Motel Mist is very much a character piece, set entirely in one location (the motel) the film gives itself the opportunity to really focus on its characters and it does just that. Every character – from the sadistic pervert Sopol to the creepy and intriguing Tul – is unique in their own way and stand firmly on their own. The film has a great way of building and keeping the audience invested in these quirky and unusual characters, which is helped through the terrific performances the cast give.
Although, don’t be fooled intro thinking quirky simply means funny, Motel Mist isn’t afraid to make you uncomfortable (it does take place in a love motel after all). A lot of what these characters go through is actually quite dark and makes the film play more as a black comedy than a sci-fi/thriller in my opinion. In fact, the strange characters, black comedy tone and the way the stories intertwine reminds me very much of an episode of Inside Number 9.
My one issue with the film (as honestly I very much enjoyed it) is that whilst the characters are all interesting they are not given as much equal focus as I would have liked. Sopol and his schoolgirl victim Laila are given the main focus of the film, despite Tul, the missing and presumed crazy former child star, being the first character mentioned and the one constant in everyone’s story. I feel Tul deserved a bit more from the film, only properly playing a part in the last 20 minutes, especially as he is the character the sci-fi elements revolve around. Unfortunately, it felt like Tul was very much secondary in what should’ve been his film.
Moving towards the more technical elements of the film, it is clear to see why it won the Thailand National Film Association Award for Best Art Direction. Every action, every shot, every scene is thought out so meticulously to show exactly what’s happening in that moment, and what those characters are feeling without them having to say a word. From the gorgeous colour design to the tidy cinematography and well-composed shots, if you’re not a fan of the narrative you’ll at least have something pretty to look at. I also have to give a shout out to the sound design, the score (not that there was even a lot of music) fit the scenes perfectly, and the sound composition during Tul’s speaking to the camera scene was suitably creepy and impressive.
Honestly, I enjoyed this film a lot more than I anticipated. Perhaps it sold itself a bit too much as a sci-fi/thriller considering (at least in my view) it only really fits this bill in the last 20 minutes, but Motel Mist is still an impressive and intriguing piece of cinema. The characters are weird and amazing and it’s fantastically put together. I would definitely recommend this to those cinema-lovers who like a bit of strangeness.