Curses is the latest Thai horror movie to hit cinemas, also on the same day as the American psychological horror ‘Ma’. Directed by Jit Khamnoedrat, it’s a three-chapter film that share the common theme of fatal curses and deadly vengeances. The cast includes David Chatchavan Asavanond, Sonthaya Chitmanee, Chinawut Indracusin, Wanpiya Oamsinnoppakul, Tana Chatborirak and Auttarut Kongrasri.
Here’s the trailer:
The first chapter is titled Wicked, starring Asavanond as a pastor who visits an isolated village where unexplainable things occur. The village is where his friend, a fellow pastor, had died. With the help of a villager named Yod portrayed by Chitmanee, the pastor investigates the place and discovers the ugly truth behind the curse that’s tied to the haunting song about a woman’s sorrow (as heard from the movie trailer).
The second chapter is called Tattoo, starring Oamsinnoppakul as Fern who has terrible luck in relationships. She soon runs back to her former lover, an ink artist played by Indracusin, before falling in love with his friend.
The third chapter is Wife’s Curse, starring Chatborirak as a cartoonist named Sun who wakes up one day to find himself haunted by an unknown woman. After he goes missing at the office one day, his worried friends get together to search for him.
The takeaway (spoilers ahead)
It has its creepy moments, though truthfully, it’s not too scary that it would keep me awake at night thinking about it. The stories were no doubt very interesting. I really enjoyed the first two even though they may sound kind of cliche but after sitting through them, both have well-developed plots that were told in a good pace.
Unfortunately, the biggest disappointment is the third chapter. The chapter was different from the first two as it had two characters in the bunch being the comic relief, one’s a scaredy-cat and the other who screams a lot. Very similar to other Thai horror comedy films like Pee Mak, which I didn’t mind at all. But what was unsatisfying was that, while it had great potential, it left unanswered questions about certain parts of the story. It was very interesting to see the plot take a deep dive into the mind of someone being terrorised by a deadly curse. It was so dark and heavy, which makes for a great psychological horror.
There was this particular part of the story that was supposedly buried so deep in his psyche about his school teacher whom he accidentally saw eating a live chicken in a classroom. I wasn’t sure if it was a repressed memory or just an effect of the curse. Whatever it was, it was truly scary but I ended up wondering what the connection was. And if that’s not all, the story ends up in the most ridiculous way because it was so unrealistic and the one who cursed him in the first place was left unpunished and instead rewarded in some way.
The film wasn’t a complete letdown but it still got me thinking about how not only do all three chapters share the common theme of curses, but also the demonisation of women and their monstrous emotions. Because, of course it is.
Hear me out, I’m not trying to reach here. There’s just so much of these imageries and dialogue lines of “women are evil” in the film that can’t be ignored. It’s just shown and said as plainly and clearly as day.
The first two chapters had women being portrayed as property, something owned by men that can be used and manipulated at their will. Whereas the third one shows how women are so easy for men to please and impress that all men have to do is some mushy romantic and materialistic stuff and women will come crawling back for forgiveness.
Throughout the whole film, women are consistently shown either at fault for standing up for themselves after being abused by men, punished for living their own life or to be crazy and out of control with her emotions.
Using women as some sort of horror movie tool is really nothing new, I know, but is that really all this Thai horror have to offer in all three of its chapters? Sure it’s effective in the first two, until it got extremely nonsensical in the third one so fast that I couldn’t help but cringe after the movie ended and asked myself, “…What the heck did I just watch?”