Gonggoi: The Beast (Review)

Gonggoi: The Beast

Directed by Jaroongsak Vonglaueng

An example of Thai horror from their very numerous killer monsters/spirits genre (combining both!) we get a killer gorilla with glowing red eyes named Kong Koy (spelled Gongoi in the title, but what are you going to do?) that is the ghost of the previous owners of a monkey statue that are driven to kill to regain ownership of said statue. Thus the film gets filled with stupid teenagers who die, but not enough other people die. The long dragging in the beginning followed by lots of padding throughout the film stretch the running time and make it feel like a three-hour long film, and not in a good way. For those of us who just want to see red-eyed monkeys killing teenagers, we get what we want, but have to put up with a lot of annoyances to get to it.

Professor Laphin (???) – Former college professor who left academia to pursue a life of artifact trading for profit. Still manages to know all sorts of folk legends that modren kids don’t care about. Also manages to be a good shot with a gun and an expert in putting red tags on monkey heads.
Joe (???) – Joe is a complete moron who manages to steal a haunted artifact, do the one thing that will make the haunted artifact activate and kill everyone, then not do anything to stop it the entire time until almost everyone is dead. Then he doesn’t even have the courtesy to die. Joe, I say “No!”
Dan (???) – Dan isn’t a nice guy, so he has to die. Goodbye, Dan!
Dome (???) – Dome has long hair and is a cool-looking dude, too bad about his name. He is dating Yoyo but soon end up on the wrong side of a mad monkey ghost’s fist. He’ll never be a soul singer now!
Yoyo (Annie Roongnapa Brooke) – daughter of Professor, mixed despite both of her parents being Thai, so either she’s somebody’s step-daughter, someone was fooling around, or the director thought we just wouldn’t notice. Annie Brooke is a semi-famous model in Thailand and even has an Idol vcd called Sexy Return. It also looks like she has been in several other low-budget horror films such as Mortal Reflection and Sherry Ann, but I can’t find any personal information about her.
Tick Tack (Jintana Aromyen) – Tick Tack (who might be Tick Tock, but it isn’t spelled that way in the subs) is Dan’s girlfriend and is the hot one of the group (I reject the film’s attempt to make Yoyo the hot one just because she’s mixed. Tick Tack is also the crazy one who loses her mind quickly. Jintana Aromyen can also be seen in Janram aka Blind Moon and Secret Room No. 7 (SR7), both of which I know nothing about except that Janram looks like a vampire lesbian film. 2010 UPDATE: Be glad I wrote this years before Ke$ha appeared and this review isn’t filled with jokes about her waking up and feeling like P. Diddy.
Palm (???) – Joe’s girlfriend and the least of the three girls. I called her Girl3 throughout my notes because they don’t mention her name until after she dies. Spoilers. Palm is not a very faithful girl, so she is the first girl to die. I have no idea who played her.
Kong Koy (???) – A guy in a flea-bitten monkey suit with glowing eyes, who is supposed to be the evil spirit of a wooden doll that was the doll’s first owner and wants it back. Also known as Gonggoi.

I could not identify who actors/actresses Pongsakorn Srijun or Sarus Lao Utaiwattana were, and was unable to identify any of the others. So another incomplete filmography thanks to me not being able to ready every language on the planet.

It starts out in a typical opening with two teens camping in the woods, being watched while they splash in a lake. The guy is murdered by red Kool-aid being thrown at him (that is supposed to be blood?) and the girl runs through the woods only to be killed because she isn’t the main character girl.

After the credits, new people are in the woods! Three guys who look the part of Thai hillbillies. One of them is very much a Thai Sam Kinison. The only important one to know about is Professor Laphin, who is a famed archeologist who has quit university life to make money buying and selling relics. This is an expedition to get more relics, but first they run across a dude having a freak fit in the forest, who bumps into them and drops a wooden doll shaped like a monkey. Of course, Professor picks this up, and the group is only slightly unnerved to come across a camp filled with dead bodies slaughtered by some animal. Not unnerved enough to stop their relic hunting and contact the authorities, mind you. About 15 minutes in, the film finally explains to us who these guys are and what they are doing, but I already told you so let’s skip ahead.

