Which of these series would you like to watch?
With the existence of ever-improving technology, many consumers are now used to watching movies and series on digital platforms. Even more so during this unpredictable pandemic, people are more comfortable watching content at home rather than in cinemas. We can see that various subscription-based video streaming platforms have been introduced, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Asia, Viu and many more.
Folklore (HBO Asia)
Not only that, such platforms are giving filmmakers the freedom for more creativity in their works, especially since these digital releases will not have to undergo censorship by the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF). Malaysian filmmakers are more daring to step out of their comfort zones by producing more intriguing pieces, be it a film or a series.
So, here we list down these must-watch Malaysian original series that you can binge watch in your free time!
"Folklore" is an anthology series made up of six horror tales based on the local folklores of six Asian countries, produced by Singaporean filmmaker Eric Khoo. Don't worry, unlike most horror works, the series does not utilise jump scares, because Eric's inspiration for it was the horror classic, "Rosemary's Baby".
The Bridge (Viu)
The unique series has earned praises from not just local, but also global viewers! The list of episodes for the first season is as below:
1. "A Mother's Love" – Indonesia: Directed by Joko Anwar, this episode tells of a single and her kid, who are trying to save a group of children who has been kidnapped by their adoptive mother, an evil entity known as Wewe Gombel.
2. "Tatami" – Japan: Actor-director Takumi Saitoh helms this tale of a suicide case writer who uncovers his family's dark secret following his father's death.
3. "Nobody" – Singapore: This episode is directed by Eric Khoo and tells the story of two construction workers who are disturbed by a Pontianak, after they buried the corpse of a woman they found on their construction site.
4. "Pob" – Thailand: Director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang brings to life the story of Pob, a Thai ghost that wishes to expose its murder to a journalist and ask for it to be published.
5. "Toyol" – Malaysia: Pressured by his city's plunging economy, a Parliament member seeks help from a dukun (shaman). All his problems are solved and they fall in love with each other, but this is only the beginning of the end for him. The episode is helmed by Ho Yuhang.
6. "Mongdal" – South Korea: Helmed by Lee Sang-woo. Due to her love for her psychotic son, a mother is willing to do anything to make him happy, including finding him a partner in the afterlife.
Malaysia's largest media company, Media Prima Berhad, worked together with video-on-demand service Viu to produce an Asian adaptation of the popular Scandinavian crime series, "The Bridge". Combining the directing forces of Jason Chong and TJ Lee, the series stars the award-winning Malaysian actor Bront Palarae and Singaporean actress Rebecca Lim.
Like the other versions of "The Bridge", this series features a similar storyline about two detectives, one from Malaysia and the other Singapore, who are tasked with investigating the mysterious death of a woman whose corpse was split in two, found on the borders of the two countries. The suspenseful plot, plus the actors' chemistry, makes this series a fans' favourite!
The Ghost Bride (Netflix)
The reception of the first season was very encouraging, leading to the production's decision to return with a second season that features an even more intriguing storyline, this time starring actors from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The cultures and traditions of the Peranakan Chinese in Malacca in the early 19th century is the theme of this supernatural horror series, which also helps boost Malaysia's presence on the international stage. Adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name by Malaysian author Yangsze Choo, "The Ghost Bride" tells of Li Lan who is asked to be wedded to a ghost in order to settle her family's debts.
This big scale project, helmed by renowned Malaysian directors Quek Shio Chuan and Ho Yuhang, combines the efforts of Malaysian actors Kuang Tian, Angeline Tan, Jordan Voon, Jojo Goh and Susan Leong, with Taiwanese actors Pei Jia and Wu Kang Ren, as well as Chinese-Canadian Hollywood actor, Ludi Lin. Aside from Malacca, the filming was also done in heritage sites across Malaysia such as in Ipoh and Taiping, Perak; Iskandar Puteri, Johor; and George Town, Penang.
K-drama fans would surely be familiar with the popular Song Seung-heon and Go Ara-starring series "BLACK". While the main character in the original drama was a Grim Reaper, in this Malaysian version, it is replaced with a Bunian (supernatural beings in Malay folklore that are usually invisible to humans). Named Black, the Bunian possesses a cop's corpse in order to look for its friend in the human world, and eventually falls in love with Sofia, a woman who is able to predict someone's death just by touching their shadow.
The impressive performance of Kamal Adli, Siti Saleha, Nabila Huda, Namron and Khir Rahman successfully makes the storyline even more interesting. Despite its dark dramatic concept, the funny dialogues are sure to tickle everyone's funny bones. The language used in this Razaisyam Rashid-helmed series is a little coarse but not excessively so.
Viewers are of the same opinion when it comes to the thriller series "Jibril" – it's not your typical drama, in fact its quality is on a par with international productions! The original story is adapted from the well-received 2013 UiTM Mock Trial. It follows Jibril Azym, an intelligent lawyer who is tasked with solving high profile murder cases, which eventually leads to his discovery of a secret organisation called Zerkala.
Helmed by Megat Sharizal, the series features some of the biggest stars in Malaysia, such as Aeril Zafrel, Lisa Surihani, Tony Eusoff and Sangeeta Krishnasamy. It's no wonder then that many viewers are singing praises of the cast members' committed embodiment of their characters. Even though this series was previously released on TV, the plot in the Viu version is quite different since it features no cuts.
"Salon" is a thrilling dark comedy revolving around a salon owner called Anna, who moonlights as a vigilante that kills anyone who's done evil deeds. All this is caused by her own family's demise, which ignited a fire in her to seek vengeance on the killer.
Each episode is full of suspense and is sure to make viewers anticipate what happens next. Maybe many are wondering is Anna a psycho? Got to watch if you want to know the answer to that! With director Khabir Bhatia lending his "magic touch", this series stars a talented cast that includes Julia Farhana, Iman Corinne, Josiah Hogan and Idris Khan.
Cinema Online, 16 October 2020