When I first heard of Dorm it was described as a Thai horror movie, but Dorm can be described as more of a supernatural thriller than a flat out horror movie. It’s an interesting mix of Thai culture and stereotypical western thriller ideas. The end result is somewhat boring, yet in a way enchanting enough to keep you interested.
Dorm, from director Songyos Sugmakanan, follows twelve year old Chatree’s, played by Chatree Trairat, enrollment and stay in an all boy’s boarding school being forced on him by his father. Being the new kid in school isn’t easy and on the first night there he has deal with a bully and his entourage, the kind that exist only to make the poor kid’s life miserable. The share with him some ghost stories about the school, particularly one about a boy drowning in the pool behind the school, and next thing you know weird things start happening. Chatree befriends another boy named Vichien, played by Sirarath Jianthavom, and starts to find some solace in school life. It doesn’t take long for the two of them to hit it off and things look like they’re going to change for the better until Chatree finds himself caught up in a real life haunting that involves his new friend, who may be harboring a secret of his own.
Dorm is part ghost story, part psychological thriller and part coming of age story. The pace of the film ensures that there’s enough going on to keep things eerie and mysterious during the first two thirds while giving the last act the space needed to wrap things up nicely. The acting by the children was top notch, with some strong performances by Trairat and Jianthavom. The visuals are very strong with the cinematography nicely capturing the schools eerie atmosphere, giving it an even darker tone.
The one thing that drove me absolutely nuts though was the inconsistencies of the make up department, or who ever deals with the hair. Chatree started the film with a crew cut, but you’d go from one scene to another and his hair style would change. Wake up and he’s got a crew cut, walking down the stairs and still has a crew cut, talks to a fellow student and his hair has grown in, walking away from said student and he’s back to a crew cut. This went on the entire time and it drove me mad. In the end though it was a minor-ish nitpick.
Dorm is an interesting coming of age story that deals with a ghost and one persons attempt at help said ghost. While it’s not groundbreaking or action packed it is entertaining enough to get the job done. Check it out if you can.