The Ghost of Mae Nak

Year: 2005
Director: Mark Duffield
IMDB Link:

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Ghost of Mae Nak is an unusual film.  It is based on a Thailand myth, but the movie was written and directed by an American (I believe – he may be English).  The story follows a newly wed couple who move into an old house and become the victims of a legendary ghost.  The idea that the couple may be a reincarnation of  the original couple in the myth is pretty heavy-handedly passed off.

The movie takes a bit to get moving.  While there are some genuinely scary scenes near the beginning as Mak, the husband, starts having haunted dreams, the movie doesn’t really kick into gear until about half way through when Mak is nearly run over and ends up in the hospital in a coma.  At this point, his bride, Nak, has to solve the mystery of Mae Nak.  The ghost, meanwhile, ends up helping the girl more than hindering her, killing people who would hard the girl or Mak.

The story is, at its heart, a simple ghost in need of resolution.  In this case, Mae Nak has to be found and the bone brooch made from a piece of her skull needs to be returned.  While a good hook for a story, there is a point where it becomes far to obvious to the audience what needs done while the characters remain oblivious.

Despite the somewhat transparent plot, the movie is quite enjoyable.  There is, however, one nagging point that bothered me.  Early on in the movie, before the wedding, we’re introduced to Nak’s stalker-ish  ex-boyfriend who, in menacing fashion, tends to show up when she least expects it.  Later he tries to get her to leave Mak while he’s in a coma (asshole!), but Nak refuses.  He follows her to the playground where the body of Mae Nak rests, and near the end of the film he goes back to the play ground.  You expect that he would have maybe taken a piece of the skeleton, which was still there, to prevent Nak from saving Mak.  However, he doesn’t seem to do anything and the character is never mentioned or seen again.  It seemed a good set up that just fizzles.

I still recommend a watch, for the ghost scenes alone and the final dream twist, but the movie does have its flaws.

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