Lizard Woman (Review)

Lizard Woman

aka Tuk Kae Phii

2004
Directed by Manop Udomdej

Lizard Woman is from Thailand, and in Thailand and other parts of southeast Asia there are geckos everywhere. Geckos permeate the culture, they are like lizard cockroaches and poop all over. The big city is supposed to be above having geckos around, which is indicative of the countryside and the less modern people who live there. Yes, class struggles in Thailand, how interesting. Regardless, gecko women is a common horror meme, there are probably a lot of ancient tales about them related to the snake-women phenomenon that is all over Asia. I know of one other Gecko horror movie (called Gecko, believe it or not! And I have it on vcd…) and have seen enough covers of Thai films to know there are probably others.

Kwanpilin (Rungrawee Barijindakul) – A writer who has recently gained fame due to her horror novels, particularly one centered on evil lizard spirits. The same types of spirits who will now possess her! The actress is credited as Rungraree Barijindakul thanks to the multiple ways to translate Thai into English.
Vitool (Pete Thongchua) – Psychiatrist boyfriend of Kwanpilin who spends most of the film not believing his girlfriend is possessed. You can’t spell Vitool without “tool”. He is particularly lame, and I took great joy in his death.
Reporter (Chatthapong Pantanaunkul) – Photographer who catches glimpses of the geckos in his photographs, prompting him to investigate further. He is a totally extra character, so of course he dies.
Brother of the Maid (???) – Brother (I am guessing, he might be the boyfriend but they didn’t seem that close) of Kwanpilin’s maid Aunt Sai, he joins Reporter in the search for the truth of the gecko women upon his sisters death. He has a big heart, and if you don’t believe me Kwanpilin has ripped it out for all to see!
Gecko People (various) – A good chunk of the film is a side story about people who go caving and then get lost in the woods, and get all geckoed the frak up. I didn’t pay much attention at first because it looks like Kwanpilin was writing this as a story within a story, but it kept going. Gecko people are like a weird version of the J-Horror ghost girls.



A bunch of archaeologist are spelunking around in a cave. What the movie fails to tell us but the DVD synopsis does is that they found this ancient box in the cave that was used in rituals. That is the same box we are introduced to in the film as one idiot drops it, and it falls off a cliff and breaks open. There was a carved stone gecko inside. Exciting stuff. This is the opening sequence, and I thought it would just be a five minute affair. And then it kept going. And going. And going!

Since we are led to assume that main character and writer Kwanpilin is writing all of this, I failed to follow it very closely, but these cave-exploring archaeologists (only one of them is older than 23) have car trouble and end up hiking through the jungle until they see an abandoned spooky house. The perfect place to set up camp for the night! Also, no one has a cell phone to call for a ride? This is Asia we are talking about here!

One girl decides she needs to get naked upstairs and wash off, and I am all for that. Hooray for unexpected nudity! Of course that means she is grabbed by something off-screen, and is soon seen floating around the house unresponsive, like some sort of ghost girl. I think the characters call her Neo, which just leads to too many Matrix jokes and I’ll pass for once. They find Neo’s dead body in a different room from where the ghost version of her walked, and there are geckos everywhere!

Geico, you monsters!

Geckos are crawling all over, hissing, being CGI at random times, then one drops down and bites some dudes face, not letting go. This guy stretches out his face like it is made of rubber. Very impressive, he should be in the circus sideshow instead of spelunking and being killed by geckos. Another lizard jumps down a girls throat and it looks like now everyone is lizarded, except one girl and her boyfriend who ran. She manages to not only fall (a cliche in my Thai horror film???) but drops the flashlight so it doesn’t work (we have hit double cliche!) then she stays put right where she is in the middle of the jungle instead of keeping on moving (we have triple cliche – Movie, you’re OUT!) Geckos rain down on her like…rain. Her boyfriend wanders around in the jungle after her while she kills a random guy from a group too boring to mention.

A glowing sphere thing heads towards the boyfriend…I have seen this before. It is the energy being that feeds off of violence that Kirk and Kang fought from the Star Trek episode Day of the Dove! And now it is 21st century Thailand! Quick, laugh at it, boyfriend guy! No, don’t be scared, now it is going to kill you… He makes it back to the spooky house. (Why would you go back into the house?) Now the house is filled with geckoed women, including one that attacks him with an ax while J-horror ghosting around. He proves helpless when defending himself against a girl. Just take the ax, you pussy! He finally KO’s her and leaves the house (again) for the road (where he should have went), flags down a car, and gets in without checking that it is filled with gecko people, because it is! Wait, that isn’t exciting, just expected. Lame!

