NET I DIE (FILM REVIEW)

In Net I Die, directors Preedee Veeratum and Nuttachai Jiraanont wanted to highlight the ills of social media fame, by creating a revenge tale emerging after the death of a “net idol” – an online influencer. What comes out instead, is a cardboard cliche of a story, filled with simple-minded characters and desperate post-production efforts. Net I Die aims for social cause, but is really an amateur product and a film uninvested.

The film starts off strong. Munkaw is seen doing a live stream of a product recommendation – in this case, a flashlight. The satire is evident. Munkaw adopts suggestive poses with the fleshlight, then complains about comments focusing on her boobs or being lascivious – it’s a humblebrag that most people have experienced or are familiar with.

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The telecast turns violent when Monica (Chicha Amattayakul) appears with death threats. The problem? Monica passed away a year ago. Munkaw opts to block the “prankster” but winds up twisted by an invisible force.

Next to appear is Malisa (Sarunthorn Klaiudom) and her boyfriend Jak (Pitt Karchai). As they start loading their top-selling skin care cream into a van, Sa receives a tagged post with Monica’s suicide video. As more spooky events occur, she enlists the help of Jak to stop the angry spirit, as she eliminates the tagged persons.

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At 86 minutes, Net I Die is already an hour too long for its simplistic plot. It’s a straightforward trip-to-the-grocery-and-back kind of story – a moral tale of how one shouldn’t bully, be unethical, cruel and unkind. It’s Aesop’s fable at a car-show – dressed up with abundant bosoms and pathetic spins.

On top of the uninspiring material, you can also easily feel how the editor is delaying the cuts to meet some timeline quota. There’s so many empty moments with actors standing around aimlessly, that you almost expect to hear the directors’ shout of “cut!” It’s so awkward that you start feeling sympathetic to the hapless performers, as their body language indicate restlessness.

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With plenty of film school basics thrown in for good measure – insert long pauses for dread, close-up on eyes for anticipation and fear, crashing sounds for scares – Net I Die is a predictable offering and would have been bearable if it had not also been bogged down by three other recurring failures.

The soundtrack is spare and alternates between awkward silences and cacophonic clashes. The contrived addition is at best, annoying.

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From the bimbotic Ay and greedy Dewey, to the jerk of a boyfriend Sun, the victims are one-dimensional and boring, so their deaths are almost a non-event. With Sa and Jak being the central figures, their own limp performances are reduced to mainly listless expressions and surface fright. In fact, only Amattayakul sports any acting effort, and is believable as the tortured victim, but frequently appears behind a heavy layer of grotesque make-up (most of which I suspect, is not even her – that’s how inconsistent the make-up was).

Last of all, is the lazy option to fade-to-black at every turn. A victim just got seized by an invisible force? Fade-to-black. Sa just got a shock? Fade-to-black. Jak just had a confrontation with Sun? Fade-to-black. After a while, you start wondering if your lids are causing the effect, as you doze off from boredom.

Rating: 1*

An updated moralistic tale becomes a mockery of a film, with amateur production values and clearly nothing else to offer besides bosomy actor appearances.

First published: www.movieXclusive.com

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