Thursday, September 09, 2010

Honourable Mentions: Buppah Rahtree 3.2

This is a 2009 Thai horror film directed by Yuthlert Sippapak. From what I can gather it is part of a series of films surrounding a haunted apartment block; the Oscar apartments and the girl/ghost Buppah Rahtree. It actually has a little bit of everything, horror, love story, comedy, socio-political commentary, a really dark back-story and it is not exactly the simplest of plots to follow.

Over all this is a ghost story, perhaps with a possession element and I am assuming that the group of friends who feature in the story are survivors of a previous film (as I haven’t seen the previous instalments, but it feels as though they are).

little girl ghost
Actually it is one of the friends who mainly concerns us in film – as he still lives in the apartments whereas the others have moved out. His name is Rung and he has a job as a horror cartoonist and can also see dead people. Before we meet him, however, we meet a young woman named Buppah after hearing a discourse on reincarnation and karma. She see a bloodied young girl sat on the toilet

When we first see Rung he is looking at a box of coloured pencils, the case tied with a ribbon. He hears a girl asking why he had never opened them. He answers that he wanted to keep them new and she responds by suggesting that she bought them to be used. He looks over and sees the little girl who suddenly transforms into a bloodied dead thing. He awakens.

He is leaving the apartment when he meets Buppah. He recognises her as the tutor he had as a child but, at first, she does not recognise him – until he shows her a picture of them together. She seems to want to get away from him. He has applied for a college but is flunking maths and science. He, later, tries to hire her as a tutor but she refuses.

the corpse
Two cops, a Lieutenant and a Sergeant, are called to the apartments as there has been a murder. The paramedics are wrapping the deceased in a sheet. The cops try to interview a witness but they discover the body moving and hopping on its own and realise a ghost is at play. We see the body is being manipulated by the child. The cops really are the comedy element to this film.

corpse unwrapped
Later they have to return to shut down an illegal gambling ring in the building and see the wrapped corpse (that is reminiscent at first of a Pocong), the little girl (who slices the throat of a Hong Kong cop with a warrant for the extradition of professional gambler Yuen Woo-Ping), they see our vampire (I’ll come back to him) and the wrapped corpse unwrapped. By this time he seems to be a ghost in his own right and has the form of a blue cadaver.

death of the Hong Kong cop
Before I get to the vampire I must say that the film was a little confusing, at least for a western viewer looking in. It appears that the little girl is the ghost (and later we discover she was sexually abused and mutilated). It also appears that Buppah is a ghost – indeed she is the focus of the series. Then again they are made out to be one and the same, Buppah becoming the girl – though in reality they were two separate people before death.

It also seems, at one point, that Rung is a ghost. He seems to die and is resuscitated by Buppah and yet he is then seen again unconscious in another room. We also see him drowning as a child – in one of Buppah’s memories. As it is, we later discover that Buppah saved him from drowning (though the near death experience might, feasibly, be the reason he sees dead people). When he seems to be a ghost, it is actually his spirit dislocated from his still living body that is in hospital, his spirit has become firmly embroiled with Buppah.

summoning 'little zombie'
Now, getting to our vampire. The ghosts disturb the gambling den and Woo-Ping is legging it when his servant remembers the fact that there is 9 million (dollars?) left behind. Fearing the ghosts, Woo-Ping refuses to return but then he is reminded that he has 'Little Zombie' with him. He pulls out a fetish and summons the creature to him.

kyonsi hops into action
You may recall that there is a fine line in Chinese films between the zombie and the vampire (and the words can often seem interchangeable). In this case Little Zombie conforms pretty much to standard kyonsi tropes. He wears the burial clothes associated with kyonsi and hops. He and the little girl ghost fight (Little Zombie losing) and that is the most we see of a vampire in the film.

creepy little girl
There are some genuine creepy moments in this but the whole thing is just a tad too convoluted. However, the fleeting visitation of the kyonsi puts this onto the vampire radar.

At the time of writing there is no imdb page.

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