“The Blair Witch Project” (1999) popularized cinematic “found footage”, but the subgenre was not invented during this period. For those unfamiliar with the term, it defines productions that simulate home shoots, with shaky cameras, performances in reality or testimonials and recordings that are often found by others after the captured events have already been completed.
The success of the film contributed to the worldwide fame of the subgenre, even though it appeared much earlier. The controversial “Holocausto Cannibal” (1980) was the feature film responsible for the birth of “found footage”, and it is from this horror classic that “A Medium”, which arrives this week in theaters in Brazil , drinks straight from the source – at least some of it.
Exploring the technique of “mockumentary” (mockumentary) until exhaustion, the film begins by introducing the character Nim (Sawanee Utoomma), an experienced psychic who resides in Isan, northeast Thailand. Nim welcomes the team of documentarians and introduces them to his home and his routine, which involves spiritual healing on behalf of the Bayan entity, which has accompanied him since his youth.
It wouldn’t exactly be a spoiler to reveal that the movie is about possessions and scares, but until we get to that point, the narrative drags on a bit. However, director Banjong Pisanthanakun uses the long time with some wisdom and manages to contextualize the protagonist family, define their daily life and make a cut of Thai culture and spirituality, in which everyone is inserted.
From the second half of the feature film, things change: the daily life of the family, full of immersion and suspense, is replaced by reflections of thoughtless acts of the past and graphic terror. Nim, the medium encountered in the first few minutes, is the younger sister of Noi (Sirani Yankittikan).
Years ago, as the plot explains, Noi was supposed to be the recipient of the deity Bayan, which has accompanied the women of the family for generations. However, when she began to realize she would become a psychic, Noi denied her fate, bequeathing an unusual fate to Min.
Apparently everything is fine and resolved in Isan. Directed entity and everyone happy. Well, we could never watch a horror movie in which it would be so easy to get rid of a spirit. This time it’s Mink (Narilya Gulmongkolpech), daughter of Noi, who shows the symptoms of Bayan’s presence, as an apparent penance for her mother’s controversial choices.
Now, the family must understand and guide the young woman through the process that, it seems, will transform her into the new local media.
It is certain that the scares, tensions and certain triggers are more than present in the film. Like “Cannibal Holocaust”, a film banned in some countries, “The Medium” offers graphically and psychologically disturbing scenes. The “camera in hand” technique and the care taken in the scenography, which plastically transports us to the Thai countryside, make the whole thing even more realistic and terrifying.
For those who like to squirm painfully at the cinema and, in addition, fish for references to “REC” (2007), “The Exorcist” (1973), “Paranormal Activity” (2007) and so many other classics of horror, “The Medium” is a good choice on the big screen.
Perhaps the need to reference so many productions, seemingly loved by the director, made the film’s conclusion void of identity. While the first act features something unheard of for many, which is the immersion in a Thai spiritual aspect, its ending can be seen as mundane.
However, despite bearing North American and European influences, the film is typical Asian horror, with elements that elude cinematic hegemony and make the narrative, as a whole, different from the norm and necessary for fans of the genre. The experience is worth it.
Discover the feature film of this Thursday (20) in theaters. But only if you dare.