Death is unfortunately something that comes to us all. It’s not something we can prevent, even if we do all that is necessary to prolong it. In the same breath, we can control to some degree what we can pass on to our family and loved ones, whether it be our spouse, children, both, or perhaps none at all. Whether it be wealth, property, movie collection (son, you have no idea), or perhaps some sentimental trinkets, a simple will and responsible caretaker should be all you need in order to pass it on. However, responsibility can sometimes be fleeting. Today, we look at a movie called Cracked, where pieces of art are passed down from a father to a daughter with frightening results. Let’s take a look.
New York: a monorail train speeds by in the big city. Ruja (played by Chayanit Chansangavej) is in her apartment with her daughter, Rachel (played by Nutthatcha Padovan). Rachel is asleep, and Ruja is on the phone with an unknown party. The mother is asking for money that she desperately needs. At one point, the person on the phone obviously refuses, and we are also now aware that Rachel needs eye surgery, or else she will go blind. The conversation ends with a click, and the phone goes dead. Nearby, it appears that the daughter is awake and listening. She asks her mother if she really is going to go blind. Through the blurry child’s eyes, the two embrace as the mother comforts her and tells her everything is going to be OK.
Later on that night, Ruja watches Rachel as she sleeps peacefully next to her. The mother gets up and talks to a picture close by of herself and assumingly passed husband. She wants to be comforted and told everything is going to be all right. All of a sudden the lights flicker, and there is a pounding at the door of the apartment. Ruja goes to look at the door and sees a man named Wichai (played by Sahajak Boonthanakit), who is a friend of her father’s. He tells Ruja that he has some important news to share about her father, but there is one catch. Ruja and her daughter, Rachel, must go back to Thailand.
Throughout the night, Ruja has nightmares that end with a scary presence telling her not to go back. They never listen, do they? Next scene, Ruja and her daughter are welcomed by Wichai at her father’s estate with rain coming down outside. The two girls look around the place despite the eerie sounds all around them. They stop at one painting in particular, which depicts the father, mother, and Ruja herself as a little girl. After a bit, Wichai comes back in and tells Ruja that she needs to join him at her father’s studio, which is in a separate building on the property. But Rachel is not allowed to come with them and must stay with the housekeeper.
Wichai and Ruja make their way to the studio and step inside. All of the paintings in the studio are covered with a cloth including two in particular front and center. Wichai slowly unveils the paintings to reveal their images underneath. They were painted nearly twenty years ago and have a rather complicated history. Wichai also mentions a pending sale and asks Ruja if she would like to proceed with said sale. Wichai goes on to mention that he has a son who is also an artist but specializes in restoration in order to correct some of the cracks currently shown in the two paintings. Ruja very quickly agrees to both proposals; whatever it takes to get this done.
We soon meet Tim (played by Nichkhun), who is willing to restore those cracks and should be able to get them corrected very quickly. The eerie sounds and strange events become more common as mother and daughter make their final plans inside the estate. The real question remains. Which is not so much whether or not will Ruja and Rachel be able to inherit enough money for Rachel’s surgery, but actually whether or not the two will be able to escape with their lives and sanity intact.
Cracked is actually a remake of the 2019 Turkish film, Portrait of Beauty. This Thai movie is pretty well acted, and while I did guess some things early on, it still manages to keep the viewer on their heels until all of the information is presented. Be forewarned, the events that led to the paintings are not for the squeamish. Ruja and Rachel are very sympathetic characters and help the viewers become invested in seeing them escape from the estate. Nutthatcha Padovan, who plays as Rachel, is extremely easy to like and was able to convincingly play as someone who has partial blindness but not coming off as some bad joke (for example, not crashing into random pieces of furniture, that sort of thing).
My major criticism of this movie is that I think this should have been written more as a supernatural thriller rather than horror movie. Obviously, there is more than meets the eye here, but I do feel that there needed to be some closure on the end of this. I get that every horror movie has to have the “wink” at the end, but it doesn’t have to scream leaving the door open for a sequel. This movie exists well as a solo effort, but would be completely wasted if an eventual sequel came out. The best example I can think of is The Woman in Black. The first movie was fantastic but left the door wide open, and then the sequel was absolutely horrible. That’s kinda what they are doing right here. In addition, the scene after the movie ends is really pointless. We know what happens to this actual character; we don’t need a scene illustrating it.
Film Movement released this film as a DVD, which is probably going to turn off a lot of viewers, because most of the movie is set in the dark (or reduced lighting). I do understand what they did in this regard, but thankfully there are HD copies of this film floating around on your favorite a la carte type streaming service. In fact, as of the time of this article, it’s going for $5 on VUDU. I certainly recommend this film to horror fans, as I feel it’s a solid entry, but thriller enthusiasts such as myself might feel a little disappointed by the time the credits roll around. Personally, I think I wanted more from the film, and it never quite nailed it. Enjoy.