Krasue (Demonic Beauty)

Director: Bin Banluerit
Starring: Lakana Wattanawongsiri, Nak-rob Traipoe, Ekapun Bunluerit
Running Time: 101 minutes
Year: 2002

The Phii Krasue is a very scary ghost in Thai mythology. It consists of a flying head with entrails hanging from it and a voracious hunger for blood and intestines. It uses its long flicking tongue to lick the dead carcass and sharp teeth to chew on it. It has a similarity with a ghost type from Malaysia called the penanggalan (“head with dancing intestines”). This type of ghost has been depicted at least a couple of times previously in Asian films with Hong Kong’s “Witch with the Flying Head” (1977) and Indonesia’s “Mystics In Bali” (1981). The krasue in this Thai film is actually quite a sympathetic figure and this shifts it from being a straight out and out attempt at horror to something that takes on more a melodramatic veneer. This probably hurts the film in the long run. Though this interpretation of the krasue does give it some emotional impact – it detracts considerably from the horror and gore element that a film like this is made for. This krasue is just too darn well behaved!

The Thai’s have defeated the Khmer empire in the mid-1700’s and taken the lovely Princess Tarawatee prisoner. Seeing her beauty, the Thai ruler weds her, but then later sees her in the arms of a man. He sentences them both to death – one through a beheading and the other to be burnt to death. While waiting for her execution, the Princess hears from a fellow inmate that in a small village not too far away lives a young woman called Daow who is her exact physical double. As flames start to burn around her, the Princess sends her spirit to inhabit the body of Daow – but just as her spirit zips off to find her double, Daow is killed by a voodoo like curse – and the spirit ends up inhabiting a deceased body – but it soon springs to life surprising everyone around it. The body is now partly Daow but also partly vengeful ghost – and at night a painful hunger comes and it desperately needs to feed on blood and entrails – and so the head slips away from the body for a little refreshment. This soon causes consternation among the villagers!
This is generally a rather entertaining film with decent production values, a bit of solid action – but it gets bogged down in a soap opera like situation in which romance and gossipy village women sit around and talk about how strange Daow is acting lately. There is in fact way too much talk in this film and not nearly enough gore and revenge. The biggest drawback though has to be the special effects for the flying head – it looks so fake – like a lit jack-o-lantern flying through the jungles. On the plus side are the stunning village girls who are the height of fashion in their revealing halter-tops and a very sympathetic performance from Princess Tarawatee/Daow (Lakana Wattanawongsiri).

My rating for this film: 6.0