Ghost Lab

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Whole Truth

Vampire Owl: There is a lot of talk about truth going on around here.

Vampire Bat: It is something that humans never try to speak.

Vampire Owl: Humans haven’t been close to truth for a long time.

Vampire Bat: Truth just doesn’t suit them. They are basically liars. You cannot blame them for going back to their basic nature.

Vampire Owl: Their basic nature is related to robbery and murder.

Vampire Bat: It is really difficult to talk about human nature. They are pure evil.

Vampire Owl: Yes, which is why many witches travel to their world and try to kill a few of them or transform them into better creatures like cats and dogs.

Vampire Bat: It is the same reason why we don’t have Vampire Cats anymore.

Vampire Owl: Human existence has no real meaning related to anything other than evil.

Vampire Bat: If Corona virus makes them go extinct, it can be called a pure evil thing.

[Gets a marble cake and three glasses of mango shake].

What is the movie about? :: Mai (Nicole Theriault) is living happily with her two children, Pim (Sutatta Udomsilp) and Putt (Mac Nattapat Nimjirawat) in the city of Bangkok, until she meets with an accident on her way back home from office, on the same day that she received a promotion at her office. She is now in a coma, and even though out of critical situation, has to stay in the ICU. It is then that their grandparents come to visit them – Phong (Sompob Benjathikul) and Wan (Tarika Tidatid) takes them to their ancestral home. The house is quite a large one, and Phong says that Wan is not really well, and due to her dementia, she also needs some taking care of. At the same time, Mai has some severe injury to her brain, and it will take some time for her to get better. Until then, the two siblings will have to stay in their ancestral home, even though they are not really comfortable about it. They take everything from home, and place them at the new place, as they feel that they are for a very long time. But this doesn’t seem that good a place for them.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, the cat which they brought there from the original home is no longer found. They are also able to find a hole on the wall, which the grandparents don’t find to be present. They blame the children for making up things which are not there, and advises them to stop looking for cats. There is something going on in the house, and it feels really strange for the siblings. When Putt looks through the hole, he sees a strange girl on the other side, and it does seem like a strange house on the other side there. At the same time, Fame (Sadanont Durongkaweroj), a boy who studies with Pim, comes to the house and warns them about leaking a video of her showering in the gym. He is also not able to see the hole on the wall either, but is pulled to the wall, hurting his nose. He leaves the place with a broken nose, telling Pim that he will leak her naked video on the internet. As the grandmother reaches home, she sees the blood on the floor and losses her mind for a few minutes. Pim and Putt understand that things can get only worse from there, as there are some secrets out there.

The defence of The Whole Truth :: Even though this particular movie is from Thailand, there is the feeling of watching a Korean film – that kind of quality is here with the visuals. It also gets into action quite fast, and we are glad to follow it around early enough. The idea of the hole in the wall which provides some strange visions is nice, especially with the arrangements on the other side. The feeling of danger is always effectively there. This does bring some scares, but the film is more about mystery, revealing a few things about human nature, rather than anything else. The theme of the movie is related to how people only give half truths, manipulating everything to suit their own versions. The film also has a nice way of revealing everything, through visions and incidents. The way that it keeps us in suspense is good, as we are not really sure which way it is to go, not just about the ghostly figure, but also about how the leading lady’s situation would be, in the school – there are even twists about her life there, and the supernatural only comes later.

Positives and negatives :: The Rings creature feeling is there for sure, as if to provide something like a repetition, for that is one demonic presence which everyone has liked for a long time. There were also so many more possibilities for the incidents of the movie to progress, and it could have used better clarity at some parts. The ending could have also been more direct. There are moments when it makes us feel that this is going to be like The Visit, but it is surely not going that way. Also, the movie’s drama feels a lot like Indian films at times, and therefore, it is more relatable to our audience. The ghost here more like the past which continues to haunt us, reminding us of a few dialogues in Crimson Peak. The idea of the ghost trying to tell the truth, or rather the whole truth is not something new, but this one takes different steps towards it. The way in which this movie changes your expectations in between, is also notable. There is no early clue about what we have in the end, for the twists work in that way, and make this one effective.

