Thursday, August 29, 2013

PEE MAK: More Funny than Scary!

August 29, 2013

Pee Mak came home from the battlefield with his four soldier friends, namely Puak (with the winged victory hairstyle), Ter (with the glasses), Shin (with the bun) and Aey (with the mustache). They were met by his beautiful wife Nak with their newborn baby boy. However, it did not take long for his four friends to notice something strange about Nak. This leads to a merry comedy of errors and terrors, Thai style.

Being in a foreign language and in set in the past, I am sure a lot of the nuances are lost in translation. However visual horror and slapstick comedy is universal. While "Pee Mak" is also a horror film, the more commercial and memorable aspect of this film is actually its comedy. The horror takes a back seat to the comedy here. 

You just simply have to watch and enjoy those hilarious sequences of the silly gang at the dinner table, playing charades, in the haunted house of the amusement park, the boat on the river and in the Buddhist temple with the monk! These scenes were laugh-out-loud funny beyond words! Don't miss those extra scenes during the end credits as well.

A deglamorized Thai/German actor/model Mario Maurer (as Mak) and the four actors playing his zany friends indeed have great comic chemistry and timing together. They were such a delight playing cartoonish nincompoops and stupid idiots as they were terrorized by the ghostly presence around them. 

Thai/Belgian actress/model Daveeka Hoorne also has her dramatic moments as Nak, as her character was mainly the straight man of this farce. I am sure she had a difficult time keeping a straight face in front of all that ridiculous foolishness around her.

I think the only other Thai movie I have seen before was the thrilling and haunting horror film "Shutter" (2004). After I watched "Pee Mak," I discovered that these two films were actually directed by the same man, Banjong Pisanthanakun. "Shutter" was his directorial debut, "Pee Mak" is his latest and biggest hit.  It is reportedly the highest grossing Thai film currently, now grossing more than 1B Baht worldwide (mostly in Asia). 

I am sure Filipino film fans will have a good time watching "Pee Mak". The inane comedy/horror genre is also very popular here, and the slapstick faces and routines will be familiar. I am sure we can even think up of specific local comedians who can play these crazy roles. What "Pee Mak" adds is the exotic Thai cultural setting that gives it that unique mystic feel that adds to the eerie nature of the basic story. This is more fun than scary, very entertaining! 7/10.

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