Ghost of Mae Nak (2005) Review

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Mr. and Mrs. T Horror

Ghost of Mae Nak (2005): 7 out of 10: First we had J horror (stark white Japanese female ghosts with long black hair that scream) then Korea developed K Horror (featuring stark white Korean female ghosts with long black hair that scream) and now we have T horror (featuring stark white Thai female ghosts with long black hair that scream). From the looks of all things alphabetical can a home-grown Vietnamese ghost story be too far behind.

Now I am not that big fan of ghost stories and the Japanese take on the subject has done very little to impress me. There are only so many faulty florescent lights and violin screams that one man can take. So it surprised me that Mae Nak is as an entertaining film in its own right. Ghost of Mae Nak is more of a romantic thriller than a ghost story.

The story revolves around two very likable kids (named Nak and Mak) who are getting married and settling down when one of them (the guy) is haunted by a ghostly vision (see above). They have true love and the ghost is jealous or vengeful or in pain or something. So they have to help her spirit to rest because (SPOILER ALERT) they bought the house she used to live in and pledged their love on her unmarked grave and received part of her skull as a wedding gift. (No, I’m not making this up)

While the ghost scenes are standard fare, the non-ghost scenes with the couple buying a house and dealing with various relatives and cultural demands are delightful and fresh to these western eyes. And the two leads are both attractive and pleasant and give of the aura of being real people with real lives. (They both have actual jobs and go to punk rock bars with friends). The movies other asset is the Final Destination style death scenes the ghost uses to exact revenge or protect the couple or whatnot. The special effects are excellent and the camera isn’t to shy about the gore.

The film has a healthy budget and talent behind the camera. On the negative side the movie plot is right out of a Scooby Doo episode and the film is about as scary as one. Lack of fright aside for a J horror style ghost story this is a good film.

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