PREMIKA-PARAB (Siwakorn Jarupongpa, 2017)
333 West Twenty-Third St. between Eighth & Ninth Aves.
Friday, July 13, 8:15
Festival runs through July 15
You’re going to think twice about the next time you see a karaoke machine after watching Premika, Siwakorn Jarupongpa’s delightfully fun 2017 horror-comedy making its North American premiere July 13 at the New York Asian Film Festival. The candy-colored Thai flick is set at the grand opening of a hotel in the middle of a forest, where an oddball group of supposed VIPs have gathered. When one of the guests asks if the hotel is haunted, hotel manager Mr. Lee (Fu Nan) freaks out, because of course there is a ghost, and quite an awesome one at that. A young woman in a Sailor Moon outfit whom the police have dubbed “Premika” (Natthacha De Souza) has been murdered by a lake, her body chopped into pieces by a mystery assailant, and she’s determined to stick around until the killer is caught.
Among those wandering around the hotel and forest are Tun (Nutthasit Kotimanuswanich) and Aek (Kidakarn Chatkaewmanee), leaders of a boy band known as the Youth; sexy singing duo Noey (Asiah Johnson) and Yam (Praemai Bailee), accompanied by record producer Somkiat (Pariyate Angoonkitti); the goofy Uab (Tiwat Srisawat) and Uan (Anupapr Suriyathong), who want to be the next big boy band; the adorable Muay (Peraya Aksorndee), whose snide boyfriend, Bird (Nattachai Sirinanthachot), is having problems in the sack; photographers Top (Papinee Srimee) and Nate (Anongnart Yusananda); and Jo (Chattiwut Rungrojsuporn), who has the hots for Noey and Yam. On the Premika murder case are Lt. Poom (Todsapol Maisuk) and Sgt. Ped (Kittipos Mangkang), who have to answer to the chief (Kittiphong Dumavibhat). While the guests grow increasingly uneasy, Premika’s heart beats on in a jukebox, which she uses to test the people at the hotel as she seeks justice. She and the machine will suddenly appear out of nowhere, and the guest, transformed into the star of a lush music video, must sing the selected song perfectly or die a grisly death at the hands of the vengeful Premika, who really knows how to use a hatchet. The longer the investigation goes on without finding her killer, the more brutal Premika becomes.
In his feature-film debut, writer-director Jarupongpa displays quite a knack for both horror and comedy, and his crew, including cowriters Komsun Nuntachit and Sukree Terakunvanich, cinematographer Chukiat Narongrit, production designer Dusit Yapakawong, art director Thiranan Chanthakhat, and costume designer Pirom Ruangkitjakan, has a field day upping the cheese factor while never chintzing on the gore. There’s lots of Three Stooges-level slapstick, utterly silly sound effects, ridiculous double takes, and kooky sexuality, along with plenty of fantabulous carnage. The film is screening July 13 at 8:15 at the SVA Theatre, with De Souza in attendance. The “Savage Seventeenth” edition of the New York Asian Film Festival continues at the SVA Theatre and the Film Society of Lincoln Center through July 15 with a wide range of movies from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Denmark.