THE VERY UN-SCARY WORLD OF LOTTERY GHOSTS
I like a good ghost story– that stuff gives me the goosebumps. The curiosity of life after death, and the crazy paranormal shit that comes along with it, is a question that many, including myself, have pondered. Some movies conjure up the dead like Pet Sematary and anything with a Ouija board type of deal, while others like The Sixth Sense and The Eye have the protagonists seeing dead people. I was able to check out this movie from Laos, which also happened to kick off the first annual Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, that had an interesting take on the “I see dead people” sub-genre.
Dearest Sister tells the story of Nok ( Amphaiphun Phommapunya), a poor girl from a poverty stricken village, who is called by her cousin Ana (Vilouna Phetmany) who has started to go blind, to live with her in order to aid her during this difficult time. Turns out, not only is Ana losing her sight, she’s beginning to see dead people, who just so happen to give her winning lottery numbers.
This movie was not good. I’m actually kind of surprised this was the opening night movie at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival– I would’ve preferred a stronger film to kick off the fest. Director Mattie Do’s odd ghost story was unique, but lacked execution. There was no real explanation for what was transpiring– the film could've benefited from some origin or backstory for these “lotto ghosts.”
The characters were rough– they lacked depth and were all unlikeable. The only character that had a decent shot was Nok. At first you're meant to pity her character, but once you see her sense of morality, or lack thereof, you end up throwing any compassionate feelings you had for her to the wolves. Her cousin Ana was an issue from first appearance. She had a cuntiness about her that was inexplicable and intolerable. The rest of the cast was no different. They also had a dual language thing going with Ana’s husband Jakob, where he would be speaking English, then suddenly he’d be speaking the native tongue which was annoying and a complete turn off. It reminded me of a character from another disaster, Ichi the Killer.
There wasn’t much in the blood and gore department, except maybe some dude gets his head bashed in and a couple of the ghosts showed some pretty gnarly injuries. The ghosts didn’t look terrible, but they didn’t look great either. The only good thing to come out of this flick was the final act: The ending was actually pretty decent, which is a shame since it was wasted on such a lackluster effort.
Dearest Sister had some interesting ideas, but the absence of background information on the “lotto ghosts” left me scratching my noggin. The characters were just as boring as the story, which made this 101-minute flop feel more like The Ten Commandments. Don’t waste your time with this one when it hits VOD and home video. //Arturo Padilla