Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Krasue Valentine – review

poster

Director: Yuthlert Sippapak

Release Date: 2006

Contains spoilers

We came across the Krasue in the aptly titled Krasue. This 2006 Thai film aims more for the ghostly aspects of the Krasue but we still get some mention (and evidence) of entrails munching.

A taxi stops and a woman, Sao (Ploy Jindachote) gets out. The building is a fairly deserted hospital and one of the porters, Num (Pitsak Yaowananon), is memorising a love speech. Num is clearly disabled and recites his speech to an older nurse, who clearly is unimpressed. It turns out that he was reciting the speech for Ai, a fellow porter, and the nurse is Ai's wife – angry with him for his philandering ways.

Ploy Jindachote as SaoA little girl, Nu, comes into the hospital, selling flowers. She only has one rose left but Num warns her that the director (Kowit Wattanakul) doesn’t want her there. He offers to buy her over priced rose (it is valentines day) but doesn’t want it for himself. He tells her to just give it to someone, and she checks that she can give it to anyone. He affirms this and she gives it to Sao and suggests that Num sent it. Sao is given an interview and offered a job by the director, who is allergic to roses.

ghost in the mirrorSao is given accommodation in a dilapidated house – that used to be doctor’s accommodation and is said to be haunted. The woman who shows her the building asks if Sao is scared of ghosts and she says no. Very subtly we see an old man reflected in a mirror who vanishes off, clearly a ghost. Later we discover that Sao has been ditched by her lover, who accused her of being a ghost, and says prayers to find her true love.

seeing a KrasuePoe, the drunk security guard, and Krong, a drunk old man, walk with Num as he throws garbage away. It looks as though an animal has torn up garbage bags near the bins. Poe goes for a pee and comes face to face with a krasue – it is, unknown to him, Sao. Unfortunately the incidental characters, such as Poe, all tend to be over the top comedy characters and any (limited) atmosphere from the scenes involving them becomes lost in the (rather unfunny) comedy.

waking with blood at mouthIn the morning Sao is violently sick into the toilet. She goes to the sink and sees blood around her mouth. She fishes into the toilet and pulls out the entrails she has vomited. I have heard the suggestion that she is puking her own innards but I suspect she puked up whatever she hunted the night before.

delivering a spooky babyThe men of the hospital are all talking about the krasue and it is explained to Num that they are creatures created by bad karma, their desire to eat baby entrails (presumably they meant the umbilical cord and placenta) is also mentioned. Meanwhile Sao is helping with a delivery of a baby. After it is born it turns its monstrous head to her and she passes out.

Pitsak Yaowananon as NumWhilst unconscious we see Sao, in black and white, with a different hairstyle, in a room. She lies on the floor and an old man appears below her (the one from the mirror). She wakes in shock, in a hospital bed. Num is bringing her food and Nu the flower girl is in the hospital – her roses causing the director to itch. He goes after her and throws a mop at her, which hits Num and knocks him down a set of stairs, leaving him in a vegetative state.

the photo of a past lifeNu then visits Sao – Sao has seen the flower she was given says 14/2/41. Nu fnds a box in her room and when Sao opens it ahe discovers it contains the same rose, but decayed with age and a ripped photo. The problem with this scene underlines the problem with the film in general. It should have caused a shiver to run down the viewer’s spine as we saw the tag on the rose, it didn’t and it’s a problem with the film's atmosphere (or lack of it). The photo is of Sao and Num, he is a soldier, she a nurse and it is 1941.

Okay, so this is the background. Num is disabled and suffering in this life because of bad karma, he was the soldier and he had an affair with the nurse. However he then left her (without explanation) and married his commanding officer’s daughter. Sao has become a krasue in this life as she aborted her child in the last. The child is haunting her in the form of the flower girl (who manipulates them) and the old man – presumably the child can change sex as it was aborted. The director is a reincarnation of the doctor who gave the nurse the pills to abort the child.

the Krasue abandons her bodyIn all that the film comes out much more a ghost story – but the krasue is a ghost/vampire/person hybrid. Sao does not know she is the krasue until it is suggested (by a nun who is actually in a coma) that she places a mirror at the foot of the bed. She wakes in the night, sees herself in the mirror and then sees her body on the bed, this causes her to herself as she is – a head and intestines. I liked the idea that Sao thought she was walking about and others saw a floating head.

lurking round corridorsThe big problem with all this, as I mentioned, is atmosphere – or lack thereof. If a similar story (using just a ghost rather than a krasue) had been done by someone like Mario Bava the film would have dripped with atmosphere and transported us. In this the atmosphere barely builds and clever little scenes like the ghost in the mirror are simply that, clever but not chilling. From a vampire genre point of view the krasue barely registered on the vampire scale and it needed something more. The comedy characters pushed this down a whole other level.

However, if you ignore the comedy characters the film had enough in it to be interesting, at least, it just needed chills. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

1 comment:

Uranium Willy said...

Andy

Gave you one of those strange awards that are floating around over at my other blog:

http://necrotic-cinema.blogspot.com

Not a good one about doing these but you deserve it. Keep up the good work.

Bill