Ghost Lab (2021) – Netflix Movie Review

A Disjointed Haunt

Ghost Lab is a Thai horror/thriller exploring the afterlife and ghosts. There’s an interesting question at the heart of this, revolving around how far one would go for a scientific discovery, but the movie oftentimes undermines its own premise. The run-time is around 45 minutes too long, and the tone flits between melodrama, horror and comedy far too often, making for a somewhat disjointed watch.

The movie itself actually starts quite brightly, as the story immediately centers on two enthusiastic doctors, Wee and Gla Ar-Jong.  Together, they set out to try and prove the existence of ghosts.

Gla has had a previous experience with ghosts before, dating way back to his childhood where he remains convinced that his Father came to see him. Wee however, is sceptical at first until he encounters a frightening ghost in the hospital cafeteria late at night.

This is enough for Gla and Wee to team up and track down these ghosts. From here, the movie changes direction slightly as Gla and Wee hunt for ghosts while becoming ever-more desperate to try and prove their existence. There’s some deliciously twisted plot deviations here too, but after this crescendo of drama the film slows down to a crawl.

It’s also around this point that Ghost Lab changes from an outright horror to something closer to a melodrama. While there’s nothing wrong with that, the movie wallows in its own self-pity for far too long. The result sees the screenplay sag badly before finally picking back up for the final 20 minutes or so. It’s here the movie dabbles a lot more in thriller territory.

There are a lot of genre switches through this movie which is definitely a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps to keep things unpredictable. On the other, it also sees Ghost Lab struggle to settle into a consistent rhythm, making for a somewhat disjointed watch.

Props to Ghost Lab though, the horror that is here is actually crafted really well. The burnt man scenes are excellent, while the first-person POV shots while the duo hunt for ghosts is equally eerie. Unfortunately these are the only fleeting moments of horror. Instead, that shock changes to one of self-reflection as we see both characters pushing themselves to find out the truth no matter what.

Thankfully, decent acting from both Thanapob Leeratanakachorn and Paris Intarakomalyasut help to drive this film forward, and their friendship is ultimately the gas that keeps this film chugging forward. There are a couple of supporting characters here too but this is very much a two-character ensemble and the pair do a great job with the screenplay.

Where Ghost Lab excels though is with its human drama. This is not a horror movie in the conventional sense but a film about human connection and obsession. If you can go into this expecting a litany of different genres thrown in, Ghost Lab definitely has some compelling parts, it’s just a pity that the movie takes up 45 more minutes than it should to hammer home its points.

That is ultimately the biggest problem with this film. It just takes far too long to get to the good stuff and by then, the initial drama and tension dissipates. Strong acting and a couple of good twists do help, while a few neat twists along the way help to keep things unpredictable.

If you can go in with some patience, there’s definitely some positives here but with a bit more editing in the lab, this ghost could have proven to be a much more compelling haunt.


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    Verdict - 6/10
6/10

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