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  Publicity Stills of "The Letters of Death"
(Courtesy from GV)

In Thai with English and Chinese Subtitles
Director: Kapon Thongphlap
Cast: Mahasamut Boonyaruk, Chonlada Mekratree and Andy Kempimok
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: GVP
Rating: NC-16

Opening Day: 19 April 2007

Synopsis :

When old friends from school died one by one, Sayri and Nataya begin to search for the reason from the forward letter that their friends received before death. The death behind the forward letter is still in the dark and the rest of their friends keep missing one by one until Sayri and Nataya is the only two people who survive. They have to find the answer of this horrible event before their time is up.

Movie Review:

How much do you know about your primary school classmates? Do you still meet up regularly with them? Primary school ties form the basis of The Letters of Death, the latest horror movie to come out of Thailand, where a group of friends who congregate for a reunion dinner, start to realize that their friends are being bumped off one by one under mysterious circumstances.

The Letters of Death are a series of chain mails, which is designed as a puzzle for the recipient to crack, in order to survive its curse. It has a magical time limit attached to it in the form of a hangman game - once the hangman diagram is complete (don't ask), prepare to die in a Final Destination-ish manner. What I thought interesting was one of the clauses attached to it to survive: Once the puzzle is solved, you still have to forward the letter to 29 other persons to break its curse. Meaning, will you subject people you know (friends or enemies) and wish them ill
will? Herein lies the moral dilemma that the group of friends will have to confront once they pass the first hurdle, that of self preservation.

And naturally with a huge cast, there is little time devoted for audiences to get chummy with them, but rather, like gladiatorial spectators, await with glee that they meet their doom so that we get entertained. Some of the death sequences are familiarly designed to resemble the Hollywood equivalent, but while the idea is there, the weak execution marred it all, making the scenes come across as extremely campy. A great deal of special effects are used, but most came off rather cartoonish instead of slick.

The pacing is rather erratic, and transitional scenes were rather choppy, with some even laughable. It couldn't decide what it wanted to be, to focus on its revenge theme, or the mystery, or to ramp it up into becoming a bona fide horror flick. As usual there's a twist in the ending, and I thought the revelation could have been potentially powerful, but because of the weak delivery throughout, it made the finale a little dragged out, and almost no impact was thus exuded from its revelatory scene, which could have been this film's sucker punch.

Letters of Death is no doubt a movie that is watchable on a lazy day, but you'll probably forget about it soon after the end credits roll. You'll just have to watch out for those (usual) cheap scare tactics used!

Movie Rating:

Review by Stefan Shih

(Taking itself seriously, Letters of Death is unintentionally campy but still fun nonetheless)

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