Movie Guide: Top Thai films to watch on Netflix 2022

Promotional poster for the Thai comedy-heist film "Bad Genius." Credit | Netflix

There are countless movies to watch at home, whether it’s on one of the many streaming services, that dusty DVD collection you have laying around, or even your favourite pirating site (not recommended). But what about Thai films?

When it comes to local Thai entertainment, choosing a movie to watch after work, on a date or on vacation can be a challenge, especially if you’re unsure which genre to choose or what’s available (hint: comedy, romance, horror).

To help you navigate the best the Thai film industry has to offer, we’ve created a list of the Top Thai films to watch on Netflix in 2022. So keep reading and get ready to turn those subtitles on!

For a list of locally made English-language films starting mostly foreign actors, check out:

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003)
No list of Thai films would be complete without this action-packed gem. Low on plot but pumped full of fantastically choreographed fight scenes, this is one for the bros and booze.

When a sacred figurine is stolen from his village, a young Thai kick-boxer goes on an action packed adventure, following the trail of clues to Bangkok to reclaim the pilfered treasure. It’s safe to say that Ong-Bak thrust Thai kick boxing into the international spotlight and put the Thai film industry on the map.

This is lead actor Tony Jaa’s breakout film, which catapulted him to fame as a Thai martial arts master who performs his own stunts. Jaa went on to star in two sequels, as well as a slew of other action films, including Tom-Yum-Goong, also available on Netflix.

Pee Mak (2013)
Mak returns from the battlefield with four soldiers, whom he has brought to meet his lovely wife and young son. Mak’s friends, on the other hand, begin to suspect that his family is indeed dead.

The story is based on a Thai horror story that has been told a million times over, but this time, it’s under the comedy spotlight. Pee Mak is the highest grossing movie in Thailand. Horror fans would be disappointed since the jokes are the main focus.

The story is as old as time and there is nothing new. But the new take, jokes and production value makes this movie stand out.

Shutter (2004)
When you think of classic Japanese horror movies, films like Ringu or Ju-On probably come to mind. But as for Thai horror flicks, Shutter is definitely on the list.

The movie came out when Japanese horror was popular in Thailand. The scares are good and creative, rather than cheap, loud bangs. There are twists and turns, and the suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat.

In fact, Hollywood loved it so much they had to remake this movie a few years later under the same name, but it failed to live up to expectatio The original is still the best. Thank you, Netflix.

The Medium (2021)
The newest movie of the bunch, The Medium is one reason why Asian horror flics are admired by movie nerds and movie critics.

This Thai-Korean film takes a different approach compared to most horror movies, making it stand out from the crowd. Most Thai have heard of shamans and their rituals many times. But to see the culture mixed with fiction is a fantastic twist that feels raw and down to earth.

While the found footage or documentary style cinematography isn’t favourable for some, it makes for great horror movie, drawing inspiration from The Blair Witch Project. And over time, it could be considered a classic. Warning: the scenes of violent possession are not everyone’s cup of tea.

My Girl / Fan Chan (2003)
This was a huge hit 20 years ago and played on the nostalgia of life in the ’80s. It’s not just a good family movie, but it’s when life was simpler before the pressures of modern life took over.

Do you remember your first love or first crush in school? The pure childhood love and friendship? When Jeab finds out that his childhood friend Noi Naa is getting married, the memories of their friendship come flooding back while driving to his hometown.

It’s a light hearted movie; the comedy is well done and it’s endearing to watch the characters’ childhood friendship develop. It’s also a presents a plot that almost everybody has experienced and can identify with. My Girl, or Fan Chan, has a lot of heart and soul.

Heart Attack / Freelance (2015)
The story revolves around a nerdy 30-year-old freelance graphic designer who can’t say no to a job, until his body begins to break down due to lack of sleep. When he starts seeing a dedicated dermatologist, he adjusts his unhealthy lifestyle and his outrageously off-kilter value system. As time passes, they have feelings for each other, but both are unable to be together.

On paper, this is your typical love story or romantic comedy. But the plot will take you by surprise. The main character is likable and the first person narration will let inside his head to hear his private thoughts. He often spends the entire day in front of the computer. When work is breathing down his neck, it pushes him even further to the edge.

Eventually, his body breaks down after working too hard and being too stressed. During monthly visits to the hospital, he develops feelings for his doctor, whom he can’t fall in love with him because of the situation they’re in.

A Little Thing Called Love (2010)
This classic Thai romcom tells the story of an ordinary high school student who is so determined to win the affections of her popular crush, that she undergoes a massive physical makeover to make him take notice of her. Her transformation from ugly duckling to beauty queen will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief.

That said, the movie is as heartwarming as it is hilarious. It’s a great chick flick for those Thai girls who want to get together and remember what high school was like. But it’s also a safe bet for date night with your Thai lady love. So keep this one on your radar, boys.

Bad Genius (2017)
When a top high school student gets pulled into a cheating club with increasingly higher risks and higher rewards, this comedy drama quickly develops into a fast-paced heist film. But our fallen heroine stands to lose much more than she gains, as she puts both her own and her partner’s moral integrity — as well as their academic dreams of success — on the line.

At its funniest moments, this film is an accurate depiction of the classic tricks Thai students pull in the classroom to cheat on tests and avoid getting caught, though the scenarios are necessarily exaggerated. (Watch it with a Thai girl and she’ll tell you it was exactly like that.) But when the top students discover what they stand to gain in popularity and profit if they sell their cheating tips and tricks, it’s not long before they take things beyond the point of return.

What’s your take?
So there you have it: our list of the Top Thai films to watch on Netflix in 2022. Of course, this list is far from complete, but it’s a good start, especially if you’re new to what the Thai film industry has to offer. What’s your take? Have you seen all the films on the list? Or do you think we should include a few more titles? Let us know your thoughts in the ThaigerTalk comments down below.

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