I'm one of those people who can't properly complete a song at karaoke if my life depended on it. Inevitably, I will go off-tune, lose my place, mess up lyrics or forget the melody. Sometimes, I just forget how to read. If I was one of the people challenged to karaoke in the Thai horror comedy Premika
, I would be dead for sure, probably within seconds.
Written and directed by Siwakorn Charupongsa, Premika works overtime as a horror, slasher, satire, mystery, musical and comedy with campy special effects on a modest budget. It's the kind of movie that plays well at genre fests and midnight screenings.
The title Premika refers to the film's vengeful ghost (singer Gena Desouza), an unidentified karaoke-loving girl in a sailor school uniform who was murdered and dismembered at a remote countryside resort. The unsolved case gets quickly glossed over, and the police don't even bother to recover all her body parts. The resort soon gets rebranded and reopens as a posh vacation spot. Various guests, including some singers, arrive for the grand opening, but Premika is waiting for them with her karaoke machine of death. She besieges the guests – all of whom are either mopey or annoying (and will not be missed) – and makes them karaoke to random songs. Those whose singing don't pass muster are swiftly offed via axe in over-the-top slashes of spurting blood and flying body parts.
Premika is loaded with horror film parodies and Thai pop music references, some of which may get lost in translation for those not familiar with the source material. But slapstick, bawdy gags and detached heads need no further explanation. Most of the special effects and makeup are wonderfully low-rent and kooky, as is fitting for a Scary Movie karaoke death party in the woods. The film also does get in a few proper scares before sliding in with wacky gore and shameless mugging.
Jokes aside, the premise of Premika is actually pretty dark. Certainly, the circumstances of Premika's murder are grisly and scathing, though the scattered social commentary may feel inappropriate given how zany much of the film is. The gruesome underlying mystery of who killed Premika is constantly offset by the facetious question of who will she kill next in delightfully excessive manner. Amusing and outlandish, Premika has more than enough cheap gags, axe deaths and butchered pop songs to keep you readily entertained.