| Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: The Mo Brothers
Cast: Shareefa Daanish, Imelda Therinne, Arifin Putra, Ruli Lubis, Julie Estelle, Ario Bayu, Sigi Wimala, Daniel Mananta, Dendy Subangil, Mike Muliadro
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: GV & Mediacorp Raintree Pictures
Opening Day: 8 October 2009
Darah tells the tale of a most horrifying night for 6 friends. Two newly weds Adjie
and Astrid, along with 3 of their best mates decide to have an interstate road trip
as a last attempt to reconcile Adjie with his estranged younger sister Ladya.
Their drive is, however, cut abruptly when they run into Maya, a strange girl who
wanders aimlessly out of nowhere into their path. “I’ve been robbed” is all she has
to say. The friends unanimously decide to give her a ride to her isolated house in
the deep of the woods. This is when the night turns into a crimson-hell for the 6 friends. They find themselves
trapped and hunted by Dara and her three deadly protégés who have been born
and raised to systematically eliminate unsuspecting passerbys for one nefarious
One by one they are slaughtered. Everybody will bleed. The dark of night has never
looked so red.
It is quite an understatement to say that the Mo Brothers’
"Darah" is one bloody, gory affair. After all, this
is the first feature from Gorylah Pictures, the genre label
by Eric Khoo of Zhao Wei Films and Mike Wiluan of Infinite
Frameworks. Their aim was to create an independent horror
label focusing on unique Southeast Asian stories, beliefs
and myths and to introduce such folklore to the rest of the
They need not worry if "Darah" can live up to the
promise of the name of "Gorylah Pictures". It does-
although it does take a while for the bloodletting to begin.
Unlike other slasher films, "Darah" takes a deliberately
paced approach before the killings begin. Indeed, quite rarely
for a film of this nature, the Mo Brothers actually care for
the characters that you know will soon be going under the
knife, and they take their time at letting their audience
get to know the sextet.
Quite unfortunately, their efforts are likely to ring hollow-
since it is not likely that you’ll care much for the
husband Ajie (Ario Bayu), his pregnant wife Astrid (Sigi Wimala),
Ajie's sister Ladya (Julie Estelle) or any of their three
friends. None of them are particularly likeable or memorable
for you to root for them. The one person you’re more
likely to remember is the movie’s titular character,
Darah, the mother of the rain-drenched girl Maya the group
of six so kindly oblige to give a ride home.
The setup is pure formula as they fall prey to Maya’s
family of seriously disturbed individuals hiding a dark, mysterious
secret in a sprawling colonial mansion. It is there they meet
their worst nightmare and more- the prim and perfectly coiffurred
matriarch of the family, Darah (Shareefa Daanish). With her
thin smile, menacing stare and monotonous voice, Daanish’s
award-winning portrayal of Darah is a riveting performance
you’ll find yourself glued to.
And the Mo Brothers are well aware of that- since they have
seemingly spent more time deciding how to photograph Darah
so she looks more intimidating once she appears onscreen.
In fact, as soon as Darah appears, the pair of filmmakers,
Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto, forget all that character
buildup they spent crafting in the first 20 mins and relegate
their victims to mere dimwits running around like headless
horsemen (pun intended).
Yes, "Darah" is one of those movies where you’re
left frustrated at the sheer stupidity of the characters as
if they had their brains drained out even before Darah had
the chance to lop their heads off. This also doesn’t
help the surprisingly weak pacing, moving in stops and starts
before finally finding its sure footing only during the climax
when Darah goes balls-out mental with a buzzing chainsaw.
But local viewers are also likely to feel the buzz of another
chainsaw- that of the censors who have snipped and mauled
portions of the movie which are meant to be gory pleasures.
It would have made more sense to have kept "Darah"
uncut, since what audiences are most looking forward to is
the gorefest this movie promises to unleash. Sadly, the M18
edited version of this unabashed tale of butchery is one butchered
affair and audiences looking to savour its gory delights will
likely be disappointed. Anyone looking for more need not even
This first feature from Eric Khoo and Mike Wiluan’s
genre label lives up to the name of its production company
but little more)
Review by Gabriel Chong