Laddaland (2011) is a recent Thai entry in the Asian ghost genre. Interestingly, it also seems to draw on a western strain of horror, what you might call “real-estate anxiety” as exemplified by Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror, even to some degree the Paranormal Activity series. Here the fear is rooted more in economic and status related issues than the ghosts that come to seem like a projection of financial insecurity. The core of this mini-genre is the middle-class family which finally attains the dream home they've longed for only to find that it doesn't offer the security and safe haven they expected.
In Laddaland, co-written and directed by Sophon Sakdaphisit, the family is fractured, with father and husband Thee (Saharat Sangkapreecha) struggling to make a living as a salesman. He has recently made a down payment on a house in a gated subdivision (the Laddland of the title) in Chiang Mai in order to provide a solid base for his wife Parn (Piyathida Woramuksik) and two children, teenager Nan (Suthatta Udomsilp) and younger son Nat (Apinya Sakuljaroensuk). The girl is rebellious and resentful at being dragged from her grandmother's home and her friends in Bangkok; Thee's defensiveness shows in anger towards her and a seeming preference for his son. Parn is caught between her wealthy mother who is openly hostile to Thee as an unworthy of her and her husband whose insecurity constantly manifests in ways which undermine his intentions for the family.
Things are further complicated by the neighbours, a businessman, his wife and young son, and a wheelchair-bound mother. A minor incident with a cat which poops on Thee's driveway exposes a disturbing undertone of violence in the house next door, where we start to see various bruises on the wife's face, see the father hit the son, and eventually hear angry arguments escalating into physical violence. These neighbours serve as a visceral warning of where Thee's family may well be heading, and there's a solid story in this situation.
But then Sakdaphisit introduces the ghost. Thee mentions to Parn that he has hired a Burmese maid who works at a nearby house to come in occasionally. The first time we see her, there's something odd: she stands with her back to the road aiming a water hose at a flowerbed, but ignores Thee when he tries to talk to her, eventually walking away around the house. Not long after, a television news report reveals that the woman had been brutally murdered and stuffed inside a refrigerator inside the house days earlier. In traditional genre fashion, Thee doesn't put two and two together, and fiercely maintains long past all reason that there is no ghost in the community ... but of course, given all his problems, he has no choice. The house means everything to him, his whole identity being tied up in providing this home for his family.