Crying Fiddle
Thailand 2004
Directed by Jarin Parnsain.

What a sad fiddle. But why? Why is this fiddle crying? Perhaps, if you sit down and watch CRYING FIDDLE, you will learn why. Perhaps, the fiddle cries because the movie made about it was shot cheaply on digital video without style. Perhaps, then, someone forced the fiddle to watch the whole thing, from beginning to end. Indeed now whenever I see CRYING FIDDLE, I weep in rememberance of the time I lost watching it, the hours that will never return. Cry, fiddle, cry.

Pring is the daughter of the boss, while Thai (Ninnart Sinchai) is just a slave. He teaches her the fiddle, and they sit so close together that it infuriates her father. He separates them, so she refuses to eat for three days, then hangs herself. Her father basically expires out of grief, though as it turns out, it isn't his fault after all. She was murdered by the privledged boy Sorn because she woke up when he was trying to take advantage of her and tried to shout. Her ghost reappears and haunts Sorn, and haunts his buddies, especially when they are trying to take a shit out on the steps near the river, right next to where they bathe in a later scene. Too much detail, I know, but these are the sorts of details that linger in a mind with precious else to occupy it.

Pring eventually seems to get carried away with the whole ghost revenge thing, bringing the entire village to its knees and slaughtering a half dozen people, few of which having anything to do with her own death. The village, meanwhile, goes through one shaman after another trying to exorcise her, but she has a simple request: Thai must stay with her, or she'll kill everyone. What a a sweetheart.

Huge, gaping holes in logic and character behaviour make this movie worse than it should have been. Thai was her lover, but he keeps pretty low-key and expressionless about his old girlfriend's return from the dead. He never tries to reason with her, or suggest perhaps that he won't love her any more if she keeps killing people. Instead, he is simply acted upon by other characters and plot elements, and moves about as if a mindless automaton. For her part, it's never entirely clear why she moves on from taking revenge on her murderer to the more general killing and terrorizing she engages in later on. Perhaps, she goes a little power mad.

CRYING FIDDLE is by no means the bottom of the barrel when it comes to Asian digital video horror. Indeed, it should be said that it is better than at least 80% of the Hong Kong digital video junk. But then, so is being torn apart by wild animals, so let's raise the bar a little higher, shall we? I think this fiddle would be better left crying alone.

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on February 21, 2006.

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