Finally…. another trip to Thailand for your Favorite Catgirl to get her latest horror movie fix. Despite the appalling lack of English subtitles to be found these days on actual Thai DVD’s, I still keep plugging away as I continue to search high and low for the ones that do get released somewhere… anywhere… with decent English subtitling. My latest bit of luck involved bumping into the recent Malay release for the 2010 Thai “Snakes In An Apartment” horror film, “The Intruder”…. released in Malaysia as “Revenge of the King Cobra”. At least I thought it was lucky….. As it turned out, the Malay DVD by Innoform was as bereft of subtitles as the original Thai release itself. However… another search turned up the necessary fan-subs that needed only a wee bit of tweaking time wise, to sync them to my disc.
Synopsis? Yep… I’ve got that covered too and it goes like this: “In 1983 before the giant Suvarnabhumi international airport was built, the neglected and unoccupied area was called “King Cobra Swamp” by the locals. As building commenced, a huge old Banyan tree blocked the constructions path. A work crew call in a mechanical digger to remove the tree. As the roots are torn from the ground 1000s of cobra bones explode from the earth tearing them to pieces. After the passing of the grim massacre, witnesses who survived tell strange stories about and evil Cobra spirit. Years later when a new apartment block was built on the ground, Nin, the buildings owner has to face the horrifying matter when hundreds of Cobras hell bent on killing every living person in the apartment appear. People believe that again it is the vengeance of the Spirit. How will they survive, when being hunted by vengeance without mercy?”
OK, ok…. you’ve sold Neko on this one…. But did it live up to my expectations? Guess you’ll have to “Read On” and find out now wont you?
First off… I’m thinking the story may have taken a bit of a left turn since that synopsis was written…. as there’s precious little of that back-story on display here in the Malay DVD release. There’s none of that stuff about the swamp or it’s history, and no scene of that big steam-shovel digging up any cobras… instead we get a room full of corporate types reading reports and then watching the video testimony of an unknown man, his head swathed in bandages, as he relates his tale of serpentine terror. Ok….. hmmmmm? Lost to the cutting room floor maybe? Just plain edited out of the Malay release? I just don’t know….
Our bandaged guy turns out to be our hero Sadayu (played by Akara Amartayakul), an EMT who shows up at the apartment complex just in time to get stuck right smack dab in the middle of the snake invasion to beat all snake invasions. Seems this particular complex has a history of deadly “man versus cobra” run-ins and nobody seems to know why…. except perhaps for crazy Auntie Pai (played by Vasana Chalakorn) who seems to believe this all has to do with the wrath of the “Cobra King” upon who’s land this building was raised. She’s got her own secret shrine to burn incense at… but whether that’s to placate the Spirit or raise his ire is not all that clear to this lil’ Catgirl, even after having watched the film.
That’s the biggest problem here…. Overall, I found this one somewhat confusing at times… and outside of the more easily understood action involving our survivors running in panic while the snakes hunt them down relentlessly, I can’t say I know what the heck was really happening at all, having finished watching it. Carolyn was hopelessly lost…. But hey… at least the CGI snakes were cool for the most part. As with many films with this sort of plot, there’s the prerequisite little group of rag tag survivors of the initial snake attacks…. and the bulk of the film concerns them and their seemingly futile attempts to escape the building alive. I just wish I could say I cared for any of them…..
Unfortunately… for the most part, none of them is particularly memorable and they don’t exactly even co-operate as a group to survive, being too self absorbed and selfish to make a cohesive group effort to do… well…. anything that could be helpful. There’s some subplot involving Sadayu and the building receptionist who apparently used to be his girlfriend, but we never learn why they broke up, or even see any romantic sparks fly between them as the horrors happen around them….. a total waste of time to even include without that effort plot-wise. There’s Aunti Pai…. and the weird back-story about her daughter and granddaughter and their involvement in the secret worship of the Cobra King… but it’s also so sketchy that I’m not exactly sure what the heck it was all about either. Never mind…. just bring on the horde of killer snakes!!
Here at least, the film gets it right. There’s no shortage of fun things a crap load of killer venomous cobras can get up to if they want to, and the effects department goes out of it’s way to make certain they get to wreak serious havoc as the crawl about the building in search of victims. If you can just ignore the plot shortcomings, this is at least a creepy treat for those among us with a fondness for all those “when animals attack” sorts of films.
But that’s about it. I’m afraid if you wanted a real story… maybe some characters to root for… you aren’t going to find them here. Given that, I can only give “The Intruder” 3 “Meows” out of 5 for just plain missing the whole boat when it comes to one of Neko’s Cardinal rules of Horror. There has to be at least one character to root for… sympathize with… and actually want to see survive an exploitation horror movie. If not… then you’ll lose the audience but quick, no matter how many neat stunts, cool effects, or gratuitous nude scenes there might be. We just don’t get that here.
The Malay DVD… subtitles aside… was a pretty nice one overall, being anamorphic wide-screen and PAL and region-free formatted. Not a bad bargain at all for about 6-10$ US. Nice… but most of my Gentle Visitors might be better advised to wait for a proper HK DVD release to come along with English subs already available rather than go the route your Favorite Catgirl did and subtitle it yourself.
Of course… there’s a Trailer for this one, and unlike the DVD, it even has English subtitles… enjoy!!