Director: Kimo Stamboel
Cast: Caitlin Halderman, Jefri Nichol, Marsha Aruan, Irsyaadillah, Susan Sameh, Ciccio Manassero
Runtime: 1 hr 35 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Horror)
Released By: mm2 Entertainment
Opening Day: 11 April 2019
Synopsis: A group of high school seniors want to make history as the first people to livestream their journey in an infamous abandoned building, rumoured to be a former cult lair. Despite warnings to stay away from the forbidden building, the group sneaks in and accidentally opens a dark portal to a netherworld where they are hunted by a masses of terrifying creatures and a mysterious woman in red.
We can’t escape social media nowadays. Almost everything incorporates a social media element of some sort, including horror movies. From Hollywood’s Unfriended: Dark Web to Korea’s Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, there’s always a grim picture of how social media is out there to ruin our lives.
And why shouldn’t this Indonesian movie follow suit? The story follows a group of teenagers (but of course, why would mature adults do something as silly as this?) as they venture into an obviously haunted apartment. And because the easiest way to gain online popularity is to upload a live stream video, these unwise folks decide to let the worldwide web have a glimpse of what they are seeing first hand. They motley crew find themselves in a room with a mysterious portal that brings them to another realm, and thus we have this 95 minute flick to please the unfussy horror fan.
It is interesting to note that the movie is based on an indie survival horror video game of the same name developed by an Indonesian company. The story is similar - a group of high school students come across an abandoned town and are confronted with paranormal activities. This explains why sitting through the movie feels like going clearing the various stages of a video game.
The protagonist, a pleasant schoolgirl who reluctantly gets involved in this misadventure, has several tokens that can be used to attack the baddies. Her smart phone is the most powerful tool of all because it can emit flashes which apparently harm the spirits and reduce their power. She also has a handy sling bag which contains all her essentials. There are also items like a sacred parchment scroll, a mysterious sickle and a murky whirlpool which play different roles for the movie to progress.
Because this is also a relatable teen movie, you get the stereotypes in the group: the suave and desirable good looker, the popular and bitchy mean girls, the loud mouthed bully who likes to show off, and the selfish coward who always makes things worse.
The ensemble cast delivers decent performances. Caitlin Halderman, Jefri Nichol, Marsha Aruan, Irsyaadillah, Susan Sameh, Ciccio Manassero are probably household names in Indonesia, but to the common crowd here, they may be unfamiliar faces.
Directed by Kimo Stamboel, this movie works because of its setting. Imagine being terrorised by a woman in red kebaya in the dense forests. Imagine being grabbed by hands from all over after falling into a mud hole. Imagine being deafened by high shrills that startle you when you least expect them. Everything is scarier when it comes to a horror story set in a Southeast Asian country.
Although there isn’t anything particularly innovative about this movie (you get the obligatory jump scares, the creepy make up and the eerie music score), credit has to be given because the filmmakers did not try to reinvent the wheel. Like other Indonesian horror productions that we have seen (Sabrina, Satan’s Slaves, The 3rd Eye), this one is a decent piece of work that should satisfy the masses.
(A female ghost in a red kebaya baring her sharp fangs in your face is what nightmares are made of)
Review by John Li