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March 12, 2013

Movie Review: The Coffin (2011)

by Peggy Christie

The Coffin is an interesting little flick out of Thailand. Apparently the Thai people believe that if you lie down in a coffin, have it sealed, and pray/wish/whatever for an undetermined length of time, you will be able to stave off bad luck and death. Seems if you are sick, a loved one is sick, or anything in your life needs a little extra oomph behind its success, this is a common ritual. And yeah, anything involving the living and coffins never seems to end well in the movies.

Sue is getting married to Jack. But she has cancer and so this ritual is the obvious choice to set things right (wtf?). Chris’ girlfriend, Mariko, is in a coma. He wants her to get better and he participates. Sue gets through it all right but Chris has an extreme panic attack, dies for a few minutes, and is revived later in the hospital.

Neither of these people thinks the ritual has helped until Sue gets a clean bill of health (no cancer) and Mariko wakes up. On her way back home, Sue is in a car accident but she’s fine. Unfortunately, Jack is killed in a similar accident back home and his ghost, bloody and torn, torments her every day. Chris is able to go home with Mariko but she begins to see horrifying visions of a burned woman and baby and it seems the woman is out for Mariko’s blood.

Sue and Chris finally realize that the bad karma may have left them, but it didn’t go away. It simply moved on to the ones they love the most. They must find a way to break their curses. 

I expected a bit more from a Thai horror movie. I’ve been pleasantly entertained or creeped out from the other films I’ve watched. But this one was simply average. 

The coffin ritual is a fascinating idea, of course. Lots of foreign traditions and superstitions are intriguing to me. Just watching these people, hundreds and thousands of them, snuggle into their individual coffins, witnessing the tops being NAILED into place, made me squirm. I did actually yell, “oh HELL no!” at some point during the ritual scene (this is why I will never watch the movie, Buried, no matter how pretty Ryan Reynolds is). 

At one point in the movie, a psychologist does some studies on people who have gone through the ritual and end up having loved ones die. One subject explains the ‘catch’ – you can’t escape bad luck. It’s simply transferred to someone else. So in order for you to be healthy, someone else has to die. Always read the fine print, people!

The acting is less than stellar. Sue and Jack’s story is boring and I never really felt anything for either of them. I do feel bad for Chris and Mariko, and especially the bloody ghost that makes a nuisance of herself. But beyond that, Thailand has much better horror movies to offer out there. You won’t be missing much on this one.


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