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P (2005)

 -  Horror  -  3 February 2006 (Spain)
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Whilst growing up in rural Thailand, a young orphan girl is taught the ways of magic by her grandmother. But when grandmother falls sick, Dau is lured to Bangkok to find work so that she ... See full summary »



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Title: P (2005)

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Credited cast:
Suangporn Jaturaphut ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dean Barrett
Shaun Delaney ...
Rich Customer
John Kathrein ...
Chartchai Kongsiri ...
Opal ...
Pisamai Pakdeevijit ...
Supatra Roongsawang ...
Narisara Sairatanee ...
Amy Siriya ...
Paul Spurrier
Pattanachat Sritep ...
Shop Owner
Manthana Wannarod ...
Kochakorn Wongkitisopon ...
Shop Owner's Daughter
Dor Yodrak ...


Whilst growing up in rural Thailand, a young orphan girl is taught the ways of magic by her grandmother. But when grandmother falls sick, Dau is lured to Bangkok to find work so that she can buy medicine. She finds herself working in a go-go bar, and her journey from naiveté to maturity is swift. She uses the magical skills her grandmother taught her to her advantage, but in doing so makes enemies within the bar. As her magic gets darker, and the consequences increasingly horrific, she gradually loses control, and something evil takes over. Written by Paul Spurrier

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hunting nightly, hungry for human meat.




Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

3 February 2006 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

P  »

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2.35 : 1
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First Thai language film directed by a Westerner. See more »

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User Reviews

Showgirls meets Hammer Horror?
18 August 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Showgirls meets Hammer Horror? There would be many ways to dismiss this British Thai movie, set in a seedy Bangkok go-go bar, and whose heroine turns into a nasty flesh-eating monster. Mainstream it's not, but for lovers of trashy independents it offers something of a curious mix that is almost a collector's item.

(The title of the film translates apparently as 'Ghost'; as a pun to fun-loving Thai viewers, P-Bar sounds like the Thai word for 'loony'.) Aaw is a nice pubescent girl in rural Thailand, doing her best to look after ailing grandmom. Granny is a white witch and passes on her magic to Aaw just in case it ever comes in handy. The rural photography is beautiful, especially when we consider the film was made on a budget of £180,000. The familiar tale of young girl hoodwinked into moving to the big city to support her elderly relative is part of Thailand's cultural malaise. She gets roped into prostitution of course, and it isn't long before she starts using the 'special powers' Grandma taught her.

Up to this point there is no serious suggestion of any horror elements. Ordinary Thai people tend to believe in magic as a day to day fact, even if they are devout Buddhists, and all we have seen is a pastoral tale, embellished with well-researched superstition and embroidered with lingering detail of initiation into the girlie bar trade.

Director Paul Spurrier spent five years working on the story to ensure that the seemingly trite details were authentic - research that apparently included not only looking into magic traditions but plenty of time interviewing sex workers to understand how they operate (he even cameos in the film as a bar owner). Some of the tales he told me after the film's Edinburgh Film Festival UK Premiere were both sad in their simplicity and amusing in their unexpectedness. A girl had told him how her clients had increased from 4 in a month to 30 the next month after she had gone back home to consult the shamen. The actual witchdoctor in the film was based on a character he met in N.E. Thailand; after answering many, many questions, the witchdoctor grabbed Paul's arm, pulling him ominously into the jungle, saying, "I have done something for you, now you must do something for me!" As the barefooted film director stumbled to keep up, the gravely stones underneath biting into his feet, the shamen looked up in surprised glee - "I always wanted to know that! I had been told that Westerners' feet are soft, and hurt when they walk barefoot in the forest! Now I know!" At one point in the making of the film, the director made himself unpopular with the local madam after asking one of the girls (who was about to go on a recruiting expedition) why she was happily misleading people in the way that she, years earlier, had been misled. Some critics have dwelt on the morality of the film, saying it is both exploitative and lukewarm in its condemnation. While that might be true, the madam answered, "You only hear from girls who think they've been tricked. You don't hear from the hundreds of girls who find rich western husbands working here and go on abroad to marry. I don't hear them complaining." Then there was the go-go girl who asked for a copy of the movie "to send back home to mom, as I don't have any nice pictures to show her where I work." Spurrier was ambivalent when questioned. He thought it was sad that girls were drawn into such a life, but that it was a fact of life for many, just like the magic traditions. It is also a backdrop for the story rather than a moral axe to grind, whether in protest or condoning.

The strange part is the sudden shift of genre into horror. There is no extensive use of CGIs - it tries, if anything, to remain true to the country's tradition (Thailand has about ten new ghost story films a year). It's simplicity recalls not only many other Asian attempts at horror but also early British films where we know the blood is not very real but choose to overlook such facts. That the abrupt change works quite well is a credit to the movie, reminding us more of the masterly film Audition than say the overladen From Dusk Till Dawn. Something evil has been growing inside of Aaw, because she has ignored the rules her grandmother taught her and she is becoming a puppet of the black magic she uses too readily. The transition from nightmares and drug-induced paranoia to the manifestation of evil is understated. Just as the sex-trade is accompanied by typical Thai modesty (no bare bosoms), the horror is shocking but not too shocking, almost as if it is meant to be 'entertaining' rather than genuinely upsetting.

The shortfalls are the derivative story lines, the overlong details of how to work in a go-go bar (especially when all the women look and sound almost identical) and the fact that this Thai-style, British-made movie is not well aimed at any easily identifiable western market (other, perhaps, than DVD). The light-hearted humour (girls exchanging insulting comments about a customer in Thai whilst giving the unsuspecting customer adoring glances and tones, or the giggly exchanges of how to butter-up a Westerner), and the fact that it is the first Thai horror film made by a British director, may endear it to all lovers of light-hearted gore. Most films seek either great artistic acclaim or the hugest profits possible; Spurrick may simply be someone who wants to earn a living as a filmmaker in Thailand. P won't make him a fortune, but it might make him enough to fund the next episode in what could even become a cult niche.

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