I thought that torture films trend has already exhausted. But here it was, “Rumah Dara,” said to be a slasher film, which I don’t doubt, because it is. Even so, given the content and context, this film is more eligible to be admitted into a torture porn genre because it’s more concise and distinguishable when described in such fashion. I’m not a fan of this particular genre but as we’re talking about Indonesian film here, I’ll make an exception by saying that in term of my enjoyment level, this film lies between “Pintu Terlarang” and “Merantau.” Surprisingly solid cast, no dilly-dallying and over justification over the “whys,” genuinely terrifying moments and, whoever decides to cast Shareefa Danish gets a standing ovation from me.
This film is a torture porn in its simplest form. A bunch of friends lured by a stranded damsel in distress with a motive to an old villa almost in the middle of nowhere, where there, her mother awaits to thank the strangers in a way none of these unlucky souls had ever imagined before.
I would say that the main, or perhaps, the *only* selling point of a torture porn genre film is how to depict humans in their lowest bestial form by enacting them into a being that inflicted as much pain toward others as it is permitted by its auteur’s imagination, for the benefit of its audiences’ pleasure (read: squeamishness). Usually, the induction of something that resembles a plot is quite unnecessary and in fact, more often than not it’s a guarantee that it will ruins the experience instead. Only in a rare case that the induction of plot, a twist in the fabric of a story could enhance the experience. And so far, the only case I *know* that such thing ever happened was in a film that gave birth to the christened “torture porn” genre. The original “Saw.”
Fortunately, “Rumah Dara” didn’t try to over justified the origins of its main villains. The glimpse of their origins were brought in from an old movie reel, and battered photographs. No flashback scenes, which I’m grateful, no over compensating on “why,” or “how,” or whatever happens in the past. The only concern in this film, was the present, and the possible future it contains. Are they going to survive? Or rather, who lives and who dies? And oh, I’ve never heard of a horror fan who doesn’t have a soft spot for a chainsaw as weapon of choice. So, there you go, horror fan, this film has plenty of chainsaws.
As I’ve mentioned, this film has a surprisingly solid cast. I was so used to Shareefa Danish’s wacky character in the local sitcom TV that when she speaks her first welcome, I was pleasantly surprised. Julie Estelle wasn’t disappointing as well, considering that she wasn’t among the first names in my mind if I had asked about Indonesian Actress, the rest of the cast was almost uniformly solid, the creepy silent butcher, the sidekicks, the film’s clown, all fit rather well, except of one annoying character played by a very known actor here, introduced at the brink of end of the film.
This film might not fit well into anyone’s taste. I personally found that the film is rather overlong and I was impatient during most of the third acts. Besides, the clunky camera work that *always* seems to linger too close to the characters, might be a turn off to some. There are also a couple of prop mistakes, but those were mostly because I’m deliberately looking for it.
My rating: **1/2 / **** Not a fan of torture porn, I was impatient during most of the third act, but a solid cast, and, I might have to do some more research on this one. I had an impression that most Indonesian directors tend to overplay their scene with elaborate settings, positions, and movements. Here, I *almost* felt none of those overplay at work which is a good thing. One final word, this is a “torture porn” film although in my previous tweet I said that if you can stomach “Hostel,” this film is a walk in a park, it should be noted that according to my count, this film has more body counts than “Hostel.”