Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Wannasa Thongwiset, Julaluk Krittiyarat
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
Studio: Tai Seng Entertainment Release Date: 12/14/2004 Run time: 109 minutes
Too closely tied to Eastern culture to capture Western audie
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 10/20/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Lhorn, or Soul, is a 2003 Thai horror film (really an anthology of four horror stories) with a distinct lack of oomph. To a significant degree, cultural differences between the East and West play a part in this, as the very concept of the ghost means different things to the people of each geographical region. Reincarnation and karma, especially karma of the retributive kind, are central tenets in the film, and these ideas, tied so closely to the heart of the Buddhist religion, just don't play very effectively in the West. I know I found several aspects of the story a little difficult to understand (thanks in part to some subtitle deficiencies). One thing I do know, however, is that Lhorn is not a scary film - not even in the slightest.
You start out with a gang of young people spending the night in some countryside house. Characterization is minimal, so all I know about them is the fact that a couple of the girls are pretty hot. Before you know it, someone asks Manao (Wannasa Thonviset) to read some ghost stories out of the book she brought with her. Four stories are told before the night is out (each of them associated with a different region of Thailand), with the last story basically writing itself around these central characters themselves.
The first story centers on a "paup," which is some kind of ghost/demon bloodsucker. Villagers are up in arms over the widespread deaths of their animals, and suspicion centers on a sick, elderly woman living on the outskirts of town. I actually think this first story plays out better than the others. The second story is built around a succubus-type spirit who emerges from a banana field each night to seduce a young man as he lies sleeping in his remote little house. I found the third story to be somewhat confusing. It centers on a ghost that apparently takes possession of individuals and makes them do monstrous things. I had trouble putting this story in context, and the ending didn't exactly make good sense to me, either. The fourth and final story shifts the whole movie back to the story-telling youngsters we met at the beginning. Rather than merely listening to scary stories, they all get the chance to experience one of their own. Unfortunately, several of them will not live to tell about the experience.
I hate to say this movie is boring, but it really is boring, especially for a horror film - that's my opinion, anyway. I am quite interested in the cultural ideas that other countries, particularly those in East Asia, have of ghosts and other horror traditions, but even that wasn't enough for me to maintain my focus while watching Soul - I had to replay several scenes because I just couldn't keep my mind on what I was watching. I'm not saying this is a terrible movie; I just don't see any way for a film like this, rooted so deeply in the culture and religion of Thailand, to ever get any sort of traction among Western audiences."