Directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom
Written by Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom
Cinematography by Niramon Ross
Music by Chartchai Pongprapapan
Cast: Ananda Everingham, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee, Achita Sikamana, Unnop Chanpaibool

2004/95 mins/Color/Dolby Digital 5.1
1:85.1 anamorphic/Thai/Thailand/NTSC Region 1

Review from Tartan Asia Extreme DVD

On their way home from a party, photographer Tun and his girlfriend Jane hit a woman with their car. Startled and afraid, they flee from the scene, and though they try to put the event behind them, Jane can not stop thinking about it. They decide to return to the scene, in hopes of finding out if the woman is alright, and discover that there was no reported accidents in any of the local hospitals the night of the crash.

When Tun begins to develop photographs he has taken since the crash, he discovers that all of his negatives are damaged, and some even appear to have the faint outline of a woman's face in them. Though no one believes him when he shows the photos around, he is certain that it is the woman from the accident. When the spirit begins to appear before Jane as well, nothing can prepare her for the journey she is about to take that will open up one of Tun's deepest and darkest secrets.

Coming from the deeply spiritual and superstitious country of Thailand, co-writers and co-directors Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom make a huge splash with their debut film that draws heavy influence from Hideo Nakata's original RINGU and the theory of spirit photography to produce one of the best, but criminally underappreciated, films in the recent run of Long Haired Ghost movies.

The creative pair take what had at that time become a rather repetitive horror riff and breathed fresh life into by incorporated a much more archaic technology, the photograph, into the design of the story. Spirit photography has long since been argued as a physical proof that ghosts exist, and we have all seen images in pictures at one time or another that should not have be there. Using this to draw the audience into familiar territory only heightens the tension and breaks down the barrier being fact and fiction.

The directing duo also tap into the time it takes to develop photos to draw out suspenseful moments to the point of nail-biting anticipation. Unlike more modern technology, like the phone or video which has an instant connection time, photography has a delayed reaction, as the film is processed and developed. And in several particular scenes, a Polaroid camera is used to try and locate the spirit. With each shot, it takes a few seconds to learn what is on the picture, and each second is played into for maximum effect.

After toying with the audience's fright with the spirit just on the fringe of the screen, Pisanthanakun and Wongpoom of course let the vengeful wraith loose and ratchet up the scares even more. The duo's ghost physically shares much in common with her Long Haired Ghost cousins, as well as her ability to terrorize Tun and Jane. As Tun and Jane attempt to put the soul to rest, the spirit shows again and again that it has no intention of going peacefully. Through a series of jump scares, ethereal music cues, and terrifying reality-bending, Pisanthanakun and Wongpoom use their natural ability to induce fear to propel themselves toward the final curtain reveal that will leave goosebumps on top of goosebumps.

Tartan's DVD release includes the complete film in Anamorphic Widescreen, and includes the original Thai soundtrack with English and Spanish subtitles. The transfer appears to have been taken from its original source, with no remastering done on Tartan's end, and the subtitles may have been lifted from the original source as well, as there are several spelling and grammatical errors through out, which is at odds with Tartan's usually spot on translations. What shines on this release, and plays crucially into the enjoyment of the film, is their audio. Booming in on both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS, the mix slams in all the appropriate moments.

The extras here are a little thin, and appear to be ported over from the Thai DVD. There is a brief interview segment that features the directors and the principle cast talking about their characters and the basis for the story. Three mini behind-the-scenes clips show how the stunt crew pulled off the bigger tricks of the movie, and a fourth focuses on the photos of the movie. The original theatrical trailer and five Tartan Asian Extreme previews round out the extras.





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Review by Ryan Midnight. All Right Reserved. 2008. ©

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