Gassy dwarves fail to light up Thai horror comedy.
The first edition of the Overlook Film Festival will never be faulted for not swinging for the fences with a lineup that includes something for all possible tastes; even if that taste happens to run all the way to the sewer. To be sure, such is the lowbrow intent of director Bhin Banloerit, who sets his sights on little more than visual vulgarity, slapstick and flatulence humor aplenty.
One can only imagine what the pitching session must have been like, since The Dwarves Must Be Crazy is centered on little people whose hunger gets the better of them, eat poisonous insects and become disembodied heads floating around with the gastrointestinal tract still attached, dangling underneath (think Chinese lanterns, only far more bewildering). Oh, and did I mention they also develop an appetite for ass-licking/ arse-eating?
Suffice it to say The Dwarves Must Be Crazy is geared towards genre enthusiasts looking for something decidedly outré. Seated among likeminded audience members of a midnight screening, perhaps, more could be forgiven; especially if the audience happens to take greater pleasure in laughing at rather than with a film. Take away the charm and camaraderie of such a setting, however, and one can only judge the work as is: a juvenile effort that takes forever to go nowhere and grows more asinine by the minute.
The wacky premise checks political correctness at the door with aplomb yet never develops into a story with any feel for pacing or any sense of structure that builds towards a climax. Rather than focusing on the threat of zombie-like infection (and, you know, actual ass-munching) we are treated to endless bits of the titular little people horsing around or going about their daily lives in a community of stilt houses. The monks pay tribute to spirits while others forage the local forest, fish, and perform the occasional song and dance about genitalia and whatnot (as one does). The floating heads armada is suspiciously absent throughout a film that lacks both urgency and purpose.
Characters can scarcely be distinguished from one another since they have no distinct personalities and the film fails to generate any momentum, mostly spewing trivial dialogue that’s neither here nor there, which wouldn’t be a problem if any of it were actually funny. Granted, humor is a tricky thing with each of us having different funny bones but so much of this feels vapid, inconsequential and boorishly uninspired. None of it should be taken seriously, fair enough, but shouldn’t some of it at least by chuckle-worthy?
Driven by improvisational whimsy, there is plenty of room for nutty skits involving ‘fermented’ bird shit, human pyramids, or loincloths tied together to fabricate a sort of tent to protect the dwarves from the arse-eating heads. (How’s that for a sentence you thought you would never read?) Even in its more vulgar instances, while always ridiculous, The Dwarves Must Be Crazy is never raunchy enough to become stomach-turning, either.
Aided by a soundtrack full of comical cues that would feel at home in a Looney Tunes cartoon, modest laughs are wrung from scenes that feel like a Thai stab at Three Stooges tomfoolery, but creative zaniness remains well out of reach. With poop and fart jokes galore and some shitty CGI effects thrown in for good measure the film’s one-note premise gets stretched too thin, which causes tedium to set in sooner rather than later.
Don’t be fooled by the bonkers concept that promises a film unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Ironically enough, despite spending so much of its runtime being gassy, The Dwarves Must Be Crazy runs out of steam awfully quick.