Writer: Dzamira DzafriWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
You're going to want to see this for the terrifying vision of a 'Penanggal' ghost from Malay and Indonesian folklore, which is a detached female head capable of flying about on its own. As it flies, the stomach and entrails dangle below it, and these organs twinkle like fireflies as the 'Penanggal' moves through the night.
But as you expect more of the scare-factor in your horror film, you might instead want to stay for the actors, as most of them did an outstanding job with their performances, which is a nice way to say that the so called 'horror' film wasn't at all frightening and to some it can may be described as disappointing.
It's good news to people who aren't too keen on full on horror, of course, as it doesn't keep your blood pumping while you sit, but who would buy a movie ticket for a horror film if you aren't into the genre?
The first scene, admittedly, was genuinely terrifying. The effects were the best we have seen in a Malay horror, and it made the experience of watching it all the more intense, and we wish we would have seen more of that atmosphere throughout the whole film.
Instead, what you got was a drama slash action film with little bits of scares here and there. It seemed like director Ellie Suriaty wanted to direct a lot of genres at once, and it's not like we can't keep up with her but it would have been better if the movie had the same atmosphere that gelled well together. The scenes between the Arabs and the Malay villagers were so different we thought one of them was from the past.
It was also confusing to tell what was going on a few times because there were dialogues that included a mix of Javanese, Malay and Arabic in the same sentences and some scenes felt like it didn't tell the audience enough before it skipped to the next. And that made it harder for us to enjoy the film, so okay; we did find it difficult to keep up with Ellie.
Now that the bones have already been picked, we can say how delighted it is to watch a movie with mostly talented up and coming actors! Young actress Ummi Nazeera achieved to portray a wide series of emotions, and it was tough to show capabilities like that in a horror film so kudos to her!
Zul Ariffin played the obnoxious Arab brother with depth as well. He also showed that his character can have a heart and the added Silat scenes were great to watch, even though it was confusing to have such a well-choreographed action scene in a horror based film. More experienced actors like Azri Iskandar and Normah Damanhuri also showed their capabilities.
Even though the horror element was close to non-existent towards the end of the film, the cinematography and the art put in the film is tremendous and it deserves recognition. The art really made the scenes, and the contrast of the village in the forest and the rich Arabian interior, though confusing story wise was a treat to view.
Knowing that this is Ellie Suriaty's first film, the level of beauty and professionalism in a Malay film is above the average and she did a really great job at what she wanted to do. Though it was a little bit messy, the film should be given a chance to watch for the actors performances, the outstanding opening sequence and the graphics and art.Cinema Online, 14 November 2013