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Bangkok Haunted (2001)

In every city, in every home, there’s a real ghost story ready to be told.

Directed by:

Oxide Pang Chun & Pisut Praesangeam

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 130 minutes

UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: Thailand

When most people think of Bangkok, they instantly think of one thing: chickboys. But it’s also the home of Oxide Pang Chun and Pisut Praesangeam (that’s easy for you to say!), two of the Thailand’s most highly-regarded up-and-coming film directors. Joint project ‘Bangkok Haunted’ is their attempt to follow in the footsteps of Japanese movies like ‘Ringu’ and ‘Oodishon‘ with a modern, hyper-stylish horror flick. Unfortunately, unlike those other two films, ‘Bangkok Haunted’ is cack.

It’s divided into three separate stories, each of them brought together by a trio of twenty-something girlies sitting in a sickeningly fashionable Thai bar.

The first yarn, ‘Legend of the Drum’, is easily one of the most mind-numbingly dull so-called horror shorts I’ve ever had the complete indifference to clap eyes on. As the title suggests, it’s about a haunted drum, but don’t worry – it’s not haunted by the ghost of Phil Collins. Oh no, it’s something far less frightening. You see, the drum in question is linked back to a 1917-set sub-plot, where Gnod, a slightly unhinged teen, is causing all sorts of problems for a girl called Paga. He fancies the pants off her, but two main problems count against his romantic advances: 1. He’s her brother, and; 2. He’s extremely ugly (to the point that his family keep him in a hut next to the river so that they don’t have to look at him). So, to cut an unnecessarily long story short, he kills her, and she pops up in the future haunting pieces of musical percussion.

Had enough of this nonsense yet? No? Alright then, on we go to story two. Pan is a nightclub-frequenting yo-yo-drawers, but she’s got a bit of a problem: only fat blokes with moustaches will have anything to do with her. So she gets herself some love potion, spikes the drinks of unsuspecting fancy-boys, and has herself a whale of a time. That is, predictably, until the side-effects kick in.

Finally, at long last, story three. This one, to be fair, is a considerable cut above the dross that’s gone before it, and it’s interesting to note that this is the only segment helmed by Oxide alone. It’s an X-Filesey type of tale about a police detective who finds himself in over his head when he starts investigating the supposed suicide of an abused wife. It’s easily the best of a bad bunch, but nonetheless suffers from an over-obsession with needless stylistics and hazy story-telling.

Each of the tales only last for around 40 minutes each, but feel like much, MUCH longer. The acting is of a decent standard, but to say the direction is largely disappointing would be putting it mildly. In fact, by the time I’d finished with it, a grisly death of the ilk shown on-screen was starting to feel like a preferable alternative to having to watch it ever again.

It's Got: A woman who’s armless, green vomit (so at least we know now who ate all the asparagus), and pavements pancakes.

It Needs: Not to be bothered with. Seriously, it’s a total waste of two hours you’ll never get back.

DVD Extras A ‘making of’ featurette, an art gallery, a couple of filmographies, some notes written by film critic Justin Bowyer, and a bunch of like-minded trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 5/10

Alternatives:

Oodishon, Ringu, Ringu 2

Summary

Three tales of tepid terror. About as scary as stroking a hamster, but much less exciting.

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