A House of Mad Souls

Director: Sivavut Vasang-ngern
Cast: Cindy Burbridge, Byron Bishop
Year: 2004
Duration: 84 minutes (though the HK DVD box claims 105 minutes approximately but not exactly)

I always hate being mean, but this film is a complete stinker – a tosser if there ever was one (I've always wanted to use that term) – it is painful even writing a review – like revisiting a proctologist because he lost something and is wondering where it might be. So I will spend a little time first writing about the star of this film – Cindy Burbridge (Thai name Sirinya Winsiri) – who must have been doing this for a friend or a charitable cause. She seems quite cool. She was the Miss Thailand representative at the 1996 Miss World contest and her selection caused a few raised eyebrows apparently. The cause for this was her heritage – half western and quarterThai/quarter Indian with startling blue eyes.

Nine years ago it was somewhat scandalous and quite rare for someone of mixed heritage to gain this sort of prominence – now its all the rage and many of the current crop of Thai actresses are racially mixed – and splendidly beautiful. Read here for more about this fad. Outside of this though, Cindy is also a model, runs a dive center in Pattaya (with her co-star boyfriend in this film) after her father retired, is a VJ in Bangkok and is an activist to protect wild animals. Life sounds good – until she made this film. Now no one will invite her to gala events or allow her near a runway – what was she thinking? This appears to be her first film and I have to say she could have made a better choice to break into show business – like cleaning up after the elephants. All right, the film if I must.

Low budget doesn’t begin to describe this – it’s as if someone borrowed a camera for a day and decided to make a movie. It starts off well though – Jitta (Cindy) is swimming alone at night in an indoor pool and a pair of socks are slowly creeping up on her – ooh a slasher film perhaps – no just her friend Man (Byron Bishop) tapping her on the shoulder – but enjoy that moment because it’s the scariest one in this horror film – well except perhaps for the ghost in his underpants – but more on that later. Like most men, Man is swine – he whines that Jitta is spending too much time on her job and didn’t even say goodbye to his mother the other night. Boo-hoo. Jitta reminds him that she is a doctor and had an emergency – he continues to pout like Hsu Chi in her early days and tells her that she treats her patients better and so he is breaking up. Good riddance.
For some reason this upsets her and she takes a job in a hospital in a rural area to get away. But not before the whole breakup scene is replayed for us again just in case we missed something – but this time in black and white! These flashbacks of scenes we have just witnessed happen a few times – not a good sign in an 84-minute movie. But there are lots of bad signs – like hospitals that have no equipment, offices that have nothing but a desk and a lot of people who can’t act. Anyway, this little boy keeps popping up everywhere she goes – often in his underwear – and they chat for a while and then he disappears. He is a ghost – with no particular agenda except to have some company – but his father is doing a “Going Home” scenario with him and reading his corpse comic books. The kid never shows much interest, but then he is dead. That’s about it except for a twist at the end that I am embarrassed to admit I didn’t quite understand – is everyone in the movie actually dead or just the audience who sat through this?

My rating for this film: 0