The Intruder เขี้ยวอาฆาต
2010, colour, 1.85:1, 104 mins
Directed by Thanadol Nualsuth (ธนดล นวลสุทธิ์), Thammanoon Sakulboonthanom (ธรรมนูญ สกุลบูรณ์ถนอม)
By Derek Elley
Sat, 05 June 2010, 18:50 PM (HKT)
Snakes in an Apartment Block is good, trashy fun with enough shocks to sustain its length. Fantasy festivals, plus ancillary.
Thailand, present day. When a man is bitten to death by a snake in an old wooden house next to a mouldering apartment building east of Bangkok, special services and the media congregate there but only a few snakes are found. Later, however, massed cobras invade the building, threatening the lives of a group including: young landlady Panin (Kwankao Savetawimon), her dotty aunt Pai (Wasana Chalakorn) who has set up a snake shrine, Panin's doctor ex-boyfriend Sadayu (Akara Amarttayakul), his younger brother Vick (Peerawish Bunnag), snake specialist Chai (Thanatorn Oudsahakul), air stewardess Jan (Chawwadee Chernok), three rock musicians, three teenagers, plus two-timing husband Ponnapa (Aungkana Timdee), his wife Mon (Sarocha Watittapan) and their young daughter Kij (Sukol Pongsathat). Also with them is trainee TV reporter Paai (Apinya Sakuljaroensuk) who secretly sends back clips of the gory goings-on via her mobile phone.
Like several of the female cast, ophidiophobes will spend a lot of time screaming their heads off during The Intruder เขี้ยวอาฆาต (2010), which mixes a few live snakes with many more (reasonably accomplished) CGI versions to produce a regular supply of shocks even for non-phobic horror addicts. The script by first-time directors Thanadol NUALSUTH ธนดล นวลสุทธิ์ and Thammanoon SAKULBOONTHANOM ธรรมนูญ สกุลบูรณ์ถนอม (from a story by gleefully trashy director/producer Poj ARNON พจน์ อานนท์) doesn't waste much time at the start providing any reason for the cobra invasion, though local viewers will realise the setting is Nong Ngoo Hao (Cobra Swamp), east of Bangkok, close to the new Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Instead, the first 15 minutes quickly sketches a lot of small details about the trapped characters that only become clear on a second viewing — which is a pity for first-time viewers as, once the chase starts up and down the building, up and down in the lifts, and up and down in suspense, there isn't a lot of time for character development. But Arnon CHUNPRASERT อานนท์ จันทร์ประเสริฐ's handheld, dankly-coloured photography of the 20-year-old building keeps things moving, along with the flickering hallway lighting and the thumping score.
Akara AMATTAYAKUL อัครา อมาตยกุล (Muay Thai Chaiya ไชยา (2007)) makes a reasonable hero, Kwankao SAVETAWIMON ขวัญข้าว เศวตวิมล a rather dowdy heroine-cum-ex-girlfriend, and Apinya SAKULJAROENSUK อภิญญา สกุลเจริญสุข, so good as the lead in Pen-ek RATANARUANG เป็นเอก รัตนเรือง's Ploy พลอย (2007) and Detlev BUCK's AIDS romance Same Same But Different (2009), is disappointingly under-used as a screaming cub reporter. Overall, however, the large ensemble cast works on a genre level, with veteran Wasana CHALAKORN วาสนา ชลากร rolling her eyes a lot as a mad old aunt who clearly knows the answers all along. In the script's biggest pothole, no one ever thinks of putting her up against a wall and beating the truth out of her. But then the movie would have been half its length.
The rather flat English title would be better replaced by a straight translation of the Thai, which means Fang Feud.
ContactSales: Phranakorn Film, Bangkok (email@example.com)
Theatrical release: Thailand, 29 Apr. 2010.
Presented by Phranakorn Film (TH). Produced by Film Guru (TH). Executive producers: Thanapol Thanarungroj, Vichai Thanarungroj. Producers: Thawatchai Phanpakdee, Poj Arnon.
Script: Thammanoon Sakulboonthanom, Thanadol Nualsuth. Original story: Poj Arnon. Photography: Arnon Chunprasert. Editing: Sunit Asvinikul, Muanfun Uppatham. Music: Giant Wave. Production design: Warakorn Phunsawat. Art direction: Jirawech Sanyawut. Costume design: Poj Arnon. Sound: Thornthum Phlongphlab, Wachira Wongsarojn. Make-up effects: QFX Workshop. Visual effects: Chalit Krileadmongkon (FatCat).
Cast: Akara Amarttayakul (Sadayu, the doctor), Kwankao Savetawimon (Panin), Apinya Sakuljaroensuk (Paai, the reporter), Wasana Chalakorn (Pai, Panin's aunt), Peerawish Bunnag (Vick, Sadayu's younger brother), Sukol Pongsathat (Kij, the child), Sarocha Watittapan (Mon, her mother), Chawwadee Chernok (Jan, the air stewardess), Aungkana Timdee (Ponnapa, Kij's father), Thanatorn Oudsahakul (Chai, the snake specialist), Phutawan Taechachatwanich (Juk, the rock musician), Maytika Puttavibul (May, the girl rock musician), Warapat Jitkaew (Ake), Watcharayut Suradate (Tung, the voyeur), Natee Kehama (Nick), Kanokphon Nunsatitanon (Man), Nichapat Charurattanawaree (Gift), Puchita Teerasakdiphop (Young Panin), Parichat Asadornteptai (Pla), Chaiyot Tushsanasuwan (Pong, the security guard), Chaiwat Boonsungnuern (Chit), Kittipich Tamrongvinitchai (MC), Jirawat Vachirasaranpat (TV producer), Vilipda Chandara (No, Paai's female boss).