Thai cinema has really been exploring the horror genre through the last decade.
Thai cinema has
really been exploring the horror genre through the last decade. Following the success of the terrifying
Shutter in 2004, Monthon Arayangkoon brings us The Victim (Phii khon pen): a
skilful and original merging of horror and crime thriller.
Young, aspiring actress Ting happily grabs the the opportunity
to perform in a series of re-enactments of vicious crimes for her local police
unit. Her incredibly convincing
performances mean soon she is working for police units throughout the country. Just as Ting’s popularity is continuing
to grow, stunning beauty queen and media favourite, Meen is brutally murdered. Ting must then play her part in a
re-enactment of the crime, but strange events afflict the production and she begins
to see the corpses of dead victims.
The spirit of Meen is particularly powerful and as Ting discovers the
police are holding the wrong man for the murder, she decides to try and solve
the case herself.
The Victim concentrates on the theme of the bitter, vengeful
spirit that it so prevalent in Asian horror cinema and really reflects
Thailand’s superstitions about the powerful spirits of the dead, with the
headline of a newspaper even reading ‘Cops spooked by Meen’s spirit.’ It has all the clichés of films like Shutter
and The Ring: fast moving ghosts, spirits on film, shadows
creeping down corridor walls, faces appearing in mirrors and murdered victims
left with the same twisted, deformed face. While this is enjoyably creepy to watch you feel about half
an hour in that you have seen it all before.
The Victim, however, is a film that is not always what it
seems as the line between reality and the supernatural becomes severely
blurred. And this is where it
becomes a little tricky to review it without giving too much away. Interestingly, the plot twists and
turns in new directions quite suddenly and so it becomes something more than
just the stereotypical Asian horror.
As a result of this, the film is a little longer than you might expect
but you find need the time to catch up.
The sharp performances and strong visuals keep you engaged, alongside a
haunting soundtrack that permeates the film and an eerie atmosphere of looming
camera shots and deep, dark shadows.
As an added extra, look out for some footage in the end credits that
supposedly show ‘real ghosts’ within the shots.
You have to really pay attention when watching this film so best
not to avert your eyes too much when you’re reaching for the popcorn. Suspenseful and chilling, The Victim
will really get you thinking.