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Siam Square

Opening Date
11 May 2017
PG13 Horror
Thai with English & Chinese subtitles
Phairat Khumwan
Isaya Horsuwan, Thanabodee Jaiyen, Purim Ratanaruangwatana, Thanyawee Chunhaswasdikul, Morakot Lew, Ploy Sornnarin, Nattasit Kotimanaswanich, Atikhun Adulpokatorn, Manapat Techakampu, Anongnart Yusanont
One night, a blackout occurred when May and Jublek are at their tutoring school in Siam Square. Later, they realized that it is not just the building but a blackout in the entire Siam Square. When the lights came back on, they're reminded of the tale of a girl that mysteriously disappeared in Siam Square many years ago. It is rumoured that her spirit has haunted the place, and every time there's a blackout, she will appear to take someone with her. May, Jublek and their group of friends begin to experience unusual incidents, and the myth of the Siam Square spirit becomes more powerful in their minds. Above that, they have to worry about their entrance exam and romantic conflicts that come between them. Siam Square is no longer a fun place. With every strange happening, they come closer to the dark truth. Now they have to face the reality and try to correct the situation before it is too late.
By Freddy  05 May 2017
‘Siam Square’ is a disjointed horror drama that has more drama than horror and is rather unsatisfying at both.
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Thai horror movies have their own reputation. From films like 4bia, Shutter, and Pee Mak, the audience have come to expect Thailand to give us the scares. If those are the types of film you expect, ‘Siam Square’ might not be for you. Despite what its marketing leads you to believe, is not a pure horror film, ‘Siam Square’ is not purely a horror film. It has strong leanings towards being a teen romance.

It starts with a horror scene at night in a cram school in Siam Square. We meet some of the main characters, who are all high school students. The film soon time-traveled to one week ago. Most of the film focus on that one week leading up to the very first scene. Unfortunately, most of this one week is horror-free.

The biggest problem with ‘Siam Square’ is that the drama and the horror portions feel disjointed. The only source of horror in the one week comes from the four boys who have a Youtube channel debunking ghost myths. Without their shenanigans, the film would be even less of a horror film. It is also clear that this portion of the plot does not involve the other six main characters until the end, making this feel tacked-on.

A few mysteries are presented early on. Who is the female ghost in the cram school? What is the content of the red book? Who is the mystery person that May (Eisaya Hosuwan) has been texting? The reveal to these mysteries are overly long-drawn. That might still be fine if some of the characters are actively gathering clues to find out about these, but the reveals appear whenever it feels convenient.

Director Pairach Khumwan is not typically a horror film director and it shows. The film certainly has its moments of suspense and terror, but it is strongest when it fleshes out the friendships between the characters. Its depiction of the changing friendship between May and Jublek (Morakot Liu) is good. It also explores romantic relationships, academic pressure, bullying, and coping with parental expectation. The film manages to show the complexity of teenage life well.

Many high school films tend to make the characters seem anti-social, often only having a handful of friends and zero interaction with anyone else. Having ten characters certainly makes this film feel more realistic. Despite having to juggle many characters, each of them feels distinctive enough in appearance and personality. Almost every one of them is given an interesting story, without muddling the fact that May is clearly the film’s focus.
The acting of the young cast is relatively good. Their personalities are exaggerated at times, but are within reasonable range. May feels rather blank at times, clearly an audience surrogate, although this is more of the script’s demands rather than Eisaya Hosuwan’s fault. May’s interactions with Jublek, Nid (Ploy Sornanin), and Terk (Peem Jaiyen) show that the actress has enough range to flesh out the character given the opportunity.

The film returns to its horror focus towards the end of the one-week flashback. The ending is another part where ‘Siam Square’ falters. It has a good attempt to inject its horror story with some morality, but the message is conveyed to the character who least needs to hear it. While the ending resolves the ghost’s problems, our characters are left behind with unfinished strands. Films do not have to get a conclusion to all the problems they presented, but its decision to offer an ending for May and her mystery friend while ignoring other subplots, such as May and Jublek’s conflict, makes the ending feel rushed and incomplete.

‘Siam Square’ is a disjointed horror drama that has more drama than horror and is rather unsatisfying at both. The horror and drama elements do not gel well together and the ending leaves more to be desired. It is a pity as the film has a lot of potential with its relatively more realistic depiction of high school students on film and its explorations of different relationships.
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