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This is not your typical Asian ghost story. The ones you are all fed up with. This is Indonesian cinema going back to its roots and actually focusing on stories that feel intertwined with the local culture. Even though at times this does feel like an American teen horror movie and definitely borrows inspiration from movies like The Evil Dead or The Blair Witch Project.
Five young kids from the city decide to go to one of the more backwater islands in their country. I'm guessing its Borneo, but it is never really said where they are going. They hike into the reclusive forest areas in search of Lake Setra Wingit (most likely has something to do with local legend). Leading the pack is Gali, a jock type character, much in tune with the generic American movie front-man. His girlfriend Rinjani is basically very devoted to Gali and very much in love, deciding on this wilderness hike out of love. Together with her comes her best friend Ray, geeky but rational, an ideal counterpart for Gali and also secretly in love with Rinjani. The pack also consists of funny guy Indra and his irritating girl Sofie.
The first scene of the movie is definitely the weakest, so I really suggest quickly ignoring that part of the movie. It gets better from then on starting with a very creepy opening sequence and followed by beautiful wilderness shots. We thrown straight into the dichotomy between our characters and the local residents, which gives a great feel of just how out of place they are. Of course the characters quickly decide to do what no local would ever do and ignore their uneducated fears.
After deciding to go search for the lake they quickly descend into the forest, where weird things start to happen. It quickly becomes apparent that some evil forest haunts the forest and soon possesses Rinjani.
Some ideas are really brilliant and add to the eeriness of the forest. Sometimes the pacing is off and I personally would have dealt with some scenes very differently finding them superfluous, overdone or a waste of a great idea (i.e. not cutting part of the scene to make it more mysterious). Use of music as a startler is mostly great, but at times is overcooked. The evil witch of the forest is at times creepy, but sometimes reminds you of the good old days of campy special effects and is more funny, than scary.
Acting is mostly good, with some awkward moments and definitely too much screaming and hand-waving. What really makes this story work it the attempt to flesh out some of the characters and relationship between them. The highlight is the interaction between Ray and Gali, that really makes you care about the character.
Better than 9 out 10 American horror movies that flood the market. Tech credits are great all the way through, with some exceptional an inventive shots, that really can creep you out. Also the setting is beautiful and some shots are brilliant.
7/10 going onto 8.
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