Dorm (2006) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3
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YesAsia Editorial Description
Unceremoniously sent to boarding school by his parents, 12-year-old Chatree (Charlie Trairat) has trouble adjusting to dorm life. The school is run by a creepy, emotionally disturbed headmistress (Jintara Sukapat), and the other boys aren't interested in making friends. Instead, they torture Chatree with tales of ghosts haunting the hallways, one of which seems to be menacing him. Things start to look up for Chatree when he finally finds a friend in Wichien (Sirarath Jianthavom), but Wichien turns out to be no ordinary boy.
|Dorm (2006) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) 鬼書友 (2006) (DVD) (香港版) 鬼书友 (DTS版) (香港版) 鬼書友 (2006) (DVD) (香港版) Dorm (2006) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
|Also known as:
|Dek hor 鬼宿舍 / 我的幽靈朋友 Dek hor Dek hor Dek hor
|Charlie Trairat (Actor) 查理·哲華 (Actor) 查理・哲华 (Actor) チャーリー・トライラ (Actor) Charlie Trairat (Actor)
|Songyos Sugmakanan 桑佐斯撒馬簡南 桑佐斯撒马简南 Songyos Sugmakanan Songyos Sugmakanan
|English, Traditional Chinese
|Place of Origin:
|NTSC What is it?
|1.78 : 1
|Dolby Digital EX(TM) / THX Surround EX(TM), DTS Extended Surround(TM) / DTS-ES(TM)
|3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
|Asia Video (HK)
|1 What is it?
|YesAsia Catalog No.:
* Sound Mix : DTS ES, Dolby Digital EX
* DVD Type : DVD-9
Director: Soagyos Sugmakanan
"I still remember very well, the first time I left home..." "I was 12 and studying in 7th grade. In the middle of the semester, I was un-riotously transferred to a new boarding school...the reason...to be away from home...to get away from my father. You might be curious about this, but I am not surprised because it is only me who knows his secret."
"Being transferred in the middle of a semester is really cruel. I have to get used to new classes and a new dorm that does not feel like home, and the worse part is, the new bed that I'm sleeping on, who knows how many people slept on it before me. For years there has been this rumor floating around that there used to be a pool here, where children used to swim during the weekends, but was closed. The rumor is it's because a kid drowned!"
"Do you believe in this old school's tale?" "I know a secret and if you promise not to tell anyone, I will tell you"
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features
Professional Review of "Dorm (2006) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"
Although many viewers are understandably becoming less and less enthusiastic about the modern Asian ghost film, with the genre long having become the exclusive domain of murderous long-haired female spectres, there is still plenty of room for innovation in the form, as demonstrated here by the excellent Thai horror Dorm. Directed by Songyos Sugmakanan, who was also partly responsible for the 2003 smash hit My Girl, the film rises above the usual cliched drudgery to provide a genuinely chilling and affecting viewing experience. Its quality can be seen in the fact that it is one of the few ghost films to shake off the critical shackles of the genre, having been awarded the Glass Bear award at the recent 2007 Berlin Film Festival, with Sugmakanan also garnering a Special Mention prize for his efforts.
The plot begins with a twelve year old boy called Chatree (young actor Chatree Trairat, also in My Girl) being driven to a new boarding school in the countryside by his parents, apparently as a result of his father's desire for him to study harder. The young lad understandably has difficulty settling into his new life, not least due to the fact that the students who sleep in the massive dormitory have a habit of staying up at night and telling ghost stories by torchlight, much to the annoyance of the creepy headmistress Ms. Pranee (Jintara Sukapat), who seems to have more than a few screws loose. Chatree soon finds himself caught up in a real life haunting after he begins to suspect that his new friend Wichien (Sirarath Jianthavom) may be harbouring a sinister secret of his own.
The main strength of Dorm is that it is far from being a simple tale of the supernatural, with fears grounded in the anxieties of emerging adolescence, loneliness, and guilt, all of which are played out against an effectively ominous and threatening institutional setting. Despite initial appearances, the film is actually far more akin to Guillermo del Toro's classic The Devil's Backbone than the likes of the Korean Whispering Corridors series, and is in essence a character-driven affair whose horror elements are largely born from confusion, sadness, and the anxiety inherent in the protagonist's situation. Sugmakanan builds from a solid emotional foundation, with Chatree's relationships with his friends and more importantly his father playing every bit as important a part in the proceedings as the ghostly goings-on. All of this investment in character serves well to make the setting more believable, something which lends its frights a real edge devoid from the vast majority of similar genre efforts.
As a result, the film is genuinely creepy, with an eerie atmosphere throughout and plenty of effective scare scenes. Although Sugmakanan does to an extent rely upon a number of genre conventions, such as hands suddenly reaching from sinks, creaking doors, and half-seen shadowy figures, these are expertly employed and never seem as tired as they might have. The film also features a number of original and inventive touches, such as a chorus of howling dogs, used initially as a signifier of doom, and later for surprisingly touching effect.