Performers of the soul :: Among the performers, it is Sutatta Udomsilp who stands the strongest, as the elder grandchild and sister who has to stay strong in the absence of her mother. She reflects a number of scream queens which we have seen in Hollywood movies, and still has a lovely touch of divergence that relates her to horror movie stars of Bollywood too. She expresses herself incredibly well throughout the different events, from the emotional ones to the scary ones. Nicole Theriault has only the first few minutes as the mother, as she gets to face the car accident too soon, waking up much late. Mac Nattapat Nimjirawat plays the young brother figure who is weakened, pretty well. Sompob Benjathikul plays the grandfather figure with a lot of strength, while Tarika Tidatid fits into the grandmother role with ease. Sadanont Durongkaweroj plays the usual creepy boy who reminds one of the Drishyam boy who got buried under the police station, after capturing the video of the showering girl. Thasorn Klinnium, who is only there for a few minutes, also has her contribution.

How it finishes :: The Whole Truth is the first Thai movie at Movies of the Soul, and it did come late, when we look at the foreign language movies at the website. Even though there have been many movies which came close to becoming the first, this one finally made it way here through Netflix. It is rather surprising that we have already had Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and Indonesian movies here to add to a South East Asian list, there hasn’t been any from Thailand. This movie changes that in style. Movies like Furie, Impetigore, The Wandering Earth and Train to Busan were all movies which had something special in their own ways, coming from different countries and languages. The Whole Truth proved to be a fine example with which to start Thai films. When we had visited Pattaya and Bangkok, we did really want to watch a movie or two, but that didn’t happen because of the busy schedule of the trips. At least, that desire is fulfilled for now. As we go through the beginning of the new year, let us hope that more wishes can be fulfilled in 2022.

Release date: 2nd December 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Wisit Sasanatieng
Starring: Sutatta Udomsilp, Tarika Tidatid, Sompob Benjathikul, Sadanont Durongkaweroj, Steven Isarapong, Thasorn Klinnium, Mac Nattapat Nimjirawat, Keetapat Pongrue, Nicole Theriault

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Paradise Beach

Vampire Owl: Why does this movie remind me of your trip to Thailand?

Vampire Bat: Because this film was shot in Thailand itself.

Vampire Owl: A French film shot in Thailand, and that is a fine choice.

Vampire Bat: Still, our visit to Thailand was not to the place shown in the movie.

Vampire Owl: So, the package was not to Phuket?

Vampire Bat: No, it was a Bangkok and Pattaya package.

Vampire Owl: Well, there is not much of a difference for people who don’t know.

Vampire Bat: But we do know that it is different in many ways.

Vampire Owl: Let us watch the movie and find the differences and similarities then.

Vampire Bat: Another French movie is the deal then.

[Gets an egg puffs and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Six friends manage to pull of a bank heist in Paris, but one of them Medhi (Sami Bouajila) gets caught by the police in the process, and he urges them to escape. The five of them manage to leave France before being caught, and goes to Phuket in Thailand and manages to start some business with the money they had stolen, and live a happy life, while Medhi lives his life in prison for fifteen years, not telling the police anything about the others who were part of the bank heist with him. Phuket, the country’s largest island hosting one of its oldest cities, along with another thirty two smaller islands off its coast, provided some of the best sources of income through tourism by bringing so many of visitors from different parts of the world. As all of them run some kind of resort, restaurant, nightclub or pub in the city, Medhi hopes that he could finally get his share, as he comes back from prison after fifteen years of silence – the first place he visits is Phuket, and it comes as no real surprise for anyone.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Being at Phuket, his plan is to get the money and return to France, but then he has to face the big problem that there is no share left, as they have all invested money in businesses, without getting much in return – some of them have completely failed in their work and there has also been the damage done by the tsunami which it South East Asia. As he keeps asking for money, his friends begin to get frustrated, except for his brotherly figure, Hicham (Tewfik Jallab) who is married to Aom (Sonia Couling) a Thai girl with whom he has two children. At the same time, his girlfriend Julia (Melanie Doutey) comes all the way there from France, and it complicates things. With gangwars and police involvement, things get further complicated, and one has to wonder if Medhi somehow manages to get his share – but will he leave without that? What can he do to make sure that he gets that? How long can the friends remain close to each other as the case of money comes in between?

