Ghost of Mae Nak

Overview

Ghost of Mae Nak is an updating of one of the most popular ghost stories in Thailand, which has been the basis for over 20 movies from the silent era to the present. The original story concerns a 19th century rural villager, Mak, who returns home from war not knowing that his wife, Nak, is a now a ghost. She died during childbirth while he was away. When the villagers try to warn Mak that the woman he came home to is a ghost, Nak kills and harasses anybody who threatens to separate the two until Buddhist monks ...
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Overview

Ghost of Mae Nak is an updating of one of the most popular ghost stories in Thailand, which has been the basis for over 20 movies from the silent era to the present. The original story concerns a 19th century rural villager, Mak, who returns home from war not knowing that his wife, Nak, is a now a ghost. She died during childbirth while he was away. When the villagers try to warn Mak that the woman he came home to is a ghost, Nak kills and harasses anybody who threatens to separate the two until Buddhist monks finally exorcise her unnatural spirit. Though Mak and Nak are victims of dire circumstances, the village must exert control in order to keep their tenuous society intact. The tale is related in this film through the grandmother, suitably wrinkled and foreboding, of a modern-day girl named Nak (Pataratida Pacharawirapong), who is not dead. She is engaged to her own Mak (Siwat Chotchaicharin). After this cute idealistic couple gets married and moves into a decrepit house, the original ghost Nak (Porntip Papanai), now named Mae Nak for clarity, starts haunting Mak to try and get him to save her still-tortured soul. Apparently the Buddhist monks who originally exorcised her cut out a portion of her skull, which Mak unknowingly bought in a shop, and which needs to be placed back in the corpse's head before she can really rest in peace. While they try to figure what it is that Mae Nak wants, the ghost helps Mak and Nak by threatening sleazy city types (a shady real estate dealer, a couple of thieves, a geeky crush who won't take no for answer) taking advantage of their precocious naïveté. After Mak is hit by a car and goes into a coma, it's up to Nak to return the bone and save her marriage. ~ Michael Buening
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Special Features

On the set of The Ghost of Mae Nak; Tartan Asia Extreme new releases
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Director Mark Duffield gives the Mae Nak legend the ol' J-horror makeover, coating the titular ghost in overly familiar white body paint and black hair dye. But besides a few gratuitous death sequences and the presence of phantom Nak, the script is much closer to the romantic, folk religion-tinged origins of the original Thai story than the eerie gore of most Asian horror. If there's a subtext to be gleaned from the sloppy narrative, it involves the evocation of ancient traditions connecting the two Mae Nak stories. Several key scenes including the couple's opening marriage and a final exorcism involve Buddhist rituals, and the putting down of Mae Nak corresponds with the idea of ending cycles of rebirth. Mak and Nak live in a Bangkok of dreary sheet-metal facades, where smart young adults work in high-tech office buildings only to return to cramped homes on dirty streets. Mae Nak is a connection to a simpler past of devoted families and loyal marriages. But this past is corrupted and it is Nak's duty to reconcile these errors to restore a sense of balance to the present. Technically the film is pretty crude. The images are grainy and framed without any tension. Montage and scare scenes progress with arrhythmic awkwardness, further marred by premature money shots of a spirit willing to show her face early and often. Mae Nak is a strange ghost. She helps and seems to like Mak and Nak, but also scares them and eventually possesses Mak without explanation. Her method of killing is dull and accidental; usually she simply shows herself and the seer falls out of a window from fright. By creating a modern correlation of the Mae Nak legend in order to uphold traditional values in an industrializing society, Ghost of Mae Nak projects a certain sweetness. However, by updating the story with a much happier ending from the original lore, the film ignores the creepier and more subversive elements of the original story that may be the reason for the legend's popularity. The horror story and the love story never sufficiently gel together, making for an awkward muddle of a genre hybrid.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/10/2006
  • UPC: 842498030455
  • Original Release: 2005
  • Rating:

  • Source: Tartan Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:43:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 73,760

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Pataratida Pacharawirapong Nak
Siwat Chotchaicharin Mak
Pornthip Papanai Mae Nak
Jaran Ngamdee
Technical Credits
Mark Duffield Director, Cinematographer, Screenwriter
Stephen Bentley-Klein Score Composer
Laurent Gorse Editor
Siamrus Lauhasukkasame Executive Producer
Somwang Rattanasirivanich Production Designer
Wachara Tantranont Executive Producer
Tom Waller Executive Producer, Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Ghost of Mae Nak
1. The Myth [5:59]
2. Your New Home [9:40]
3. Double Crossing [7:41]
4. The Wedding [8:10]
5. Break In [6:23]
6. Hit and Run [4:54]
7. Truth of Mae Nak [5:08]
8. Synchronicity [7:22]
9. The Brooch [7:34]
10. Awakening [10:47]
11. Telekinesis [4:20]
12. Talking With the Spirits [7:00]
13. Promise Keeper [2:34]
14. Last Rites [7:55]
15. End Credits [7:38]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Ghost of Mae Nak
   Play Movie
   Scene Selection
   Set Up
      Audio: Thai 2.0 Dolby Digital
      Audio Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital
      Audio: Thai 5.1 DTS
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Spanish
      Subtitles: None
   Special Features
      Directors Commentary: On
      Directors Commentary: Off
      On the Set of the Ghost of Mae Nak
      Tartan Asia Extreme New Releases
         Cello
         Red Shoes
         Lady Vengeance
         Marebito
         The Heirloom
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