Thursday, June 25, 2009

Art of the Devil

Art of the Devil
AKA Khon len Khong
Directed by Tanit Jitnukul
Released: 2004
Starring Arisa Wills, Supakson Chaimongkol, Krongthong Rachatawan, Tin Settachoke, Somchai Satuthum, Isara Ochakul
Running Time: 95 minutes
DVD Studio: Tokyo Shock

After her married lover gets her pregnant, dumps her, shares her with his buddies and slaps her around, Kamala (played by Krongthong Rachatawan) turns to black magic to get revenge. After killing the dude and his family, she is further enraged when she discovers that the guy had kids with another woman and they are in line to inherit all of his wealth. To get her hands on the dough, Kamala marries her lover's illegitimate son Boom (Supakson Chaimongkol) and starts destroying the family one member at a time. Only Boom's sister Nan (Arisa Wills) and a curious journalist (Somchai Satuthum) figure out what Kamala is up to but are they too late to stop her?

This Thai horror film doesn't really do the genre justice. While watchable and suitably gross, Art of the Devil didn't exactly blow me away. The biggest problems come from the stiff acting, uneven direction and the generic plot. Yet there are pluses for the film features some very cool moments that balance out the cheesy ones. And yes, there are some bloody and freaky nasty setpieces that must be seen to be believed.

The cast is lead by two lovely ladies: Krongthong Rachatawan as Kamala, the villainess and Arisa Wills as Nan, the heroine. Unfortunately, Nan is a shrill and dopey party girl character and kind of unlikeable. Kamala on the other hand, though flatly written, is 5 kinds of crazy. At least her reasons for revenge and her terrible greed are solid. Of course, the scene where she dances and sweats profusely and sexily during a black magic ritual will improve any actress's performance in my book.

So this film isn't perfect by any means but is worth a look for its great gross out sequences including black magic shenanigans with some not-so-fresh corpses and a show-stopping scene including a whole bunch of eels and a few gallons of blood. The nasty bits don't get started until the halfway mark, so a little patience goes a long way with Art of the Devil. Oh yeah, someone should have told the director that albinos aren't scary. The non-menacing little albino ghost girl jumping up and down on the bed didn't do it for me in the fright department.

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