by etherealtaekibum happy , February 29, 2020
16

Secrets in the Hot Spring, 2018, Third Man Entertainment

The end of February is here (is it me or is time going really fast this year?) which means I'm back with my monthly horror gold mine.

If you didn't see last month's article and you're new here – welcome! This is a place for horror fans – or, well, anyone – to look over a ton of horror films I watched during the month of February, get the details on what released during the second month of the year and get a ton of bonus media. Anything with the horror tag is fair game for this article, whether it be a two-minute horror short on YouTube, a feature-length film, or a horror-comedy drama.

I listened to your feedback from the last article, and a few people wanted to see some extra features so now introducing: a monthly favourite urban legend added into the extras section also!

As usual, there is a list at the end of the article with all the MDL listed titles featured in this article, all Western/Non-MDL Asian content gets linked to themoviedatabase, anime/mangas are linked to MyAnimeList.
Western films have only been featured if they're a diehard recommend or they're related to Asian content. As with most of my articles, you can find the links for the pages in the posters of the respective films. Missing sections from last month mean that there were none fitting that section this month.

Now, let's start this article and get into the good stuff, shall we?


Personal Favourites


Series

Film
So, I know Possessed is a very hit or miss drama for some people; some absolutely loved it, and some absolutely hated it. For me, I adored this and could not watch it fast enough.

This is pretty unique in my eyes, it's funny, the spirit aspect is really well done in my opinion, and it's still dark and gritty enough. The romance is very gradual and very minor, while it's there and it's sweet and has its moments, it's not very in your face.

The cast all do amazing in their roles, especially Song Sae Byuk and Go Joon He. Their chemistry was stunning, I didn't fail to see these two as their characters in any way, and overall, they just completely blew me away.

Admittedly, one of my first horror dramas, but I loved this one so much, it hurt when I finished it and left me with a bit of a gap in my life. Definitely give this one a try and form your own opinion on it!

All round, this one is going to have a very special place in my heart for a while, and I'm definitely going to miss it and hope, somehow, there's hope for more from this universe.
I put off Pee Mak for the longest time. I heard about it when I first joined the site back in 2018, and after watching renowned Thai horror Ghost Mother which I found extremely boring, I shied away from any other "renowned" Thai horrors. I'm also not too big a fan of horror-comedy so after watching a few, I decided to give Pee Mak a try, if not just to check it off the 'Thai horror' list.

I am so happy I finally caved and gave this film a try.

This is the perfect balance of horror and comedy (albeit, some of the effects are a little off, but what can you expect for 2013?). This made me cackle out loud so hard my neighbours banged on the wall to tell me to shut up. There were some scenes that made me jump from tenseness, the perfect type of jump scare that feels completely natural.

This is the perfect horror comedy film and my highest rated horror of the year so far, coming in at a 9.5/10. A definite recommend from me, one of my favourites I have watched not just this month but all round and my favourite horror-comedy to date.

Pee Mak is a masterpiece, and I cannot wait for the sequel that comes out this month.


Shining Surprises

Country: Taiwan
Average Rating: 8.6/10 from 19 users
Personal Rating: 8.5/10
Duration: 1 hour, 49 minutes
Country: Thailand
Average Rating: 7.6/10 from 140 users
Personal Rating: 8/10
Duration: 2 hours


Secrets in the Hot Spring

So, I'm really not too much of a fan of horror-comedy, if I'm frank. I like being scared, I like being paranoid, and I like double-checking I locked my door because a film affected me so deeply. So the fact I liked Secrets in the Hot Spring so much took me by surprise.

This was… funny. It was comedic, and it had a nice side of comedy to it. The horror aspect was a bit drowned out by this, but for the way it was portrayed, it worked very well. The plot was solid, and I do wish there had been a few scarier moments than what we got, but the emotional side of this was also stunning. Honestly, it brought a tear to my eye once or twice, and I have to say – that's a first for a horror-comedy.

The characters are quite smart, and it helps with the story that they don't make a lot of mistakes you'd usually see. They aren't 100% relatable, but it doesn't change the fact you mostly want the characters to succeed in how they go.

Slight warning from some homophobic language usage at the start but other than that, an awesome film and I'm glad I took a risk on this one.

Phobia 2

Phobia 2 ranks in my shining surprises due to the fact that last time I watched a Thai horror compilation, it was terrible for me. In fact, Still was the film and if you remember last month's, it was my least favourite of the entire month. So Phobia 2 came in as a total shock to me.

This was well done. It was funny. There was a large variety. You could feel the directors and screenwriters' love for their segments and for horror, which is a huge thing for me. I think my favourites were the opening segment, Novice, the Salvage section and the ending segment In the End. With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed each and every segment of this, none of them coming in less than an 8-10/10.

