Nang Nak

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Nang Nak
Film poster
Directed by Nonzee Nimibutr
Produced by Visute Poolvoralaks
Written by Wisit Sasanatieng
Starring Intira Jaroenpura
Winai Kraibutr
Music by Chartchai Pongprapapan
Pakkawat Vaiyavit
Cinematography Nattawut Kittikhun
Edited by Sunij Asavinikul
Distributed by Tai Entertainment
Release date
  • 23 July 1999 (1999-07-23)
Running time
100 minutes
Country Thailand
Language Thai

Nang Nak (Thai: นางนาก) is a romantic tragedy and horror film directed by Nonzee Nimibutr in 1999 through Buddy Film and Video Production Co. in Thailand, based on a legend. It features the life of a devoted ghost wife and the unsuspecting husband.


In a rural village west of Bangkok, Mek (Winai Kraibutr) is conscripted and sent to fight in the Siamese-Vietnamese War (1831–1834). He has to leave behind his pregnant teenage wife, Nak (Intira Jaroenpura). Mek is wounded and barely survives. He eventually returns home to his beloved wife and their child.

A friend visits and sees Mek living with Nak. The villagers, knowing she had died months earlier, realize Mek is spellbound by her ghost. But those who attempt to tell him are killed in the night by Nak's ghost, desperate to stay with her husband. When Mek confronts Nak about the rumors, she lies and says the villagers disliked her after he left for the war. She claims they are also telling lies about their son not being Mek's. Mek believes her and lashes out at anyone who tell him she is dead.

One night, Mek finally discovers the truth. Having crawled under their house to retrieve an item, he tripped over something sticking up from the dirt. Curious, he digs it up and finds a corpse and began to wonder why Nak was always preventing him from going down there. When he looked up through the creaks of the wood floor he saw Nak sitting and brushing her hair. She dropped the comb through a creak and her arm extended to retrieve it. Mek covered his mouth, so she wouldn't hear him scream and continued watching Nak. Nak picked up her crying baby and Mek saw that their son is also a corpse. It was revealed through a series of flashbacks that Nak had a difficult childbirth and both mother and child died from complications. Mek flees in terror to the local temple to hide. Nak follows him and attempts to win him back, but he is too frightened of her. The villagers attempt to drive out Nak, burning down her house and at last summoning an exorcist. Nak refuses to leave unless Mek returns to her. Mek pleads with her to leave to the netherworld. He loves her, but they can't be together since she is dead. He tells her that he is going to cut his hair and become a monk in order to pray for her sins and allow her spirit to find peace. She still refuses.

The kingdom's most respected Buddhist monk (Somdej Toh) arrives and in a tearful farewell Nak repents, leaving her husband for this life. Somdej Toh has the centre of her forehead cut out, thus releasing her spirit, and makes a girdle brooch of it. The epilogue states it later came into the possession of His Royal Highness Prince Chumbhorn Ketudomsak. It was thereafter handed down for generations and its current owner unknown.


Shrine to Mae Nak at Wat Mahabut on Sukhumvit Soi 77 in Suan Luang district, Bangkok.

The allegedly true story of Mae Nak Phra Khanong is famous and a favorite among Thai people. A popular shrine dedicated to her at is in On Nut, Sukhumvit Soi 77 in Bangkok's Suan Luang (formerly Phra Khanong) district.

The old tale has been depicted on film many times since the silent era, one of the most famous being Mae Nak Pra Kanong in 1958. Even after the 1999 version, British filmmaker Mark Duffeld directed a remake in 2005 called Ghost of Mae Nak. There also is an opera, Mae Nak, by Thai composer Somtow Sucharitkul.


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