You think our country overdoes it with reboots, remakes, and re-hashings…move to Thailand where Mae Nak, the country’s famous ghost story (she’s kinda like a third world Casper), has been re-told 21 times. Mae Nak must be pretty darn spooky to maintain that kind of a franchise because just released in Thailand (February 23, 2012) is the 22nd version, this one called Mae Nak 3D. By adding “3D” to the title means they can milk this cow one more time.
In the latest udder yank, the spirit-bound Mae Nak croaks during child birth, but comes back to live with her hubbie in 3D as a (wait for it)…GHOST! And here’s the mind-boggling twist – he doesn’t know she died! Apparently, he was away fighting a war at the time. That, or drinking with the boys down at the corner bar.
After 22 times, Mae Nak (rated PG) may or may not have the ghost power needed to scare up box office dollars. I’ve watched a few of ’em and while they’re stylish in a foreign country sort of way, the chills have little in the way of thrills.
Take 2005’s The Ghost of Mae Nak, for instance. What started out as yet another “Romeo and Juliet coming back from the dead to scare the romance out of you” plot device, actually had a few rewind-able moments. But since I put as much value on romance as I do defrosting the fridge, this one goes in the “meh” file.
Young newlyweds Mak and Nak are stupid sick in love. Problem is, Mak is having nightmares of an oily-haired female ghost named Mae Nak with an oval hole in her forehead. Her long-lost lover of 100 years ago is named Mak. See where this is going? The ghost wants her lover back and is interviewing Mak for the job via bad dreams, dark stuff coming out of her mouth and a Monk-conducted exorcism. Nak is carrying around a brooch made from a chunk of Mae Nak skull, a gift from an unknowing Mak. Guess who wants it back to complete her face?
All in all, lightweight stuff when combined with all that “our love is forever” crap. Mak and Nak look so squeaky clean they could be on bottles of Ayutthaya Skin Cream™. And I bet you anything they name their first kid Clackety-Clak. I would. Still, The Ghost of Mae Nak is intermittently enjoyable – even if you don’t have a chunk of forehead skull missing (metaphorical or not).