Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review - Seru



Seru is the last horror movie of April... so far all the horror movies this month seem to be missing the mark at being horror movies... more like suspense or thriller movies, with supernatural elements to it... except for Penunggu Istana, coz I did not get to watch that one, so dunno whether it was actually horror or not...

But fret not horror fans, there are a couple of horror movies still coming our way in May...

Okay, so... Seru... the title's bit simple and refers to the act of summoning things, so you know sorcery's involved...

Saw this movie at a preview in Wangsa Walk with some colleagues... a lot of stars were there... even those not in the movie like Lisa Surihani and Liyana Jasmay... I even sat one row above the directors and Khatijah Tan... hehe...

Anyway, so Seru is a movie within a movie... or like a documentary-type (mockumentary actually) footage that shows behind the scenes of the making of Jangan Bernafas, a horror movie starring Pierre Andre, Nora Danish and Awal Ashaari.

During one intense scene, one of the crew members started shaking violently and screaming and passed out. Then, another girl also did the same thing, but this one got up and wandered off into the woods. Two crew members went to follow the wandering while the others went back to their base of operations.

The stars left the location, since they could not film anymore, but the cameramen (one's off following the girl in the forest) kept on filming.

The crew started bickering amongst each other, quick to blame the other for what had happened. One of them saw another house at a distance and thought they could ask for help. The couple that lived there came to their aid. The possessed girl was taken to the hospital. But then, scary stuff started happening at the base and soon they find themselves under attack by one of their own.

Meanwhile, the other two can't seem to find the wandering girl but they encountered something else in the forest...

God, I hope I did not spoil the storylines...

Anyway... that's basically the movie... oh, did I mention that this movie is like a mockumentary? Ala The Blair Witch Project? With shaking visuals and all? Yup... if you're not a fan of vertigo and first person POVs, then this might not be the movie for you...

But if you are able to watch Cloverfield or Quarantine or The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity (or even Penunggu Istana) and not flinch or vomit, then go ahead and watch...

This movie is directed by Pierre Andre... who seems to be getting away from the typical Jangan Pandang Belakang type movies, which I guess is a good progression for his horror career. Oh and another guy also directed the movie. Ming Jin. Both of them are credited as the writers as well.

But just so everything's out in the open... Nora Danish, Awal Ashaari and Pierre Andre has cameos in the movie and they are not the stars. Good cameos though. Fooled some of us into thinking Jangan Bernafas was the actual movie. It was a rare touch of satirical humor after the director yelled 'Cut!' and you get to see the stars act diva-ish.

The cast consists mostly of unknowns... the lead of the movie is Shaarnaz and he seemed to be doing an okay job with the acting. The rest of them also not bad but when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan, everything just fell apart.

Seru is the movie that has the distinction of making me vomit. Literally. But I managed to hold it down until the end of the movie. If not, I would've vomited on the Pierre Andre, his mom and the other director... yup, I was sitting above these people... I mean, I have seen The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield... to name a few and I have yet to vomit... maybe I am getting older... or maybe it was the flickering lights in the movie, plus the jerky camera movement/first person view...

Few things that bothered me about the movie... first of... the killer is just one person... yes, yes, I've gone and spoiled it... I know... but hey, the movie, like all April horror movies, lack the horror ingredients to be an actual horror... anyway, the killer is one person... there's at least five able bodies there... why can't they subdue the killer? It's not like the killer is picking them off one by one and stalking them like Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer or Halloween... the killer actually came out and attacked them in a bunch... I know some people might say possessed people are stronger but there were instances where they fought the killer off and they manage to knock her out... one person knocking her out... why can't they just do that in the beginning? She still has the weapon and she still was possessed... sigh...

I won't go into the nitpickings of the dubbing and the extremely shrill noises coming from the cast... I get it, you're scared for your life but if there were a crazed killer on the loose and wants to slit your throat, you really shouldn't be screaming and talking loudly and stuff... the camera's lights should not even be turned on... give away your position much?

Also, why did these people get to survive after a run-in with the evil guys? Why did they let them live and run around again? Coz they needed them all to die for the ceremony right? Why let them loose still?

