Friday, January 29, 2010

My Ex (Fan Kao / แฟนเก่า)

I Promise You The Moon


My Ex serves as a cautionary tale to us guys out there to be careful when making promises to the opposite gender. If they turn out to be some psycho, you'll get your Fatal Attraction. If they harbour their vengeance into the afterlife, then well, they'll haunt you wherever you go, making your life extremely miserable, exacting their jealousy onto whoever your main squeeze currently is. This serves as the basic premise of what was Thailand's largest box office response to their homegrown horror show, My Ex.

Ken (Chakhrit Yamnam) is a playboy of an actor who beds women with a frequency like changing his underwear. Sweet talking and then in wham-bang-thank-you-ma'am fashion, he loves and leaves them without an inkling of commitment, taking pride too in his tabloid coverage of his latest conquests. The secret to his strategy comes from his empty promise, telling his current lover that he'll leave his playboy ways, and that she'll be the only and last woman in his life. They fall for it, and in the case of Meen (Navadee Mokkhavesa), once she announces her pregnancy he's out the front door faster than you can say “Sawadeekup”.

But because we see so many of his Ex's on screen, it gives you that little bit of a guessing game as to who the central spook is, with the likes of Bow (Atthama Chiwanitchaphan) or even Ploy (Wanida Termthanaporn) to a certain extent being possibles at one point or another. The story by Piyapan Choopetch, Sommai Lertulan and Adirek Wattaleela gets a little choppy with some scenes that are disparate to the current narrative, although some aspects do get addressed as the movie wore on. What it suffered from was its ending, where it couldn't decide how to end it and hence we're presented with at least two, before the final of the final scene delivered where it mattered, otherwise we'll be left with a half-baked, unsatisfactory finale which doesn't seem to address the fact that a leopard seldom, or never changes its spots.

Director Piyapan Choopetch handled the spooky scenes with a mixed bag of techniques and in a tale of two halves, opting for the usual loud screeches and sudden audio bangs to elicit cheap shocks and scares, especially guilty of in the scenes at the front. For the later half of the film, a bit more finesse got adopted, and the scares were designed in a much better, subtle manner. Which of course meant it got spookier as we went along, all the more better for the audience. There were times when the narrative proved to be a little too draggy with repetition, and worse the constant “waking up” that plagued the initial scenes, which thankfully were gotten rid off.

There are horror shows that put something new on the table, and there are horror shows that take what's already available and assemble something from the tried and tested formula. The Ex follows the latter, with the basic building block structure of a typical horror film firmly in place, utilizing a series of flashbacks as it builds toward the crescendo to provide that logical or emotional angle why and how someone would go off the bend, and unleash horrific rampage upon the victims we see.

If there's a comment to draw out from the film, it'll be something which I think you'll notice too of contemporary films from any geography. A car crash can no longer be a car crash if the audience does not see a full, head on accident with plenty of noisy bone-crunching, metal against flesh and bone audio and visual effects. That said, watch this if you're starved for any horror flicks good or bad – this one straddles somewhere in the middle. Good fun, but nothing classic about it.

4 comments:

FilmPuff said...

You were too nice about this one. The only redeeming factor about it was how cute the lead actor is. Plus it had some pretty terrible lines "I promise you will be the only one and the last woman in my life".

Stefan S said...

Hi FilmPuff, haha well those lines I'd like to attribute them to the one subtitling the film :D

FilmPuff said...

It could very well be. I don't understand a word of thai. Then again, maybe the guy subtitled it wrong on purpose and the joke is on me!

Stefan S said...

Always wondered how much pressure anyone doing subtitles will have... use a different word, and the entire meaning of a sentence will change!

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