Momok The Movie
Hot on the heels of Skrip 7707 comes another locally-made horror anthology film. One wonders if one ripped off the other, or if there was any rivalry (friendly or otherwise) going on between writer/director M. Jamil and Prof. Madya Razak Mohaideen. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a bit of a competition going on between both productions.
Said competition would be akin to the Special Olympics - win or lose, you're still retarded.
Adlin (Faizal AF4) has just returned to his kampung in Temerloh, and runs into Pak Ajis (Dato' Aziz Sattar) who invites him to his warung for an evening meal of mee calong. Upon hearing from his mother that Pak Ajis has become mentally disturbed since the death of his wife - whom he speaks of as if she were still alive - Adlin drags his friend Kadir (Abon) along. The three of them then completely forget the mee calong and start trading ghost stories, nearly all of which involve virtually identical long-haired white-robed female spirits with faces covered in bedak sejuk (and in one case, what looks like sweetened condensed milk and raspberry jam).
First of all, may I just say how annoying I find Malay celebrities with names like Faizal AF4, Nabil Raja Lawak 2 and Mama Rina AF6. Korang takde nama sebenar ke? Is your fame so ephemeral that you need to constantly remind people where you got your first break? Does the Malay entertainment scene treat its personalities as so disposable? (Sadly, the answers are most likely yes and yes.) Second of all, one other thing the movie has in common with Skrip 7707 is that both are the only Malay movies I've watched this year that had English subtitles. (Strangely enough, the one good Malay movie I watched this year had none.) Not that it helps, because the subtitles are about as facepalmingly inept as the rest of the movie.
This film has more padding than a Bintang RTM contestant's bra. Time and again, scenes take forever to get to the point, even after we can see the point coming and know that it's not frickin' worth the wait. M. Jamil has no clue how to create suspense, which you'd think might be somewhat necessary in a goddamn horror film. There's a bit in which a guy runs right smack into a ghost. He doesn't run away screaming. Oh no. He gives us a good 10 seconds of gelabah-ing before he runs away screaming. The movie runs 1 hour and 42 minutes, feels like 3 hours, and was likely made from a script of about 30 pages. This is a remarkable feat of space/time manipulation, but it makes for a shitty movie.
As for the stories themselves? Well, Adlin and Kadir take so goddamn long just to get to Pak Ajis' warung that I almost forgot this is supposed to be a horror anthology. In any case, each story is really bodoh sampai nak mampus. One tale is of a lorry driver who gets lost, apparently because a bird that flew into his windshield caused his entire truck to teleport from the highway to a trunk road. In another, a dead girl turns into a ghost at her wake and scares away the mourners. And that's it. I don't think M. Jamil knows the difference between a story and a scene. I'm not sure if he even knows the difference between scary and funny, because as the movie progresses it seems to give up all effort at being the former and just goes for the latter - with roughly equal success.
What's there to say about the acting, given that the dialogue and characters are about on par with a sekolah kebangsaan drama production? Whatever glimmers of talent that the Akademi Fantasia and Raja Lawak-spawned cast possess are drowned by the flood of crappy filmmaking. On the other hand, I may be clutching at straws here, but I found Dato' Aziz Sattar to be the man. Guy's been in movies for over 50 years, and was no less than one of the original Bujang Lapok. He has enough gravitas and presence to make even the dumbass dialogue in this movie sound believable, and there's a scene in which he mourns his late wife that effectively brought the pathos. I want to say that this steaming turd of a movie is an indignity to him, but frankly he emerged unsoiled by it. Dato', you are win and awesome personified.
I cannot fathom why it's called Momok The Movie. Was there previously a Momok the TV series/comic strip/album/brand of kitchen condiment? I think they called it that just to remind people that this is, in fact, a movie. This likely points to its true reason for being - it is a stupid movie, made by stupid people, who think audiences are equally stupid. The fact that it was released for Raya is an insult to Islam. M. Jamil should have his hands chopped off if he ever touches a film camera again.
NEXT REVIEW: Tsunami at Haeundae
Anticipation level: still meh