Possession predicament postulates perilous perpetual paranormal problems providing panic if prayers don’t prevail.
The Medium is a foreign film from Thailand spoken in Thai with English subtitles. The possession/found footage film tells the story of Shamanism. When a family member starts behaving erratically, it’s believed she is possessed by one of their goddesses. Before long it becomes apparent a more sinister force is behind it. The mystery is who or what is responsible for this?
The entire cast exhibits great acting. Narilya Gulmongkolpech stars as Ming, an innocent young girl who’s victimized by the malevolent force. Her dark descension is portrayed with subtlety at first before going off the rails, in a good way, driving the film. She can change her facial expressions from cute to crazed on a whim while remaining sympathetic so well it’s uncanny. She didn’t ask for any of this but has to endure. She performs her role with the gravitas of Linda Blair from The Exorcist. Without the right person in this role, the film wouldn’t work.
Sawanee Utoomma is Nim, a shaman and Ming’s aunt. She tries to investigate the scenario to remedy the solution. Her captivating performance of a strong, wise woman encapsulates the fear of uncertainty but bravery required to help her niece.
Sirani Yankittikan is Noi, Nim’s sister and Ming’s mother. She’s the skeptic. Having people involved who don’t believe in the supernatural adds layers to the story by showing different perspectives. She relinquished her title as the next Shaman in line to give it to her sister. Her complicated past has come back to haunt her. She’ll do whatever it takes to her help daughter on her desperate quest to make things right. Her performance is phenomenal.
Yasaka Chaisorn as Manit, Noi’s husband. He disagrees with how his wife handles the dilemma. She doesn’t want her sister Nim’s help but he thinks it’s the only way. He adds another viewpoint as a concerned father hopelessly watching his daughter’s deterioration, hoping for a resolution. As he tries to convince his wife to allow Nim to help, his frustration is felt, making him empathetic.
Directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, the found footage style of The Medium is used in unconventional methods. For example, a crew of documentary filmmakers is at the village to research the aspect of Shamans, therefore, the different cameramen capture the train of events as if by accident. They watch the horrors in “real-time” as the audience does. He makes great use of practical effects with CGI only used minimally. Effective, cringe-worthy body horror elements ramp up the intensity and severity of the circumstances. The lush tropical landscape balances the dichotomy of beauty and brutality.
The screenplay tells a good slow boil story but it’s paced so it doesn’t lag in the second act. The unpredictability is astounding. I really couldn’t guess what was going to happen next.
Overall, I don’t usually enjoy possession films but The Medium had me interested throughout the over two-hour runtime. The gorgeous scenery is on full display too. I could look at the breathtaking picturesque terrain all day. I enjoy foreign films because they’re a refreshing viewing experience. It’s nice to step outside the realm of Hollywood Americana to get a glimpse of other cultures from around the world. Seeing other cultures’ beliefs and traditions is fascinating but knowing it was made by citizens of Thailand in their homeland gives it an authenticity that Hollywood couldn’t replicate without feeling disingenuous. Similar to Pan’s Labyrinth, Veronica, those would be very different films if they were American-made. This reminds me more of a blend of original The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, and [Rec] if I had to make comparisons. And remember, fear of the unknown is felt the same all around the world.
8 out of 10