Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Asian Horror Week: The Victim (2006, Thailand)

Gosh darn it, these Asian horrors can be real mindfucks. I love 'em!

Hokay, so here's what's going on in The Victim: Ting is an aspiring actress who gets a job with the police department, acting out various crimes as the victim. When she takes on the role of a missing and presumed dead beauty queen named Meen, she starts getting supernatural visits from the victim to help her track down the real killer.


About 50 minutes into the film, we find out that Ting is actually May and the whole movie up until now has been the filming of a real movie about the real murder of Meen (so then the actress playing Ting/May in this movie is an actress playing an actress playing an actress). The movie set and the cast and crew have been plagued by supernatural experiences during the shooting, mostly surrounding May, and the mystery deepens when crew members start to die.

The first part of The Victim is the film within a film, also called The Victim. And we get this whole set up of the murdered Meen possessing Ting's body and other random ghosts popping up around her. However, it is Meen that Ting becomes really obsessed with, so when the story switches to the filming of the movie about the real Meen, we are led to believe that Meen really is a ghost haunting the set, probably all pissed off that they're making a cheesy ghost movie about her. Confused yet? It really does make sense when you actually watch the movie, just a bit difficult to put into words.

Now most people would hate this complete turnaround of events, but I didn't really mind it that much. The film within the film was a weak story at best and nothing that we really haven't seen before in ghost stories, either Asian or otherwise. The twist gives us a more interesting mystery to work out. If you need the ending explained to you, you weren't paying that much attention. The plot is a bit of a cluster, but it is mostly red herrings disguising the real threat to May. The final twist at the end is predictable. However, that kind of ending always leaves me smirking. Not-so-happy endings are always the most fun. Guess I'm a sadist.

I saw some reviews that said that this movie scared them a lot but I didn't get that at all. The ghost appears all shadowdy and like she's surrounded by a swirling mist of ash or other black stuff, and she's always doing these freaky Thai Likae dance movements with her arms as she's appearing at May through a mirror. And once when she's floating toward May down a hallway. Not scary, just weird looking.

The craziest thing about The Victim is that in Thailand, the police really do make criminals reenact their crimes with stand-ins playing their victims, all while the press snaps happily away at the event. Frankly I don't see the point of this and find it all very morbid. In the reenactments we see in the movie, the criminals all seem rather reluctant to commit their acts again, but eventually there has to be one that would enjoy reliving his exploits which I think would be damaging, and is quite irresponsible of the police. The director included this bit of Thai culture into the film because he was curious as to how playing the victims of real crimes with the real criminals would affect the "actresses." This is not really fully explored in the film, but he does show that Ting enjoys getting into her roles and even develops a fan base amongst the citizens, which is also quite morbid to me.

There are a couple of good creepy scenes and a couple of annoying cliche scenes. The bathroom mirror scare makes an appearance, plus the dreaded 'it was just a dream' scare. That one was the worst. May gets a call after Shane the director is killed and runs into the ghost - then she wakes up and it was just a dream. She goes into the bathroom and sees something freaky in the mirror - then she wakes up AGAIN and it was all just a dream. Seriously lame. I don't like to be jerked around like that. Dream sequences work in some cases but mostly they are unnecessary unless they reveal something new about the plot.

Sidenote: Try to ignore the horribly translated subtitles for The Victim. Couldn't they have at least made the effort to put the translations into proper English? Seriously not that hard, people.


  1. jervaise brooke hamsterDecember 7, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    That scene with the zombies grabbin` the bird reminds me of that scene from "Day Of The Dead" (1985) where they rip the geezer in half.

  2. Ooooh, I have such a soft spot for asian horror films, and I am totally going to go put this on my Netflix queue! Thank you for alerting me to it!

  3. never heard of this one before. sounds and looks pretty interesting

  4. if i can get past the dodgy subtitles, this sounds like something I would like too :)

  5. no comment about the "real" ghosts in the ending credits? that was the best part of the film. in the end credits you see ghostly images in several of the scene. the creepiest one being the shape of a person in her outer ear!!!