In his twenty-year experience in the Thai film industry and making fifteen commercial features, director Thanit Jitnukul had made only two movies (Sayuemkui 1, and 2) that response to the country’s popularity in horror. Thus when he decided to follow the recent trend by making a horror, especially in the year with more than three directing projects in his hands, he was labelled only as a profit-taking filmmaker. Regrettably, Art of the Devil became a film that was overlooked by the public.
Stunning sequences break out since the very first scene when Nan shockingly runs off her kid brother’s room, seeing him falling down to illness without reasons. She immediately rushes to her mother’s room, just to find her ill mother completely loses her conscience and can not remember even her daughter. In the midst of chaos, Nan is unexpectedly slapped by someone who is later found to be Bum, her sister-in-law. In the fighting between two women, Bum forces Nan to give her all of the family’s inheritance rights. And the mystery of Nan’s father death is being disclosed. All are started by Bum’s uses of occult and black magic to destroy Nan’s family, after being left in pregnancy by Nan’s father and thrown to the gang-rape by his friends.
Director Thanit knows how to tell the mysterious and unbelievable art of the Southeast Asian occult and black magic into the eyes of modern people. His filmmaking experience teaches him to use crosscutting technique to play between the former and present stories. This trick brings audiences into the curiosity of what is coming next. But it sometimes also causes an unclear story development, partly due to the fast editing and cut. We do not know immediately that Nan’s mother is only the second wife of her father and then transfer of her father’s inheritance is complicated and inevitable. Western audience might not know that Nan’s brother is suddenly crushed on Bum, due to her use of black magic power in their first encounter at a dancing club. It is only a swift of finger touch that perhaps is not noticeable. But this is common known here in Thai society.
Art of the Devil is full of details, but might be overlooked or not noticeable due to the cultural differences.