All of the actors did amazingly, the gore content was amazing and done extremely well, and to be honest, this completely rewrote compilation horror for me. I'll definitely be checking out the prequel to this film.

Again, not all of the characters are relatable as it all comes from tragedy or particular situations, but all make for a very good watch. The two hours this film runs for sped by and it was over before I knew it. In fact, it left me wanting more, and I will be checking out the directors and screenwriters in the future. This was a solid 8/10 and a definite recommendation from me.


Short Film Feature

Driver
Country: South Korea
Average Rating: N/A
Personal Rating: 8/10
Duration: 13 minutes
Dir: Oh In Chun

One city night, told by an attractive female customer that he'll receive a lot of money if he kills her, the Uber driver decides to take her up on the offer... So they go to the promised place. As promised, the Uber driver tries to kill a woman. Suddenly she changes her mind.

YouTube Link



Here's my Asian horror short film list if you want to check out more!

Least Favourite

Country: Indonesia
Release Date: April 26, 2018
Run Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Average Rating: 31% on themoviedb (3.1/10)
Personal Rating: 1/10

Learning that her father has married a woman her own age, Kanaya leaves home, only to get into an accident that lands her in a haunted hospital.

I try to only put MDL Asian region titles in my main sections here (can I please get Indonesia on here!), but this film was just the ultimate worst I've seen this year entirely, and I'd even say the second-worst Asian horror I've ever seen.

This, at first, was good. It had an interesting and unique-ish precedent. The acting was good. It was all looking to be a good horror film. Then the main plot idea that's pushed forward - the stepmother - just disappears. It becomes an entirely different film. It's not a bad film at all, in fact, I quite enjoyed it somewhat. And then the story started having plot twists.

It twisted and twisted and twisted in some of the worst ways possible. The film twisted into something that was just... pathetic.
If they'd left the film as it was, it could have been a good 5-6/10 film, but overall, the twist ending, the hint that there might be more in the series, and the complete loss of the original plot just ruined the entire thing for me.

For others, you might very well fully enjoy this, for me, I've seen so many terrible twist endings it just turns my feelings for the film all the way down to 0. If they cut the start off, cut the ending off and made a film with the middle section, this would have been good — too many bad decisions on directors Arie Azis and Raffi Ahmed's part. Not two directors I look forward to seeing more from.


Overall Stats for February

Colour coding: spirit/ghoul/ghost, zombie, goreurban legendvampire, sub-genre not specific
Personal Rating vs MDL Rating

Asian horror films watched: 8
Asian horror series watched: 1
Asian horror shorts watched: 2
Non-MDL Asian region films watched: 1 - Vietnam; 5 - Indonesia; 4 - Malaysia; 2 - Singapore
Western horror films watched: 0
Western horror series watched: 0
Total: 22

Asian Recommendations
Watch these, as soon as possible

  • P - A piece for maturer audiences, focuses on a young girl who has to become a prostitute to finance her grandmother's medicine. Although the graphics are awful, I really enjoyed watching this one (definitely watch as though you're watching something in the cinema in 2005) and I think it's a small gem that might often be lost. [6/10 vs 5/10 - Thailand]
  • Kuntilanak - Just delving through what Asian horror Netflix had to recommend me, and this one cropped up enough for me to take a large interest in it. Focusing on the legend of the kuntilanak (or pontianak or matianak), I found I quite enjoyed this. It was fun to see a horror film of this calibre from the children's point of view, to see how they worked through things, and the legend of the kuntilanak was something I enjoyed heavily looking through when I finished. Not terribly unique in some ways, but still a good watch. [6/10 - Indonesia]
  • GOTH - This is a film I have wanted to watch... since it released. After 12 years, I finally got to watch this stunning piece of cinema, and it missed out on personal favourites only because I swore to myself there would be both film AND series, not two films there. This was utterly gorgeous. The aesthetic, the filming, the light techniques, the acting, just all of it was all around stunning and just utterly beautiful. It's dark, it's twisting, it is just everything you could want from a story like this. A solid, solid recommend. [9.5/10 vs 7.1 - Japan]
  • Nang Nak - The original film the Pee Mak was remade from, this is a more typical horror take on the urban legend. A darker tale of the story, this was as enjoyable as the recent horror-comedy remake, is as stunning in different ways and is just truly a wonder to watch. [9/10 vs 7.7/10 - Thailand]
  • Hantu Kak Limah - I will admit, I was a little drunk when watching this, so it may deserve a place in skips. However, I found this absolutely hilarious for a horror comedy. This did not fail to have me roaring with laughter throughout most of it; the horror aspect of this is that there is a ghost present, but this was just brilliant. One of the best horror-comedies I've watched in a long time. [7/10 - Malaysia]
  • The Twins Effect - This is probably one of my most favourites that I've watched in a long time. I missed when vampires were like this, and the acting on everyone's part is brilliant. A little out there and comedic at just the right times, this is a wonderful wrap together of comedy, horror and action that was just brilliant. [8/10 vs 7.2/10 - Hong Kong]

