Long Khong (Pasith Buranajan et al., 2005)
Long Khong, released in English-speaking countries as Art of the Devil II, was one of Thailand’s initial attempts at a gore film. (While they still haven’t gotten it completely right, they’ve done some interesting things with the genre in 2009’s Meat Grinder.) It is, simply, not all that good a movie, though it seems to have been made with the best of intentions, and was enough of a hit at home that it spawned a sequel in 2008. It’s a pretty well-put-together thing, but it suffers from a script that tries to do far too much and ends up succeeding at doing none of it.
Plot: two years after graduation, Ta (Alone‘s Namo Tongkumnerd)’s father commits suicide, and he and his five closest friends journey out to the remote village where he and his second wife, Aajan (Mae Bia‘s Napakpapha Nakprasitte)—who taught the children during their last year of high school—retired. That’s likely enough of a setup to let you know, given that this is a slasher film, who the movie’s final girl is. Soon enough, once they get to the village, the blood starts flying, and the six-but-ever-decreasing friends have to figure out who’s targeting them and why.
No, you won’t see it coming, and the reason for this is that the script doesn’t give you clue one, preferring to spring the climax on you while you’re completely unawares. The only problem is, that makes the climax reach almost Gumnaam-levels of ludicrousness. Every time you ask yourself “how much sillier can this movie get?”, you will find that the answer comes back “oh, you have no idea.”
As if that’s not enough, well, you’re probably not watching a gore film for the spectacular script (unless you’re me looking for the next Turistas). And I gotta say, the opening sequence, which is pretty much unrelated to the rest of the movie, had me squirming in my seat. The gore effects go downhill from there, however, and by the time you reach the “oh, aren’t I shocking?” conclusion, you may well be yawning. These actors, and the uncredited (at least in English) cinematographer who gave us such stunning jungle shots, deserved a great deal better than the script they were working with. **