Sunday, August 20, 2006

[Sawadee Film Fest] Ghost Variety (Variety Phii Chalui)

Who You Gonna Call?

Directed veteran Thai director Adirek "Uncle" Watleela, Ghost Variety is a crazy horror comedy, well actually, more comedy than filled with horrific moments. It starts off quite aptly, in a remote village where a horror movie is being screened, and introduces the audience to a few of the usual ghosts and goblins, until we realize it's all a figment of the imagination.

And there's plenty from where that came from, with scenes cutting in and out from screen reality and fantasy. Basically, it's about the story of a down and out filmmaker called Tom, played by familiar face Petchtai Wongkamiao, who starred in Tony Jaa vehicles Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong for comedic effect, and recently seen in Chai Lai Angels. Here, his character Tom is developing a script, but keeps getting turned away as he's told only horror movies make money.

It's a subtle jab at the film industry in general, with the constant reminder that what matters is something that can churn out bread and butter, and not for quality's sake. Surprisingly, this movie had a lot of Thai filmmakers and industry players making cameo appearances in spoofs of themselves, and I suppose to fans of Thai cinema, it'll be a hoot just to identify all of them (kinda lost with me and the audience during my screening).

So Tom had no choice but to bury his artistic tendency and with the need for funds for his next film, he had to succumb and stoop to making a variety show for television, based on what else, ghosts. Bringing together a motley crew of relative cowards - in his two lead presenters Tik The Star (of his short films), played by Charnnarong Khanteethao, an upcoming singing supersensation The SuperNext (Boriboon Janruang), and a beautiful production assistant Paew (Pitchanart Sakakorn, who starred in two other movies I watched earlier this year, in one of the segments in the awfully bad movie Black Night, and Promise Me Not during this year's SIFF), they scour Thailand to seek out the truths behind some urban legends.

Basically there are a few cheap scares in what seemed to be only 2 extended scenes - a haunted house sequence which brings more laughter than scares, and a haunted village sequence which seemed more Sci-Fi than horror. Other than that, the movie turned out to be quite directionless as it flits from scene to scene, and towards the end, it leaves the audience quite bewildered because there are just too many schizophrenic endings, which might just leave one frustrated if you're looking for a clean-cut storyline and resolution.

However, the strength in this movie is on the comedy, and in merging horror into it, it plays along with the general consensus that yes, horror films do sell. And what more by having a little fun while at it?

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...