The Brutal River (Review)

The Brutal River

aka Khoht phetchakhaat

Chartchai Ngamsan as Jamnong Phimaan
Jirapat Wongpaisarn as Pikul Phimaan
Worapod Cha’am as Narinthorn
Lukana Lisani as Karaked
Directed by Anat Yuangngern

Hey, America is not the only country that can produce SciFi Channel films where a giant CGI animal kills people; Thailand can create them as well! Even though it probably has no chance of ever appearing on the SciFi Channel, Brutal River is in spirit similar to the many dozens of films that premiere to the world on that network. Sure, the opening scrawl claims it’s based on a true story, but CGI carnage is the same in every language. A few problems, the pacing is way off, and the movie has habits of dragging, making it seem like it’s much longer than it is, while SciFi Channel flicks usually try to show the monster every 10-15 minutes or so for fresh kills. Oddly enough, other parts of the movie are pulled off quite well, as the film jumps back into quality B-movie territory. Thai film has received a boost recently due to the works of Tony Jaa becoming popular, the quality film Beautiful Boxer, and works of director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. Thai horror has also started to creep around into the public conscious thanks to the general Asian horror leakage. Thus, Brutal River is born! The best selling point of The Brutal River is one of the neat poster one-sheets, which is included with the rest of the screencaps here. I don’t want to say that Brutal River is a terrible film, but it’s just infected with its plot slowdowns ruining the pacing of the film worse than a rogue crocodile would ruin the local canal of a Thai village. That makes it a terrible film, even if you can get enjoyment from it.

Though I’ve watched several Thai films (okay, 2 Thai films), I am still a novice in identifying the actors and local nuances that define Thai cinema and culture. Chartchai Ngamsan (who plays Nong) seems to be the local heartthrob to bring out the ladies. He’s probably best known over here for the cultish Tears of the Black Tiger. Chirapat Wongpaisanlux (or Jirapat Wongpaisarn as she went by in this film) playing Pikulwould be one of our hot women, as well as Lukana Lisani (playing Ked) as the other hot girl. Following traditional Asian fame, many of these people probably have singing careers in addition to their acting careers. It would be nice to know any of that, but English information on any of them is scanty, and Google translations are far more miss than hit. We’ll just make up some facts to fill out the rest of the paragraph. Chartchai Ngamsan owns a riverboat casino and spends most of his non-acting time singing lounge acts onboard. He is the best Robert Goulet impersonator in Asia. Chirapat Wongpaisanlux spends most of her spare time spelling her name in various different ways so she’ll never be credited under the same spelling twice. This compulsion is due to her being trapped alone in an empty closet as a child with only a Scrabble board game for company.

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