So…. how about a Malay horror film about big killer snakes? Yep.. that’s what your favorite Catgirl’s got for you this time out o’ Gentle Visitors, and to be specific we’re taking a quick peek at “Ular”, the recently released island snake survival/horror effort by director Jason Chong and produced by Showbiz Productions Sdn. Bhd. The word “ular” itself is apparently translated from Malay simply as “snake” and a quick look at the Trailer had this wee lady thinking it’s come sort of a local low budget horror cross between “Anaconda” and “Snakes On A Plane”. But with a whole lot less swearing by Samuel L. Jackson… 😉 Hmmmm? “Snakes on an Island” maybe?
Our synopsis? Try this on for style: “Myra, a top crime reporter is sent to do a review of a vacation resort on an island along with a lucky group of sweepstake winners after being suspended from work, and is horrified by what she learns. The island is inhabited by a horde of giant snakes, kept out of the resort only by an electric fence. When the power is down during a heavy storm, the giant snakes are let loose, and the island’s inhabitants have to band together to survive the night.”
Well, this wee lady is certainly game for a movie with oodles of hungry killer snakes, so it wasn’t really all that hard a sell… especially at the crazy low price Malay DVD’s are known for. Wonder if you too might want an evening of deadly snake horror goodness? Then by now, you know the drill… 😉
So… as our film gets going they waste no time showing us just how crazy dangerous these big ol’ snakes are. Somewhere on our picturesque luxury resort island, a couple of construction guys are working away in some dingy dark tunnel… just the sort of creepy place you’d expect monsters to hang out in. Guess what? It’s the secret lair of some of these giant pythons and they do what big hungry constrictor snakes do best… sneak up and grab a hold of you and squish you all dead. Yep… it’s gonna be one of those kinds of stories… 😉
Then we jump to Kuala Lumpur where our heroine crime reporter Myra (played by Lisa Surihani) is being scolded by her boss. She’s recently been involved in some sort of scandal… the exact details of which I didn’t quite get a handle on, but trust me… it isn’t really important to our story… and as a result, her editor is sending her away to Pulau Batik to do some sort of puff piece review of the new luxury vacation resort there. She’s not really happy about being sidelined for such a worthless task, and to make matters worse, she’ll be on assignment with Remy (played by Yusry Abd Halim) an ex-boyfriend who works at the same newspaper as a photographer. They are currently not on speaking terms… having broken up some time before our movie starts, and Myra is… to say the least.. not exactly happy at having to spend the assignment in his company.
Once there we get introduced to the cast of victims for this one, pretty much consisting of the usual stock characters you’d expect to find in a plot like this one. There’s the married couple with their baby girl… the two flirty party girls and their pet cat… the sleazy rich old business guy looking for illicit sexy fun (see the two flirty party girls… sigh…)… two overly stereotypically flamboyant gay guys… and our two resort owners, Aziz (played by Namron) and his wife, and their dour knife wielding head of security Rambo (Unfortunately not played by Sylvester Stallone… 😉 ). Yep… just enough people to assure a good hearty body count once the big ol’ snakes go on the rampage.
How come they haven’t already chowed down on the resort staff? Well that would be because of the honking dangerous electric fence that surrounds the entire place. Shades of “Jurassic Park” anyone? Oooohh!! Ooohh!! Psssssttt!!! Just a small suggestion to anybody thinking of building a theme park, vacation resort, nudist colony, retirement community… whatever… on any island filled to the brim with deadly snakes, killer dinosaurs, inbred cannibal freaks, or any other kooky man eating things that might infest the place…. Please install a back-up generator to kick in when… not if it happens, but when it happens... that system fails. Trust me, it’ll really help mitigate the lawsuits that inevitably follow such an easily predictable event…. I’m just sayin’…. 😉
Mind you… we wouldn’t have much of a story without such goofy oversights, but hey…. a little common sense goes a long way. You’d think at least Myra would have figured something stupid was about to happen once she see that fence… but nooooo. She’s too darn distracted by the presence of Remy and whatever pre-movie relationship baggage they’ve got going on.
Anyways…. the electric fence? Yep, that gets put out of commission almost immediately by our two gay guys so they can go have a sexy frolic in the jungle. Not the smartest idea in the world. At least we a spared any further embarrassingly bad “sissy boy” portrayals of male homosexuals the like of which usually fills such Malay, Indonesian, or Thai horror films.
Once the fence goes down, the snakes slip in and start gobbling up our cast one by one forcing Myra and the rest to put aside their differences in a desperate bid to survive until the supply boat returns in a couple of days. Ummmm… yeah. Another thing. If you did do something as goofy as build a vacation resort on an island with killer snakes I’m thinking that you should also have a handy escape boat ready for… oh, I don’t know…. escaping from the snakes if necessary? Yep. Like I said, this story basically seems to have thrown any common sense completely out the window. Even my sweetie rolled in close on the couch to ask lil’ ol’ me the perfectly reasonable question, “Ummm, sweetie? If the island has always been infested with big killer snakes, what did they eat before these idiots came along?” Yes…. what indeed? Inquiring Catgirls soooo have no clue…. 😉
Ummmm.. yeah. I guess I’d have to say “Ular” left me a bit cold, overall. It’s not a truly bad film…. but it’s fair to say it doesn’t strive to be a good one either. At best, it’s here to sell some movie tickets and make a simple payday for most involved. The story is one overused to death and filled with plot holes and just plain lapses in common sense and logic that can’t be overlooked. The acting, while not terrible, is most definitely not inspired either. The sets and effects? All very adequate, if also hitting just the bare minimum needed to pull things off. A shame really as Malaysian filmmakers have shown this wee lady on a number of other occasions that they are capable of doing better. That results in a paltry 2 “Meows” out of 5 for this one when all is said and done. Sorry Malaysia, you just didn’t do it for me this time out…
The disc itself is reasonably good with a widescreen English subtitled format… and at least it comes along at the very budget friendly price I like from Malay releases so there’s that. Still.. unless you’ve seen every “killer snake” movie ever shown on SyFy channel and are a heck of a fan of that genre, you won’t miss much by giving “Ular” a pass.
Here’s our Trailer… all sneaky and filled with killer snake goodness!! (And mostly better than the entire movie itself…) 😉