We are 30 minutes in and haven’t even gotten to the main story yet!

Finally, writer girl Kwanpilin goes to Chiang Mai to promote her new book. The other story keeps going, with the police collecting the dead bodies of all the missing kids…wait, this is real and not the story that girl wrote? What the heck? Why won’t this story go away? Stupid gecko ghosts.

Kwanpilin goes to an interview and answers questions from the public, and also picks up one of those spooky wooden boxes the archaeologists found (hey, if you just wrote that story why are you buying spooky boxes?) Back home, she will start to find gecko droppings all over her house throughout the movie, and keep yelling at her maid Aunt Sai about it. What a nice boss. Kwanpilin meets her psychiatrist boyfriend Vitool and begins to have visions of geckos, he is concerned and runs a million tests on her.

At one point they fight and she comes out of the bathroom in her bra and undies to yell at him. I mention this because I care about telling you everything you need to know about Lizard Woman.

The tests prove nothing and the girl is still freaking out. At this point Dr. House would have a cool theory and Cameron would think they need to be nicer to the lizard girl. But there is no Dr. House team, we have Dr. Tool…I mean Dr. Vitool. Kwanpilin’s house gets geckoed at night, the maid begins to freak out, runs across Kwanpilin who has a crazy lizard face, and the maid dies and is found next morning.

This lizard face was the best lizard face in the film, sadly. So it is all downhill from here with wacky faces. But I still have my DVD of Wacky Races, which is almost as fun.

A Reporter who took a photo and found a gecko shadow teams up with the maid’s brother to try to get to the bottom of things. They are ignored by Kwanpilin’s boyfriend, because real doctors don’t talk to other people. Kwanpilin goes nutso and starts chickfighting with nurses, and even rips her own clothes open (hello surprise nudity!) until she is sedated.

This would be the point on House where the entire team is paged, and House makes several remarks about Cutty’s chest while trying to convince her of his radical theory that Kwanpilin is a gecko woman. But, again, no House, we just have Vitool, who manages to miss the fact that Kwanpilin has left the hospital, is now walking on walls, and is climbing onto street lamps to eat tasty bugs. Luckily for her the Reporter is there to take a picture of her.

Kwanpilin then vomits bugs all over the maid’s brother.

The maid’s brother takes Kwanpilin to some Witch Doctors to perform exorcisms. Kwanpilin interrupts as the female Witch Doctor stars with “Ooh, Eeh, Ooh ah ah” and has a gecko eat her eyeball!

Witch Doctor #2 now tries, while Kwanpilin channels The Exorcist and is going all demonic. She yanks off her undies to try to disrupt the service (we see nothing) and eventually dirt is tossed on her which gets the spirit out and back into the gecko carving that was in the spooky box…

Until the carving bites the witch doctor guy, yanking off his finger! D’oh!

Kwanpilin is repossessed and rips out the heart of maid’s boyfriend and eats it!

By now the Reporter has convinced Dr. Vitool that his girlfriend is a gecko woman, and the two chase after Kwanpilin. The Reporter runs into the gecko girls from the beginning 30 minutes of the movie and they yank him underground. Meanwhile, Vitool finds his lizard girlfriend. He tries to work the charm: “Hey baby, I love you!” It works…NOT! She jumps right through him and turns from human to gecko and back again while doing so! There is blood everywhere, this effect is pretty awesome and I have never seen someone killed by morphing gecko woman before. Okay, that one time on a trip to New Mexico, but that happens all the time there.

She has his still beating heart in her hand! More cool points!

The cops from earlier are now cleaning up this mess of bodies. One finds the creepy house and goes inside, alone, without telling anyone. He gets geckoed the frak up by the gecko girls! A giant gecko grabs his foot and rips it off, and then he is swarmed by tiny ones.

Oh, wait, now author is back at the question and answer session…this whole thing was a story? Frak that crap! That stupid cliche is as original as the spooky girls all over this movie. Well, then I guess I should have expected as much. I was so expecting more with the cool morph-leap kill. In the end, Kwanpilin heads home and gives the lizard box to her boyfriend…who then…becomes…gecko-possessed! NAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

Bleh.

In addition, take a gander of the film’s star, Rungrawee Barijindakul, in skimpy swimsuits:

Lots more on the blog!

Rated 4/10 (Poopy!, agent, scared to death, shadow gecko)




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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!