Simplistic, Minimalistic and Rustic…what sets apart this horror !

Roh ( 2019/Malaysian / Horror/ Netflix) 

Director -Emir Ezwan 

Cast – Farah Ahmad, Mhia Farhana, Harith Haziq, Namron, June Lojong, Putri Qaseh 

Plot

A poor widowed woman lives in the middle of a forest with her two kids leading a lonely bare bones life.

When they take in a seemingly lost, bedraggled mysterious young girl roaming in the forest, they have no idea they are bringing upon a bad omen on their life.

Chanced upon this wonderful film in the Asian Horrors section of Netflix. I must use this opportunity to express my admiration for the algorithms and classifications of this platform.The sheer range of their catalogues, their suggestions and the way they pick up your preferences is unmatched.

What caught my fancy in the trailer was the rustic setting. I have observed that period and country setting works very well in this genre. It is an element on its own which adds mystique.

This film, which won quite a many accolades in the Malaysian Film Festival, is one of the most simplistic horror films that I have ever watched. With minimum elements, they have been able to create excellent atmospherics  that probably sets apart this film.

Analysis 

It is a fantastic debut film by Emir Ezwan. Screenplay is  definitely the star here. What’s even more interesting is the shoe string budget it was made on.

There’s a relentless foreboding feeling through out, even during the day time picturization and that is something I consider as a commendable virtue in horror.There’s also an intrigue factor that holds through out and they even manage to throw in a twist towards the end.

Even though there seems an element of occult, it avoids usual tropes, jump scares, contorted faces, special effects or VFX. His story telling brings in the desired effect and it does that well.

Emir has also been able to successfully create an empathetic bond with the family even without using any dramatics.To enable that, I would say that the three titular actors have done a fine job. I was quite impressed with the natural and realistic performance by Farah Ahmad who plays the mom.

The film has short duration of less than 1.30 min.I could confidently say it is a must watch for the horror fans.The craft of the film maker is sheer pleasure and worth appreciation.

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