Film Review: ‘School Tales’ (Thailand, 2016)

650 500 East Winds Film Festival

From the producers of ‘Dark Flight’ and ‘3AM’, East Wind Film Festival 2017 were proud to present the European Premiere of Thai teen horror ‘School Tales’ on the festival’s third day. The screening was followed by a Q&A session with the young emerging ‘scream queen’, Thai actress, Latthgarmon Pinrojnkeerathi (Pim), playing May in the film, who gave a few insights about the film’s background, behind the scenes and the challenges of being a part of the cast for a horror film.

With a strong belief in spirits and ghosts, specific to Thai culture, ‘School Tales’ is said to be based on a true story. Either way, truth, myth, legend, and fantasy combine in a spooky haunted school story of a group of teenagers tempting the school’s spirits. And where there are teenagers, there’s trouble.

The 7 marching band members find exactly what they were looking for, when they see themselves faced with the hideous figures of the 3 school ghosts, Yak – a cripple pudgy boy who fell off the stairs when trying to find his schoolbag, the school librarian whose illness was a gossip topic for the whole school, and Pawadee, the marginalised student driven to suicide by the ignorance and cruelty of her schoolmates.

Terrified by what they have done, the 7 fate tempters find help in the leader’s love interest, Pun, who has a history with spirits. It seems that every ghost is kept alive by the number of people who believe in its story, and there is only one way of escaping the ghost’s curse, by confronting it, as it is with every other fear which only disappears after one faces it.

The group follows Pun’s advice and bravely defy the ghosts and give closure to their stories. The challenge proves to be the perfect opportunity for the group members to show not only their courage, but also their care for each other, making them overpass their misunderstandings and strengthening their friendship.

More than being a pretext for a few good scares, the 3 ghost stories stand as examples of school bullying, where repercussions and memories might really turn someone into a ghost, but there are good chances that they will follow someone for the rest of his/her life. From massive bullying, to love betrayals, and seemingly harmless teasing, the film offers a wide range of problems which occur during school years, and which are all too familiar, in one way or another to every audience member, thus adding depth to the story.

The suspense and tension are skillfully built by the storyline, the dark visuals, the perfectly timed soundtrack, convincing performances, and the ingenious use of stop motion animation in narrating the ghosts’ stories, making the high moments even more frightening.

Review y Maria Mantaluta

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