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DVD Review: GHOST OF MAE NAK

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DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 103 minutes, audio commentary, featurette, previews

STUDIO: De Warrenne Pictures/ Box office Entertainment/ Tartan Asia Extreme

RELEASE DATE: 10-10-2006

Thailand has a legend about the Ghost of Mae Nak. She has been the subject of several films and British director Mark Duffield decided to tackle her for his directorial debut, GHOST OF MAE NAK. The movie takes a look at Thai culture while being a send back to 1980s Western horror films. On the Thai side of things, a respected Thai fortune teller played himself and the Thain audience were surprised he could direct a film like this without knowing the language. The first half hour didn't hold my interest that much, but what followed after was a delight to watch. I was cheering when the ghost killed the bad people. GHOST OF MAE follows the couple of Mak and Nak who get married and move into a new home which happens to be the original home of the ghost over a century ago. Mak happens to buy the piece of bone that is said to hold the ghost's soul. The ghost first protects the couple and soon they learn a price is to be paid. Nak must find out the truth about the ghost if she hopes to save herself and Mak. The only disappointment comes at the end with the shock ending. I wish something else was done instead of delivering that final shock (and the ccharacters are pretty bland, cliche, and uninteresting).  It just feels so tired. Despite that, I can't wait to see what film Mark Duffield will write and direct next (or just direct if he finds a great writing partner or writer). GHOST OF MAE NAK puts some of the crap from Hollywood to shame. It may never be a favorite of mine, but it was a nice way to pass 100 minutes.

VIDEO: 1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

The image does look a little soft.  Lots of grain and blacks look unimpressive in nightime scennes.  Some or all of these might have to do with the source print used for the transfer.

AUDIO: Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital. Thai 5.1 DTS, Thai 2.0 Dolby Surround

Subtitles: English, Spanish

the sound mix is miles ahead of the video of the DVD.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Two extras are on the disc besides trailers for other Tartan Asia Extreme releases. The better extra is the audio commentary with director Mark Duffield. He provides loads of info about Mae Nak and the film's production. It's definitely wortha listen for anyone who enjoys commentary tracks about a movie's production. On the other hand, ON THE SET OF MAE NAK is the director's video diary. It is overlong at 65 minutes. It should have been edited down to half that length or had the director narrate the diary.

FINAL ANALYSIS: GHOST OF MAE NAK starts off slow and silly before becoming an interesting horror film that recalls some of the 1980s horror films. Watch it now and check out the interview I did with the film's director (I would have asked him more if I had the chance to view the disc extras before).

Director Interview:

http://enterline2.tripod.com/mark_duffield.html

this review is (c)10-9-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com