Pee Mak Phra Khanong (พี่มาก...พระโขนง), opening in cinemas this week.
Made into movies dozens of times before and widely known for 1999's Nang Nak directed by Nonzee Nimibutr and scripted by Wisit Sasanatieng, this new version is a contemporized horror-comedy take on the century-old legend of Nak, a young woman who dies in childbirth while her husband is away fighting a war. When he returns, he doesn't realize that his wife is a ghost.
With young heartthrob Mario Maurer as Mak and Davika Horne as Nak, it's released by GTH and is clearly aimed at GTH's usual audience of middle-class urban Thai teens.
Supported by a major marketing campaign, it's been wildly hyped as a major tentpole release as the Thai film industry gears up for its summer movie-going season, a time when scorching temperatures and school holidays send folks scrambling for the freezing cold refuge of the cinema. GTH has even had flashmobs of fierce-looking young ghost mothers toting little ghost baby dolls riding the skytrain in Bangkok to promote the film.
But Pee Mak is also genuinely anticipated for its celebrated young director, Banjong Pisunthanakun, half of the duo that made the solid horror hits Shutter and Alone and was behind the more-comedic segments of GTH's Phobia horror compilations. He collaborated on the script with his Hello Stranger star Chantavit Thanasevi.
There are scares and melodrama as Mak goes to war and Nak dies, but that soon gives way to comedy as Mario's clueless character is assisted by the hilarious quartet of character actors from the funny Phobia segments.
And though the setting is still 100 years or so ago in canal village in old Siam, there are plenty of nods to current fads and contemporary Thai society.
GTH has an English-subtitled teaser in which Mak explains his name is actually Mark. It's embedded below.