My “Halloween Review Series” starts with this brand spanking new Malaysian Horror offering from new writer/ director Zarina Abdullah. Zarina trained as a civil engineer, but studied filmmaking at the New York Film Academy in London.It took nine months to develop the script, and shooting the film took only 37 days. Special effects were done by Oriental Post, a Thai company that had previously worked on the Stephen Chow’s feature, “Kung Fu Hustle”. It stars Deanna Yusoff, Khatijah Tan, Farid Kamil, Dato Mustafa Maarof, M. Rajoli, Fauziah Nawi…..but my favorite has to be the heroine played by Natasha Hudson.
The basic story goes like this…..“Chermin is a horror/suspense thriller about a woman who is haunted by a vengeful spirit trapped in an antique mirror. The plot centers on Nasrin (Natasha Hudson), whose face has been disfigured from a ‘mysterious’ car accident. When her mother Kak Siti (Khatijah Tan) discovers an antique mirror hidden amongst old family heirlooms, Nasrin finds herself strangely drawn to it. Nasrin’s fascination with the mirror turns into obsession and she starts taking on the persona of the mirror spirit, Mastura (Deanna Yusoff). On her quest to regain her past beauty, Nasrin submits herself to the mirror spirit by satisfying the mirror’s need for blood and revenge. Will she able to sacrifice love for vanity? Is she able to look inside herself and see the beauty within? Or is what is reflected in her heart a shadow of the mirror?” Sounds good doesn’t it? Let’s find out…..
Well this lil’ Catgirl thought so, and so I managed to track down a wonderful English subbed DVD of it right out of Malaysia and gave it a try…..and boy was I pleasantly surprised! I was expecting a cheap lil’ exploitation film with practically no production values, but got a crisp, very professionally done movie well worth the time to track down.
It doesn’t really break any new ground…..I’ve seen the ol’ “Haunted Mirror possesses the innocent girl for the Forces of Evil” plot many other times before….in Thailand….in the Philippines…..in Korea……in Japan….and so on. However while not going anyplace I haven’t seen before, it does so with a style and pacing that are very much it’s own….and the whole Islamic approach to dealing with the evil forces at work was a nice change of pace.
Our heroine is appealing…and her predicament does make you feel sympathy for her plight. There are some nicely done moments of genuine fear that had me curling up and waiting for the bad things to be over……and isn’t that exactly what a horror film should do? All in all I give this one 4 “Meows” out of 5….with a couple of extra whisker twitches thrown in for good measure.
Anyway….let’s keep this one short. So here’s the Trailer…..see for yourself!