New to Netflix this week is the Thai supernatural thriller, Ghost Lab. The movie – from director Paween Purijitpanya – stars Thanapob Leeratanakachorn and Paris Intarakomalyasut, and tells the story of two medical doctors, who develop an obsession with the afterlife, following a paranormal incident.
In the movie, Gla and Wee are doctors working at a local hospital. One night, while working a late shift, they experience a brief encounter with a ghost.
Keen to make contact with more ghosts, Gla and Wee start conducting experiments in the hope they can speak to a spirit. They then come to the conclusion that if they can form a bond with someone who is near to death, such as a patient, this will improve their chances of breaking through the barrier into the afterlife.
But the further they delve into their experiments, the more they become obsessed with their work. And soon, the pair take part in an unorthodox practice, which has grave consequences.
Ghost Lab is available to stream from today and is yet another entry in Netflix’s burgeoning collection of foreign language thrillers, which includes the likes of Red Dot, Below Zero, and Oxygen. This is a collection of films which contains a number of gems, and while Ghost Lab doesn’t quite reach the same heights as some of the aforementioned movies, it certainly has its moments – as long as you can make it through the opening act.
This is a movie which really struggles for the first half-an-hour, and I’m pretty sure it will lose some audiences early into its running time. As the film begins it doesn’t seem to know if it wants to be a thriller, a horror, or a comedy, and tonally it is all over the place.
The lead characters are depicted as best friends, so the movie tries to create a fun relationship between the two to set the scene. However, it completely misses the mark and somehow creates the initial suggestion that this is going to be a spoof mockumentary about two friends who are ghost hunters.
To be clear, this is not what this movie is about, and that does become very apparent once Gla and Wee start working on their plans to contact the dead. It is at this point that Ghost Lab develops an edge and the movie suddenly transforms into a fairly chilling picture – very different to what has come before.
So, my advice, if you plan to watch this movie, is to stick with it, because once Ghost Lab finds its groove, it knows exactly what it wants to be. It then maintains a confident and entertaining course throughout the remainder of the picture.
And when Ghost Lab works, it really works. It introduces some interesting ideas about contacting the afterlife, and explores this through a compelling story about two friends who take things a little too far to prove their theories about ghosts.
Both lead actors give strong performances, and they keep things ticking along nicely. As this is a low-budget movie, these two actors become the main focus of the film, and they get some really good moments, especially towards the end of the movie.
So, yeah – despite the muddled opening section, Ghost Lab is a good little thriller. It’s a small-scale offering, so don’t expect the world, but do expect some decent character work.
It could have benefited from a trim here and there, but there’s enough good stuff in here to help cover over the missteps. As mentioned above, it’s not quite a gem, but so long as you’re not put off early doors, you should like what’s on offer.
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