Director: Poj Apirut
Cast: Kunatip Pinpradub, Puvadol Vechwongsah, Kittipat Samarntragulchai
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins
Rating: PG13 (Disturbing Scenes)
Released By: Encore Films
Opening Day: 28 May 2015
Synopsis: Make Me Shudder comrades went for a vacation at Phuket (Island) after they graduated from their high school. They settled and rested in a tent next to the beach. With their unlucky fortune, a huge storm struck them. The gang moved into a hotel as their temporary shelter. They slept over in a hotel room. After a while, Nick woke up from a horrible dream of a Tsunami disaster, waking the rest of their gang. The television was broadcasting Tsunami news and the electricity went off after the news ended. This time, everybody turned their attention on Nick and wondered if he has insulted any ghosts again. When they turned on the torch light, they found themselves surrounded by wrapped dead bodies everywhere in the hotel. They crawled through the dead bodies hoping to find an exit until they met 3 new friends who were also stuck at the hotel. Their new friends told them an awful story of this vacant hotel. While they are telling the story, the ghosts came in and haunted them. In the end, they prayed to make merits for the dead people and successfully escaped from the miserable hotel.
It seemed like a really bad idea at first, to incorporate the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake into this movie’s storyline. The tragedy that happened on 26 December more than 10 years ago brought about so much destruction and grief, one wouldn’t expect a film, a comedy at that, to delve on it. The two other movies we have seen which dealt with the tsunami were The Impossible (2012) and Hereafter (2010). Both were serious dramas with emotionally affecting stories, but that didn’t make them any easy to watch.
So this Thai production, the third installment in the commercially successful Make Me Shudder series, is bringing its protagonists to Phuket to experience a series of supernatural occurrences due to the tsunami. Hmm, what were the filmmakers thinking? And you should, by now, realise that this is also a horror movies which will include ghouls who are probably victims of the very unfortunate natural disaster?
The boys from the first two movies return and make their way to Phuket for their graduation trip. Before they know it, they find themselves in an evidently haunted hotel, surrounded by what seems to be spirits who are anything but friendly. They also meet some suspicious “friends”, who may have more than secrets hidden up their sleeves. How will this misadventure end? And will everyone involved in this production be deemed as insensitive souls out to make quick bucks by exploiting the tragedy?
Director Poj Apirut, after making 2013’s Make Me Shudder and last year’s Make Me Shudder 2, must have been convinced by the movie production company and its investors that this is something the market wants, something that will bring in quick bucks. Well, to acknowledge the fact that movie making is a business, this horror comedy does have some laughs, banking on the silliness of zombie stereotypes and the cast’s overly exaggerated performances. There is lots of juvenile humour and schoolboy sexual references which will elicit that occasional chuckle.
If you have seen the last two movies, you wouldn’t go into the cinema expecting this to be a horror film. It’s more of a comedy, a disposable one at that, which helps kill over an hour of your time if you needed to make boring weekends pass faster.
Should there be concern that the movie would be insensitive and disrespectful to the victims and families of the tsunami? The director has got that covered nicely. Being a Thai filmmaker (after watching so many Thai horror movies, we assume the Thai culture to be one that will not “invoke” any vengeful spirits), Apirut aptly included a thoughtful voiceover narration to close the movie, something which while may seem to be lifted from textbooks, makes a lot of sense when it comes to being respectful to others.
As it may be subjective whether the tsunami should still be used as a backdrop to a mediocre horror comedy, we leave it up to viewers to decide whether they’d like to spend some mindless time in the theatres.
(While the movie serves up some chuckles, there isn’t anything new to offer in terms of horror or comedy in this cash cow)
Review by John Li