Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nieng Arp – review

Director: Kam Chanty

Release date: 2004

Contains spoilers

Given that this is a film about a krasue variant, the arp, and hails from Cambodia, this film is very much a rarity. That isn’t to say that it is a good film, but it is a rare film and this almost makes it worthwhile on its own.

It begins with a woman going into labour. We see an old woman pass by and notice the funny look in her sunglass covered eyes.

getting ready to detach
Elsewhere a girl called Maya waits on a bridge for her lover Yasith. Maya is five months pregnant, almost showing, and she and Yasith are unmarried. As she and Yasith dance, we cut back to the first woman who is in the full throes of labour and, elsewhere, the old woman lies in a room we see she has fangs and then her head and organs/digestive system detach – she is arp.

The woman gives birth and the afterbirth is collected in a pot. One of the men is sent to bury it. He should also cover it in thorns to prevent a bodiless vampire getting it, or so he is told. The vampire does appear and the village folk chase it. One of the men gets a spear through the organs (the subtitles suggest she says ouch).

Yasith and Maya have had trouble with some local men. They are attacked on the way home. The men severly beat and then stab Yasith and gang rape Maya. As she lays on the ground we see that the injured arp is caught in the branches above her. She dribbles spittle that falls into Maya’s mouth, saving her but transforming her into arp as well.

Sixteen years later, a group of students are off doing a field trip. They arrange boarding at a house owned by Maya, where she lives with her daughter Paulika and another young girl (whose relationship to the two was not really determined). Maya is an arp – actively tracking down the men who raped her and killed Yasith (two are found without organs as the kids come to the village). Because the kids get in her way she turns her attentions to them as well. Meanwhile Paulika and student Satha fall in love but, as a daughter of an arp, she is doomed to become an arp as well.

vampire in the phone
If that all seems succinct, it is… entirely due, however, to my write up and much more so than the actual film that drags on for over two hours and is diffuse in its direction. We discover that arps, as well as flying around eating organs, can possess people and can appear through mobile phones! That said, it might only be the older arp – who Maya venerates and keeps in a casket in her basement. We also discover that the Buddha (and pendants/statues thereof) can protect folk from the arp. A local monk knows what Maya is but, rather than attack her, he tries to encourage her to meditate and fight her nature.

The effects are pretty darn rubbish and the story and direction are way too diffuse. The entire kids sub-story could virtually have been dropped and important snippets, such as Satha being the nephew of the main guy who raped Maya, are only revealed at the last minute. The acting is, generally, atrocious. However, as pointed out, a krasue orientated film is not that common and a Cambodian vampire film is even more of a rarity… just not a very good one. 2 out of 10.

At the time of review I can find no IMDb page.

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