Ghost Of Mae Nak (Tartan/DTS)
Picture: C+ Sound: B- Extras: C+ Film: C+
1972, director Gary A. Sherman went to England and made the film Raw Meat aka Death Line, issued the following year. With a cast that included Donald Pleasance and
Christopher Lee, the tale about cannibal killings in London’s subways became a
genre classic and the mix of better sensibilities of two cinemas explain why it
is so influential and interesting. Mark
Duffield, a cinematographer has struck out as a director and taken on both
duties in a Thailand Horror film, The
Ghost Of Mae Nak.
is to go and do the definitive film of the legendary spirit that is a part of
real life Thai mythos. Unfortunately,
Duffield (who is British) is not able to come up with the same synergy or
chemistry, though a recent interview reveals that he thinks he has invented a
whole new kind of cinema. Do these
filmmakers thi8nk before they say these kinds of things? Apparently not.
though I give him credit for some ambition in not being eithe4r to serious or
joking during the duration of the 103 minutes length, all he and his screenplay
can muster is being less annoying or obnoxious than the current tired cycle of
“Asian Doppelganger Haunted Horror” flicks that have even been sillier in the
Thailand actually helps a bit and gives us new things to see location-wise, but
it is simply a plain old ghost story that goes very slowly downhill as bad
digital effects and other clichés kick in.
The acting by the mostly unknown cast is good and Duffield is not bad
his first tie out in so far as have a bit of cinematic savvy that does not
allow this to look like amateur hour, but ultimately, this is flat and stays
that way until the end.
ending is interesting, though it may not be as effective as it thinks, but at
least it gives the audience a chance to think.
Several times, I was hoping the picture would pick up, but that sadly
never happens. Is Duffield taking on
more than one duty a problem? No. If Peter Hyams can do directing and
cinematography on The Relic & End Of Days (reviewed on HD-DVD
elsewhere on this site) and make them work, Duffield has no excuse.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image has Video Black issues, some of which
come from the transfer and others from the use of digital video effects. Duffield also shot this with Ryan Godard, but
you cannot tell any difference in styles.
If it were any more degraded, it would be rated lower. As for the 5.1 mixes in Dolby Digital and DTS,
multi-channel was obviously not considered when this was originally recorded
and the sound is too much in the front channels, while the music sounds clearer
than the rest of the recording and sudden “booming” sounds to scare the viewer
include an on-the-set making of featurette, previews for other tartan releases
and a full length audio commentary (not noted ANYWHERE on the DVD case!!!) by
Duffield where he is at least articulate if nothing else. At least he tried something different, but
this is still ultimately for fans of this cycle only.
- Nicholas Sheffo