Sugmakanan's direction is excellent, and he gives the proceedings a grey, foreboding look which really brings the dormitory to life as a sinister character in its own right, helped by the notably high production values, something which sets the film apart from other Thai horror outings, which tend to be rather shoddy, low budget affairs. The film is well-structured and paced, with the plot spurred on by a series of revelations rather than building towards the kind of big twist ending so popular in the modern ghost genre. The narrative does take a number of quite unexpected turns, and as a result is very engrossing, thanks in no small part to the emotional investment in characters and the painfully human drama at the film's core.
What all of this amounts to is that Dorm stands not only as the best horror film from Thailand in recent years, being superior to the enjoyable though rather formulaic Shutter, but also as one of the best from any Asian country. Frightening and moving in equal parts, it is a film of considerable substance, and one which boasts a level of depth rarely seen in the genre. Although unlikely to revitalise the desperately tired form, it does at least serve to remind viewers that there is still life in the ghost film, at least when directors are willing to put in the same amount of dedication and effort shown by the talented Sugmakanan.
by James Mudge - BeyondHollywood.com
Customer Review of "Dorm (2006) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)"
See all my reviews
September 25, 2007
By the Dorm's Early Fright!
Although this film shifts from the horror/ghost boundary into social awarenesses, it becomes embellished for it in this case, as additional social elements about child education and friendships, are more befitting and rewarding in "Dorm" at the conclusion, than if this movie had been a straight forward horror. So, in essence, although this is a very haunting and dark dreamlike experience, its also a very human heartfelt story, too. At the beginning, you straight away feel you are going to watch an interesting plot line, as the boy Chatree (played excellently by Chalee Trairat) is sent to a foreboding dormitory within his school semester period, to facilitate his stern father's wishes to further educate him, due to his poor school records and preferred TV viewing. This emotional and intricately filmed introduction of Chatree's parents preparing to take him to the dorm, with Chatree under a polite form of duress, anticipates the foreboding scenes to come and immediately grabs your attention. When the family eventually drive and reach the dorm itself, you then anticipate all the dread Chatree would have, as he enters the bleak, haunting looking blue-gray exterior and the regimented interior of the sleep room, producing all the isolated feelings he would endure there. Chatree, though, eventually meets up with a group of boys, who try to scare him at night in the large sleep room, with ghost tales about previous dorm inhabitants; a girl who had committed suicide and walks the halls at night, sounds of howling dogs within the toilets - and a boy who had mysteriously died in a swimming pool incident, all told and reflected by the sudden jumps, howls, mood music and eeriness of the night filled dorm. And this film deliveries with the haunting visuals - this institutionalized edifice could easily be found in the life vacant griminess of a Silent Hill, and the dark hued atmosphere here is near the ambiance of that titular horror game/movie (I could well imagine a Dorm Map in the game now). But this isn't an 'evil' ghost story, but more an emotionally structured, and sympathetically endearing social tale, of forced isolation and neglect. Chatree is thrust into this cold cloistered setting and robbed of the school friends he wished to be with, by his harsh and supposedly well meaning father, who only wants his son to study harder. But this is also about a trapped ghost within the dorm that only Chatree can communicate with, and of the ghost's own death relating to an incident at the dorm. (I don't want to say much about the ghost, but the young actor who plays him, looks a lot like a young Robbie Williams who was once in boy band Take That).
The group of boys Chatree meets are also quite a set of characters. Initially, they try to scare him with ghost tales and seem like emotional bullies, but a loose sort of bond ship emerges as they all become closer by familiarity, amidst their daily circumstances. It has an endearing humor as well, like when Chatree shows the ghost boy his video game hand held, near to where the boys are playing a game of soccer, for them to stop and wonder (as only Chatree can see the ghost) if he is talking to himself - only for one of the more subdued of the bunch to reply drolefully "I always talk to myself , too" with the boys turning their gazes onto him. The actress, too, who pays the oppressed headmistress (Jintara Sukapat) is another crucial acting feature in this.
The cinematography is one of the best features here, and by the cold and dank colour hues of the dorm, add vividly the peculiarity of isolation and fear the dorm reflects (being alone in an alien environment away from friends and family) giving a visual feeling of dreamlike haunting, rarely captured in ghost movies of this type. The boy actor who plays Chatree performs convincingly, too, by the plight of his troubled loneliness (until he meets the ghost that is), reflecting the feelings we can all have, when placed in such alien environments with nobody you know. Human beings are by nature communicative creatures, but become inverted in such controlling places as the dorm. The haunting, though, in this is more down to earth and away from the fantasy horror of the usual type, and by its nature can get more under the skin than if it was just a 'jump out of your seat' ghost girl on the prowl vengeance horror. The fact that it is also set in Thailand with its own haunted past consciousness, also underscores its themes. Like the Korean movie "The Forgotten Child: Shin Sung Il is Lost" it touches the theme of stricture towards children by the essence of the forced education here, like parallel in the religious forced theme in the Korean movie. This is a very rewarding film, as its main end game is about love and friendship, that are the two most important things a human being can have, and as a human story, this is far more rewarding than merely a dark screamer about 'wicked ghosts'. Highly recommended.
See all my reviews
July 11, 2007
Not Your Typical Ghost Story
|This is a rare hybrid of horror and teen fantasy. A boy attends a dorm with weird goings on. At first he is running scared, but then he becomes involved with helping one of the ghostly residents. In parts scary, moving and all in all, well done.