Inspired by a controversial but true Thai ritual of lying in
coffins to get rid of bad luck and prolong life, Chris (Ananda
Everingham), a claustrophobic architect hopes to lengthen Mariko,
his girlfriend’s life and decides to overcome his fear
of lying in the coffin. Sue (Karen Mok), a nutritionist, takes
care of her health religiously. However, only 2 weeks before
marrying her fiancé, Sue finds out that she is in the
final stage of lung cancer. Sue then runs away from Hong Kong
to Thailand and discovers the coffin ceremony and decides to
participate to save her own life. Soon after the ritual ends,
both unexpectedly experience a series of paranormal and terrifying
Sitting through this movie is much like watching its own death.
It begins promisingly enough with an intriguing scene of its
central premise- the mass ritual of lying in coffins to get
rid of one’s bad luck. Apparently, there really does
exist such a practice in Thailand and writer-director Ekachai
Uekrongtham would have you know that- there’s a news
crew on scene to enhance the veracity of it.
is when we first meet the two main characters- Chris (Ananda
Everingham) and Sue (Karen Mok). Chris hopes that his girlfriend
Mariko will be given a new lease of life and Sue wishes a
recovery for herself from lung cancer, already in the advanced
stages. During the ritual, Chris experiences a frightening
nightmare and falls unconscious. Sue, on the other hand, is
involved in a car accident shortly after.
premise and this setup of events would indeed be ripe fodder
for a horror movie. But Ekachai Uekrongtham has other intentions
(as he also revealed in an interview contained in this DVD).
His is a meditation on life and death, of the twin forces
of creation and destruction that mankind has no control over
and that mankind does not understand.
its tagline would suggest, The Coffin is really about tempting
fate and cheating fate. It is akin to a poor man’s version
of Final Destination because this is exactly what this movie’s
perspective on death is. You can’t cheat death- if you
are meant to go, you are meant to go. Like Final Destination,
The Coffin is about the consequences of cheating death, but
this time on the people around us who suffer as a result.
it a marketing ploy then- because most people will approach
this as a shock-galore horror movie and probably end up sorely
disappointed. Yes, The Coffin does have its moments that will
make you jump, but these seem to be obligatory insertions
to please the masses. Instead, one is best advised to approach
The Coffin as a reflection on life and death.
while this is meant as a thoughtful affair, the plot is simply
too bare to engage the viewer. The two principal actors do
not appear together at all save for a few brief minutes towards
the end. Karen Mok is certainly not at her best here- her
portrayal of a cancer patient at the last stages of her life
does not convince. Ananda Everingham is watchable as ever
but even his performance cannot save the monotony of the story.
seems therefore that the movie actually begins with its climax
and then rapidly goes downhill from there. Not enough story,
and not enough scares, (to invoke a cliché) this was
literally dead on arrival.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
Interview with Director and Cast: Ekachai Uekrongtham
shares his vision behind his first horror movie; and cast
Karen Mok and Ananda Everingham weigh in on their experience
of shooting The Coffin. Choppy editing mars the otherwise
mildly interesting insights.
B Roll: This looks like the footage that
would have gone into The Making of The Coffin that somehow
did not get made. Perhaps the most interesting footage is
how the scene of the mass coffin ritual was set up. Otherwise
you can fast forward through most of this.
International Trailer, Film Clips and Deleted Scenes:
The film clips are a rehash of some of the more memorable
scenes in the movie. And the deleted scenes? Let’s just
say there’s a reason they were left on the floor of
the cutting room.
English/Thai Dolby 5.1 surround nicely brings out the creepy
sound effects in the movie while the picture is well rendered
by Gabriel Chong