DVD Review: My Ex
Review by Kit Rathenar
Whoever wrote the publicity material for Piyapan Choopetch’s My Ex didn’t necessarily do it any favours by trying to push it as a revenge thriller in the mode of Fatal Attraction, as the prospect of yet another revenge horror movie made my blood run cold in all the wrong ways. It took me a second glance at the briefing to realise that this film actually had a supernatural component at all; which is misleading to say the least, as on viewing it quickly becomes clear that while it’s certainly a tale of romantic revenge, My Ex is first and foremost a ghost story. The plot centres on handsome actor Ken, whose indecisive and self-centred approach to his love life is providing the gossip rags with endless material, but leaving a trail of wronged and broken hearts in his wake. When he jilts his pregnant lover Meen in favour of the pretty, spirited Ploy, all while still fending off the distraught pleas of his previous side-girl Bow, he unwittingly ensnares himself in a web of jealousy, madness and vengeance that takes “till death do us part” to a whole new level…
Despite not being initially sure what to expect, I enjoyed watching this film. While it doesn’t seem to have had a huge budget it balances this by refusing to overreach itself and Choopetch’s choice of a relatively steady, measured pace, coupled with his keen eye for visuals, add a gloss of richness and depth that effectively raise the artistic stakes. This is a beautiful film to look at, and I found it easy to become absorbed in the plot despite its comparative simplicity. The lighter scenes of Ken and his various lovers in happier moments add dynamic range and shading to the drama, while the luxurious sets and unremittingly beautiful scenic backdrops offer a setting that makes the horror sequences all the more striking by contrast.
The horror itself meanwhile is very much in the classic Asian cinema mode, with its flickering ghost girl who pops in and out of the corner of the screen at first only to become more and more hideously present as time wears on; black-haired, grey-skinned, rotting and mutilated, she’s nightmarish enough to raise a shudder even when she’s no longer relying on jumps and suspense to scare the viewer. I particularly enjoyed the sense that there’s no effective limit to the ghost’s power, or her imagination – she can turn up in photographs, dreams, the bath, or the passenger seat of a car with equal ease and the consequences will be horrible every time. For those who prefer the gorier side of horror there’s also enough to satisfy, including a magnificently grand guignol suicide scene that graphically justifies every bit of My Ex’s 18 rating just as I was starting to wonder why it had deserved one. Adding to this is the use of purely hallucinatory or psychosomatic violence that allows characters to live through more than their fair share of suffering; and indeed a certain dreamlike quality pervades the entire movie, emphasised by the numerous flashbacks and some simple but effective tricks with colour and filters.
It has to be admitted that in the last analysis this is still very much a genre flick, but it’s not a bad one by any means. If you’re a fan of Asian horror, revenge drama, or simply of beautiful cinematography, you’ll probably enjoy My Ex. Just don’t ever watch it with a date.
My Ex is released to Region 2 DVD on 8th October from MVM.