Well… this time out, your Favorite Catgirl’s back in more familiar territory, with the new DVD for the Indonesian Horror film “Air Terjun Pengantin”. Looks to me at first glance to be sorta “Friday the 13th” meets “Cannibal Apocalypse”…. with a dash of the ol’ Indonesian ghost story goodness thrown in for extra added flavor. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while now, and finally got my chance to grab a copy…. I’d have watched it long before now, but you all know what a busy, busy lady I’ve been these days…. Thank goodness some free time opened up and let me get to it! Mmmmm!! Crazy cannibals…. Carolyn is just gonna soooo freak out when I set up this one for Movie Nite!! Hehehehe!!
Our synopsis goes like this here: “Tiara (Tamara Bleszynski) wants to get over with her traumatic past and is planning to visit Bride’s Waterfall to release her tension. She invites few of her cousins to join her in this trip. Her boyfriend, Lilo (Kieran Sidhu) and the rest seven people are joining this trip.
Upon arrival the group falls in love with its pristine beach and Tiara is delighted and looking forward to have a good time there. However, their joy does not last very long as few strange incidents occurred in the island. Finally, Lilo reveals that the inhabitants of the island have been massacred by a mysterious person.
Then a mysterious masked man starts to terrorize the island. One by one the trip members are killed with their blood being consumed. What is the motive of the murder? Will Tiara escape for safety from the masked man?”
Oh yeah…. sounds like a slasher film alright… but Neko’s hoping that they went a new direction here and at least tried to put their own mark on the genre…. It’s certainly been a good long time since I saw an original take on that old “teens gone wild, teens get dead” story idea. Will they succeed? Or will this one just remind me of the smell of over-ripe bananas gone waaaay bad?
Let’s all find out! Yep… It’s time to “Read On!!”
Our story gets going as Tiara (played by Tamara Blezynski) and her boyfriend, along with her niece Mandy and some of their friends go off for vacation to Pulau Pengantin, the “Bride Island” to see a famous landmark there, the Bridal Falls, where young lovers often pledge their eternal love before marriage as an old tradition. Unfortunately for them, the island isn’t quite as deserted as it’s supposed to be…. The guidebooks apparently forgot to include the little historical bit about a young man who wanted to marry a pretty village woman, but was denied this when the villagers found out that he was a secretly a shaman. They blocked his marriage and a mob of angry villagers burned his face, killed his bride-to-be and drove him away. In terrible revenge, he systematically hunted down and murdered the entire population of the village with his favorite pointy weapon of choice, a cruel boarding pike-like spear thingee. From that time forward, the now insane shaman has haunted the island killing all foolish enough to come there and plotting to use magic to restore his bride to life. Wow…. you’d think for certain that would be easy enough info for our little group to find before they planned their trip…. but nooooo!!! Wouldn’t have much of a movie then, would we? Hehehehe!!
Anyway…. all that implausible plot goofiness aside… it doesn’t take long for our little group to pack up their stuff and charter a couple of boats to head out to the “Deserted Island of Death”. There’s a little bit of character development…. but not much… as we find out about Tiara’s morbid phobia of being in dark places, the legacy of a car accident that nearly killed her prior to the movie, and the somewhat rocky relationship she has with her boyfriend who seems to be constantly avoiding the subject of marriage. None of this really helps us to get much of a feeling for our characters who all fit the generic cardboard stereotypes you’d expect in your standard Slasher film and that’s a pity…..
I’d sooooo hoped for something a bit more compelling and different from Rizal Mantovani, the director of “Kuntilanak”, my all time favorite Indonesian horror film as well as the also excellent “Mati Suri”, both of which I’ve reviewed here at the Litterbox and enjoyed immensely. He did an excellent job of making both those films scary and suspenseful while keeping a very “Indonesian” feel to them at the same time. Here, he does only a simple workmanlike job at creating a pale imitation of other genre films that, thanks to Indonesian film censorship ideas, lacks most of the elements necessary to make such an effort work effectively.
He’s assembled a young, attractive cast…. and filled his film with plenty of excuses for pretty Indonesian women to act sexy and show some skin, (Knew you guys would like hearing that…. Remember though, in Indonesia, gratuitous nudity is such a no-no….) but…. there’s no real suspense to the killings that occur and very little real gore on hand here. Not exactly what one expects to find in a “Slasher” film.
Hmmmm? Well… at least Tiara and her boyfriend will finally admit their feelings for each other and be forever bonded by this terrible experience… right? Ummmm? Nope. Don’t want to spoil things for you… but the boyfriend dies pretty quickly here, and without much of a dramatic fight or struggle either. Say what? Yep…. this lil’ Catgirl couldn’t believe that story element either, but there you have it. So…. ah…. this means Tiara gets the chance to go all “Rambo” on our crazy Shaman and take revenge for the death of her friends…. right? Ahhh….. sorry…. the film’s just too short for that… But, she does manage to overcome here fear of the dark…. and that’s something, right?
I wish I could say I truly enjoyed this one, but it barely manages a 3 “Meows” out of 5 as a rating from your Favorite Catgirl. So…. I guess I’m just disappointed overall with “Air Terjun Pengantin” as a “Slasher” film…. it just finds itself too unwilling to go the extra mile to put the “exploit” in “exploitation”. A lack of “blood & boobs” can be forgiven, but one has to be extra creative with the story and cinematography to do it in this genre. Unless Indonesian films are your thing, most people who are true fans of this genre would be advised to pass on this one. However… the DVD itself is excellent, as are most recent Indonesian discs, with almost perfect separate English subtitles on board and at a price that can’t be beat here in the US. That alone gave it the push needed to get that extra crucial “Meow” outta this lil’ girl. (Pssssttt!!! Thailand…. pay attention here!! Hehehehe!!)
Ah well…. I’ve got a ton of new Indonesian horror still to watch, so who knows? Maybe one of them will restore my faith in all things scary and Indonesian… Till then, it’s “Meow, meow for now!!”
The Trailer? Yep… as always, Neko’s got ya covered!! Here we go!