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Rahtree: Flower of the Night: Mark's Take

06/12/2004. Contributed by Mark R. Leeper

Buy Rahtree Flower of the Night in the USA - or Buy Rahtree Flower of the Night in the UK

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This ghost story goes in eight different directions at once, from tragic social message to slapstick comedy. Some scenes are chilling, but the film is unfocused.

RAHTREE: FLOWER OF THE NIGHT is an extremely uneven ghost story from Thailand mixing love story, social content, horror, slapstick comedy, and satire. Writer and director Yuthlert Sippapak seems too anxious to entertain and to fill the film out to a reasonable length. He seems not to have been able to resist the temptation to use any idea that came to mind. The result is something of a hodge-podge.

Ake Dunrongsgup is a student fascinated by a young woman in his class--but out of his class. Attractive Buppah Rahtree never acknowledges his existence and never even smiles. Eventually his persistence pays off and the two become friends and quickly lovers. But then he betrays her in multiple ways. Pregnant with his child, she gets an abortion the day before he leaves the country for school in England.

In pain from the operation she takes an apartment in a local apartment complex. Later she is found in the bathroom having bled to death. (Hey, did I mention this was a comedy?) As the police are trying to remove the body it starts moving on its own. Very soon it is clear there is a terrifying ghost in room 609 that nobody wants to deal with. (*This* is the funny part.)

Sippapak throws in a strange take-off on THE EXORCIST. There is a lot of comedy that was constructed ad hoc around a boy with Down syndrome who happened to be convenient. Much of the comedy verges on the slapstick, particularly with two very obese Thai women who run a beauty parlor in the apartment building.

The comic and even slapstick elements frequently conflict with the horror elements, making the film a lot less frightening than it might be. Sippapak should have either toned down the comedy and concentrated on the tragedy and horror or vice versa.

Sippapak announced at the showing that there are at least two sequels planned. He certainly has enough ideas, but he should decide which ones really go well together.

Mark R Leeper

(c) Mark R Leeper 2004

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