Nang Nak

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Nang Nak
Film poster
Directed byNonzee Nimibutr
Produced byVisute Poolvoralaks
Written byWisit Sasanatieng
StarringIntira Jaroenpura
Winai Kraibutr
Music byChartchai Pongprapapan
Pakkawat Vaiyavit
CinematographyNattawut Kittikhun
Edited bySunij Asavinikul
Distributed byTai Entertainment
Release date
  • 23 July 1999 (1999-07-23)
Running time
100 minutes

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, Mak (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). Mak is wounded and barely survives. He eventually returns home to his beloved wife and their child.

A friend visits and sees Mak living with Nak. The villagers, knowing she had died months earlier, realize Mak 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 Mak 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 Mak's. Mak believes her and lashes out at anyone who tells him she is dead.

Mak eventually discovers the truth. Crawling under their house, one night to retrieve an item, he trips ons something sticking up from the dirt. Curious, he digs it up and finds a corpse making him wonder why Nak would always prevent him from going down there. Looking up through the creaks of the wood floor, he sees Nak sitting and brushing her hair. Dropping the comb through a creak, her arm eerily extends all the way to the floor to retrieve it. Mak covers his mouth, so she wouldn't hear him scream and continues observing Nak. Nak picks up her crying baby wherein Mak sees that their son is a corpse as well. A series of flashbacks reveal that Nak had a difficult childbirth and both mother and child died from complications. Mak 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 Mak returns to her. Mak 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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