16 November 2008

Coming Soon โปรแกรมหน้า วิญญาณอาฆาต

Coming Soon is a new horror film by GTH. Fun to watch, the film is based on a rather postmodern premise -- what if the ghost on the film comes out to haunt viewers. This play with the levels of reality is by no means new, as we have seen what Deconstructing Harry and Tristam Shandy have earlier made progress in this line of development. However, what is rather innovative in this film is the impact it has made on the viewer, as the viewer is quite accurately portrayed as voyeurs seeking pleasure and thrill without regarding carefully whence their joy may have derived.

I need to confess that when I was watching the film, my viewing experience somewhat changed: it was pretty scary to see they film the actual cinema whilst you know that the ghost was lurking somewhere. I couldn't help but relate that to my actual viewing as we were watching the film around 8pm in a rather empty cinema. But of course, deadened as my senses are, my fright disappeared five minutes after the film finished.

In fact, when we come to think about it, Coming Soon is less scary than The Shutter. I believe the reason is that it's simply too predictable. Somehow I realised half-way through the film what the ending was going to be like and I could guess when the ghost was about to appear. There's only one scene that scared me -- that's when the protagonist was talking to his friend, and suddenly his friend's face changed to the ghost's. So I guess that's the way forward: try to scare the viewer by not giving the clue what's going to happen. Also, try not to use any music to lead the viewer's feeling, as the viewer is pretty sophisticated and can sometimes guess (automatically) when the ghost is going to appear simply by guessing when the climax of the music will be.

However, if you don't expect some ingenious twists, this film still delivers some thrill. And if you like clever films that turn you into an idiot, this film may be good for you. This is because it touches on the issue of viewing as voyeurism: filmmakers and viewers are portrayed as irresponsible people who care about nothing but self-interest. While filmmakers want to make good films that earn them a lot of money, viewers are selfish and think of nothing but pure enjoyment and cheap thrills. Of course most horror viewers fall into this category and those who go to watch Coming Soon are not excluded.

Now the question remains: why do you pay money just to be insulted? Or are there so fewer tricks to frighten us now that the filmmaker needs to make us their victims? I bet in the near future they should make the film when the viewers themselves are turned into ghosts to haunt the director. That'd be fun and more flattering to us.


Matthew Hunt said...

The film has an interesting concept, but the plot and acting are below average.

I'm not sure that Deconstructing Harry or Tristram Shandy are good comparisons. Deconstructing Harry may be a better comparison with Stranger Than Fiction (an author confronted by his characters). Coming Soon has more in common with another Woody Allen film - The Purple Rose Of Cairo.

Kiattisak said...

Do you mean 'when' in '... that's why the protagonist was talking to his friend ...'?

dechito said...

Thanks Kiattisak. I've made the correction.