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Popular Thai movies you need to watch at least once

Pete

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Have you had enough of watching Hollywood movies or indie films? Yes? Then maybe it’s time to change your moviegoing habit and check out the best Thai films on offer. The selection just keeps growing and improving. Choosing which one to watch can be difficult. But let The Thaiger help you out with a few popular Thai movies that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior
This action-packed classic should be on everybody’s list. Ong-Bak is widely credited with thrusting Thai kickboxing onto the international stage and putting Thailand’s film industry on the map.

When the head of a village’s precious statue is stolen, a young martial artist makes his way to the city to recover it and finds himself fighting in the underworld.

This was star actor Tony Jaa’s breakout movie, and stardom quickly followed the Thai martial arts expert who performs his stunts. Jaa went on to star in 2 sequels and a number of other action movies after that.

Run Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Year Released: 2003

Pee Mak
Pee Mak is a story based on Thai folklore that has been retold a million times, but this time through a comedic lens. The movie’s fresh perspective, comedy, and production value set this film apart from others that came before.

During the Rattanakosin Dynasty, Mak fought in the war where he made friends with some other soldiers. He invites his friends to his home after the war ends because he wants to introduce them to his beautiful wife, Nak, and newborn baby boy, Dang. In the village, there is a rumour that Nak died giving birth.

The 4 friends decide to break the news to Mak that his wife and son could be dead, and only exist as haunting spirits in his head. Mak must choose between love and reality.

It’s currently Thailand’s highest-grossing movie to date.

Run Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Year Released: 2013

Shutter
The plot revolves around a Thai couple involved in a car accident. Jane hits a woman after a night out drinking with friends and leaves her for dead. Following the tragic accident, Jane and her boyfriend, Tun, become tangled up in a weird chain of events.

After its premiere in the early 2000s, Shutter became highly popular, especially among the horror crowd. A few years later, Hollywood made an adaptation, which didn’t live up to expectations.

When it comes to Thai horror movies, Shutter is one of the best on the list.

Run Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Year Released: 2004

Fan Chan / My Girl
Do you recall your first love or first crush from school? Jeab hears that his childhood friend, Noi Naa, is getting married on a return to his hometown, which triggers a flood of memories of their bond.

It’s a light-hearted movie. It’s sweet to see the characters’ friendship grow throughout their youth. It also delivers a storyline that practically everyone can relate to. Fan Chan, aka My Girl, is a very heartfelt and soulful film.

Run Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Year Released: 2003

Phobia / 4bia
When the 4-part horror collection was launched, it was met with praise from critics and rewarded with financial success. While mixing aspects from other genres, like action and comedy, each chapter impressively exposes fresh horror senses.

A text conversation with a mysterious stranger, the cruel actions of a black magic-practising nerd, the risks of camping deep in the forest, and boarding a flight with a dead body— are just 4 four spine-chilling stories viewers have to go through.

The sequel is a must-watch too. It was released a year after the first movie. To most, it’s one of the few times in cinematic history where the sequel is better than the original. The sequel takes the film up a notch, offering 5 different stories compared to the 4 stories in the previous movie.

You can learn a lot about Thai superstitions and religion from these 2 films.

Run Time: 2 hours
Year Released: 2008

Sunset at Chaophraya / Sunset Over the Killing Fields
An Imperial Japanese soldier, Kobori, who’s part of an army invading Siam, falls in love with Angsumalin, a Thai woman, who has a deep animosity against the Japanese. The dilemma gets more problematic when she develops a love for the soldier, but her heart is already devoted to another man.

The 2013 adaptation, which is based on the famous Thai novel Koo Kam (1969), stays loyal to the original romantic drama about an odd pair who fall in love at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

Run Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Year Released: 2013

Rot Fai Faa…Maha Na Ter / Bangkok Traffic (Love) Story
Thirty year old Mei Li is trying to find real love in the heart of Bangkok. Mei Li wants to form a relationship when she unintentionally runs into a charming BTS engineer who she believes is the right man. Mei Li won’t give up despite the obstacles in her way.

Run Time: 2 hours 6 minutes
Year Released: 2009

SuckSeed
Shy male student, Ped had never listened to music until his crush Earn introduced him to rock and pop. Unfortunately, Earn had to move to Bangkok. A few years later when Earn returns to the same school their paths cross once again.

Trying to attract females, and surpass his popular twin brother Kae, Ped’s best friend Khung decides to form a band called Khung & Friends. When Khung also develops feelings for Earn, a talented guitarist, and the youth band competition approaches, things become serious.

Run Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Year Released: 2011

The Medium
The Medium is one reason why Asian horror flics are admired by movie nerds and film critics. The majority of Thais have heard of shamans and their ceremonies but the unexpected twist of mixing fiction and culture feels genuine and grounded.

While some people don’t like documentary-style cinematography, it makes for a great horror film. The movie, influenced by The Blair Witch Project, might be regarded as a classic in the future.

Run Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Year Released: 2021

Freelance / Heart Attack
The protagonist of the novel is a 30 year old nerdy freelance graphic designer who falls in love. His body starts to fail from lack of sleep and he knows he needs to change his unhealthy lifestyle otherwise he won’t win the girl.

As time goes on, they develop affection for one another, but neither of them can be in a relationship. This sounds like your normal love story or romantic comedy on paper but you’ll be surprised by the plot.

Run Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Year Released: 2015

 

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Pete is a writer for The Thaiger, and he writes various topics from news, travel and property. His main focus is writing about Thai news, and what is happening in Thailand.

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