Trivia The film caused a huge controversy when Cambodian officials accused the film of treating the Cambodian genocide as a business opportunity, and dealing with the Khmer Rouge Genocide with insensitivity. The film was banned in Cambodia, and the Thai producers apologized for hurting feelings, but the film was released on schedule anyway.
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Ghost Game (2007)
5th Mar 08
A reality game show set in a former prison camp goes horribly wrong when the ghosts of former inmates get involved.
The back story is quite a simple one, and one that, while not necessarily a complete rehashing of many of the internet based horrors of recent years, is one that will feel familiar to harden horror aficionados and you part-timers out there alike.
Essentially this is a big brother style online game show (giving it instant stable mates of the ridiculous Halloween: Resurrection and the slightly too nasty for my liking My Little Eye) but this time set in a former Thai prison camp - Case 17 - where 20 years ago former Head Prison Warden Juim decided all the inmates were guilty and promptly massacred the lot of them over a weekend. Nice place to set a game show, I hear you cry, well that's the point - as far as I could ascertain the rules of this game show were just that, i.e. to scare the living daylights out of each contestant until the run screaming from the camp and thus lose the game.
Naturally, things don't go to plan right from the off. As soon as the cast arrive, and conveniently introduce themselves to each other so we can make note of all their names, some players start seeing ghostly apparitions which aren't part of the game. Dao, the previous winner of last years game and Yuth, last years runner up, immediately start seeing a dirty Thai ghost with thick black hair (albeit short this time to separate itself for all those far eastern ghost stories that are getting a little tiring) standing behind other contestants, or hiding under the bed, or sitting under a table, that kind of thing. At first nobody believes them, and of course the production crew can't see any ghoulies through their acutely trained cameras, but as the game progresses more contestants starting witnessing spooky stuff, run screaming from the camp and the numbers whittle down. It's not exactly rocket science.
You can probably guess the rest. While there's nothing wrong with Ghost Game par se, there's nothing particularly exceptional about it and so it's hard to recommend it. Phrases like painting by numbers spring to mind, and you can be sure that you'll be one step ahead of the back of a cigarette packet plot, with the ending turning out to be pretty much what you had expected from the opening few scenes. Sure, the look and feel of the movie has the kind of decent production values we've come to expect from Thai horror movies of recent years, the scoring is adequate and none of the actors deliever a bad performance, but it still feels like it doesn't really matter. If you've seen one Thai ghost story where the cast spend ages and ages walking down darkly lit corridors waiting to be scared, you've seen them all.
Incidentally, the 'most controversial horror in 20 years' or whatever it was tag line is a bit of a red herring. In it's native Thailand there were complaints that the Case 17 massacres bared uncanny resemblance to the Khmer Rouge Genocide in neighbouring Cambodia at around the same time, and the filmmakers have used that to generate a bit of hype. I’ll let you decide for yourself the morals of that one.
31st Jan 05 Peter Cushing appears to have modestly declined from participating in any of this kung fu nonsense although there is a charming battle later on when he gets a little carried away with a big flaming branch...