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By Jeremy Knox | July 10, 2004

A young woman is thrown off the train at Prompriam Train Station because she has no money for a ticket. She says that she must go see her fiancé, is insistent to the point of hysterics, but that doesn’t cut any ice with the conductor and off she goes. A few days later she is found raped and murdered by the tracks. How she got there and why unfolds before us in this 2003 thriller from Thailand.

“The Macabre Case of Prompiram” is macabre indeed, but is that enough? The main problem with the film is that we’ve all been here before. We’ve seen this particular story and these people many many times and know the archetypes of the genre well: The terrible crime, the likely suspect, the incompetent doctor, the new police recruit, the old pro, the red herring, the man who knows something. All these and more are well represented here.

Still, the film is not without its merits. The music fits the mood perfectly. The cinematography is quite good. The acting is above average. What we’re left with are a good cast and crew in search of a more original story to tell. It’s a shame that they wasted their time with this kind of thing. They’re better than this.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, I was entertained despite everything I’ve said.
The director has a sure hand and never lets things get too boring. The elements are mind-numbingly familiar but the setting gives them a bit of freshness. The ending saves it from being little more than a TV movie, with a focus on what happens right before the killing rather than the killing itself. Those events, which I will not mention, let you know that the “macabre” part of the title isn’t an exaggeration.

I was surprised to learn that the story is, in fact, true. This explains the somewhat run-of-the mill plot, since true crimes tend to be quite mundane. Murder is always sad and cheap and sordid and this case is no different.

Watching this film, I felt the urge to see a documentary on the subject. Now, THAT would rate at least four stars.

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