Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jangan Pandang Belakang

A man investigates the mysterious death of his fiancee and discover more than he bargained for.

Rose commit suicide and her boyfriend Darma as well as her twin sister Seri never believe for one second that Rose will take the easy way out. After tracing back what actually happened to Rose, they find evidences that suggest supernatural intervention.

I think I am not the only one who is sick with horror movies from the west. It is either a slasher flick or some mystery that cheats the audience in the end. Asians have loads of creepy tales that send chills down the spine, just verbally. Can you imagine how scary it can be with visual aids?

After reading mixed reviews of this movie, I guess it was worth to check it out even though I can almost immediately expect the worse. I was not wrong

This movie is way overrated, way too much. It's bad in many ways. The sequence is bad; some scenes were simply redundant or non coherent; storyline is pretty much loose and non-contiguous; bad acting. I can go on. To its credit, there are two scenes which I feel were genuinely scary. But when compiled as a whole, even that cannot save the movie.

I understand that it is not easy especially for our Malay film industry to embark on a new genre like this. With pretty much minimal expertise in the area iof special effects, it is even harder. But like I said earlier, if ghost stories from this region can scare the crap out of you just verbally, why the need for elaborate visual effects?

I feel that there are many ways this movie can be improved.

First of all, better actors please.

Next, clean up the storyline. If it is meant to be simple, then make it as it should be. Why the need for the security guard to have so many lines and giving impression of importance when in the end he was not even necessary. Why have cartoonish characters like the bus driver?

Camera angle in my opinion can and should be exploited further particularly for horror films. The thing about ghost is the fact that it scares us with thoughts of how it looks like. When shown too much of it, especially with poor makeup, it then become an object of amusement rather than one that instills fear. With the right camera angle, viewers know it's there but with just glimpse of it, the rest is left to our wild imagination.

My dissapointment stems not only from viewers who can't tell horror from comedy and gave unrealistic ratings, but more from the fact that older Malay movies were of much better quality than this. Take for example Rahsia starring Noor Kumalasari. It a freaky show and it's stamped in my mind that I can still remember it till today, even after 20 years. Then there's Pengabdi Setan and Arwah Penasaran, both Indonesian films. Those two scared the crap out of me way back then.

If it can't beat those 3 films I mentioned, especially in this day of age, with more technology at movie makers' disposal, than Jangan Pandang Belakang don't a deserve a mention, other than it was released with smart promotions.

Horror movie lovers should just forget about this movie. Like the title suggest, jangan pandang belakang. There is nothing to regret about missing it.

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