Tartan Video // 2006 // 108 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // January 18th, 2008
"If I play a dead person won't I insult their soul?"
Ting (Pitchanart Sakakorn) is a young actress who has entered the exciting world of re-enacting crimes for the police department. She portrays the victim at a crime scene while the criminal acts out just what he did. This is apparently what police occasionally do in Thailand. I'm not entirely sure what the purpose is of these re-enactments. If you know, please send me an e-mail. Anyway.
Ting is steadily drawn more and more into the spirit world with each role she takes on. Her biggest role comes with the murder of Meen (Apasiri Nitibhon) and it's a role to die...no, I won't make that joke.
My familiarity with Thai horror (and Thai movies in general for that matter) is limited to the superb supernatural thriller Shutter. I was hoping that I'd get another well-made, if low budget, picture. Instead I got...this.
The Victim starts off well enough. Pitchanart Sakakorn is an enjoyable lead as the slightly ditzy, but very committed actress Ting. It's funny at times, especially the little montage of shots showing the ineptness of the other re-enacting actresses. There are some moments where I was pretty creeped out. One scene where Ting unwittingly places incense at the feet of a staring spirit stands out. The plot moves along at a good clip and I was enjoying where things were headed right up until the point where Ting confronts the murderer.
And then it all goes to hell. At this point, The Victim jumps the shark right through the fourth wall. Suddenly I'm violently reminded of Wes Craven's New Nightmare and this is not something I'm happy about. The plot slows down to a snail's pace. We're suddenly thrust into the middle of a whole new storyline with new characters. And things stop making any sense. The special effects fall to pieces because at this point they start doing more ambitious things with CGI that they're just not capable of doing.
This is especially frustrating because I was enjoying The Victim. It would have made an excellent short film, but then they stretch everything out to almost two hours.
So, what we're left with is an incomprehensible, slow as molasses horror film that's light on scares and heavy on crappy CGI. And Dylan is sad. I didn't want to be sad. I wanted to like The Victim so much and instead it made me dislike it.
The disc itself has good visuals and audio, but the subtitles look like the translator wrote them the night before they were due, what with the typos and goofy word choices. A smattering of trailers and making of featurette round out the rest of the disc.
The making-of documentary is peculiar, though. Most of the documentary is about how the cast and crew believed that they were being haunted, rather than talking about how The Victim was made. I have no idea how much of that was a Thai cultural willingness to believe in spirits or just hype to promote the film. Either way, the documentary makes The Victim more interesting than it was on its own.
The Victim starts off with a great deal of promise, but it eventually derails itself and tries to be more than it is.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Tartan Video
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Thai)
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* The Making of The Victim
* Original Theatrical Trailer
* TV Spots