It’s Friday, and as your Favorite Catgirl Princess promised, a new Review….just for you!
This time out it’s “The Unseeable” aka “เปนชู้กับผ”ี or “Pen Choo Kub Pee” , the latest from Wisit Sasanatieng, director of “Tears of the Black Tiger” the famously weird Thai Western released on Region 1 DVD this last Month by Magnolia Pictures. The screenplay was written by Kongkiat Khomsiri, one of the “Ronin Team” also credited with directing the 2005 Thai horror film “Art of the Devil 2” aka “ลองของ” or “Long khong”. That alone got me all excited, as it was one of the creepiest, most gruesome takes on Asian Witchcraft since the old Shaw Brothers films of the 70’s.
Now you all know how Mistress Neko loves her spooky lil’ ghost stories, so of course I awaited this one with the kind of impatience that drives me to near insanity……..but when it finally came out on DVD, the Thai distributors, in the way they often do, chose NOT to include any English subtitles…..at all……I was crushed!!
But….after much searching, I discovered that Singapore often releases Thai films and other foreign releases there with English subs included…..seems to be the language of choice for their multi-ethnic, multilingual population. Much joy as I was able to find an excellent DVD source there to catch this one and several others I had despaired of ever seeing…….
So…by now you all wanna know whats this one about, and is it worth all my goofy efforts to obtain?
Read on, fellow DV’ers and find out!
It’s 1930’s Thailand, and the story revolves around a young pregnant woman named Nualjin searching for her missing husband who left several months ago to take care of something in Bangkok but has yet to return. Now with her child nearly due, her search brings her to the creepy rural mansion of a weathy widow, Runjuan. The forlorn and rundown mansion is managed by a stern woman caretaker/ governess named Somchit right out of an old Gothic Novel by Bronté and is inhabited by a number of other people, including another young woman, Choy, who becomes Nualjin’s only friend and confidant, as well as a crazy old woman, and a mysterious little girl that only Nualjin seems to see. Then, of course, there is the mystery man who is always seen lurking at the rear of the garden, digging an ominous hole.
Plus….the widow has a lover….who might just be the ghost of her long dead husband.
This one is a excellent nod to the old style of ghost stories, with just about every expected cliché properly in place, but it’s such a gorgeously filmed piece that you wont mind at all. The small cast and claustrophobic lack of locations other than the brooding mansion only help to cement the feelings of dread and terror that our young heroine feels as she struggles to decipher the mysteries at hand all the while seeking the answers to her husband’s disappearance. Much of the story is very reminiscent of those old English Gothic novels….“Wuthering Heights” and such, but just enough asian flavor has been added to make this a very nifty Thai exercise in that old genre.
Now, I not going to spoil it for you, but the ending hangs a strange curve, and just when you think you’ve got what’s going on, you find out you haven’t…..and I usually grab on to these sorts of clues early on…….but the conclusion, while typically Thai, is satisfying if also a bit sad……
The disc itself is excellently produced, if a bit spartan in details. The subtitles are excellent, and placed within the lower area of the anamorphic black band for easy reading. There is also a chinese subtitle option as well as the english subs, and two Trailers for the film itself on tap….but that’s it.
Still, Neko-chan really liked this one….a lot. If you liked the other period ghost story this season, “The Matrimony”….then you’ll also enjoy “The Unseeable”…….this lil’ Catgirl begs you not to let it remain “unseeable” for long…….
I give it 4 well deserved “Meows” out of 5………
Naturally, there’s a Trailer…here for you!!