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Last Summer (Thai) - Review

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Movie Info

Director: Saranyoo Jiralak, Sittisiri Mongkolsiri, Kittihat, Tangsirikit
Cast: Jirayu Laongmanee, Suthatta Udomsilp, Krit Sathapanapitakkij, Ekawat Ekudchariya, Pimpakan Praekunnatham
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Run Time: 93 mins
Opens: 29 August 2013
Rating: PG13 (Horror)

We wouldn't blame you for initially mistaking Last Summer for a teenybopper drama. I mean, it's got a nostalgic sounding title, soft-focus visuals, and centres on four good-looking teens enjoying an island getaway. Doesn't sound all that sinister, right? Wrong.

Last Summer deals with the death of one of the aforementioned teenagers, a budding actress and high-school belle by the name of Joy (Pimpakan Phraekhunnatham), thanks to what looks like a tragically severe asthma attack. As befits a horror movie, her buddies decide to dispose of the body in a ghoulish fashion that involves a little pink luggage bag. Things take a turn for the macabre when Joy's main squeeze Singh (Jirayu La-ongmanee) starts channelling the listless facial expressions of a psycho (or a bad actor), and Joy predictably returns as a spook to haunt her loved ones.

What follows is a sequence of three short films, centring on Singh, her best friend Meen (Sutatta Udomsilp) and her brother Ting (Ekawat Ekudchariya). We learn, in piecemeal fashion, that Joy's death is not as accidental as it seems, and each of the characters have played a part in her demise. The overall effect is one that lacks cohesion and – more crucially – any noteworthy scares. The artificial segmentation of the plot into three sections only serves to amplify the lulls in the tension, and the film loses steam well before its third act, hampered by cheap jump scares and predictable plot twists.

It's honestly a bit of a waste, considering that Last Summer has some uniquely strong points going for it: pretty visuals, a stellar soundtrack and a focus on character development. The trio of directors do their best to create compelling characters and occasionally succeed, although they do so at the expense of creating the tension crucial to any good horror movie.

To anthropomorphise, Last Summer is like a flaky teenager with an identity crisis: it earnestly tries to be both drama and horror, but never truly succeeds at being either.

Summary: 'When I grow up, I want to be a serious drama...'

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Raphael Lim

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