Turgid and lumbering, THE COFFIN uses a Thai ritual as the germ of an idea to build up a fictional curse akin to FINAL DESTINATION. When you have bad karma you lie in a coffin and it gets sealed up to sleep in it. This nap will fool the bad karma or bad spirits into believing you died and will pass on from you. Instead of Death being personified it is a series of encounters with the loved ones who paid the price for those who lie in the coffins. Two of these troubled people, Chris and Su, do not quite fool fate or karma or whatever it may be that was making life bad for them.
Off the bat the story structure is confusing in that it has the dual structure that may be encountered in many Asian films but one of the narratives takes place a bit before the other but this is not made clear at all until the main character from each narrative strand meet on screen and we find that one has gone through his experiences five years prior. Also the explanation given by the Chris in Su’s narrative differs in the outcome that the viewer sees in Chris’ narrative. Suffice it to say, at least in Chris and Su’s cases, the ritual does not work as intended. Su finds an investigator who has found several cases where the person most loved by the ritual seeker dies or suffers in a great way for the seeker’s wish to come true.
There are some decent scary moments and some grue splashed about. A memorable scene involves a ghostly baby and mother immolating in a mausoleum/crematorium store room. Moody, atmospheric and seemingly lensed through a blue filter, THE COFFIN showed some promise. Unfortunately the convoluted story line, lukewarm acting, and poor pacing plants it firmly in the ground. Give this one a pass unless you are a diehard foreign film aficionado and even then prepare to be disappointed.