One knows nothing about any of the other versions of the legend. Nonzee Nimibutr states that his take on the legend was to approach it as a love story. This tends to suggest that the other versions have come across more as ghost stories. As such, Nimibutrs approach takes the film to a different audience than it might have gone to had it been played a different way. The audience at the Vancouver International Film Festival screening were an older crowd who seemed interested in the film for its ethnic background and romance and not for its often strong horror elements. Certainly, in its playing to the respectable arthouse crowd, Nimibutr has mounted the film with a lavish hand. The sunsets and tropical swamp landscapes are beautifully photographed. The film is very nicely directed in the opening fifteen minutes, Nimibutr conducts some clever crosscutting between the husband wounded on the battlefield and the wife going into childbirth.
There are a number of often strong horror elements shock images like finding a body crawling with rats, the spooky image of Nak appearing during the exorcism while hanging upside down from the roof. There is one good moment where the priests go to visit Mak, he offers them food and then points to the baby in the crib where we see for the first time that all that is there is rotting debris. However, Nimibutr plays the piece more as a love story than a horror film. Unfortunately, he is hamstrung here by two inexpressive leads he comes across as rather thick, while she is too demure to make much impact. This is a love story that should have set the screen alight with its passion but comes across far too cautiously. When Nimibutr does get around to emotion, all the weepy longeurs and goodbyes at the end go on far too long. The result is a film that falls uncertainly between two poles a love story that seems conducted more in terms of lavish screen affect than emotion and a ghost story that is sold to an audience that has no interest in horror.
Subsequently, Nonzee Nimibutr went onto direct other genre items, including an episode of Three/Three Extremes II (2002), the fantasy film Queens of Langkasuka/Legend of the Tsunami Warrior (2008) and the science-fiction film Distortion (2012). Nimibutr has also produced the Pang Brothers Bangkok Dangerous (1999) and The Eye 2 (2004).
(Nominee for Best Cinematography at this sites Best of 1999 Awards).
Full film available online here (no subs):-