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Ghost Lab Film Review

★★★ Stars

Directed by: #PaweenPurijitpanya

 
A dark and gloomy chemistry-type classroom is shown here; a desk with solutions in the middle of the image with a large green chalkboard taking up the entire expanse of the image on the wall behind it.

”After witnessing a haunting in their hospital, two doctors become dangerously obsessed with obtaining scientific proof that ghosts exist.”


How far would you go to seek a conclusion to an in-depth experiment? Hopefully you wouldn’t go as far as Gla (Paris Intarakomalyasut) and Wee (Thanapob Leeratanakachorn) because, well… I’m afraid I might have to hand you over to the police if that’s the case. Ghost Lab, now available to stream on Netflix, follows these two doctors as they embark on a journey to prove that ghosts exist and are among us in different forms. However, this journey goes further than one would expect when conducting something simply labelled as an ‘experiment.’

Ghost Lab has been promoted as a film that fits into the horror genre but, in my opinion, it is actually a film that would be classed as a drama. The supernatural element of the story doesn’t carry the terrifying core that other horror films do; it is based on the impact of relationships and boundaries between the characters rather than a horror-type follow through. I definitely wasn’t scared at any point, and I’m very jumpy when it comes to supernatural films, but regardless of this, there is a constant tension that can be felt which ensures that you feel on edge through its duration.

The overall concept that the plot follows is extraordinary and really makes your head spin with possibilities and explanations that could fit into the film’s universe. Writers Vasudhorn Piyaromma, Paween Purijitpanya and Tossaphon Riantong developed a thoroughly interesting storyline that flows brilliantly from start to finish. The theories portrayed by the characters on the subject of the supernatural are powerful and understandable as well, keeping the tension high as events unfold. I personally don’t believe in ghosts and supernatural beings but a plot this good makes me want to talk to more people that do – not often do I find a film that makes me want to seek connections with people in such a way and learn a little more about their own beliefs and views. Unfortunately, this great concept just wasn’t executed in the best way possible, leaving the film lacking a sense of success that it easily could have had. Events in scenes can feel somewhat forced and are clumsily presented, especially towards the end when the climax of the film starts to show its colours. The last section of content in Ghost Lab spirals out of control in places, slightly undoing the more sophisticated and well depicted parts revealed earlier in the film. I can’t seem to decide if there is a balance between the bad and the good here; I think the film’s presence in its entirety can be described by the idea of a spirit level assisting a painter in hanging their works in their studio. The bubble bounces back and forth as the painting is twisted until it finds the right level for viewing pleasure. The film does tend to drag on a bit as it tries to come to an agreeable conclusion, just like the frustration a spirit level can certainly cause.

Thanapob Leeratanakachorn is without a doubt the main spark that keeps this film alive. His acting abilities gain more vibrancy and strength as tension in the story increases; he matches the energy of each scene with immense accuracy and brings heavier emotion to his character’s stance within the experiment that is unfolding. Ghost Lab dives right into action with the experiment being established not long after the film begins, leaving little room to decorate the space with deliberate characterisation. In Leeratanakachorn’s case, characterisation comes naturally with how well he immerses himself in each situation that he is thrusted into. As an audience member, it’s very difficult to detach yourself from Wee’s emotional output because of how enveloping it is, which only increases the tensity that can be felt from the film’s enticingly uncomfortable atmosphere.


Ghost Lab is an enjoyable watch for those who find interest in films of a dramatic nature as well as ones with supernatural concepts. A pleasant equilibrium of these subjects can be found here, with the addition of striking music (Bill Hemstapat) to keep your ears on high alert too… I had to mention the use of music somewhere because it’s just too good not to give praise to, even if it’s in a single sentence.

 

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