Body is a wonderful piece of horror cinema. It is also going to be a real bitch of a movie to review as the movie hinges on a brilliant plot twist near the end which I want to avoid giving even the slightest hint to. So with that in mind I will attempt some sort of review. Please accept my comments may be even more vague than normal, but this film should be seen without any spoilers.
Chon is a student living with his sister, he is constantly plagued by bad dreams. These dreams involve a woman being dismembered, a strange cat & a fetus. He also suffers from daytime hallucinations & occasional memory loss. While Chon is preparing some prawns for dinner he suffers a hallucination as the prawns start to move & bleed heavily. Chon badly slices the tip of his finger & his sister takes him to hospital. The doctor treating Chon’s wound refers him, to Chon’s surprise to a psychiatrist Dr Usa, who herself is under increasing strain at home with her distant husband Dr Sethee. When Chon goes to see Dr Usa she acts very uncomfortably around him. Chon’s nightmares & hallucinations start to increase in intensity & he is drawn to a door in his house covered by a large piece of furniture. When Chon opens it he sees a vision of a woman being dismembered on the floor. Chon also sees visions of a ghostly woman who he eventually identifies a Dr Dararai. Dr Usa also starts to investigate Dr Dararai as there seems to be a connection between her & Dr Sethee. Dr Usa discovers Dr Dararai is an expert in hypnosis & has recently gone missing. The assistant who gives Dr Usa this information dies that evening in an accident with barbed wire. The Dr who refered Chon to Dr Usa also dies in an accident with acid. Chon rushes to see Dr Usa, convinced anyone he tells about Dr Dararai dies. But the real truth is much more horrifying.
Body is a stunning movie, one that really grips you from beginning to end. The first two-thirds of the movie play out like a typical (albeit well made) Asian ghost movie. It is as the film reaches its conclusion that the movie shifts dramatically with a plot twist that makes you completely re-evaluate what you have just seen. The twist itself is very reminiscent of two classic yet completely different movies that I obviously will not name here. Once you have seen Body you will know exactly which two movies I’m referring to. Again I will apologise for my hesitancy to give any details but I went into this movie knowing next to nothing about it & that is the way I believe it should be seen. The acting by the entire cast is first-rate & the film itself looks wonderful. Director Paween Purijitpanya was obviously given a decent budget & has taken great care in making a beautiful looking movie. Purijitpanya allows the plot to develop, slowly unravelling the mystery & keeping you (the audience) hooked. The ghost apparition of Dr Dararai is a wonderful creation, while sticking to the Yurei (thanks Andrew, anyone wishing to know more about the Yurei should check out Andrew’s blog Lucid Dreams. It can be found on my links) imagery, the ghost is more than just your usual long-haired spirit. the effects for Dr Dararai are excellent. Sadly the same cannot be said for the cat or fetus, which both stand out as poorly done CGI. These are pretty much the only downside to this movie. There are a few loose ends that don’t quite add up at the movies conclusion. There are things to do with Chon’s sister & don’t quite make sense but these are minor quibbles & don’t detract from the movies impact. The film I can safely liken this to without spoilers would be The Forbidden Door. Like that movie Body changes completely near the end & becomes something completely different. I really don’t want to say anymore for the reasons I have already stated.
Body is a wonderful film you simply must see. Intelligent, gripping & jaw dropping. It’s a real shame this movie isn’t well-known. Like Noroi it seems to have slipped under most people’s radar. Please take my word for it & see this movie. A Thai classic that can stand side by side with Shutter & from me that is high praise indeed.
“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.
“Jane? You’re early”
Shutter is a Thai horror film from 2004. It’s also one of the best ghost stories you will ever see. Shutter easily stands up alongside the best ghost films the Japanese film industry has produced. Writer/directors Banjong Pisanthanakun & Parkpoom Wongpoom have created something special with Shutter.
After spending the evening drinking with friends, Tun & Jane are involved in a car accident when Jane hits a woman on the road. Tun insists they don’t stop & they leave the woman lying in the road. Tun is a professional photographer & begins to notice strange white shadows in his pictures & what also resembles ghostly faces. Jane begins to suspect these may be the ghost of the girl they hit on the road. Tun visits a doctor because he has been experiencing uncomfortable neck pain. While at the doctors he is weighed by a nurse & shocked to find he has gained a considerable amount of weight. As he is leaving he hears a voice calling him a liar. Tun’s friends begin to admit to being haunted by a ghostly girl. Jane decides to investigate & discovers the girl in the photos is a girl called Natre who went to college with Tun. Jane confronts Tun & he admits to having a relationship with Natre. Tun’s friends begin to commit suicide & slowly Jane begins to unravel the shocking truth about Tun & Natre.
The Thai horror film industry is certainly gaining momentum. Art Of The Devil & its sequels, Silk & Ghost Of Mae Nak are all good movies but Shutter stands out as the cream of the crop. Shutter is a film that truly captures a creepy & atmospheric tone that most so-called scary movies never get close to. In my opinion this movie far outstrips the likes of Ringu & Dark Water. Possibly only Noroi & A Tale Of Two Sisters can match the slow burning intensity of mood that Shutter creates. The acting is first-rate & the film’s pacing is near perfect. Shutter isn’t a film that relies heavily on special effects, its strength lies in its atmosphere & mood. The soundtrack especially enhances the air of unease that prevails throughout the movie. There are some truly outstanding scenes in this movie, none more so than one involving Tun in his darkroom becoming aware of someone being in the room with him. The movie’s conclusion is stunning & the imagery will remain in your head long after the movie has finished. The movie does have one weakness, as it is central to the movie’s mystery I cannot really go into any great detail. All I can say is that the shame felt by one character should have been felt by the many, if you see this film you will understand my last statement. It is a minor quibble but due to its importance to the movie it could be seen as being detrimental to the film’s effectiveness. Sadly the movie has already been remade by Hollywood & the result is dreadful. It never ceases to amaze me that even with the template of perfectly made originals, 9 times out of 10 Hollywood will completely foul up any remake.
Shutter is a wonderful movie that if you haven’t yet seen you really need to. It’s a perfect introduction to Thai horror movies & a wonderfully creepy film. Highly recommended.