Almost every horror fan out there equally loves a good comedy. We need those moments of levity to offset the horrific stuff we consume on a regular basis. Mix the two and you have the recipe for what possibly could end up in this genre fan’s regular rotation. I’m constantly on the lookout for that hidden gem to break up the gory slasher flicks I consume on a regular basis. So when the email for Night of the Killer Bears hit my inbox I was instantly sold. Billed as Ted meets Terrifier, how could I not be? The juxtaposition of horror and comedy, when done correctly can make any flick an instant classic whether the laughs are intentional or not. I could only hope this offering from Thai director Kanpong Banjongpinit lives up to its promise. Let’s get into the synopsis.
In an isolated resort, five friends reunite to catch up after a long time apart. Things take a turn when the party turns to murder and they start getting picked off one by one. Paranoia and distrust spread fast as each death reveals a dark secret kept hidden from the rest of the group. To make matters worse, they are being stalked by a menacing presence wearing a teddy bear head in the surrounding woods. They have no idea who the killer could be, all they know is that they’re in danger.
I’m familiar with Japanese horror and I’ve dabbled in Korean horror a bit but I’ve never had the opportunity to experience Thai horror. I honestly never knew that sub-genre existed until now. Asian horror in general has a different feel than the horror we get in the States. Sometimes I feel it can be a cultural thing. I mostly dig it but occasionally the overall vibe can get lost in translation. This one opened at the resort prior to the friends arriving with an innocent-looking girl being stalked by a harassing customer and subsequently tied up. It set the tone for what I thought could be a promising premise and then it took a turn. It seemed like every 5 minutes there was a twist and a new killer was revealed. Now don’t get me wrong, I like an interesting twist as good as the next but pile them on one after another and it becomes tiresome. As for the comedic aspects of this movie, I giggled a few times but found the comedy just didn’t land for me, that very well could be an individual thing though. Everyone’s taste in comedy is going to be different. The cinematography was excellent though. I applaud what the filmmakers were able to accomplish. It had a great look and overall tone that I would say is on par with many bigger-budget films. Usually one of my main complaints in flicks like these is the blending of effects but they were able to blend CG and practical pretty seamlessly so I have zero complaints in that department. I just wish it all came together better than it did. I’m honestly on the fence about this one. There were aspects I liked but I just found it a bit difficult to get invested when everyone is a killer. It just felt like a highlight reel of kills interspersed with a dark backstory for each antagonist creating an odd flow to the way this was presented. I’m glad I was able to experience Night of the Killer Bears once but I don’t see myself ever going back for a second viewing. You can catch this one for yourself on VOD and DVD April 18th.
Night of the Killer Bears is available now on digital, VOD, and DVD.