The Poison

Director: ?
Stars: Ying Juraluck
Time: 87 minutes
Year: 2003

One very clear cut subject that Asian films can claim as their very own are the snake women films – this myth (or is it?) of snakes that take on female form is one that has been depicted in many Asian cultures and at some point it has been filmed in Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and India. These snake women always seem to be hotties – though I suppose if you are to take on the female guise why not take on the form of a Maggie Cheung, Jade Leung, Sridevi or Brigitte Lin – all the better to seduce foolish men. There are not many taboos left in this world but male/female snake relationships seem to still always cause some uptight religious fanatic to wield his stick of moral indignation. To read more about this film genre – check out the fabulous essay at the Illuminated Lantern.

This recent entry from Thailand once again explores this theme, but unfortunately it is nearly dead on arrival. I emitted a noticeable groan as soon as I realized how cheap the production values were – basic TV fare and special effects that must have been done at the dime store around the corner. It begins one hundred years ago when the local chapter of the Asiripit cult all get together for a little fun and human sacrifice. The cult leader has kept his daughter Aratee a virgin just for this special night (and modern day parents think its tough for them – try telling your daughter that she has to remain chaste so she can be sacrificed to the snake god). The town folks though don’t take kindly to these snake worshippers in their neighborhood – property values being what they are – and so they slaughter all of them – Aratee’s parents right in front of her eyes. This she feels is disrespectful and so she turns into a giant cobra and kills them all – except for a little boy that she lets go out of kindness – though he had taken a few whacks himself with the guidance of his father - it is always good to see a father and son out together. One might of course wonder why she waited until everyone was dead before turning into a giant snake, but that’s snake women for you.
A hundred years pass and a crew for the Discovery channel is looking for this ancient monastery when they come across a bunch of drug smugglers who try and kill them – but Bordin escapes and finds a young sweetie in the middle of the jungle by a flowing stream. This is of course Aratee none the worse for wear after 100 years and with plenty of wiggle left in her. Aratee is played by Ying Juraluck – who clearly is in need of a change in management after clunkers like Ka Kee 2003, being a mermaid in Phra Apai-manee and now a snake woman in this one. She is a cutie though and upholds the snake woman/hottie correlation. It turns out the ancestor of that little boy is coming for revenge and there may be trouble ahead for our lovable couple – especially when his ex-girlfriend shows up. Fortunately, every time the baddies have her in their sights, they turn to long conversations that usually go something like “ its time to die – get ready to die – boy are you in trouble now – are you ready – am I going to enjoy this” which by this time she has been able to turn into her snake self. So will the love of a good man for a slinky snake win out in the end – I sure hope so – it’s a cold, cold world without love.

My rating for this film: 3.0