Tuesday, June 21, 2011

“LADDALAND 怨鬼之家 ลัดดาแลนด์” Thai Movie Review. Another THAI SPOOK comes a-HAUNTING.


Along comes another stab at the house haunting parable.

You tell me.

By now, this kind of theme is well-worn, cliched, diluted and plundered umpteen times before, by film producers from all corners of the globe who smell gold in providing the commercial chills.

Everyone relishes a good scare now and then, so what’s the heck.

The recent “INSIDIOUS” film is one clear example of a house haunting.

A family settles into a new home.

And the screams come aplenty as an undead spirit spews vehemence when her “nest” is rudely ruffled. Everyone in the household is hollering his lungs out, all but the father who remains skeptical.

Does this one sound familiar?

The angry spirit vows payback and what follows are the splatters of blood and gore you can witness from similar films – but this one comes in a Thai packaging.

In “LADDALAND”, the film director takes you to CHIANGMAI – the heart of THAILAND, land of dramatic contrasts to spin his tale.

Fans swear that Thai horror films provide the best chills in shocking the ballers out of anyone, even with the bleakest, nondescript plots.

Is this a stereo-type sweeping statement?

Let’s see if LADDALAND is the case, as with this almost 2-hour dramatization.

This THAI feature dissects the slow descent of a young family whose harmony is disintegrating layer by layer when the father Thee (SAHARAT S.) displays symptoms of a depressive disorder.

Everything Thee does go inexplicably wrong in a haunted township called LADDALAND.

Thee hailed from Bangkok but he relocates his sweet family of wife Parn (PIYATHIDA W.), daughter Nan and son Nat to Chiangmai for a better life of serenity.

One wonders how he can afford to live a comfortable life as well as purchasing a landed property on a 60,000 baht- salary. Did the scriptwriter make a calculative mistake, dear?

Parn and son may be thrilled by the new house and township but the rebellious daughter is peeved about resettling in a brand new environment.

Barely a few weeks of settling in the new abode, bizarre things start happening.

A young Burmese maid is found mutilated and murdered and stored in an old refrigerator in a dilapidated house abandoned by a foreigner.

No valid reasons are given for her murder, so it’s a red herring planted here for the sake of inventing a spooky presence.

Out of the blue, an ugly menacing cat meows and lurks creepily to bring forth the chills, and you actually witness a scene of feline torture, where the animal is wedged between the door and squeezed violently to death by the deranged father. Bloody hell.

Life becomes chaotic after this.

The rest of the members of the family are terrified by a constant series of demonic events and want out, but Thee turns a deaf ear about returning to Bangkok.

He has a good reason to stay on – as his life savings are depleted. He had already bought the house and paid the initial installments and is totally broke.

As luck would have it, he lost his job. Financial pressures assail him, and latent signs of uncontrollable rage are starting to show in his demeanor, telling us he’s heading for a meltdown.

From then on, the psychological mania takes over the reins.

LADDALAND is the second feature directed by SOPHON SAKDAPISIT who previously co-wrote the horror thrillers SHUTTER and ALONE.

He made his debut with the haunted-film flick COMING SOON and LADDALAND is his latest project.

More than just another “seeing nobody does not mean there is nobody” thriller, LADDALAND is a probing picture of family dysfunction and shattered lives.

Aiming as a bizarre horror, it is a hauntingly compelling feature with a jarring musical score to ham on the shock factor.

“When everything wrong FEELS right” is the premise of this film.

Having lost mental control, Thee’s repressed instincts “where his fear is his actual reality” resurface with a force and violence that no one could have predicted.

It is less a horror film story and more a fractured conscience parable.

LADDLAND lashes a harsh lesson on how much crap a man can really take when disastrous circumstances keep spiraling downwards, and when he is pushed to his emotional limits.

You will only know when you are in it.

No comments:

Post a Comment