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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

[Review] Netflix’s Thai Horror ‘Ghost Lab’ Induces Tonal Whiplash Through Paranormal Obsession

Ghost hunting and seeking tangible proof of the afterlife is a frequent motif in paranormal horror. It’s one of the most prominent unknowable questions to life, which means the fictional possibilities are endless. Seeking and acquiring proof of life after death becomes the driving force for the two leads in the Thai horror movie Ghost Lab. While it quickly transcends a familiar setup, its massive shifts through tone and narrative induce jarring whiplash.

Young doctors Wee (Thanapob Leeratanakachorn) and Gla (Paris Intarakomalyasut) work together at a hospital, but their friendship goes back much further than their working relationship. They’re an unlikely pair. Wee practically lives at the hospital to care for his long comatose mother. Gla is the extrovert in a happily committed relationship with Mai (Nuttanicha Dungwattanawanich). When the friends encounter a terrifying ghost during a late shift, it sparks the pursuit of proof in the name of science. Experimentation leads to reckless obsession, and the quest becomes dangerous.

Directed by Pawan Purijitpanya, who co-wrote the script with Vasudhorn Piyaromna and Tossaphon RiantongGhost Lab begins as a horror-comedy. Gla and Wee trade light-hearted pranks, which establishes their bond. Wee’s emotional stakes come in the form of his devotion to an unresponsive, sickly mother. One creepy encounter with the ghost of a horrifically burned patient later, and the pair begin their series of experimentations. This first act follows an established mold; the friends use cameras, temperature, and various ghost hunting tools to document their finds. Complete with spooky scenes, all set within the atmospheric hospital. Once through all those familiar beats, though, the narrative shifts with a shocking event.

It marks the first jarring change in tone, and horror-comedy gets sidelined for heavy drama. Obsession sets in and causes a fracture. Ghost Lab is less about paranormal science and more about superstition and emotional devastation for a long stretch. Curiosity gets replaced with suffocating guilt and contrasting philosophies. Early scares get all but forgotten.

Despite its nearly two-hour runtime, Ghost Lab forgoes proper build-up in the massive left-field turns in Wee and Gla’s arcs. Both make illogical choices that remove rooting interest by the third act, as likable characters become awful. Wee and Gla’s baffling arcs muddy what exactly it is that this film is trying to say.

Purijitpanya (PhobiaPhobia 2) knows horror and crafts a couple of effective early scares. One character directly references Shutter, and The Shining’s room 237 gets a mention, too. But the horror gets left behind in the attempt to explore science versus faith in such a dramatic way. Ghost Lab never entirely forgets its ghosts, but they take on a different meaning in the ongoing evolution of Wee and Gla’s partnership. It’s a vastly different movie from where it begins, and despite a heavier horror climax, the genre elements receive diminishing returns.

Ghost Lab dabbles in horror and horror-comedy, but it prefers to linger in drama for extended periods. It’s less interested in the paranormal and far more intrigued by the consequences of Wee and Gla’s pursuit. That’s an admirable departure from the norm, but the bursts of high melodrama and disjointed narrative leaps make for a confusing viewing experience.

Netflix has just released Ghost Lab on its streaming service.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3663871/review-netflixs-thai-horror-ghost-lab-induces-tonal-whiplash-paranormal-obsession/

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