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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Ghost Of Mae Nak (Tartan/DTS)

Ghost Of Mae Nak (Tartan/DTS)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Film: C+



Back in 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.


The idea 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.


Instead, 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 U.S. remakes.


Being in 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.


The 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.


The 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 are flat.


Extras 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


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