A group of kids play with black magic as they try to find ways to see ghosts. Bad idea.
I am at a loss for words after watching this Pang brothers’ film. I have never seen one of their films and this one really threw me for a loop. It was equal parts Quentin Tarantino, Tom Tykwer and Wes Craven. The opening title sequence tells us everything we need to know about the tone of this movie. The most similar instance I can remember is the opening title sequence from teen pop movie She’s the Man. It’s actually pretty much the exact same style as that Amanda Bynes’ film. With that opening, you know this is going to be nothing like the first two movies in the series.
A group of kids are visiting friends in Thailand when they decide it would be fun to play with a Ouija Board and practice black magic. Yeah, they think it would be fun to practice black magic. The book they use is called Ten Encounters and describes the various ways to see ghosts in Thai culture. To tie this movie in with the other two, the first two ways to see ghosts are “get a cornea transplant” and “attempt suicide while pregnant.” As ridiculous as that sounds, those suggestions are accompanied by other over-the-top suggestions such as walk with a black cat and open your umbrella indoors. I understand these are actual Thai customs, but with that opening there is no way this movie takes itself seriously.
While experimenting through the methods in the book, all but one sees ghosts and it is all fun and games until one of the kids disappears. Instead of sticking around to help, two of the friends race back home to Hong Kong trying to escape the ghosts. Unfortunately, there is no escape when the ghosts come knocking.
The movie is set up in vignettes, each a colorful and amusing descent into the madness the kids slip into. The music is also over-the-top and hilarious, and it seems like the brothers went to the Tarantino school of “cool music cues.” It was so over-the-top from beginning to end, you could never take what you were seeing seriously. The plot simply states that once they start playing the game, they can’t stop until the game is over. There are also moments where you know the filmmakers stole ideas from other movies. In a moment right out of The Sixth Sense, it is proven that the ghost only needs to learn it is dead in order to pass to the other side.
The scares are kind of ridiculous. At one point a character is menaced by a basketball. Yep, a basketball chases her down the hall. Luckily, she remembers that if you bend over and peak between your knees, you can see the ghost according to the book. Those are the ideas you can expect from this movie. There is also a funny moment when a kid asks if one of them has seen his report card, a scene lifted directly from the first movie. In response, the guy kicks the kid in the chest, causing him to cry. It’s a hilarious moment for those familiar with that first film.
There is also a big dance moment at around the one hour mark. Actually, it is the ghost possessing one of the guys, making him dance like a spaz while two street kids try to match it in a type of “You Got Served” moment. Then a bunch of old ladies step into the hall and cheer them on. It made absolutely no sense to me, but fit the mood of this movie perfectly. Despite the lack of scares and the ridiculously thin story, the movie works well based on what it is. This is a big, fun movie that wears its humor out on its sleeves. It never once takes itself seriously and if you watch it for a campy thrill ride, and understand it exists to entertain and not to scare, there is a lot here to enjoy.
Did I also mention farts can be used as a weapon against aggressive ghosts when you are in the spirit world?
Ten Ways to See a Ghost is an 8-minute featurette that discusses the Thai ways of seeing the dead discussed in the movie. (1) Adapt the sight of the dead (2) Suicide during pregnancy (3) Peekastoop (4) The Eye Mask (5) The Forbidden Shade (6) Late Dinner Alert (7) Hide ‘N Seek. That’s seven ways and it is also where the feature stops. CHEAT! Finally, there is also a Making Of featurette. It also only checks in at 8-minutes. They mention why the movie skipped from The Eye 2 to The Eye 10, although they don’t mention why the U.S. decided to change its name to The Eye 3. It’s gonna end up like the Zombie series before its all said and done.