Not a boring Buddhist thriller, Saranyoo Jiralak’s debut feature 9 Wat starts off with a bang. tells the story of a man name Nat whose quest is to correct his entire past mistake in exactly seven days by visiting 9 temples. In 9 WAT three people are more or less willingly going on that journey to do good and return home cleansed and with a pure heart and mind. All three characters have different purposes for taking this trip. But later they discover that they were put together on this trip for an unforeseeable reason. Thai people are great at horror and this film is another one that will sadly slip under the radar yet is one of the strongest efforts of the year thus far.
Trust me, I know 9 Wat looks like your average Thai horror flick if you take the promotion materials as a benchmark. Horrifying acts done in their previous lives reveal themselves as the journey goes by. What’s also cool about 9 Wat is the soundtrack which involves a rock and electronica score that is effective, energetic and a refreshing change from the pounding pianos and grating strings that usually drone away. Yes, 9 Wat is scary, yes, it’s a bit gross, but it is also another good example of horror that works particularly well within a specific context. Furthermore it features a small, but convincing cast and very intimate atmosphere that is also reflected in its visual style.
The couples are accompanied by Sujitto, a young monk who takes care of the Tripitaka house as well. Each with a different purpose in mind, they later discovered that there is more reason behind this trip. It is really awesome to see the story unraval as time elapses. Throwing a rock at a bird to keep it from eating a worm is one way to interfere with a karmic cycle you are not part of. In other words, mind your own business. That is basically what this film tries to teach you as you watch it.
Starring Siraphan Wattanajinda, James Alexander, Paradorn Sirakowit and Penpak Sirikul, these are young actors to be out on the lookout for. They bring a fresh attitude to the over saturated horror scene. All of my horror readers out there that want to sink their teeth into an intelligent yet suspenseful film should give 9 Wat, or Secret Sunday, a chance. Even with the toned-down sexploitation factor and the relative incoherence of the plot, 9 Wat should connect with an audience looking for a fun and original Asian horror movie. The perfect blend of gore, sexuality, and intelligent script writing, I thoroughly enjoyed this film.