Writer: WahiduzzamanWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"The Amityville Horror", "Rahsia", and "The Omen".
When a traditional game turns into a haunted subject, you get "Congkak". The Malay traditional game is explored via this interesting platform through proper execution of the plot and fine narration. Perhaps, two thumbs up are what the movie deserves to get.
First impression of the movie is that it's reminiscent of Othman Hafsham's "Rahsia" from back in 1987, which saw Noor Kumalasari and Shukery Hashim in the leading roles. Basically, the movie tells the story of a family who want to break away from hustle and bustle of city life and take a vacation at a bungalow in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Kazman, the dad played by Riezman Khuzaimi, has bought the bungalow through an arrangement made with his friend. Despite the fact that his daughter, Eli (Erin Malek) opposed to his decision for the vacation, Kazman proceed with the plan and soon after their arrival, they start to unveil the mysteries that haunt the family.
The best attribute of the movie is the establishment of the storyline, which is finely crafted and well executed throughout the flick. This is the kind of a story that gives us an optimistic view of local films indeed. Although it is known as a horror flick, the narration of the movie does not only rely on the cheap horror aspect; it also highlights the family drama and characterisation, which is worth watching. Don't expect this movie to be scarier than "Jangan Pandang Belakang", but "Congkak' is truly an improvement on Idham's previous work.
Nanu Baharuddin who plays Sufiah, the wife and mother, gave her best performance so far. Although she was seen previously in Shuhaimi's "Pontianak" films and "Waris Jari Hantu", this ghoulish flick unveils a completely different side to her character play as an actress. The way Nanu deals with fear, anxiety, empathy, and emotion throughout the movie has opened up a brand new avenue in her acting career. Maybe Nanu waited for this kind of opportunity to show us what she's truly made of.
Another highlight for the cast has got to be Erynne Erynna who plays Lisa. The petite actress has proved that she has big talent to show off, and overshadowed Eli's character completely. Erynne, who was previously seen in Khabir Bhatia's "Cinta", proved that she has something to offer this industry in the near future. Riezman Khuzaimi is just average and veterans M. Rajoli and Ruminah Sidek displayed valuable and important appearances all in all. However, it was a bit disappointing that M. Rajoli's voice was dubbed over with someone else's, and it is unknown for what reason they did it.
Although the effects are generally acceptable, there are a few flaws here and there, which spoiled the almost perfect product. The sound system, which used the SRD Dolby Digital system, made no big impact to the flow of the plot. It only can be felt during the suspenseful scenes. Apart from that, most of the scenes were not worthy of the sound system that they used for the movie.
However, this movie has opened a new avenue for Metrowealth products and absolutely the best piece from Ahmad Idham to date. Pierre Andre has impressed with his writing capabilities and has proven that local horror flicks can pull audiences to check out a movie that is not only scary but also well made, and sends the message that even a guardian can be a lonely soul.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008