“For one million Baht you have to be shared”
Art Of The Devil is a horror film from Thailand dealing with witchcraft & directed by Tanit Jitnukul. Sadly despite being one of the better known horror films from Asia in truth it isn’t a great movie & the blame for this lays firmly on the director’s shoulders.
Boom is a young girl who meets Pratan, a successful & married businessman. The two embark on an affair & Boom soon falls pregnant. When Boom tells Pratan she is pregnant he gives her one million Baht for her silence but tells her he won’t leave her. Later he wakes her, informing her that for one million Baht she must be shared. As Pratan uses a camcorder, Boom is chased & gang raped by some of Pratan’s friends. Boom interrupts a family birthday party for Pratan’s daughter, telling him one million Baht isn’t enough. Furious, Pratan drags Boom outside & throws a wad of money at Boom while repeatedly slapping her. He warns her never to come near his family again. Boom enlists the help of a black magic priest to take revenge on Pratan & his family. Once Pratan & his family are dead, Boom makes an offering to the spirits & as she leaves sees a vision of the dead family & is hit by a car. Boom loses her baby in the accident. Pratan’s first wife inherits his house & fortune & Boom infiltrates this family by marrying the eldest son. Boom starts to use black magic to dispose of this family to claim the house & money for herself.
I’m still not sure quite how he managed it but Tanit Jitnukul took all the ingredients of a good movie & somehow turned them into the mess that is Art Of The Devil. It should have been a great movie. The story is sound enough, the acting is decent & the SFX are ok. It is the manner in which Jitnukul tells the story that ruins Art Of The Devil. The non linear narrative does the movie no favours & wanders almost aimlessly. The exposition is done in black & white in the present & the bulk of the story is told as flashbacks. Sadly this is handled badly & the film becomes muddled & confused. Subplots are thrown in at random, like the reporter who begins to suspect witchcraft & the Albino child spirit who is never completely explained & doesn’t really make sense given what she is. For a film of this type there is also a distinct lack of atmosphere & tension. Even at the movie’s climax it lacks any urgency or drama & just meanders to the end credits. The shame of it is that with a little care this could have been good. Supaksorn Chaimongkol puts in a good performance as Boom & Arisa Wills as Nan, the film’s main protagonist puts in a decent performance too. Most of the cast do the best they can with the script. Some of the death scenes work well, standouts being the vomiting of razor blades & Nan’s brother smothered by eels. Sadly the positives just don’t outweigh the negatives & it is that which makes Art Of The Devil a missed opportunity.
Sadly I just cannot recommend Art Of The Devil. It should have been good but it truly is poorly made & ultimately disappointing.