Yay!! My perseverance has scored me another few of those wacky Indonesian horror films that your Favorite Catgirl just seems to thrive on like salty snack foods…. soooo darn bad for you, but sooo darn tasty too!! Are they good movies? Ummmm… not all the time, but they are usually pretty fun lil’ bits of movie silliness… and that’s what counts.
Our synopsis is a bit sketchy but here goes: “Randy, Tammy, Denisa and Josh are going on holiday to a resort at “Virgin Beach”, recently developed as a seaside tourist attraction. But nobody knows that in the ocean near these beaches lurks the Jenglot, a horrible water spirit responsible for maintaining the purity of the southern beaches. Angered by the behavior of the visitors to the resort, the Jenglot creeps forth from the sea and hunts down anyone who desecrates the sanctity of his beach.”
So…. take a big bunch of pretty Indonesian girls in bikinis… throw in a few hunky guys…. a little potty humor… and one goofy rubber sea monster and I’ll be darned if you haven’t got yourself a movie! Am I expecting a classic? Nawwwww… But, at least my sweetie says she game for all the pretty Asian girls in bikinis that want to cavort their way through a film for our entertainment… (Such a brazen tease!! I’ll be certain to get even with her later!!) As always, to catch a bit of the action yourself, you just have to “Read On” and let Neko tell you all about it!
Our story gets underway on a dark and lonely beach…. and a creepy shaman guy (played by Buanergis Muryono) at the surf’s edge is bathing the pitiful form of our title monster in soothing seawater, restoring it’s feeble strength by feeding it with his own blood. There’s some cryptic promise from him to our wee beastie that soon the time will be right and eternity will be his. Oh yeah… you just know that’s gonna cost somebody… big time!! It always does…
Then it’s our turn to shift focus and meet our group of young 20-somethings as they prepare themselves for a little “fun in the sun” on a weekend outing to the newest beach party hot spot, Virgin Beach. It’s the usual group… pretty darn well interchangeable with every other group of attractive young upscale Gen Y characters in every other Indonesian horror film this wee Catgirl has ever seen. We spend the first 10 minutes or so sorting out their roles: Drunken party boy Josh and his girlfriend Denisa… her cute friend Tammy and the buddy of Josh’s that they want to hook her up with, Randy. Add in Randy’s younger bro Kemal…. itching to go along for this wild weekend of debauchery and partying and you’ve got pretty much the standard “body count”… errr… I mean cast… for one of these sorts of films.
Get the sense that this one is pretty much a “by the numbers” exercise in Indonesian horror by director Rizal Mantovani? Yeah… that’s pretty much what it is. The one thing that might rescue things from obscurity… the legend of the Jenglot… should play center stage… but unfortunately for me, it really didn’t. It’s certainly a neat lil’ monster… looking to this lady like one of those old “Fiji mermaids” that used to be in sideshow carnivals here in the US. You know the ones I mean… weird lil’ mummified critters stitched together from tiny monkeys and big fish, stuffed and displayed for the amusement of a gullible clientele. I had hoped to learn some of the folklore behind this Indonesian version of the legend… but apparently all the time that could have been spent telling me that story was taken up with oodles of more screen time for pretty Indonesian models rubbing tanning oil on themselves. Sigh… No fair….
Ok.. ok… at least we learn that the Jenglot is some sort of powerful spirit thingee that’s supposedly immortal and although they never really went out of their way to explain it, I hit on the idea that our creepy shaman guy was up to no good and looking for some vital element that would allow our sick lil’ flesh eating monster to perk up and last another lifetime or so. From most of what follows, I had assumed that missing element was loads and loads of human flesh. For a sick and dying lil’ monster, the Jenglot certainly has a lot of pep left when it comes to ripping apart beach-goers.
Given the body count that requires, our lil’ group grows a bit once they hit the beach, adding sultry Lulu owner of the bungalow they are staying in, and her sexy girlfriend Avi to the group. Ahhhh…. and naturally our young Kemal wastes no time hooking up with a pretty beach bunny named Ninning and bringing her along for the fun. Think we’re going to get to know these people really well? Think again. It’s a really short movie… about 77 minutes or so… and one heck of a list of people who have to get eaten before it ends. Luckily… the Jenglot is up to the task.
It sneaks around half the time like a monkey in an ill fitting rubber suit and the other half of the time acts like a sock puppet on somebody’s arm… not the greatest special effects monster ever done, but adequate enough for our needs. Oh, and our creepy shaman gets in on things too… slipping the Black Magic whammy on poor Tammy (for reasons we only find out about during our “twist ending”…)… as well as whupping on the odd teenager with a big ol’ stick with a nail sticking out of it. He’s a multi-talented bad guy, you see.
So exactly what is his dread plan? Well… it’s “Spoiler Alert” time then…. so don’t go sayin’ Neko didn’t warn ya!
Apparently… every generation our lil’ monster grows old, shrivels up, and eventually dies…. unless, that is, it can pass it’s spirit on to a new fresh body to continue it’s evil existence. Yeah, yeah…. and our evil shaman has picked out pretty Tammy as the Jenglot’s new “home”. So…. will Randy save her? I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting….
Sigh…. given that I hadn’t seen a fresh Indonesian horror film for a while, but I’m sad to say, “Jenglot Pantai Selatan” just didn’t reach the levels of horror goodness I has soooo wanted for my return to Indo Horror. At best Neko can really only give it 2 “Meows” out of 5 for it’s lackluster attempt. Had it spent a little more effort to tell me all about the amphibious spirit thingee that is the Jenglot of Indonesian folklore, I might have been more impressed. Just using it as a stock killing machine for the most part was certainly disappointing. The cast wasn’t amazing either… doing merely an adequate job of being “eye candy”, but never giving us any reason to root for them or sympathies with their horrible fates. There’s no real overt sexuality… it’s an Indonesian film after all…. and the gore, while adequate for the story purposes, usually consists of some fairly short confusing attack scenes in the water leaving corpses with their flesh stripped to the bone… effective but nothing amazing, effects and makeup wise. Ah well… at least I’ve a couple more films in this last pile to arrive from Malaysia, so who knows… maybe one of them will be the creepy lil’ gem I’m looking for.
The PMP Entertainment Malay DVD release for this one is almost an exact copy of the original Indonesian release… minus the added “making of” feature usually found on their discs. It’s PAL formatted, letterboxed and comes with excellent English subtitles for the nice price of 8$ US. Given that… it’s hard to feel cheated or disappointed toooo much. Certainly it’s a budget friendly lil’ DVD if you are as nutty for goofy Indonesian horror as this wee lady. Never a bad thing…..
Our Trailer? Yep Neko’s got you covered…. try this on on for size!!