Well, my shower last Sunday evening helped immensely, and as a result I was able to keep my self awake long enough to watch a couple of movies. First up for review is another of the Indonesian horror movies I got in from Malaysia last week…. “Lewat Tengah Malam” aka “After Midnight”.
The synopsis for it reads: “A widower named Tara lives with her only teenage daughter, Alice. Tara’s ex-husband, Yuga is in the mental hospital. Strange things happen when Alice sees a spirit haunted her in the apartment. The same spirit also terrorizes Yuga at the mental hospital. The spirit is appeared to be Yuga’s long time mistress who supposedly died in a horrible accident. Relations between mother and daughter become strained over the weird supernatural events that seem to be focused upon Alice. Will Alice’s best friend Ramon help her unravel the mystery before it is too late?”
Is it a good scary film like Mistress Neko likes? Or does it fail miserably? Guess you’ll just have to read some more to find out! Hehehehe!!
This one is pretty standard fare by genre director Koya Pagayo, despite it’s attempt at doing the whole “6th Sense” thing…. It’s a pretty confusing film. I’m torn between whether or not that’s intentional or just the result of bad editing and poor story structure. Neko watched the Malay disc for this one, and I have to say, the english subtitles for it reached a new level of incomprehensible gooblety-gook not even approached by the “Chinglish” subs I’m used to. It’s inspired this lil’ Catgirl to coin a new word just to describe them….. “Manglish“, because that’s pretty much what they were… mangled and downright hard to follow at times.
Anyway…. since I can’t go into the plot too much without spoiling the ending for you, lets take a peek at our cast instead. Foremost is our lead actress, Joanna Alexandra, as Alice. A very appealing and vulnerable character that seems overwhelmed at times by the weird events swirling around her, I just wish more lead up to the story would have explained her somewhat ambiguous relationship with Ramon, her only friend and confidant throughout the film. At 19, Miss Alexandra still definitely has a very youthful quality about her and it was surprising to Neko to find out she had been involved in quite a scandal over in Indonesia where she had done a lingerie photo spread in Playboy that almost resulted in rioting and arrests for violating the rather strict anti-pornography laws there….. Nothing makes that scarier than the threat of crazy Islamic fundamentalists going insane over a magazine which doesn’t even feature any nudity at all in it’s Indonesian edition…… Brrrrrr!! Miss Alexandra does a great job here playing convincingly as a troubled schoolgirl, and I think she deserves less criticism on her personal life.
Her best friend Ramon, played by Andhika Pratama, is also somewhat good, however he is a strange character, and Neko had a hard time figuring out why he was in the film…. I can’t go into it without revealing too much about the “twist” ending for the film, but he seems… well…. particularly sympathetic, but terribly unhelpful for poor Alice. Can’t truly figure out what the heck he thought he was up to throughout most of this one. He feels like Alice should be his girlfriend, but he is involved with a jealous ex-friend of Alice’s named Melvi, played by Ichi Nuraini that spends her time trying to make Ramon’s life miserable about his friendship with Alice.
Last, but not least, Cathrine Wilson, who plays Tara, Alice’s mom. This is perhaps the most interesting character in the film. Her husband is insane, raving away in a hospital, her daughter sees ghosts, and it seems she’s suffering from a brain tumor that she’s hiding from her daughter as she tries to hold down a job and keep things normal after a move from their old home to what can only politely be described as a “dive”…the apartment where the story takes place. Let’s just say, the stress begins to take it’s toll….. I think Catherine had the meatiest roll in the whole film.
So now…. remember, this is a modern Indonesian film, so there won’t be any real amount of gore and the ghosts will spend much of their time just creeping around threatening to get nasty….. but never really doing much directly. Even so, “Lewat Tengah Malam” manages to keep a nice (if somewhat confusing) atmosphere going on throughout. Everything does eventually get explained, but then those explanations manage to create more than a few additional questions as well.
I guess it’ll have to remain just that… An enigma of a film, that Neko-chan sorta likes…. and sorta wonders about. I give it 3 “Meows” out of 5 for being atmospheric, creepy, and having a heroine that I really liked, but can’t really give it any more thanks to it’s confusing plot and terrible subtitles….. But, as always, I leave you with the Trailer so you can see what’s up for yourself.