Averages
Not terrible but not amazing either

  • Inhuman Kiss – This one I feel is a little long for everything it wanted to do. Whilst good and an interesting take on a Thai urban legend, I just wanted it to end after an hour and a half of its two hours and one minute run time. Brilliant idea, but a bit long-winded. [6/10 vs 7.9/10 – Thailand]
  • Danur - I love my Indonesian horror, I really do, and Danur really sort of let me down. Whilst it has a good premise, it is intriguing and interesting, it just felt quite flat. It wasn't 100% enjoyable; I don't know if it was the director or something with the actors, but it just felt two dimensional. This isn't a series I'm looking forward to finishing. [5/10 - Indonesia]
  • KL Zombie - A lot of people have declared this Malaysian zombie flick as a "mess", and it is a mess, but you know what? This is a hilarious, fun mess that just makes you laugh non stop. As 'messy' as this is, it is just a bunch of good fun, that makes the viewer roar with laughter in the best ways possible. [8/10 - Malaysia]
  • Revenge of the Pontianak - another kuntilanak/pontianak based film, this time from Malaysia-Singapore, this was a classy, dark and modern twist on the legend. I feel this one is a bit more honest to the legend than Kuntilanak was, and that did affect my rating slightly, but this was beautiful. The sets, the costumes, this was all round utterly beautiful, and I adored it. A strong story, strong acting and the most stunning looks, I really need to get more into Malaysia's cinema, because it's gorgeous. [7/10 - Malaysia(-Singapore)]
  • 2359 - Whilst not inherently massively unique or out there, I quite liked this film. Being my first Singapore(-Malaysian) title, it left quite an impression on me and pleasantly surprised me. A well-rounded story with some nice twists, it's a solid recommendation for me. [7/10 -  Singapore-Malaysia]
  • Conjuring Spirit (aka Hush) - I absolutely adored this. The twists through this one, the storyline, it was all solid. Director Van M Pham has sold me 100% on watching the rest of this loosely based series, and I highly await and look forward to seeing them! Twisty, dark, and enjoyable, this Vietnamese horror has shown me a whole new world of horror. [7/10 - Vietnam]
  • Munafik 2 - while I enjoyed this one, there was quite a bit I felt more that I either didn't know from the first Munafik film, and this one just didn't captivate me as much as other films have this month. It's pretty unique from my viewing; I haven't seen many, if any, like this at all, so it has a nice factor for that, but that's it, really. Wonderful acting from everyone involved, but at the end of the day, somewhat bland. [5/10 - Malaysia]

All Time Skips
Skip these ones if you value your time - trust me

  • Suzzanna: Buried Alive - This is... not a unique horror film in any aspect. The acting was good, the plot was solid, but it felt like a lot of other films; someone dies, they want revenge, they don't stop till everyone involved is dead. Nothing much more from this one. Excellent role from Luna Maya (Suzzanna) but past that, I don't really have anything nice to say about it. [4/10 - Indonesia]
  • Yellow Dead - Another short film from Oh In Chun, this one focuses on a Korean tourist in Japan who starts seeing a yellow suitcase around. With a relatively good build-up, this one misses the mark in its reveal and ending, and left me feeling wholly unsatisfied and wishing for a lot more. I think if this was longer and had a stronger plot, this would have been great, but all around, this was just... unsatisfactory. [4/10 - South Korea]

Extras

Western Horror Must Watch
Devil (2010)
Non-MDL Asian Pick
May the Devil Take You (2018)
Indonesia
Favourite Non-February WatchExte (2007)
Horror Manga Pick
Yami no Koe (2002)
Horror Anime PickElfen Lied (2004)
Non-Horror Monthly PickGood Doctor (2013)
Monthly Urban Legend
One Two, One Two - South Korea

In South Korea, getting good grades is a huge pressure for kids. Parents are strict when it comes to academics. Many kids hire tutors and even go back to school just o study. Many areas have a school library curfew of 10pm! Many kids stay up late studying and then fall asleep in class, which is a huge problem.

Sun Hi was a girl who would often sneak back into school to study with friends. One day, they went about work as usual. Sun Hi went to the restroom and told her friends she would be back. Only the library light was on and the rest of the school dark. The bathroom was only a few doors down the hall, so it didn't bother her to go alone.

