Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review - Senjakala

As I've posted before, this month, we got a barrage of horror movies coming our way. Senjakala was the second movie after Dilarang Masuk. Penunggu Istana will be showing this week and next week, Seru. I have seen Seru, and cannot wait to write something about it next week.

Anyway, I went to KLCC to watch Senjakala with Sifu (who taught me a lot of things to do at the movies that would definitely save some money, haha). This would be my first time watching a movie with a well-regarded blogger/reviewer that was not at a media preview. And he did tell me that he would walk out if the movie sucks... (read his review here)

But he did not walk out. Not sure whether it was because the film was good, or it was okay, or because we paid good money for the tickets. Yes, I got a couple of free tickets but we can only go watch it Saturday onwards. Anybody want those tickets, just email me k? :)

So, Senjakala. This would be how many horror movies Ahmad Idham's made now? I lost count. I remember Niyang Rapik (which was not too bad, quite interesting for me... and starred Liyana Jasmay), and last year's Damping Malam, which I did not get to see, but will soon... anyway, I think Ahmad Idham has his own stamp by now, and we can see plenty of his stamp on this movie....

The movie starts with Khalisa dreaming. About running through the forest and bumping into a huge wooden house where she saw herself being possessed. Wakes up. She's in a car with her fiance. Then her fiance ran over a haggardly woman, and he was ran over by a lorry. Then she wakes up. From that moment on, she feels this strong urge to return to her grandmother's house in the kampung, which she was told not to do so by her parents. Of course, she defied them and went anyway, with a girl friend in tow.

There, she found her creepy grandmother, and even creepier kampung folks, who seemed to want her gone. Also, there's this guy who keeps saving her life but refused to interact with her. And there was a bit of a slo-mo 80's style shot when they touched... I think it was supposed to mean that there was an attraction...

So after a while, Khalisa found out the truth of what's going on and that she has an inheritance from her ancestors that she needs to accept, which was why she felt the tug to go visit the grandmother...

Story-wise, it's not bad. And the way it was layered... it was a nice touch I think...

Unfortunately, when it comes down to the actual horror part of this horror movie, it was severely lacking. For a horror-fest April, so far the two movies shown were not exactly horror movies.

And the entities that do show up on screen, especially early on... not exactly relevant to the story. Ahmad Idham did this with Niyang Rapik. All kinds of ghoulies but none of them were actually relevant to the storylines.

I heard from my colleagues and from reading other reviews that the sound mixing was done at Finas and yes, the sound was nice. But... but... why oh why did they use a rattling snake as one of the sounds? It got annoying after a while. Do we even have rattlers in Malaysia?

The actors are not too bad in this movie, but I do think there was a bit of a problem with the dubbing. Some of the actors' mouth are not in sync with the dialogue spewed out. Who's at fault when this happens? Hmmm... Also, Aida Aris and Eizlan Yusof does not look like they could've been the parents of Liyana Jasmay. But then again, Liyana looks like a young girl, what with her being cute and petite.

And the resolving of the conflict? It's always the Ustaz right? I think Malay movies should step out of the religion comfort zone and try to think of imaginative ways to resolve the issues besides just relying on religion.

By the way, Senjakala had a nice touch with the whole Khalisa and Arman romance thingy. I mean, not at first. They had to resort to a musical montage to tell us that they are hanging out and the slo-mo scene to show that there was an attraction. But I saw what the scene was meant to be. It was meant to show that Khalisa felt the attraction of the inheritance or the saka, rather than of Arman. Look at her dead fiance for goodness sake! And then, at the end of the movie, she touched him again, before he left the room and she felt nothing. Or there was no slo-mo scene, so you know that it was the saka and not Arman. Nice one! :)