July 23, 2023

CRACKED: Another Case of Deja Boo

2022 / 93 min
Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

Cracked is a horror film from Thailand made by someone who’s obviously seen a lot of other horror films. While that ain’t necessarily a bad thing, viewers who’ve also seen a lot of horror films won’t find much that'll surprise them.

Ruji (Chayanit Chansangavej) is a single mom living in New York who can’t afford a medical procedure that would restore the eyesight of daughter Rachael (Nuttatcha Padovan), who’s slowly going blind. When her estranged (and apparently wealthy) father dies, Ruji returns to Thailand hoping to sell the house and two weird paintings he created. She learns those paintings are worth millions, even though their previous owner hanged himself (just as her father did after they were returned to him).

Both paintings feature the same semi-nude woman, one where she’s surrounded by lecherous men (Dad's buddies), the other where she’s being hanged by red silk. Unless this is your first horror film, it’ll come as no surprise that the woman was her father’s real-life subject, died for the sake of his art and now wants a little payback. Ruji, in particular, appears to be the object of her wrath, and we learn why through numerous flashbacks from her childhood (which also reveal Dad’s demented approach to creating art).

"Well, it's no Dogs Playing Poker."
Cracked tells an overly familiar story that relies more on a preponderance of jump scares than atmosphere or tension. And other than a few murky scenes that are depicted through her eyes, Rachael’s affected vision has no impact on the narrative (definitely a missed opportunity for a horror film). Not even the paintings themselves are all that menacing, looking more like velvet artwork you’d find in a flea market than anything housing a vengeful demon.

There have been some great horror films centered around “haunted” paintings, such as 1945’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and an old Night Gallery episode that gave this guy nightmares as a kid. But while competently made and featuring decent performances, Cracked fails to exploit the inherent creepiness of its concept. Ultimately underwhelming, the film is a passable time killer, at best.

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