Mak and Nak are a young couple about to be married. They buy
the oldest house in their region of Thailand, a seriously
run-down property with a reputation for short-term owners.
Mak purchases a brooch for his wife, but from that moment
- and particularly after the wedding - events seem to conspire
against them. Mak is plagued by visions of a terrifying ghost,
their house is broken into and the wedding gifts stolen and,
when Mak later notices the gifts being sold on the street
and gives chase, he is struck by the thieves' car and ends
up in a coma. Nak discovers the brooch and when Mak tells
her through his coma to find Mae Nak, she learns that their
house is on the site of Mae Nak who is a legendary ghost from
a hundred years in the past. When people who have done the
couple harm begin to die in a particularly gristly fashion,
Nak begins to suspect the ghost is protecting them. But what
does it want with her? And why is it holding Mak in a coma...?
is a beautiful tale well told; one of those East Asian supernatural
horror films which stand out from the rest in terms of acting
and direction. Yes, it has elements of The
Ring (particularly when Nak uncovers the buried
body), but it's difficult not to find a ghost story from this
part of the world which doesn't remind you of what started
this captivating sub-genre. The film works on several levels.
It's been described as a haunting love story, but I'd venture
to suggest it closer resembles a supernatural drama or thriller
with comedic elements.
comedy. How can you fail to be amused when a character is
killed in a scene which belongs to Airplane or The
Naked Gun? After being terrified by the ghost, he staggers
back knocking over a pot of boiling water on to himself. Whilst
throwing himself about in agony, he is struck by a vehicle
and thrown on to a food stall containing naked flame and set
ablaze. The death is so ridiculous, but it works because it
is carefully kept separate from the frightening appearance
of the ghost. In other words, the apparition has departed
before we witness the consequences of its presence. Another
amusing moment comes when another character is cut down the
middle by a falling sheet of glass (borrowed from the original
Omen, perhaps), and a dog runs off with an
get the wrong impression by thinking this is a spoof or send-up.
There are only small moments of humour and these are carefully
balanced along with every other emotion we are persuaded to
feel. The humour is a release, however, and leaves you less
prepared for the next scene. The plot is constantly moving
and evolving. The primary characters behave in a believable
manner, and when circumstances demand they suddenly act unnaturally
the periphery characters react accordingly with shock - something
which doesn't happen in too many movies, when they forget
how we reflect on each others lives.
Duffield, who wrote and directed this film, has
to be commended for creating both a powerful and emotional
tale, especially as he was playing the potentially dangerous
game of toying with a famous Thai ghost legend - an undertaking
which could so easily have ended in ridicule and disaster.