Writer: Naseem RandhawaWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“The Haunting”, “House on the Haunted Hill”, "Nine Lives", "Portret Mistik"
Produced by Cinework Sdn. Bhd. and distributed by Metrowealth Pictures Sdn Bhd., "Dilarang Masuk" is written and directed by Singaporean director Jeffrey Chiang and co-produced by Esma Daniel as a horror thriller with an unexpected twist. The story follows a group of friends Fatia (Shiqin Kamal), Badrul (Muniff Isa), Juli (Isma Hanum) and Ronnie (Azma Yusoof), who ends up getting lost while trekking along some foggy hills. As the night approaches with impending darkness, the group is desperate for some shelter and food. By sheer luck or so it seems, they happen to stumble upon a huge rundown house that appears to be abandoned. Inside, they discover two gruesome corpses that have been left to rot, a loaded gun and duffel bags that are filled with millions of ringgit. As sinister episodes begin to occur through the night, it really seems as if curiosity at times is best left alone.
The initial idea of the story may seem cliched, what with the usual group of friends intruding upon an eerie looking house with a secret (which so obviously means bad news), but it manages to attach a meaning to the plot which is only uncovered somewhere along the end. Although the effort is commendable for its good intentions, audiences will find that the true message of the story should have been more clear right from the beginning to keep the precision of the story smooth and interesting. Whilst its prospects were very well capable of it, the movie fails to build up the layers upon layers of suspense, as one could not be too sure what to be suspenseful about. The hook that would keep audiences watching is the loud 'alarming' sounds that metaphorically also scream, "Watch out! Something scary is to be expected in just a few seconds now!"
Only somewhere close to the middle the audience might find out that Fatia is unwell, but that along with many other questions that pops up throughout the movie, just adds up to the confusion thus rendering the plot hazy. The characters of the story should've been more established from the start and more prominence could have been given to the secret the house holds so that the only fog that would be present, is the one that regards the setting of the foggy hills, not the audience's minds.
The actors did well for their characters when it comes to individual scenes, but as a group of close-knit friends, the lack of chemistry is evident. Ronnie and Fatia do not pull off as a convincing couple on-screen, Ronnie's hushed affair with Juli seems daft and Bad's longing and affection for Fatia seems hollow without a strong basis. Perhaps one could not feel the chemistry between the characters, as the viewers might not get enough opportunity to know each of the characters well to really feel engaged. Co-producer Esma Daniel seemed promising in his role but his character that seems to appear out of nowhere along the story tends to be confusing as well.
Embarking on a new style of cinematography, "Dilarang Masuk" is the first feature film in Asia to be made with a DSLR camera. More specifically, Canon's EOS 5D Mark II was used as its main shooting equipment. The resolution quality of the movie on the big screen is without a doubt impressive, as most of its scenes are shot at night, one would expect the product to be grainy. The lighting techniques that were utilised in the dim setting managed to capture the vibe of a horror movie, even the occasional shadows that fall upon the actors' face managed to provide a dark intensity to the movie.
All in all, the message the movie delivered is really something to think about which will only be revealed to the audiences at the end of the movie. Albeit the perplexing plot that definitely had the potential to be better, the other aspects of the movie are fine if one is in for another new Malaysian thriller to hit the cinemas.Cinema Online, 01 April 2011