House of Mad Souls, A
Thailand 2004
Directed by Sivavut Vasang-ngern.

To forget her ex-boyfriend Man, Jitty (Cindy Sirinya Berbridge) moves out of the city and into the suburbs. But wait -- it's even more horrible than that! While she's there, she keeps getting haunted by a little boy. From there, it's basically riffing off of the Japanese horror film JUON (2002).

After the first ten minutes of A HOUSE OF MAD SOULS, I began to wonder how I could possibly sit through the entire thing? I do want to keep a copy of the first ten minutes somewhere handy, though, and show it in a screenwriting class or something, as an example of how NOT to start a movie.

It begins with a breakup. Man is upset at Jitty because she is a doctor and never has time for him. He is particularly upset because she left his Mom's birthday party without saying goodbye to her because she had an emergency. She is heartbroken because the stupid whiner dumps her, and starts crying while the camera zooms in and freeze-frames, while a somber piano repeats a brain-numbingly simple pattern. She drives home, then holds a picture of her boyfriend in her and and -- I kid you not -- has a flashback to the conversation they just had, giving the audience another listen. This time the scene is in black-and-whie and a "whooshing" noise cuts from one line of the dialog to the next. Though, these "whooshing" cuts between lines don't actually seem to trim the scene in any discernable way.

This spectacularly inept opening gives the viewer something of a taste of what must be endured to complete the film.

This isn't a complete review of the movie, however. Because shortly after the shockingly inept opening, my rental DVD stopped functioning. At around the fifteen or twenty minute mark. And it doesn't work at all in my DVD-ROM drive. So now what? Do I return the movie, and wait for a working DVD, to watch the whole thing? Hell, no. So many movies, so little time. I have no plans for investing any further in A HOUSE OF MAD SOULS. I feel like I sort of "speed dated" this movie. We met, we chatted briefly, we marked down our initial impressions, we moved on. We will not be calling each other up for a second date.

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on April 07, 2006.

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