Thai director Wisit Sasanatieng helms Netflix’s newest horror offering The Whole Truth, a mashup of ideas from films like The Grudge and The Ring and The Sixth Sense and The Orphanage, but with enough tension and scares to stand on its own despite a few notably robotic performances and an ending that just won’t stop ending.
Hours after accepting a new role at work, young mother Mai (Nicole Theriault) is hit by a drunk driver and lands in a coma with a 50% chance of waking. Her father (Sompob Benjathikul) steps in to care for her kids Pim (Punpun Sutatta Udomsilp) and Putt (Mac Nattapat Nimjirawat), but when the pair discovers a hole drilled into the living room wall at grandpa’s house, horrifying past secrets threaten to reveal themselves and creepy ghost girls with stringy black hair come out to play.
Nobody else can see the hole, even that smarmy kid from school who took video of Pim in the locker room shower, but as Pim and Putt become increasingly unable to quit staring into the damn thing, things seem to get worse. No spoilers here, but it’s the age-old conundrum of the scary thing deflating the more you learn about it; almost no payoff would keep the scares going, really, or even be as satisfying as one would hope.
Udomsilp and Nimjirawat are meant to carry the film, but over-emotive physical performances wrest away any chance for subtlety. Someplace between their frantic eye movements and poorly delivered lines, things begin to border on the cartoonish, as does pretty much every choice from Koi Tarika Thidathit, who plays their grandmother Wan. Elsewhere, good ol’ grandpa might have a penchant for taking the law into his own hands and nobody is sure where Latte the cat went.
Is it a wormhole? A ghost hole? A glimpse into the future? Whatever it is, it sucks hard in that other room, and when the truth spills out in a quick succession of tense strings, shoddy CGI and terrible revelations, it’ll ultimately feel familiar. Still, you’ve got to hand it to Sasanatieng and writer Abishek J. Bajaj for sneaking in a twist or two that ultimately save The Whole Truth from feeling completely lifted.
+Ending is kind of unexpected; some creeps
-Silly performances; too familiar
The Whole Truth
Directed by Sasanatieng
With Udomsilp, Nimjirawat, Benjathikul, Thidathit and Theriault
Netflix, NR, 125 min.