Well this time out it’s off to Indonesia for “Hantu”, a sorta ghost/ monster/ spirit movie….
Yep… it’s another goofy horror movie from Indonesia… this time the story of a group of 20 something hikers versus one of those nasty forest spirit thingees that seem to infest Indonesia like some kinda mystical cockroaches.
The synopsis I found for it reads as follows: “Gali (Oka Antara) decides to go camping in an uncharted forest to find a lake called Setra Wingit. He brings along his girlfriend, Rinjani, and his three other friends: Ray ,Maya and Indra. Trouble ensues when Gali cannot find the lake, and a weird encounter with an old man leads to Rinjani’s disappearance. Can she be found? What mysterious secret does the forest actually possess?”
Well… if this lil’ Catgirl is any judge, that secret is that the jungles of Indonesia are the last place you’d wanna go for some rest or recreation….
Let’s “Read On” shall we?
Adrianto Sinaga, previously responsible for art direction on “Eliana, Eliana” and “Ada Apa Dengan Cinta” marks his directorial debut for the big screen with “Hantu” and I can’t really say he chose a challenging film to do it. “Hantu” is just a simple story that we’ve all seen before….. it serves only to reinforce the idea that kids should never…. ever… for any reason whatsoever…. go out into the woods for a fun time. It never works out. There are always serial killers, aliens, vicious wildlife, and of course nasty vengeful forest spirits just waiting to waste every single one of them in gruesome fashion.
I wasn’t surprised by this one…. it stuck to the formula pretty closely. The kids start out by meeting the creepy locals… getting the requisite warning from the obligatory crazy old lady, then it’s off to the woods courtesy of an overpriced ride from another drunken local in his rustbucket “truck of death”. I half expected the ending to turn out as a dream sequence where everybody would have turned out to have died in this truck ride…. seriously… but nope.
Naturally he panics and refuses to take them all the way to the lake, so its hiking time for our young victims…. right to what has to be the most isolated food stand I have ever seen. Big hint here folk….. never eat at the deserted hotdog stand smack dab in the middle of any jungle run by a zombie like old man who appears and dissapears out of nowhere….. trust me on this.
Once they manage to get thoroughly lost, it’s time to camp out, and naturally this is when the Hantu gets to start torturing them with it’s ability to warp perception and control the weather and the forest. It isn’t long before it manages to lure poor Rinjani off right out from beneath her friends noses….. baaaaaadddd stuff is a gonna happen to her… but we never see what it is.
I looked up some info on the mythical Hantu while preparing for this one…..the subtitles keep refering to it as some sort of ghost, but apparently the Malay/ Indonesian word denotes any type of invisible, frightening being; a spirit, ghost, or demon. There are many varieties of hantu, such as the storm demon, Hantu Ribut; the deep-forest demon, Hantu Rimba; the grave demon, Hantu Kubor; and the tiger demon, Hantu Belian, even Hantu Tetek, a Big-breasted ghost that loves to hide small children inside her breasts. She uses her breasts to attack her victims and make full use of her huge breasts to suffocate them to death. I kid you not!! (Now there’s an original idea for a monster movie!!! Probably go over huge in Japan!! Hehehhee!!)
Well….. I think were talking the Hantu Rimba here…….. seems to match the powers of this bad thingee pretty close. It’s hairy… it sneaks around through the trees like Spiderman, and likes to alternately possess people or just use illusion to imitate them. Ultimately it seems to lure folk to it’s secret lair and eat them up but good. Poor Rinjani is just the first……
Well…. I could ruin it for you…. tell you who survives…. who doesn’t…. but what would the fun in that be? Let’s just say, you can probably guess what sorta ending were heading to.
Does that make “Hantu” a bad movie? Not really…. for an Indonesian film it’s actually pretty good, and the forest scenes are truly creepy….. I just wish a little more would have been shown….. it’s a fairly bloodless and tame horror movie by say, Thai standards…
Still Neko-likes the nifty out of the ordinary hairy forest monster idea, and the cast is appealing, with pretty locales so I give this one a solid 3 “Meows” out of 5, with a couple of purrs thrown in for trying to do an excellent bit of storytelling on what I figure was a small budget by western standards.
The official DVD is right out of Indonesia itself….. very sparse with only 6 chapters for the whole 95 minute film and only english subtitles as an option. (Very much appreciated…. and not too badly done… but I expected Malay ones as well). No Trailer or other extras are included at all, strange as I know the VCD release had some with english subs.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a Trailer for this one, but I’ll keep lookin’ and add it here if I find one.
“Meow, Meow for now!!”