A random guy in the woods asks for food, and tells them The Evil killed the other people. Then he says the woody doll is of Kong Koy, which means the previous owners of the wooden doll will kill the new owners to repossess it, but this can all be countered by putting a cloth patch on the doll’s head, which the Professor does. So Thai ghosts get murderously violent over possession of carved dolls of monkeys? And they do it so often they have a specific name for this? And this specific name for the monkey doll obsession just happens to have “Kong” in it?

So now Professor is back telling some kids about his adventure on the border between Cambodia and Buriram (a Northern Thai province) getting artifacts. I guess that is cheaper than actually showing him pick up artifacts off the forest floor. The kids he are telling are teenagers, three guys named Joe, Dan, and Dome. Also, the Professor’s daughter Yoyo is there. He tells some stories about each of the artifacts that pads the running time.

One artifact is called Thep Lee La Aub Sorn, but you know about her, the angel with a long history, she was Queen of King of Chaivoraman VII, a good dancer and lovable, with many names. Another artifact is King of Black Mermaid. He was a mermaid with mercy of Khong River, once he was cruel because he couldn’t love people, so he flooded a village and killed 10,000 people. I’m just copying down the stories as they appear in the subtitles, people.

Joe steals the Kong Koy woody doll statue because they have to have an enraged monkey killing teenagers somehow, while Professor tells his daughter Yoyo how artifacts are inhabited by spirits so you have to treat them good. He gives her a charm strip of Father Thong, it will protect her. Hehehe, thong.

Lots of random filler at Joe’s house as his parents are leaving town, which means Joe will be hosting a party later in the film. Joe takes the protective cloth off the top of the wooden doll…soon the doll’s eyes glow red for a second, the wind blows, and Joe is all confused. Joe is confused by the concept of food. Joe has a nightmare he is in the forest and an ape rips out his intestines, but it is fake and he is still alive.

The next day Joe, Dan, and Dome are hanging with their girls after the test (Dome is dating Yoyo.) Dan and Joe have their own girls, one of which says “Suck me!” in expressing her mistakes on the test they just took. The new girls are Tick Tack (who dates Dan) and Palm (who dates Joe.) Over lunch, they decide to have a party at Joe’s, but don’t worry lovers of pointless filler, we see the entire meal being eaten. All important to the plot, I am sure.

The party is set up…to a Thai cover of Michael Jackson’s Bad! Awesome! The cast has their heads bobbing along like they can hear the music. This will be the first of many Thai covers of songs that will populate scenes. Tick Tack and Yoyo go to buy more food, while Dan sexually harasses Palm. It works, because he and her are soon making out to a Thai cover of Oh Darling! They are interrupted by a door slamming, and Palm runs off while Dan investigates. He is unusually interested in the woody doll, but Joe comes up to find out what Dan is doing snooping around his bedroom. Joe eventually carries the doll with him in his pocket for reasons unknown.

Later, the party is rocking to a Thai cover of Footloose, as in everyone is sitting in their chairs “dancing” to the song while drinking. This party is out of control! Yoyo’s mom arrives with more food as we finally see monkey feet stepping around outside, but it is still almost another 20 minutes before we see the actual monkey. The next cover is November Rain by GNR, as Yoyo and Dome make out and the other four continue to rock out far more heavy than you would think to the song. The shot quickly changes and now they are grooving to Beat it. Michael Jackson is strangely popular there still.

Tick Tack goes to pee, and then almost has a quickie with Dan, except interrupted by more noise. Dan is then monkey killed, 1 hour in and we finally get mad monkey action! But we still don’t see the damn monkey! I have been spoiled by SciFi Channel films and their constant shots of the monsters, I want my monkey!

The next Thai music cover – The Heat Is On. Tick Tack goes to find Dan…and finds a bloody, screaming Dan, so she runs back to the party (rocking out to a Thai cover of some country song I don’t recognize) screaming at them. Tick Tack, you so crazy!