The defence of Paradise Beach :: When you know that the location is going to Phuket in Thailand, there is the certainty of some fine visuals around here, as it is the third most visited place there after Bangkok and Pattaya, as long as people from this part of the world are concerned. A trip to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore has been the usual thing for almost everyone around here. With beautiful visuals, we get to the rest of the movie with a better feeling. There is also the feeling of a usual gangster movie, with problems arising over money, drugs and women in a night club. The movie does manage to keep close to the same level throughout its run, even though it is not that high a level, as we will be able to notice. There are some shooting sequences, and the other fights are also there, even though less in comparison. In the end, the movie does make sure that we are interested in visiting Thailand, especially Phuket on that particular side of the nation.

The claws of flaw :: Paradise Beach is pretty much a predictable movie as you think and look at it. There are many common things which are repeated here. It shows the same elements when showing Phuket, which reflects the idea that many people have here about Pattaya, as depicted in the foolishness of the movie, Amar Akbar Anthony. The final ending doesn’t impress that much even though we are glad that it happened to those people, and the twists which are put in there just before that, doesn’t prove to be that effective either. There is the feeling of absence here and there, which we can feel too. The idea of having dead people vanishing from group of photos is kind of dumb too, and one wonders why such a plan was being made. A better utilization of the beauty of Phuket is not there, and we don’t see the best use of the movie’s female characters either, which is disappointing, even though they have a few moments to be remembered.

Performers of the soul :: Sami Bouajila plays the main character here, as the one who goes to prison for his friends, the partners in crime. The movie does depend on him, and he doesn’t disappoint. Melanie Doutey plays Julia, his love interest. Melanie’s work is lovely, and has a certain amount of tranquility related to it, among all the possibility of violence waiting to happen. When you say Melanie, the name which comes to the mind first is that of Melanie Laurent though, another French actress, who was in Now You See Me and Enemy, catching our attention in both films. Sonia Couling as Aom is the next one to catch our attention, and she has more to do in this movie than we think she would have in the beginning. Flore Bonaventura as Tatiana also brings some good work here. Tewfik Jallab as Hicham is of importance, and has some good moments here. The others just manage to hold on there, and there is nothing special to be done as far as this movie is concerned.

How it finishes :: Paradise Beach hasn’t gathered many positive reviews with its existence, but it has to be noted that the movie is not as bad as some critics had shown it to be, for we see something in there to keep watching. We are given the feeling that it will bring something more than what we think. But if you are hoping for something special, or anything to raise its level above most of the other movies of the same kind, you are going to be disappointed. This is the kind of movie which is to be watched with lower expectations so that better results can be felt. So, watch the film, and make a visit to Phuket after all the COVID-19 pandemic problems are over. You will love the place, and the movie reflects the beauty well enough. At the same time, you would want to read reviews on movies in other languages like Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Vietnamese and Latin which all did make fine entry into Movies of the Soul during the period of Corona Virus crisis.

Release date: 20th February 2019
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Xavier Durringer
Starring: Sami Bouajila, Melanie Doutey, Tewfik Jallab, Hugo Becker, Kool Shen, Seth Gueko, Dosseh, Hache P, Hubert Kounde, Nessbeal, Bruno Lopes, Chalad Na Songkhla, Karnpitchar Ketmanee, Vithaya Pansringarm

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<— Click here to go to the first Portuguese movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Italian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Polish movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Vietnamese movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Russian movie review on the site.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.