Premika (2017)

Director: Siwakorn Charupongsa
Writer: Siwakorn Charupongsa, Komsun Nuntachit, Sukree Terakunvanich
Cast: Kidakarn Chatkaewmanee, Natthacha De Souza, Nutthasit Kotimanuswanich, Todsapol Maisuk, Pramote Pathan, Anongnart Yusananda
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 6.5.2018

For the opening of a new hotel in a pretty remote location, the hotel management has invited a group of VIPs who are supposed to stir up publicity for the hotel with an inaugural stay. The guests include a boyband, a comedic duo (who would like to become a boy band) a singing duo and more. So when they activate a haunted karaoke machine that will kill anyone who sings badly, they should have the best chances. But maybe their talents don’t lie that much in singing. And maybe the ghost in the karaoke machine has its own goals.

Premika is a pretty hilarious comedy over long stretches. It then changes gear quite drastically and turns into a critical examination of marginalization – a change that it pulls off surprisingly well. Definitely worth seeing.

Film poster for Premika (2017), showing a smiling ghost or zombie girl with a microphone in her hand.

Premika works with a pretty big cast of characters, always a challenge to pull off. But it manages the introduction of each pretty well, probably also because they are all completely stereotypical (and some of these stereotypes are also pretty sexist, could have done without that part), so it’s easy to tell them apart / categorize them (unlike, say, all of the dwarves in The Hobbit who all blur together).

And the premise with the haunted karaoke machine is wonderfully absurd, for that alone including the singing and dancing that comes with the premise, the film is really enjoyable. They really work it well, too.

Still from the film where three characters are huddled together in the woods at night with bloodied clothing.

That the film turns away from the clownery, and switches gear into a really sad story that manages to be very touching and throw a whole lot of criticism at the audience was a risky choice. I still don’t understand entirely how they pulled it off, but it did work for me. Despite the fact that I even fell asleep a little (it was late and the last film of a mini-festival, so that is not a judgement of the film), so it’s entirely possible that the transition was made even more abrupt because of that.

Should I get another chance, I would definitely watch Premika again to catch the parts I missed and to just enjoy the film again. It would definitely be worth it.

Film still where we can see three women in front of a karaoke machine that is lit up brightly.

Summarizing: Fun until it is sad, but definitely good.

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