Back in the library, a knocking came from the library window. A boy opened the curtains, and everyone saw a pale, older woman tapping on the window with her eyes closed. They wondered why she would be out this late. Then, she opened her eyes.

Only, there were no eyes. Just dark empty pits. She took her finger and shattered the glass. Sun Hi, still in the bathroom, was about to wash her hands and never heard the screams of terror coming from the library. Suddenly, the lights in the bathroom went out, and the screaming stopped. Sun Hi preceded to was her hands in total darkness. She then made her way back to the library, though she wished she hadn't.

Before her, it stood a grisly scene. All the students in the library were dead. Some were on the floor, others hanging off of desks or cabinets. Sun Hi couldn't understand it. But she didn't have too much time to ponder the massacre. Footsteps were coming down the hall and headed her way.

Being very clever, Sun Hi threw herself on the floor next to her dead friends and lay there. She kept very still and quiet. Something quietly slipped into the room and went to each corpse and counted out, "One, two... One, two... One, two..."

Out of curiosity, Sun Hi peeked at whatever it was. She saw a ghostly woman dressed in white. Sun Hi closed her eyes, fighting the urge to scream. The woman came ever closer.

"One, two... One, two... One, two..."

Sun Hi hoped the ghost would leave soon.

"One, two... One, two... One, two..."

Sun Hi tried not to attract its attention.

"One, two... One, two... One, two..."

She remains still as it got closer.

"One two... One, two... One, two..."

It almost next to Sun Hi. She tried not to breath.

Then, the counting stopped. Sun Hi tried to listen for even the slightest noise. It was suspiciously quiet. Sun Hi waited several minutes. She thought the ghost was gone. She lifted her head and opened her eyes.

Crouched directly over Sun Hi was the ghost. One boney finger pointed directly at the girl's horrified face.

"One, two!" Yelled the ghost as it plucked out her eyes.

Asian Horror Song of the Month

DEVILOOF - 拷訊惨獄
Okay, this one is very heavy metal, so I don't think many people will love this, but I stumbled across this one looking for some Japanese songs for this article format and well. The singer's look, people being kidnapped and then being set on fire? I'd say it fits the horror aesthetic pretty damn well. I'm fairly obsessed with this one currently.

Western Horror Song of the Month


Misfits - Scream
Misfits are probably one of the groups – if not, the group – who made horror rock a genre. In Scream, the band, bitten by zombies, are rushed to the hospital only for the virus to take effect.
Heads up, the blood detail in this is brilliantly wicked.
special shout out to Danzig for being my first celebrity crush



February Releases

Howling Village
Japan
February 7, 2020
Many horror stories exist about Inunaki Village. The village is now completely deserted. Kanae is a clinical psychologist who can see spirits. Her older brother Yuma and Yuma's girlfriend Akina go to Inunaki Village. Due to that, Kanae becomes involved in a mysterious case.  

After his daughter disappears without a trace in the new home, a mysterious man who claims to know secrets approaches the desperate man who searches for his daughter.

The Closet
South Korea
February 29, 2020

Spirit: The Beginning of Fear
South Korea
February 29, 2020

A horror movie about the things that happen when the spirit of a murder victim appears.

Peace has returned to Thamma Nakanimitr Temple after Monk Nong, Monk First and Monk Balloon completed the mission to fulfil their pledges and won the battle with the ghost of Nak Nont. The three monks hope to spend a peaceful life in the saffron robe. But not so fast.

Two men join the temple only to be haunted by a new ghost. Will the two men, Balloon and First, survive until the day they are ordained again?  

summarised

Pee Mak 2
Thailand
February 20, 2020

List of all MDL listed films in this article
January 2020 Wrap Up

Since January's "issue" of this article was quite saturated with Japanese titles, I tried my best to be more varied this month, including other Asian countries that aren't on MDL as well. I wanted to focus on Thai horror more as well, as I haven't delved through that too much.
I have a very love-hate relationship with Thai horror; either it's amazing and blows me away, or it's the worst film I've seen in a while. This month proved to me, very thankfully, that, sometimes, Thai horror is much better and that bad films just end up pretty saturated across the genre.

So, what do you think?
Are there any February releases you're looking forward to seeing?

I'm keeping an eye out for The Closet and Howling Village
Are you watching/have seen any of the releases this month?
Are there any films you think I should have given a better chance to?

Are you going to check out any of my recommendations/what do you think of the things I recommended?

Let me know in the comments!
And please, recommend me any horror genre media you think I'd like!

Got an article idea?
Contact the article staff here 

Statistics all accurate at the time of submission.


Edited by: Yuanwei (1st editor)

pee mak howling village the closet spirit the beginning of fear misfits elfen lied yami no koe junji ito deviloof howl pee mak 2 secrets in hot spring possessed oh in chun

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