Saturday, November 07, 2009

Dorm (Dek hor)


By the end of October I stop digging for gold in the movie trough and basically throw just about anything that sounds remotely good in. Dorm was one of those flicks, a Tartan extreme Asian horror that I had little to no expectations for. So I popped it into the dvd player and started watching. The film opens with Ton, the eldest of 2 brothers pouting at the family breakfast table. We soon realize as the rest of the family engages in conversation, that Ton is being sent off to boarding school that morning. When they arrive at the school it becomes apparent that Ton is quite angry with his father for the decision to send him here. He refuses to say goodbye to him at all.

On his first night at school, a group of boys tell him some ghost stories connected to the school. One of the stories specifically involves the dorm where they reside. He is told that a boy drown in the old, now closed down pool and that his ghost haunts the dorm. Anyone that has been given the boys old bed to sleep in is kicked out of it and by no means should you go to the bathroom on a night when the watch dogs are howling in sync. During the night Ton get up to pee and as he's about to go he hears the dogs howling. He goes to the window and sees the dogs all lined up howling together. They then show us the view of Ton in the window and we see two silhouettes standing there. So it begins.

Ton continually refuses to take any phone calls from his father. As the film goes on we see that the basis of his anger has to do with Ton accidentally catching his father and their maid going at it. He makes friends with one boy and they become very close. One night the school is showing a movie in the field on a large outdoor screen. This scene is so charming, the kids all laughing together then picking their feet up onto the bench when the ghost is grabbing from under the bed in the film. In the film, when the people hold their breath the ghost cannot see them. So in turn all the boys hold their breath and when they do so, Ton's friend Pranee stands alone confused. When Ton lets his air out Pranee asks, where did you go? The look on Ton's face, shock then realization. Pranee is a ghost. He runs and sits next to some other boys. He looks under his bed that night and sees Pranee's name carved into the wood. He finds the ghost again in the bathroom and asks, “Are you in here because I'm sleeping in your bed?” He now knows that Pranee was just lonely and wanted a friend. Ton decide to befriend the ghost and try to help him find a way to move on.

The companionship of the boys reminded me so much of the film “Stand By Me”. Boys just being boys but with a supernatural twist added in. I really loved the characters, the situations and relationships were very believable and the acting very real. I just love films that feature boys in this 10 to 13 year old range, if they are well acted that is. Along with Stand By Me, among my favorites are Radio Days, Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Sandlot & A Christmas Story. If some alien being told me I had to pick an age and sex to be stuck at infinitely I would be a 10 year old boy. I had the pleasure of raising 2 boys myself and I witnessed this magical age first hand. They aren't really into girls yet, parents are trusting them with some freedom to roam the neighborhood and everything is all about their friends and good times. It's different for girls this age, their magical age happens much younger so it doesn't have the same freedom. This film carries that feeling beautifully. Another unexpected gem in this years long list of horror. The only caution I will provide to the potential viewer, if you're looking to be scared that won't happen here. Tartan's preview of this film depicts it as a scary ghost story, they lie. It's worth every minute I invested in watching it but it's not very scary.


Octopunk said...

I have to say, this sounds pretty cool. I like that you went for the extended synopsis for this one.

And I thought your valentine to the era of being a 10-year-old boy was very touching. Zack better deliver.

Catfreeek said...

I'm sure he will :)

Kevin (Ket) said...

Just a bit of correcting. The name of Sirachuch Chienthaworn's character is Vichien, not Pranee. Ms. Pranee is the dorm headmaster.

Just for some clarification, the main character's official name is Chatree, but (to my knowledge) all Thai have informal names. The fact that Vichien refers to him as "Chatree" and only later refers to him as "Ton" is actually significant.