The Mo Brothers grabbed the attention of horror aficionados and the Indonesian ratings board with their short film DARA, an excellent, grisly and very sly film about a woman who runs a restaurant and has men over to dinner at her home, only to mete out sinister plans upon the would-be suitors. The film garnered so much notice that the directing team (they aren’t really brothers) decided to expand the experience into a feature-length horror film that maintains the high scare quotient of the short, even if its overall theme seems rather familiar to American horror audiences. Thus MACABRE was born.
With a fresh-faced, likeable group of actors and a casually believable opening scene, the film quickly gets under way as a group of friends help a young woman on a stormy night and end up at a house in the country. The woman’s mother, the wide-eyed and dubiously prim Dara, welcomes the group to rest and eat a special feast she has prepared. When the friends find themselves drugged and bound in a room that more closely resembles an abattoir, any audience member with a shred of familiarity for the genre knows terror and mayhem will quickly follow.
MACABRE specializes in a time-honored cycle of scare routines: quiet and creepy moments, frantic chases and blunt, gory attacks. But it feels very fresh here, perhaps because it does not have the cruel glaze of most current American horror attempts, despite the horrific goings-on in Dara’s home. With their polished style and ability to dish out effective mood and thrills, the Mo Brothers are definitely a team to watch. (Review by Steve Norwood - content provider for the Asian Film Festival of Dallas - AFFD)
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