‘My Ex 2: Haunted Lover’ is the sequel to the unsuccessful ‘My Ex’, by Piyapan Choopetch. It’s a painfully hyper-conscious attempt at something more than just a sequel, and while the self-awareness is clever for the first five minutes it becomes tactless and tiresome as time goes by.
It’s a film about a film, in which the original ‘My Ex’ has just been released in cinemas. Our protagonist is a hopeful young actress, with a successful older sister whose about to land her a part in the sequel. Confused yet? Its hyperconsciousness is similar to Wes Craven’s ‘Scream’, yet less intelligently used. It feels as though the director, once again, has bitten off more than he can chew and struggles to pull tenuous story lines together.
However, it is definitely an improvement on its predecessor with slightly more likeable characters and a much better soundtrack. The story itself is still very generic but the twists are a fraction more surprising. ‘My Ex’ had an intrusive and over-used soundtrack that blended into nothing because it was used so repetitively, the sequel however uses the sound more sparingly, making the jump scenes jumpier and upping the tension, and there’s no annoying ringtone!
Although an improvement, ‘My Ex 2’ is still very tedious. The ‘it was all a dream’ cliché is used so many times that it seems like the entire film plays out in Cee’s mind! Cee wakes up to realise the horrors were all a figment of her imagination far too many times, which leaves you desperate for some real horror, and disappointed when the film doesn’t deliver. Instead Choopetch once again has to explain himself towards the end of the film, when Cee, for what feels like the hundredth time wakes from a nightmare. This time however she’s acting, and the camera pans out to reveal the film set and crew. Cee’s older sister then explains that the dream sequences are used to “startle the viewers. It adds more taste to the film”. Although this is another stab at clever hyperconsciousness, it feels like the director is justifying his use of ‘it was all a dream’ scenes, telling the audience how it’s supposed to affect them. Like the original, there’s an overwhelming sense that the director isn’t confident with his work.
‘My Ex 2’ has plumped for a plot with few scares, and little tension. The plot twists, although surprising, aren’t nearly shocking enough to justify the complete lack of gut wrenching scares and violence. It has a very tame ghost that isn’t scary at all, and who is so reminiscent of the ghostly beings in films like The Grudge and Shutter that we are reminded once again that there are similar films out there that are far better!
Overall Piyapan Choopetch seems too interested in the material elements, boasting stunning locations, nicely framed shots and, this time, a pretty good soundtrack, to realise that his story is tedious and predictable. The film within a film idea is clever but done to death; and done much better too!