be in a full Thai theater with an audience there to scream and laugh, usually in that order. I should note that the film's original English language title in The One Hundred, which is how the film is known outside the U.S.

There may be a bit of eyeball rolling at the initial set-up. The story takes place soon after the Covid-19 lockdowns begin in Bangkok, March 2020. A group of travelers are required to quarantine in a second rate hotel for two weeks. When cleaning a room, a staff member discovers an infestation of centipedes. We are talking about bugs the size of small mammals, not the insects found in somebody's garden. Dead bodies appear in odd places have met gruesome fates. The hotel manager has everyone locked in. When you are stuck in a crummy hotel with people killed by someone or something, somehow a pandemic hardly seems terrifying.

While none of this is to be taken seriously, there are more than enough glaring plot holes that were either overlooked in constructing the screenplay or were edited out. Much of the potential suspense is dissapated by a major reveal that comes too early. Some of the publicity also mentions that the story was inspired by Battambang, a city in Cambodia. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any online information about this source of inspiration. Does any of this matter? As a creature feature, Creepy Crawly probably comes closest to resembling John Carpenter's version of The Thing, but lacks the older film's attention to detail.

While this may sound condescending, Creepy Crawly is a Thai movie made for the mainstream Thai audience, meaning not to expect more than a diverting hour and a half of entertainment. One of the nicer performances is by Chanidapa Pongsilpipat as one of the hotel maids. At one point, her face is in close-up. There is no cutting to what she is looking at but Chanidapa conveys the sense of horror with her eyes slowly widening. The Thai television star with the anglicized name of Mike Angelo provides a few martial arts moves. The most information I could find on the cast and crew was under the title, The One Hundred at themoviedb.org.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 2, 2023 06:42 AM