They go to see what she’s yelling about just to shut her up, but they don’t find Dan as his body has been drug away. They do find a trail of smeared blood, so they just follow that into the woods far more nonchalantly than I would. They find Dan’s body, and also the monkey, who finally shows up and smacks Joe upside the head. Dome tries to beat the monkey with a log, but the ape just punches him as well! If the whole rest of the film is the ape punching people in the head, it will be a cool movie. They all run back to the house.

Yoyo gets a call from her dad, but her cell’s battery dies. The only other cell phone is on a table outside (another unbelievable Thai movie where no one has cell phones! That is their most overused plot device.) The group decides to flee the house, and they leave together, so the glowing-eyed, bloody, fanged ape is waiting for them up in a tree. He CGI swoops down and grabs Palm, killing her instantly and sitting over her bloody body in the tree. Tick Tack freaks and starts yelling at the monster that she ain’t afraid of it no more and daring it to kill her. The rest have to drag her off before the monkey listens to her and kills her.

Barricaded back in the house, Tick Tack accuses Joe of luring them there to kill them all with his pet, while Joe shows Dome the monkey wooden doll. Professor Laphin comes home, then he and wife go to find out why his daughter is out late with boys. He brings a gun. Joe finds the magic cloth on the ground, looks at it, looks at the monkey doll, looks at the magic cloth, looks at the monkey doll…then puts the magic cloth in his pocket. Joe, Joe, what do you know? Obviously, nothing!

“Dan” lures Tick Tack out of the room, then rips her apart. Because he wasn’t Dan, but the monkey monster, hence the quotes. Kong Koy the Monkey Ghost Beast Thing goes after the others, and Joe fights “Dan” so Dome and Yoyo can escape. Joe is no match and becomes knocked out himself. A glowing eye “Joe” attacks Dome and Yoyo, Yoyo runs and pass by the dead bodies of their friends (the dead Tick Tack manages to swallow) and hide indoors. Yoyo’s loud crying should lead the monster right to her but somehow it is now deaf and stupid despite being an omnipresent ghost seconds before.

The monster manages to grab onto Dome, and sucks out his soul! Then cracks open his chest to feed on some organs. It is no time to eat, you still got teenagers to kill, stupid monkey! Real Joe shows up with an axe, but it does no damage and he gets smacked up. Never bring an axe to a monkey knife fight. By now Yoyo’s parents have arrived and are wandering around with the gun. The Monkey monster tries to suck out Yoyo’s soul, but dad sees this and opens fire with his single-barreled, single-load shotgun. Despite being immune to axes, gunfire works on King Koy! Professor manages to stab it with a stick, then put a red tag on its forehead that reminds me of the tags in those hopping vampire films, except this one causes the monkey to freak out and then explode in a flash of light, leaving only the tag and the monkey wooden doll. That’s some fancy tag!

Joe then apologizes. Yeah, thanks a lot, Joe. Joe finds out he is still alive because of the cloth in his pocket, and it gets put back on the monkey statue. Dad tells Yoyo everything is okay while she is crying over her dead boyfriend Dome, so that’s some nice empathy, there.

Later, a red-eyed Dome visits Yoyo while she is working at her dad’s shop, only to vanish! Oh, no! That would be the normal shock ending, except the film goes on for another ten minutes as some random kids get a tour of the artifact displays of Professor, and we know some dumb kid will steal the King Koy statue….he does, and we end.

So tell me why Professor just returned the statue to sitting around his artifact shop at the end instead of burying in under miles of concrete or some other option? Of course, the stupid ghost is out walking around, regardless, dressed up as Dome, so it is not like it hasn’t stopped. In the end, all we have is a film that dragged on far too long. You could skip the entire first hour and not miss anything. All the cool monkey action happens in the last half, so just watch that, and it will look just like a SciFi Channel flick and be cool. SciFi Channel should make films with red-eyed killer monkeys, they could call it Ape Terror: Chimpocalypse 3000 or Killer Mutant Gorillas in the Mist. You hear me, SciFi Channel? Stop renaming yourself stupid names and make with the killer ape films!

Rated 3/10 (The patch, the look, Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?)

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!