Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Seven Days in Coffin|
Actors: Kemasorn Nukao, Surachai Sangarked
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Special Interests
Seriously Flawed But, Paradoxically, Immensely Watchable And
Stephen B. O'Blenis | Nova Scotia, Canada | 08/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"And now for a Completely different horror movie comes "Seven Days In Coffin", the first movie I've seen of the exploding Thai Horror field (excluding the already-legendary "The Eye", a Hong Kong/Thailand co-production). Set in a remote village surrounded by colorful rivers and the vibrant and distinctive Thai forest, this is the story of a murdered girl and her return from the grave amidst the hunt for her killer. One thing that is immediately noticeable is that this is taking place in a part of the world (Southeast Asia in general) where the average person is much more open-minded to (and in many cases fervently believing in) the existance of ghosts and other such phenomenon that the tone is very different than it would be if this was set in a Western nation, where reports of apparitions and the like would be greeted with much more skepticism by most people. It starts out very sinister and creepy, with deeply disturbing elements including a heinous corpse-molesting undertaker, but switches gears repeatedly along the way. The most obvious changes come with the occasional departure into goofy humor territory, featuring a group of bumbling buffoons and their attempts to solve the mystery themselves (primarily to ward off any potential harm to themselves) by enlisting the aid of an equally inept 'voodoo' doctor. I found the sideroads into this humorous territory distracting and irritating at first, although as the movie progressed I grudgingly realized that it was entertaining in its own way; although I still think they may have been better off making two seperate movies - the deeply creepy ghost horror it appeared we were getting in the early going (and which still dominates much of the latter going of "Seven Days In Coffin") and a different, similar basis movie more in the lines of supernatural comedy, kind of like "Gremlins" or "Innocent Blood" or "Evil Dead 2" but leaning more deeply into the deliberately absurd territory. Nevertheless, the contrasting elements seem not to grate against one another quite so much as the movie progresses; perhaps this kind of juxtaposition is not uncommon in Thai movies and I simply wasn't used to it? Another departure off the dark and sinister course that was more welcome right from the start was the forays into some deeply sexy territory. All the women in the movie are gorgeous, and a scene that takes place by one of the rivers before moving into a cave is a real standout; a red-hot and playful interlude that's immensely memorable.
In production, there's a mixed bag of highlights and flaws in here. Among the shortcomings - the subtitles: they're not done well (sorry) and certain passages are so mixed up it's a bit difficult to tell what they're talking about. In other places the subtitles - despite the fact that a single sentence might stay on the screen for 15 or 20 seconds in other scenes - go by so fast it's hard to catch what they're saying at all. These faults take up only about 10% or so (at the most) of the movie's subtitle time; the rest of the time it's fully comprehensible if a bit rough around the grammatical edges. On a related note, the disc comes with both English and Chinese subtitles; and although Thai is the spoken language perhaps Thai subtitles should have been included as well because there are places where it's extremely hard to hear the characters' voices over the sounds of the nighttime forest or the musical score; I imagine these couple of scenes would have been very frustrating for Thai watchers who had no subtitles to go by. It happens only a couple of times, but again, a big glitch. Speaking of the musical score, it's distinctive and extremely well done, totally different from any score I've heard in a horror movie before but working very well (when it isn't drowning other elements out). Other highlights include the unique colorization used in flashback scenes: almost black-and-white but with a single color (say the green of the leaves, in this case a uniform shade as opposed to all different tones in the movie's color portions) toned down to a very pale pastel, almost unnoticeable at first but really adding to the atmosphere of the scenes. Some innovative editing effects, as in the initial coffin ceremony, and some high-quality performances, with the sister of the murdered girl and the lead monk being among the best performances. The outtakes that roll during the final credits are another plus; it looks like everyone involved in making this had a ball and the outtakes are actually funny and cute instead of distracting. I only wish the credits had rolled with some subtitling instead of Thai only; I've got to find out the names of who played some of these roles. Certain scenes, despite their simplicity and in some cases predictability, I found touching and sentimental (I'm not among the film viewers who feels sentimentality in a movie is a bad thing).
Unique and fascinating if you don't mind something way off the beaten track; this admittedly has more flaws cropping up than most movies I've given four stars, but all the pluses - the innovative score, the genuinely spooky moments, the wonderful river/cave scene, etc. make it impossible to drop this down to a merely respectable three-star rating. Possibly better than it should be with all its shortcomings (including a general lack of realism in the effects department) but very, very good nonetheless"