AThai legend proves sturdy in this contempo incarnation. Tale of newlyweds threatened by a female ghost accentuates atmosphere over gore and emerges as one of the more accessible recent Thai horrors. Pic did solid biz locally last September and should fit OK into ancillary libraries elsewhere. Some fest activity also looks in the cards.

AThai legend filmed at least 20 times — most famously as the 1999 hit, “Nang Nak” — again proves sturdy in this contempo incarnation. Tale of newlyweds threatened by a female ghost accentuates atmosphere over gore and emerges as one of the more accessible recent Thai horrors. Debut of British helmer Mark Duffield, a long-serving d.p. on Thai features and commercials, pic did solid biz locally last September and should fit OK into ancillary libraries elsewhere. Some fest activity also looks in the cards.

Unhurried without dragging its heels, pic posits lovebirds Mak (Siwat Chotchaicharin) and Nak (model-pop princess Pataratida Pacharawirapong) in the cheapest and spookiest shack in Bangkok. Couples’ bargain-buy reveals its hidden cost when a lovelorn, pasty-faced ghost (Pornthip Papanai) shows up with a huge hole in her forehead. With Mak hovering between life and death, time spent by Nak figuring out the mystery of the missing skull piece spells bad news for all but the most virtuous of supporting characters. Well served by capable thesps and Duffield’s moody lensing, pic stretches plausibility toward its finale but gets home all right. Rest of tech package is tidy.

Ghost of Mae Nak

Thailand

Production

A De Warrenne Pictures, Box Office Entertainment production. (International sales: De Warrenne Pictures, Bangkok.) Produced by Tom Waller. Executive producers, Wachara Tantrantont, Siamrus Lauhasukkasame, Waller. Directed, written by Mark Duffield.

Crew

Camera (color), Duffield; editor, Laurent Gorse; music, Stephen Bentley-Klein; production designer, Somwang Rattanasirivanich. Reviewed at Bangkok Film Festival (Windows on the World), Feb. 22, 2006. Running time: 104 MIN.

With

Pataratida Pacharawirapong, Siwat Chotchaicharin, Pornthip Papanai, Jaran Ngamdee.
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