One final thing that bothered me... and my colleague made me realize this... how on earth did anybody get the footage of this mockumentary? The police? Someone passing by? Jungle trekkers maybe? No way lar. The movie ends with... oh, oh, before we get to that... in the early stages of the movie, we get the handsome mugshot of Shaarnaz saying that everybody's dead and he might be next... that's really great... spoiling the entire movie at the beginning of your movie... now we know all those people are just cannon fodders...

Anyway, yes, footage... somehow or rather, I don't think this footage would ever see the light of day since no one survived... the evil guys who orchastrated the entire thing are the only ones who survived and they would soooooo not turn the footage in coz it's evidence in the crime that they have committed... so I ask again... who got the footage and who revealed it to the world? Like in The Blair Witch Project, the police found the camera while searching for the missing students... but this one? Obviously the bad guys gonna take the camera with them or have it destroyed or something...

Anyway, it's a good effort, something new in Malaysia... but the details... the details are the one thing a lot of filmmakers are totally ignoring (Raja Azmi's Dalam Botol is one shining example) and it really detracts from the movie...


Now, if only someone would go making a slasher film like Scream... maybe Pierre Andre should look into it since Seru is basically a slasher film... take out the annoying screaming and the crazy shakey jerky stroby light effect and the ghost element which did not amount to anything and it is a decent slasher... :)

4 comments:

Xeno Genesis said...

The movie is almost similar like Quarantine and Cloverfield and both of this two has an ending which the cops were unable to retrieve the camera that records the incident. It's the same goes for SERU. I agree that the movie is not that scary but its remarkably filled with suspense and to know-more like feeling. Although in the end everyone dies, and the daughter of the black mage is alive, but the soul that occupies the body is not his daughter, but merely a console of demonic souls or to be precise, the a single body shared by 10 or more demonic spirits which is called in term, The Legion. So, basically, the black mage and his wife will die anyway since Legion is basically gonna massacre them both. So far, this is the best malay horror film i've ever watched compare to the other stupid and preposterous malay horror movie like khurafat and the past horror movies. Yes, i vastly prefer this kind of horror movie if malaysian film makers decided to make another horror movie. The cameos of Awal, Nora danish and pierre adre is a waste of time. It'll be much more interesting if all died.

Nazlee said...

Xeno, although you're entitled to your own opinion I feel you have no clue on what makes a good horror film. Yes I do agree with you about the suspense and the know-more feeling, but that's about it. I'm gonna agree with the Wan on his review. Annoying shrieks by the terrified actors, lacking attention to detail, and irrelevant "ghosts" which added nothing to the plot.
Why did guy help the bomoh? What was the relation? Was he under his spell? Are they family? We really don't know... What possessed the 2 girls in the first place? They never explained. Why was the Julie girl posessed one minute, became a ghostly apparition the next, and in the end became the vessel for the bomoh for his daughter. And did you see how small the girl who killed everyone was? She was no Jason Voorhees. Yes possessed people may have extra strength but she was taken down twice by 2 people holding cameras. I'm sure the people with 2 free hands could have ganged up on her in the 1st place.
Oh and whoever it is that recovered this tape must now be filthy rich cos it's rock-solid evidence that ghosts exists. Even so, i still call this a slasher film and not horror.
Better than Khurafat you say? No chance... You want suspense and know-more feeling? Khurafat had suspense. While watching Khurafat i kept on wondering why the ghost was haunting the guy. I call that know-more feeling. And the ending answered that.
Seru made a good attempt in trying to emulate the suspense of first person view like the Blair Witch Project (a fantastic horror film even though we never saw the witch) but failed in every other department. (Seru gets a 2 out of 5 for me)

The Wan And Only said...

Xeno: It's safe that the ending is open to interpretation... the 'daughter' may or may not be a demonic vessel but since they never talked about it, we can assume just about anything...

I completely disagree about Seru being the best Malay horror because it is not a horror movie. Slasher movie is more appropriate, which makes it different to and cannot be compared to Khurafat etc. But that's my opinion. And I respect your opinion that you really like Seru.

Also, the cameos? If they were killed off, it would not be authentic since they are playing themselves as actors. Seru is supposed to be a real footage film remember? :)

Thanks for reading and commenting :)

The Wan And Only said...

Nazlee: thanks for agreeing with me, hehehe...

I think Julie was chosen because she looks like the couple's daughter that died... but then again, who was the ghost child in the forest? Hmmm...

Khurafat's twist ending made it a better film that it was supposed to be :)