Vampire Owl: Now, the ghosts are in need of labs too?
Vampire Bat: Well, even your favourite pseudo-scientist has a lab.
Vampire Owl: It seems that you are not done making fun of Doctor Frankenstein, the greatest inventor of them all.
Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein is not a true immortal. He will be dead soon.
Vampire Owl: He has prepared and drunk the elixir of immortality. He is sure to live forever, at least when he is part of this realm.
Vampire Bat: You think that a human can be equal to us.
Vampire Owl: He hasn’t been human for a very long time!
Vampire Bat: Well, you will know the true immortals after watching this film.
Vampire Owl: You are talking about the second Thai film we will be watching to be part of this website.
Vampire Bat: Yes, The Whole Truth then, and now this one.
[Gets a strawberry cake and three cups of Munnar tea].
What is the movie about? :: Wee (Thanapob Leeratanakachorn) and Gla (Paris Intarakomalyasut) are two doctors who are highly obsessed about getting some scientific proof that the ghosts are real, after they had witnessed a certain haunting occuring in their hospital. They were the kind of people who wouldn’t believe in the existence of spirits before that, but not anymore. They wouldn’t be making fun of the shamans or any ghost hunter after the incident. Wee’s mother has been in the hospital for a very long time, and it also one reason why he had decided to become a doctor. He would keep saying that if there was something like ghosts, science would have detected them early enough, like detecting those particles from space. Gla still thinks that it is absurd for someone like him to not to believe in ghosts as he believes in aliens. It was the apparition of man who was burned to his death that appeared with a body of burns. The two doctors were the only people who save the creature, and it didn’t appear on camera at all.
So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Wee wonders if that was a case of hallucination, but two people can’t hallucinate the same thing at the same time, which leaves many questions. Gla is only happy to have seen a ghost in the end, as he did have his own doubts about the supernatural existence. He feels that he had seen the ghost of his dad, a few days after his death, but as he was a child then and as it was for just a second too, he couldn’t be so sure. Wee decides to join his friend in proving that there are really ghosts wandering around the human world. They call it the Northern Lights Quest. They want it to be that great an experiment and discovery as Newton or Einstein had come up with, and people will study about them. It turns out that Gla has already done a lot of field work in secret, visiting all the famous haunted places as well as local cemeteries, accident scenes and mortuaries. The fact that cameras can’t record the mechanism doesn’t help them in finding the proof.
And more is to happen with this particular search for ghosts? :: The absence of cameras means that they have to make the ghosts appear to other people too, but there doesn’t seem to be any pattern to how the creatures appear. They understand that they just can’t write some fiction like the authors of the past and make people that it is close to reality; they won’t be able to share the realities of others who would say that they have seen something supernatural. Even the once popular vampires and demons don’t seem to have that market anymore. But it turns out that there are some invisible ghosts too, and they might be making things happen – maybe, a few random things in the hospital might be caused by them. Well, they feel that the best place to find a ghost might always be a hospital, and not anywhere else, as so many people die in the building, and the morgue has the bodies that might bring the ghosts out. But none of these would count as solid proof. With these late night experiments affecting the quality of work for the doctors, there seems to be the need to find a clue as soon as possible, but can they?
The defence of Ghost Lab :: This movie does have an interesting beginning that serves well to keep us engaged in the whole thing, as if something grand is worth waiting for. Thanapob Leeratanakachorn and Paris Intarakomalyasut come up with a good performance, especially a team. The former’s continued presence means that he would always have more to do on screen throughout the movie. Nuttanicha Dungwattanawanich only has a smaller role in the first half, in a movie which is so much about the two leading actors – yet she is there for enough time especially in the second half, and handles the emotional side really well, as she seems to be very good with those emotions. She surely has a lovely and serene way of handling the things around even with the overflow of emotions. There are also the mother-sister roles which are minute in length, but performed very well. The movie makes one wonder about the borders which one is not supposed to cross, especially in the name of ambition or pride. There is something innovative about how it tries to get the ghost world to be in contact with the humans.
The claws of flaw :: The film doesn’t make the best of use of the ghosts which appear around there, and the horror itself is not strong enough, as we move forward. Some scenes don’t seem to make much of sense though, even within a movie about the supernatural. With some science involved people would always be looking for a certain amount of logic though. Even though the protagonists are trying to cross the line with all that they have, the movie is not trying enough especially with the possibility of further divergence always present. The film was never supposed to go that much normal – it should have brought the mysterious and the spectacular to a high level instead. There could have also been so much to think about, and different things to have as messages, but it pauses with that thought. Some of the terrifying moments in the end could have done more for the film, and it seems to try to end without that expected blast, as if they are already tired of what has happened so far. The seemingly unnecessary deviation from the genre and subgenres have done it no good, as we look closer.
How it finishes :: There are some interesting points being made here in the form of the different horror movie here – Ghost Lab is a search for ghosts that goes on and on. We are not strangers to experiments in horror, and the movies like Malignant, It Follows, A Quite Place, Don’t Breathe and Lights Out are fine examples of the same. This movie from Thailand does shows the divergence which our usual Hollywood movies are often not sure about. It comes from the beautiful country, a mixture of magnificent modernity and charming natural beauty which I had witnessed during my visit to Bangkok and Pattaya, two years before the Corona virus pandemic had its viral say about tourism. During our visit to the malls, I did want to give a try to one or two of the Thai movies, as there was enough time to spend in Bangkok during the last two days of our presence there. The film did have the possibility of going the The Lazarus Effect way, but that path is not taken. Instead, it has a life of its own, and manages to make things working well with a certain amount of mystery always present.
Release date: 26th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Paween Purijitpanya
Starring: Thanapob Leeratanakachorn, Paris Intarakomalyasut, Nuttanicha Dungwattanawanich, Suquan Bulakul, Pearachanee Siralert, Natthawut Jenmana, Chaleeda Gilbert, Jinjuta Rattanaburi, Alanta Potjes, Prem Fakseemuang, Sombat Inopast, Pranya Sakiyalak
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.