[review by JA Kerswell]
|The killer is THE CINDERELLA has serious Michael Myers and Leatherface vibes going on.|
THE CINDERELLA is a playful, yet sometimes brutal, slasher from Thailand. A dead film star has seemingly returned from the grave. Or is someone wearing his patchwork skin as a body suit to enact revenge on crew and actors on a film location at an island resort? Taking cues from North American 80s slashers, as well as more traditional homegrown ghost tales - plus echoes of the ‘torture porn’ phase of the mid-2000s - it is an entertaining subgenre romp.
It starts as a film-within-a-film, where a ghost-possession movie is revealed to be shooting on a set after its bratty star, Rashane (Sarunyu Prachakrit), breaks the fourth wall and berates his co-stars for their seeming incompetence. He is supported by his mother who tells the director that the material is beneath her son. However, they begrudgingly agree to continue filming and on the trip to a remote location, Rashane’s mother practices black magic rituals she says will ensure her son’s fame and fortune. Yet, again Rashane loses his cool and verbally attacks the cast and crew - causing one actress to remark: “Did a toilet burst in your mouth?” During his temper tantrum, the crossbow he is holding fires into one of his eyes and he falls down a hill and under the tires of an upcoming truck.
With his difficult star dead, the director is keen to scrap the film, but the producer insists he completes it with another actor. Varut (Vasit Pongsopa), who had been playing a smaller role, puts himself forward - but his flat performance doesn’t impress them. At the insistence of some of the other actors, Varut seeks classes with an acting coach (Anchalee Saisoontorn) and miraculously improves and manages to secure the part.
|THE CINDERELLA mixes more typical supernatural Thai horror tropes with the North American slasher movie.|
Outraged with his replacement, Rashane’s mother vows vengeance for her dead son and performs a black magic ritual at his graveside. Meanwhile, the cast and crew of the film settle into a hotel and faux Jamaican (!) resort on a remote island; where Varut wows them with his acting. Yet his pride in moving to the big time is interrupted when he is plagued with ghostly visions of Rashane. The remote idyll is further interrupted by someone wearing the full-body patchwork skin suit of the dead star and intent on bloody revenge …
THE CINDERELLA distinguishes itself with its novel villain. Going full Ed Gein, the naked killer wears the gruesome skin suit with Rashane’s severed face for a mask (although his genital area is kept to Ken Doll modesty levels). The film keeps us guessing as to whether the gory killing spree at the hotel is supernaturally driven or whether there is a living human monster inside the suit. The film doesn’t kick into full slasher movie mode until its closing third, but there’s much fun to be had with the slow-moving killer channelling Michael Myers as he relentlessly pursues the remaining cast and crew. The film will please gorehounds in its uncut state, with a number of nasty death scenes including someone having the top of their head removed to show their brains - and in the nastiest moment, a woman having her breast implants cut out.
|"Mother is talking to you!". FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 (1981) gets more than a namecheck in Sarawut Intaraprom's film.|
However, despite these nods to the likes of the SAW for HOSTEL franchises the rest of the film is mostly very much in popcorn territory. And, a scene towards the end, that nearly replicates FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2’s (1981) “Mother is talking to you scene!” with Amy Steel, shows where the filmmakers’ heads were really at.
Although possibly lost on Western audiences, THE CINDERELLA would resonate with local audiences as something of a satire on the Thai film industry. Thankfully, the occasional humour doesn’t detract too much and the horror is played straight and builds on the success of other Thai slashers, such as 303 FEAR FAITH REVENGE (1998) and SCARED (2005). Although, THE CINDERELLA flopped at the Thai box office - which may explain its relative obscurity. Still, whilst its first two-thirds is fun, the rest is a wild ride for slasher fans.
female: 2 / male: 1
1) Male gets crossbow arrow to the eye and falls under wheels of a truck
2) Male has top of head cut off and brains revealed
3) Male gets icepick through the head
4) Male has skin cut off his back and salt rubbed in the wounds
5) Male discovered dead
6) Male discovered dead
7) Female has breast implants cut out
8) Male shot with a crossbow
9) Male stabbed with an arrow
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