Netflix ventures into Thailand’s northeast with first film in Isan dialect

Netflix ventures into Thailand’s northeast with first film in Isan dialect

Stay tuned for global premiere of ‘The Murderer’ on July 27

Netflix ventures into Thailand’s northeast with first film in Isan dialect

On a dark and stormy night, the police race to find the person responsible for a massacre in an isolated area in northeast Thailand…. as the trailer shows.

Ahead of its release on Netflix on July 27, Netflix’s first Isan-dialect film, “The Murderer” is set in the northeastern region of Thailand, known as Isan, and features local characters from the area. 

Both the lead and supporting actors are of Isan descent and proficient in speaking the dialect to authentically portray the characters to give viewers a window into the region’s culture and dialect.

According to director Wisit Sasanatieng, Isan films tend to be simple rural comedies but The Murderer combines murder mystery, dark comedy and stylised visuals to break out of this mould. Packed with dark comedy, irony and satire, on the surface, The Murderer might seem like a typical Thai comedy, but the film delves deeper, offering a tapestry of jokes, narratives and characters brimming with colourful sarcasm to grab your attention. 

Unravel the truth and the subtle implications hidden between the lines while following the murders. The trailer, if you’ve already seen it, offers a glimpse into the investigation, hinting at the many twists and turns in this dark comedy thriller.

“The screenplay is full of humour. It reflects our society and current circumstances, such as the media’s sensationalisation of murder cases. Many cases are eerily similar and the audience desires to know the truth. This movie’s screenplay is based on people’s curiosity. When we consume media, we only see what is presented to us — we seldom know the whole truth. This movie will enlighten us on what reality is like,” says Wisit.

Wisit’s signature aspect is the vivid colours adorning the sets and costumes, complementing each other, while also depicting the true essence of Isan. The visual work and scenic design is reminiscent of the director’s previous works like Tears Of The Black Tiger and Citizen Dog. These colours play a key role in spicing things up and elevating it into an all-around stylish murder film.

Filming wasn’t all that smooth, though. The crew couldn’t find a studio large enough to accommodate all the scenes within the required timeframe and had to film in a house covered with a massive tent. Though this meant that scenes could be filmed at day and night, free from any adverse weather conditions, and we know what that is like living in Thailand.

The film, which stars Phetthai Vongkhamlao, Eisaya Hosuwan, James Laver, Sunaree Ratchasima and Sawanee Utoomma, is rather perplexing. 

On the night that a tropical storm is supposed to hit a village in Isan, a massacre unfolds at an isolated property. Several bodies, dead from various causes, are found spread out across the property, and no one knows who the killer is. 

As lead investigator, Inspector Nawat is under pressure to find the culprit. He directs his suspicions at Earl, an outsider, visitor, foreigner and possibly murderer, with a dark secret. 

“I’ve always enjoyed hearing Isan dialect in films as it gives the dialogue a sense of sincerity, authenticity and charm — not to mention unique words and a touch of humour. At the same time, I wondered if a film shot in the Isan dialect could break out of its typical nature as a comedy — and that led me to a crime film and a perfect combination with the dialect. The film’s screenplay really stands out with its intricate storytelling tricks and a darkly comedic tone. It was such a perfect read for me that I wanted to bring it to life immediately after my first read,” adds Wisit.

Prepare to uncover the mysteries behind this bizarre murder case — and let out some belly laughs — once “The Murderer” premieres worldwide on July 27 on Netflix. 

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