Director: Banjong Pisonthanakun, Parkpoon Wongpoom
Cast: Ananda Everingham, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee "Ja", Achita Sikamana
Year: 2004
Runtime: 90 minutes

Towards the end of 2004 word started crawling out of Thailand that a new horror film was scaring the life out of the local audiences and that this low-budgeted sleeper had become a huge box office hit. Always on the lookout for the newest wave in horror thrills, the ears of horror fans pricked up in anticipation. Horror films have become a major staple of the low-grade “B” market in Thailand with gaggles of them being produced and set upon unsuspecting buyers – so I approached this with mild skepticism but hope. The film hasn’t yet made the film festival circuit but apparently a number of U.S. production companies are bidding for remake rights.

This is certainly not a flashy film by any means – with small everyday sets, only a few characters with much screen time and dime store special effects. The cinematography and design aren’t particularly dazzling either – very basic and not at all eye-catching, yet without much of a budget these two young directors spent their money wisely. A good story and good sound effects – what else in truth does a horror story really need to get under your skin and let your imagination take over– creepy moments accentuated by the sound of unexplained footsteps crossing the room or the slow creak of a door mysteriously opening. That was enough to scare people on the radio for decades and that’s primarily what is at work here. At the same time though, a lot of these ingredients may have been better served in a dark theater among an audience ready to be scared – watching it at home on a VCD definitely lessens the “scare” impact considerably.
It is clear early on that the two directors have likely digested the recent onslaught of Asian horror films like a buffet special. These influences are seen throughout – from the main premise – a long haired female ghost looking for some payback – to many of the scenes that play out like bits from familiar films – “The Ring”, “Ju-on”, “Inner Senses” and even the Thai film “The Sisters”. Of course there has been so much crossbreeding in Asian horror films that it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint the specific influences. Even with memories of other films tugging at the base of your neck throughout, the directors have added enough distinctive characteristics to make this feel like more than simply another knockoff – and its taut no-nonsense narrative leading to a literally weighty and peculiar ending will keep you curiously involved if not necessarily on the edge of your seat.
Tun (Everingham – “Ghost Delivery”) and his girlfriend Jane (Thongmee) are returning from a celebration with a few of Tun’s friends with Jane at the wheel when a woman walks right in front of the car and is run over. Jane wants to see what can be done, but Tun panics and forces her to drive way leaving a body in their rear-view mirror. It isn’t long before things begin rattling in the night and some pictures that Tun has taken at his college all come out with a smeary motion across them and in one picture just possibly the face of a dead person is revealed. This is enough to make them both go back and check up on their hit and run victim, but the police have no record of such an accident. Then their friends start committing suicide and dirty past secrets come spilling out like puss from a re-opened wound.
Though I enjoyed the film, I didn't think it lived up to the hype that is beginning to surround it. It does have its share of jumps and dread, but most of these are generated by easy "the ghost is behind you" sorts of scares and it takes perhaps a bit long before it begins generating them. The ending has received some praise and it is in its own way quite clever and morbidly deserving. What made the film interesting for me is in the way it slowly forces you to switch your sympathies from one character to another leaving a sense of sadness and despair in its wake. The film does indulge a bit too much in one of my pet-peeves of late - running from a ghost. What exactly is the point of that? I don't get it. Everywhere you go the ghost is waiting for you - so what makes you think you can out run it? Maybe I would do the same - but my preference is hiding under the covers where they can't see you!

My rating for this film: 7.0