- Directed by Piyapan Choopetch
- Starring Alexander Simon Rendell, Pirath Nithipaisalkul, Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, Sucha Manaying, Mek Mekwattana, Sho Noshino
- Released in Thai cinemas on October 31, 2013; rated 15+
- Wise Kwai's rating: 3/5
Filmmaking sucks. So kids, don't try this at home. That's this week's lesson from a Thai horror film.
Hashima Project (ฮาชิมะ โปรเจกต์, a.k.a. Project H) has a talented jerk of a director and his crew hunting ghosts on Hashima, Nagasaki, the legendary "ghost" island off the coast of Japan. Bad things start happening to them when they return to Bangkok.
Veteran helmer Piyapan Choopetch (My Ex, My Ex 2) directs this fairly slick effort for studio M-Thirtynine, with seasoned support from producer-editor-writer-jack-of-all-trades Adirek "Uncle" Wattaleela. What's notable is they actually went to Nagasaki and filmed the island.
Alex Rendell heads the cast as the young director Off. His team are actor Nick (Pirath Nithipaisalkul), actresses/love interests Nan (Apinya Sakuljaroensuk) and May (Sucha Manaying) and cameraman Doc (Mek Mekwattana, whose name in the subtitles was hilariously given as "Dog". Woof).
In Bangkok, the youngsters make a jumping little short-film ghost thriller. They use it as a showreel in hopes of getting hired on by a major studio.
Uncle rips a page from his 2005 directorial effort, the hilarious filmmaking-sucks horror-comedy Ghost Variety, which had an endless parade of cameos from actual Thai directors. Here, there's a guest appearance by actual Thai director NOnzee Nimibutr (Uncle can be spotted walking by as the kids are leaving). Nonzee seems impressed with the short, but only says he'll call.
Discouraged by the response, the impatient tykes decide to upload the ghost clip to YouTube, and are soon scaring the bejesus out of hundreds of thousands of students and office workers who ought not to be wasting their time with such nonsense. The number of views soon attracts the attention of the "reality" TV show "Ghostland", and the producer calls the kids in to offer them a project, something he calls "project Hashima", which puts them on the next commercial flight to Nagasaki.
They are met by their fixer, Mr. Sato, and after the obligatory tour of Nagasaki's tourist attractions, they check in to their hotel. It turns out to be an eventful night, during which they encounter a young woman in traditional Japanese garb. They see her picture on the wall the next morning, so you know what that means.
She's played by Show Nishino, the ex-AV star who made her Thai film debut in the remake of Jan Dara, and ended up stealing the show. Playing the ghost, she's also an enjoyable highlight of this movie.
Next day they visit Hashima Island, a bulwark of concrete apartment blocks and industrial structures, built to mine coal up until whenever Wikipedia says they did.
They split up and film the ruined buildings. Off, a non-believer in ghosts, writes his name on a wall where other names are written. He's generally disrespectul of the place and has no reverence for what might have happened there. A creepy toy is played with, and a jar full of dust is broken, which is bad news for the crew. There's an earthquake and everyone runs screaming. The special effects are simple but effective.
Back in Bangkok, the film gang tries to get on with their lives. Doc eats insects, which comes back to bite him later.
Off works to get on with editing his film for the TV show, but encounters difficulties, among them a bookie who comes to collect Off's debts from gambling on football. It's a bit of character development for Off that is only half-baked, which is too bad. What is clear though, from his arrogant demeanor, is that he's a jerk and will get what's coming to him.
Aside from Show Nishino's ghost, the director Off and bug-eating goofball Doc, the other characters are a bit bland, except for Nan, but that's because she's seasoned player Apinya, whose wide eyes are made for being a victim in horror movies like this.
The picture falls apart in the last 30 minutes or so and drags to a crawl as it struggles to find an ending. The phone's ringing, but nobody's answering.
Man, filmmaking sucks.