Despite its title, “I Miss U” is actually a Thai horror film, albeit one with a decidedly romantic and wistful bent, director Monthon Arayangkoon, combining the love story of his 2010 “Big Boy” with the spooky shenanigans of his earlier shockers “The House” and “The Victim”. The urban legend inspired film is headlined by a trio of ghost veterans, actor Jesdaporn Pholdee (“The Eye 2”), Apinya Sakuljaroensuk (“4 Bia”) and Natthaweeranuch Thongmee (“Shutter”), and proved highly popular at the box office, emerging as the country’s top grossing genre hit of 2012 to date.
The film follows a fairly familiar sounding plot, with Apinya Sakuljaroensuk as Bee, a trainee doctor who starts working at a new hospital and soon catches the eye of the handsome and much sought after Dr Thana (Jesdaporn Pholdee). Unfortunately, despite his attraction to her, the poor man is a tormented soul, still apparently heart-broken after the death of his fiancée Nok (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee) in a traffic accident a couple of years back. Bee’s colleagues advise her against their burgeoning relationship, telling her that several other women who have gone after the doctor have been haunted by the ghost of Nok. Soon enough she is confronted by the ghastly spectre, though is determined to push ahead and to help Thana through his grief.
Although it’s plot and themes are quite similar to many other Thai ghost films. “I Miss U” is essentially much more of a love story, a life after death triangle involving a man, a woman and a semi-vengeful spirit. This in itself isn’t a problem as such, though it’s certainly best for genre fans to have properly adjusted expectations, as the film spends far more time on relationships and domestic issues than it does on scares. Whilst the sparks between Bee and Thana are initially a little unconvincing (it being a little hard to believe an attractive girl would jump at the chance to get with a guy who has massive picture of his ex in his living room, orders an extra cup of coffee for her and sits at an empty table, and who places a fresh bouquet of flowers at her death site every week), the film works well in this respect, with some surprisingly effective and moving drama. Both Pholdee and Sakuljaroensuk are likeable in their roles, and though nothing terribly substantial, the film’s script is solid and features some reasonably strong character writing.
Arayangkoon successfully combines this with a few sinister set pieces and flashes of gore here and there (plus a couple of genuinely fun fake frights), and the film is an engaging mishmash that benefits from some better than average production values and from being nicely shot throughout. The special effects are similarly in general of a decent standard, and when she appears in all her glory, Nok makes for a reasonably creepy looking apparition, even if she quite often doesn’t have much to do other than lurking and scowling.
The only real downer comes with the pacing, the film occasionally lurching into periods of inactivity or branching off to follow pointless subplots and minor characters. At nearly two hours, the running time is a good twenty minutes or so too long, and the film could definitely have done with a little trimming, in particular during a slow middle section. Though it picks up towards the end and features a decent final act, the conclusion is also somewhat dragged out and muddled – perhaps due to the film bizarrely having been released to cinemas with 3 different endings, which played at different screenings.
This isn’t enough to stop “I Miss U” from being an entertaining film which does a solid job of mixing Thai horror and romance, and that should go down well enough with fans of both traditions. Though scarcely original, it’s easy to see why it proved so popular at the local box office, achieving its modest aims and standing as a very acceptable date movie.
Monthon Arayangkoon (director) / Monthon Arayangkoon, Jantima Liawsirikun, Sompope Vejchapipat (screenplay)
CAST: Inthira Charoenpura … Tree
Jesdaporn Pholdee … Thana
Apinya Sakuljaroensuk … Bee
Natthaweeranuch Thongmee … Nok