What is the story about?
Wee and Gla are medical college buddies sharing a common passion for science. Their friendship extends to their workplace, a renowned private hospital in Thailand. While Wee's life switches between work and taking care of his ailing mother who’s on her deathbed, a happy-go-lucky Gla has a steady relationship with his girlfriend Mai. All along, Wee remains in constant denial about the existence of ghosts, though Gla feels otherwise. The two receive the shock of their lives when they come across a ghost. This event triggers the medicos to ambitiously gather scientific proof about the existence of ghosts.
Ghost Lab, the latest Thai release on Netflix is a unique absurdist upgrade to a conventional supernatural/horror thriller. It throws light on the lengths that humans go to fulfil their ambitions, through a consistently engaging narrative that’s pulsating and strikes an emotional chord. The filmmaker Paween Purijitpanya smartly utilises the familiar tropes of the genre that serve as the cherries on top of a promising story and drives an important point about impulsive decision-making amid the desperation to succeed.
Thanks to the playful camaraderie of its protagonists, the film is off to an intriguing start, focusing on their implausible attempt to provide a scientific basis for the existence of ghosts. The experiment nearly drives the pivotal characters to insanity and it gets a little too late for them to undo the damage. Films provide the creative license for storytellers to make the impossible seem possible and Ghost Lab’s writer-director does it convincingly through his well-written, believable, ambitious characters with many streaks of eccentricity.
Ghost Lab is a good example to suggest how clichés aren’t always bad news to genre-specific films. It proves that a new world is waiting to be discovered if you subvert them smartly enough. As wacky as it sounds, the film tries to categorise ghosts based on familiarity, motive and the many conducive factors that contribute to their ‘existence’. The film is easily more interesting when it captures the child-like zeal of its characters than the intense second hour that explores the dark corners of human ambition. Despite the many absurd twists and turns leading to a dramatic finale, the film is worth a watch for its timely relook at the horror genre.
The film gets its act right with the casting choices. The ravishingly handsome Paris Intarakomalyasut is a fitting choice to play Gla, an enthusiastic medico who takes his dream experiment a little too seriously. He shares warm on-screen camaraderie with his co-actor Thanapob Leeratanakachorn. Thanapob, as the nerd who can’t see life beyond his mother, work and his friend, gets the more interesting role and pulls off the many mean layers to his character with immense conviction.
Apart from Nuttanicha Dungwattanawanich’s angelic charm, the actor channelizes the performer in her to showcase the inner strength in her character compellingly. The supporting cast ably supports the lead actors and make their presence in small but important parts that add up to the film’s universe.
Music & Other Departments
While Ghost Lab doesn’t offer anything path-breaking or new in terms of its background score, it nevertheless anchors the plot and gives it the necessary emotional depth in the need of the hour. The visual tone of a supernatural film can get extremely stereotypical though the cinematographer Pithai Sithmuth offers a realistic touch to the frames within the limitations of his setting. The writing is a fine mix of novelty and tropes that come with the genre. The screenplay is consistently engaging though the film could have done with a crispier second hour.
- Intriguing premise
- Strong performances
- Consistently engaging
- The sudden change of tone in the second hour
- The overly dramatic ending
Did I enjoy it?
Do I recommend it?