An almost-but-not-quite artful black & white beginning starts off Art of the Devil (Khon len khong, 2004) with girl-on-girl psycho bloodshed & bondage, cheesy exploitation sure, but for about three minutes it has a curious drama to it.
That introductory sequence makes you want to give the film a chance even as it gets worse & worse. As soon as it becomes color, the cruddiness of the cinematography is too much to bare.
It's par for the course very typical Thai trash cinema, as seems Thailand just about never seriously approaches the level that would be average for J-horror or K-horror.
The thread of plot is pretty simpleminded. Boom (Supaksorn Chaimongkol) is a woman spurned by her lover, who resorts to the supernatural for vengeance, obtain less reward for her success than she expected.
Upon this slender & familiar premise hinges several convolutions & complications of very little interest, helping mostly to get a feature length out of it.
By the time it gets to the gang rape scene, I was done giving it the full benefit of the doubt, & fast-forwarded through many lame scenes, something I rarely ever do, but even liking bad cinema, I have my limits.
The teller of this tale exists only in the black & white scenes. These are invariably less putrid visually than with the poor color.
The acting is so bad, horror schtick so cliche, with all the expected Asian-horror "scary woman" & "scary child" stuff, except badly done.
It plays in great part off of a Thai folkloric notion of an aborted fetus or dead baby kept as an object of good & bad fortune, combined with the vengeful woman motif, tossing in a voodoo doll & sundry nonsense. It rarely fails to be merely silly.
A commercial success in its own country where good horror films are almost non-existent unless imported, The Art of the Devil birthed two alleged sequels which have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the first film, beyond the shared title.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl