NOW ON VOD! The next step in the great slasher evolution has been taken in the game-changing Thai horror title Night of the Killer Bears by director Kanphong Banjongpinit. Out in the woods is a cozy inn with a coffee house attached where one can get away from it all. Bouncy teen Aim (Sananthachat Thanapatpisal) and boyfriend Win (Patchata Jan-Ngern) have booked rooms for the weekend for all of their friends. They pick up the keys from the owner (Teerapong Liaorakwong), who is busy with something in his office.
Shortly after that, Tony (Chanagun Arpornsutinan) arrives, reeking of pot, as usual. He’s keen on seeing Nan (Panisara Rikulsurakan), who will come once she wraps up her acting audition. Chang (Akalavut Mankalasut) is preoccupied and keeps getting upset. Aim tries to calm everyone down, as they are all still on edge over a tragedy they all went through previously. This weekend was supposed to bring the whole gang back together. However, out in the woods, a well-dressed murderer sporting a big teddy bear head is circling the group, ready to cut them up to ribbons.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Night of the Killer Bears is a comedy. It is far more blood-curdling than cuddly. Having the murderer run around in a giant teddy bear head doesn’t automatically mean it’s a comedy, the same way Jason in a hockey mask doesn’t make Friday the 13th 3D a sports movie. What we have here is the grimmest and grisliest movie ever made using teddy bear heads. What makes it so dark despite the fuzzy is the genius screenplay by Kanphong Banjongpinit, Lee Thongkham, and Sorawi Alapach.
“… a well-dressed murderer sporting a big teddy bear head is circling the group, ready to cut them up…”
The story adheres to the slasher formula with reverence, except for a radical innovation that blasts the doors off. The concept of universal evil is seldom seen in movies, even horror ones. It was touched upon in the Central Park scene in Inferno and was explored a little further in Evil Dead Trap 2. However, this goes full throttle with the concept, as reflected in the original title, The World of Killing People. The slasher is refracted through a prism of universal evil, and it pays off immensely. The surprises keep coming along with sickening waves of revulsion. Yes, the gore is intense and very imaginative. However, it is the jet-black nihilism that distinguishes the depth of darkness found here. Just the notion of what slithers beneath the surface sends you straight to shiver town.
This may seem at odds with the fabric softener furry charm of the teddy bear imagery. However, this juxtaposition between the childhood comforts and the slaughter ballet illustrates that very theme. Beneath the shining surface of polite life, there is a bottomless pool of blackness that most swim into when no one is looking. Slashers have always tapped into universal evil abstractly with the potential that anyone may secretly be the masked killer. Here the floodgates are thrown open, and the results are exhilarating. Instead of just tapping our toes and waiting for body count, we have spine-tingling scenic rides on the way to the bloody spectacles.
Night of the Killer Bears joins recent elevated slashers like Bliss of Evil and Last of the Grads. If you are hankering for horror, this movie will make you higher than Cocaine Bear. This is absolutely the best horror movie from Thailand I have ever seen.
"…the best horror movie from Thailand I have ever seen."