Studio: Sahamongkol Film International
Director: Bhin Banloerit
Writer: Bhin Banloerit
Producer: Semsak Techaratanaprasert, Bhin Banloerit
Stars: Ket SaiCharoen, Prachak Naeophila, Phromlikhit Kraratphet, Chaiphon Saksi, Khomchit Taikhiri, Worawan Kanchon, Boonyant Jankaew, Aem Hathairat
A band of jungle-dwelling dwarves fights to save their village when some of their tribe is transformed into disembodied heads.
There is a school of thought in film criticism that a reviewer should judge a movie based on what it wants to be rather than what the reviewer thinks the movie should be. If that is the chief criteria for grading, then “The Dwarves Must Be Crazy” is a grand slam success at being the most outrageously bonkers comedy/horror hybrid to ever feature disembodied heads tormenting diminutive hut-dwellers, plentiful toilet humor, and more “whoop, zip, blort!” sound effects than an entire season of “Animaniacs,” exactly as it undoubtedly intended.
Of course, the problem with this line of thinking is that it fails to fault a film for lacking coherence or running flatulence jokes into the ground, since “The Dwarves Must Be Crazy” never means to make straight sense or aim its irreverence above the belt. You see, I think a movie where a bumbling jungle tribe eats glowing worms to become butt-licking beasts battling winged batmen should be as creative with its gags as it is about its premise. But the bulk of “The Dwarves Must Be Crazy” is neither as inventive nor as interesting as its setup might imply, leaving its lasting entertainment value to shiver and shake in the cold.
The only thing this Thailand tribe of pint-sized people is worse at than catching pigs is knowing which forest insects they shouldn’t eat. Desperate for food since their hunting skills aren’t up to snuff, several dwarves say, “what’s the worst that can happen?” and pop a few iridescent bugs in their mouths. Not long after, those dwarves find their heads painfully pulling away from their bodies. Out come their internal organs, still attached at the neck, as those heads turn feral and float way into the night.
With a penchant for eating asses at inopportune times, the floating heads, called kra-sue for females and kra-soo for males, become a terrible nuisance. Five friends end up at the forefront of efforts to combat the creatures. Most of their mini-adventures lead to nothing more momentous than slapping a scrotum underwater or literally eating sh*t from a kra-sue nest. But an encounter with a hermit and sage wisdom from scatterbrained monks gets the ball rolling on how they might return their village to normal before it is too late.
It should be plainly obvious that “The Dwarves Must Be Crazy” belongs to an unusually bizarre breed of maverick midnight movie. You’d think that a film made to look and sound like a live-action cartoon might guarantee a raucously rip-roaring good time. Except deliberately outlandish sound design and subpar visuals become so obnoxiously grating, and redundant jokes run so many circles around themselves, that the flick’s fun factor is prevented from fulfilling its promise.
The music score sounds as if The Muppets composed background beats for a Margaritaville bar. And I don’t mean Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. I’m talking random socks with hands up their cabooses banging on xylophones, maracas, and banjos. If nothing else, the cacophony of craziness is in keeping with the slide whistle “booowheeeepppp!” noises and bells accompanying hand motions and various slapstick pratfalls.
It might be unfair to speculate since everyone speaks Thai and I’m only reading dialogue through subtitles. But I’m going to guess that based on rigidly stiff deliveries, actors were hired with an eye for appearance over ability. Other than the core quintet, it’s hard to even tell who the movie wants to push to the front, what with how many characters come and go weighed against how many actually become memorable.
If “The Dwarves Must Be Crazy” was in English with an American cast, it’s the kind of production you might see from Full Moon. Floating heads and gargoyle men looking like 2D cutouts animated against a 1980s green screen would be right at home in a crossover sequel pitted against Gingerdead Man or Evil Bong.
You’ve definitely never seen anything quite like “The Dwarves Must Be Crazy.” Yet even a tasteless sense of humor has only so much tolerance for comedy coming exclusively from farts, diarrhea, taking dumps, and watching a dwarf woman literally piss herself at the sight of a giant snake. No amount of spontaneous song and dance routines can save stale silliness from fighting directly against the desire to get more enjoyment out of the insanity than its delivery actually allows.
Looking to tie this last paragraph to the first, I’m reminded of Roger Ebert’s review for “The Manson Family.” He was as unsure of how to evaluate a brutally psychedelic true crime thriller against his personal tastes as I am in how to impartially encapsulate this weirdo experience. Ebert said, “do I give (the movie) four stars because it does what it does so successfully and uncompromisingly, or do I give it zero stars, for the same reason? I will settle on three, because it is remarkable enough that I do not want to dismiss it. That doesn’t mean I think you should see it.” This sentiment summarizes my thoughts on “The Dwarves Must Be Crazy” exactly.
NOTE: The film's Thai title is "Krause Krung Khon."
Review Score: 60