Touted as Asian horror’s first Thai/Taiwanese collaboration, The Fatality (絕魂印) aims to tap the international reputation of Thailand’s renowned ghost cinema. But the film turned out a rudderless befuddling mess, perhaps because of the curiously large number of directors involved.
The film begins with He Zhi-rong (Wu Ke-qun (吳克群), a grubby-looking man who has lost the will to live and drifts aimlessly through the streets of Taipei. After attempting suicide He mysteriously wakes up in a hospital in Thailand as a man named Asanee. Assisted by Stanley (Matt Wu (吳中天), a doctor who initially seems unconcerned about his patient’s welfare, He gradually settles into the life of Asanee and soon has everything that he didn’t in his previous life: a beautiful wife, Nakun (Pichanart Sakhakorn), and a stable job as a public servant.
Life is good until Asanee starts seeing ghosts and other supernatural sights. He realizes that by the power invested in a birthmark on his arm, he is fated to seal death certificates for the soon-to-be deceased in an office-like space within the ghost world, which he can access because of his supernatural powers.
It doesn’t take long before Asanee, who has become the bureaucratic incarnation of the Grim Reaper, begins abusing his power by taking the lives of terminally ill patients who beg for his help to end their suffering. Meanwhile, Nakun secretly plots against her husband with her lover while the omniscient Stanley waits to come to He’s rescue.
Audiences are likely to starting fidgeting in their seats 10 minutes into this film, filled with the unsettling feeling that they are watching a movie made up of nothing more than far-fetched plot twists and dull images that barely support the narrative. The viewer begins to question whether even one of The Fatality’s oversized ensemble of directors had any sense of how to construct a story.
Looking either sullen or bewildered throughout the film, the performances from Mando-pop singer Wu Ke-qun (吳克群), Taiwanese actor Matt Wu (吳中天) and Sakhakorn of Thailand are consistently dull.
A word of advice to aspiring directors in the music video and television commercial business such as Kuang Shen (鄺盛): before venturing into cinema, think twice about your goals and, at the very least, develop a directing methodology that suits feature films.
THE FATALITY (絕魂印)
Kuang Shen (鄺盛), Lin Tzu-liang
(林子亮), Liang Hung-chih (梁宏志) and Tiwa Moeithaisong
STARRING: Wu Ke-qun (吳克群) as He Zhi-rong and Asanee, Pichanart Sakhakorn as Nakun, Matt Wu (吳中天) as Stanley
In Mandarin and Thai with Chinese and English subtitles
RUNNING TIME: 97 MINUTES
TAIWAN RELEASE: TODAY
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