DORM - No Ordinary Horror Flick

In 3 words this movie is.. Funny, heart-warming, beautiful.

What..? Why...?

Isn't it a horror movie?
Kinda'..

Does the movie suck..?
Well..no. It's actually excellent.

I wasn't prepared for a full-blown horror movie when I went to watch Dorm. I thought Shutter was good but horror movies from Thailand seems a little, well.. same-old, same-old. But neither was I expecting a wonderful story about life, death and everything else in between.

Dorm was directed Songyos Sukmakanant and tells the story of a boy, wonderfully played by Chalee Trairat being abruptly sent to a boarding school against his wish. There, he makes no new friends, the class bully terrifies him with ghost tales, and his teacher (Jintara Sukapat in her quietly powerful performance) exhibits eccentric behaviors. Eventually, he befriends classmate Wichien (newcomer Sirarath Jianthavorn) and things look bright until one day Chatree discovers something shocking.

The performances all around was good especially the two main actors Chalee and Sirarath who displays huge acting range expressing resentment, loneliness, fright, and maturity. Both he and Sirarath lighten up the film with their wonderful onscreen chemistry. We laugh when they tease each other and we empathize when they seek shelter from loneliness. The school bully gang of four (especially the son of the undertaker) also was excellent as they provided the comic relief for this wonderful film. Seriously, I was laughing my ass off to their antics. Futures are looking bright for all these young actors.

Songyos direction was also very good as he moves the storyline forward by gradually peeling the plot layer by layer, which effectively makes the film quite suspenseful. Unfortunately, some viewers, especially hardcore horror fans, may be let down by the simplicity and modest answers to the film's mysteries and unconvincing explanation to a very important part of the story. Obviously, the story 'twist' or the 'ghost element' is not the priority for Songyos as he places the thrust of the film on the friendship of the two boys, which I personally think work way much better.

The studio has been marketing Dorm as a horror movie (..complete with a poster that feature a hanged-girl and a parental warning) but I wonder if this is the wisest decision because horror movie fans would be disappointed and the family film audience would not see the movie in the first place. But to tell u the truth, there are so many 'horror' movies right now that every other one seems so ordinary. Fortunately, Dorm transcends from being an ordinary film about frightening dead people. It tells a beautiful story about friendship and redemption, about growing up and growing out of the past by forgiving others and yourself. The film makes me think, do we sometimes treat people around us like ghost? Do we don't care about them as if they were invisible? Are we being treated like ghosts by other people? Go find the answers in this movie.

In short, Dorm is an outstanding coming-of-age tale for adults as well as for children. One of the best movie to come out of Thailand, definitely.

5 comments:

  1. Reel Fanatic said...
     

    Wow ... I had never heard of this one, but it does sound like a fascinating little flick .. thanks for the good word

  2. Nazim Masnawi said...
     

    All the trailers & the pictures & the poster reminds me of The Devil's Backbone. Are there really any similarities or sorts?

  3. Edd Vedder said...
     

    reel man.. thanks, no prob.

    nazim.. I've never seen TDB, to be honest. It's a spanish movie right? Sounds familiar..

    Anyway, for me DORM probably is a cross between Stand By Me and The Sixth Sense with a little touch of Casper. How bout that..?

  4. vovin said...
     

    not into horror flick.

    But probably watch it if someone kind enough to lend to me.

  5. Anonymous said...
     

    dorm mmg best, teringat ET, tapi ni lagi matang la..

    fadz

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