Thailand’s Inhuman Kiss (2019): Romantic, Evil
Netflix’s Inhuman Kiss is about a girl (Sai, played by Phantira Pipityakorn) who hosts the Krasue, a mythological monster of southeast Asia, especially, in this case, Thailand.
More about the Krasue below.
This article reviews Inhuman Kiss with no spoilers past the first ⅕ of the film. Instead of ruining the ending, I’m going to give you a taste of whether it’s worth it to watch Inhuman Kiss on Netflix.
Inhuman Kiss is an entertaining film that, despite running a bit long, is fun to watch and provides a unique horror experience.
Stuff You Need to Know
Here’s the stuff they don’t tell you in school. It’ll help you enjoy the movie.
It’s a Period Piece
Inhuman Kiss takes place in 1940s Thailand. There’s talk of Bangkok getting bombed, and getting to “be a soldier and shoot at enemies.”
In the 1940s, Japan invaded Thailand.
In the end, Thailand and Japan signed an armistice (like an agreement to stop fighting each other), and actually, Thailand eventually even ended up completely joining up with Japan and the axis powers, annexing territories from its neighbors.
Smart move, considering that Japan was looking pretty scary at the time.
You know what they say: if you can’t beat em, join em.
Krasue is Actual Thai Mythology
Krasue are creatures from Thai and Southeast Asian mythology. These twisted sisters float around at night, a head without a body, looking for fresh meat. They usually kill chickens and cats, or even buffalo. And they need to satisfy their craving, otherwise they resort to eating excrement.
So, when animals around town slowly start going missing or turning up dead, you might just have a Krasue on your hands.
A Krasue steals a woman’s body and lives there. During the day, you’d never know it. But at night, the head separates from the body to go hunt for food…
Now that we have our background, we can talk about the opener.
Openers are clutch for horror, especially in films where there’s some kind of incident to show or premise to set.
Inhuman Kiss opens up on four children playing a version of hide-and-seek in the dark, creepy jungles of Thailand.
It’s an eerie setup with dark shadows, campy child acting, and a creepy tentacle lady who sneaks up behind one of them before shooting right to the credits.
What I like about Inhuman Kiss’ opener is you get a feel for the flavor of horror you’re in for. Personally, I love a good jump scare, but this isn’t that kind of movie. Rather, it seems we are in for soft, eerie, bone-chilling scares.
And the intro gives us a taste of that flavor.
It gets us ready for the darkness to come.
Inhuman Kiss Musical Score
Horror movies need good soundtracks. The score of a horror film can make or break the ambience. That’s why I try to include soundtracks in my reviews of horror movies. I think they are more important to horror than other genres.
Inhuman Kiss has a soundtrack that leads you through its scenes so masterfully that there are times you can turn the subtitles off, and even though the dialogue is in Thai, the music could probably carry you through.
Everything about the score to Inhuman Kiss is fresh and makes sense for the scene.
The composer uses jungle drums in jungle scenes. But when building up to a climax, composer Chatchai Pongprapaphan (name links to artist’s soundcloud – Inhuman Kiss Soundtrack can be found here) jams together climactic chorals with short, brassy bursts of trumpets and horns. Then, in certain other scenes, Chatchai uses instruments like the violin to marry playfulness and light, romantic feelings with a sense of melancholy and foreboding.
The film is also quiet where it needs to be. At times, music ramps up to an epic crescendo only to stop so suddenly that all you can hear is the sound of drops dripping into a bowl of water from a wringing towel, or the muffled roar of fire that burns at the tips of torches held by a marching brigand of monster hunters against the dark of night.
Good art makes use of positive and negative space. Good music does, too.
One of my favorite parts of international horror movies is you get a sense of the country’s unique aesthetic. In Inhuman Kiss, you see Thailand’s tropical foliage, bison farms, and cozy architecture. You get a hint of what life is like in the countryside, where you walk through jungle paths to get to the old wooden hospital.
We have complex character development. We don’t trust anyone. That makes it feel like the ending could go any way at all and lends the film a suspenseful, unpredictable air.
This scene sums it up.
Our heroes are arguing at the camp of nomads who are wandering the countryside in search of Krasue to kill. Noi (middle) is trying to convince Jerd (left) not to join these marauding Krasue hunters.
Jerd wants to hunt down and kill the Krasue. Problem is, we are led to believe that Sai (right) is the Krasue herself. What’s even crazier is that they seem to be romantically interested in each other.
Talk about complicated.
Then you have Noi. Noi used to work with the band of Krasue hunters, and he brought them to this village to hunt down the monster. But, in this scene, we find out that he invented his story about Krasue so that he could come back home and have a place to stay. So, now we don’t trust him because he is dishonest. But what’s even more troubling, he thinks Krasue aren’t real. And that makes him dangerous, too.
Finally, there’s Tad, the played by Surasak Wongthai. Tad does not like Noi, because Noi is trying to convince Jerd not to join up in the hunt. And, of course, there is potential conflict between Tad and Sai, as well.
He’s the hunter in charge of the other hunters. But when I call him a head hunter, I mean it in more than one way.
When it comes to characters and tension, Chookiat Sakveerakul, the writer of Inhuman Kiss, brought his A Game.
So, I’ve only seen two Thai horror movies so far, but I’m noticing a trend. In both of them, the main character turns out to be the monster. Personally, I love this twist, and I wonder whether it’s a staple of Thai horror in general, or if this pattern is just a two-in-a-row, freak accident.
Growing up, I loved reading Goosebumps, and one of my favorites was called the Ghost Next Door. The twist was that the ghost next door was him all along (published more than 5 years before the Sixth Sense was released, by the way).
And as a teenager, one of my favorite movies was American Psycho. Perhaps more of a thriller/dark comedy than a straight up horror movie, American Psycho is nonetheless a staple of the scary-protagonist-as-bad-guy motif.
Now that I’ve got this idea about Thai horror in my head, I wonder where that line of thinking will go. Guess there’s only one thing to do: watch more Thai horror movies.
Should you watch 2019’s Inhuman Kiss on Netflix?
I think so. I recommend it. The soundtrack is moving, the visuals are exciting, the characters have tension and depth, and the Krasue is haunting. All in all, it was worth my time to watch it.
Real Krasue Sightings in Thailand
Here’s a little extra something for you.
Like any good horror story, there have been Krasue sightings galore. The multitude of Krasue sightings in Thailand, combined with the monster’s popularity, have led to Krasue making the news.
Take this story for example.
In a village in Ayutthaya Province, Thailand in 2016, there had been reportings of missing chickens and cats. Then, one night, a woman’s CCTV camera recorded a light moving back and forth from the chicken coop to a nearby fruit tree. When she called her neighbors to investigate, they found nothing. But then she saw the lights again.
It even made the news.