Director: Sarawut Wichiensarn
Starring: Thanyanan "Jeen" Mahapirun,
Watcharin "Mam" Jinamusi, Panwet "Por"
Released By: Shaw & Festive Films
Rating: NC-16 (Some Disturbing Scenes)
Day: 17 August 2006
"Ghost Game", 11 participants are locked up inside
a former-prison-turned-museum for a 24 hours reality TV show.
The concept of the game is that the contestants must provoke
the wrath of all the vengeful spirits inhabiting the faded
walls of the former prison where thousands suffered and perished
years before. The contestant who manages to endure the nerve-rattling
atmosphere the longest walks away with Bt5 million.
premise of “Ghost Game” is quite straightforward
and is an unusual spin on the age-old story of daring people
to enter seemingly haunted houses. 11 contestants enter into
a reality television programme that will pay out the highest
amount in Thai game-show history (5 million Baht) to the contestant
that endures the longest in an apparently haunted torture
camp. But as usual, the best laid plans never goes the way
it should as they find that the ghosts are far more violent
than they had expected.
in controversy when it was first released in Thailand, the
film’s setting closely resembled (by name and representation)
Cambodia’s infamous Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, where
the Khmer Rouge tortured and killed countless dissidents.
The “Ghost Game” producers built the set in Thailand
after requests to use the actually museum were denied. Boycotts
were called when it was released, leading to a Cambodian ban
on the feature while Thai-Cambodian relations hit an all-time
low despite the filmmakers’ apologies and a disclaimer
at the start of the film. Unfortunately, due to these problems,
there seems to be a substantial amount of scenes referencing
the Khmer people that were edited out, which ended up marring
the quality of the final cut quite significantly.
Game” somewhat resembles the 2003 Norwegian scare fest,
“Villmark” which had the same idea of a survival-reality
television programme choosing contestants to travel deep into
the Norwegian woods, encountering evils both plain and unseen.
While that film took time to build on the characters, “Ghost
Game” had no such intentions. Right off the bat, with
no back-stories revealed about the contestants, we’re
introduced to them in the midst of travelling to the house
of horrors. With 11 contestants excluding the crew of the
reality series, that’s a whole lot of characters to
keep track off, each apparently from disparate walks of life.
the film does not do so well to keep up with any of them,
leading to incomplete and highly confusing sequences of storytelling.
Coupled with their frightened cardboard representations that
never evolve throughout the film and you’ve got no reason
at all to care about any one of them. Although there seems
to be a concerted effort to try to evoke human drama from
the desperation of strangers trapped together, à la
the Saw franchise, it hardly comes off as anything other than
petulance. Even when the performers don’t really have
to do with their undemanding roles, aside from screaming and
arguing, their amateurism is quite apparent.
the “Ghost Game” could have ended up decent if
not for a number of glaring flaws. While the initial suspense
started out well with its clever use of handheld shots, it
failed to carry over to the rest of the film once the scares
got into full swing especially as scenes started to drag on
too long with very little pay-offs. The patchy control over
the script and lack of creativity seems to have driven a nail
into its coffin when it becomes obvious at the end that its
helmers chucked in as many scare tactics and ghostly behaviours
as possible. Although grasping with issues carrying immense
gravitas like the proverbial ghosts of Cambodia’s horrid
past, it’s quite regrettable that it unintentionally
presents itself as a comedy of errors.
awkward, messy production with substandard attempts at actual
by Justin Deimen