If you liked Frontier(s) then you’ll like Macabre. That’s it. Review over. All you need to know is right there, essentially. But I have a word count to work towards and may as well try to describe things for those who have yet to see Frontier(s).
Based on a short film named Dara by writing/directing team The Mo Brothers (Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto), Macabre has a pretty standard horror movie set-up. A group of people are heading out on some travels. They pick up a stranded young woman. That woman then insists that they meet her mother and are thanked properly. The mother (Dara, played by Shareefa Daanish) then insists that they stay for something to eat before heading off again. And then the blood starts to flow. And it doesn’t really stop until the end credits roll.
While there’s plenty to enjoy in Macabre, and I know of many people who enjoyed it a LOT more than I did, it just never seemed to hit exactly the right spot for me. The more extreme blood-soaked moments during the first half of the film just weren’t plentiful enough to hold my interest from start to finish and then once things moved towards the finale things became, paradoxically, TOO plentiful and just a bit boring – bloodshed, bloodshed, bloodshed, pause, bloodshed, pause, bloodshed. This may sound like your dream movie, and that might be the case, but it didn’t work for me.
Of course, Macabre isn’t JUST about blood and gore. The look and style and script and quality of the acting and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . oh, okay, wait a minute . . . . . . . . . actually Macabre IS just about blood and gore. Though it also has some humour here and there. The other factors I’ve just mentioned weren’t bad, by any means, but there’s nothing here that’s good enough to really impress viewers outwith those bloodier moments. Ario Bayu, Shareefa Daanish, Julie Estelle, Ruly Lubis, Daniel Mananta and everyone else clearly has a blast onscreen while the script is minimal but also efficient – characters are nicely sketched out and the premise may be ludicrous but it’s presented with an emphasis on fun over reality so just bear that in mind and go along with the carnage.
A lot of people will glean more enjoyment from this one than I did but I’m going to offer the opinion that few people will really love it. It’s a decent way to pass the time if you’re after something full of bloodletting but it’s one you may find yourself forgetting as soon as the end credits have stopped.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: THE MO BROTHERS
STARS: ARIO BAYU, SHAREEFA DAANISH, JULIE ESTELLE, RULY LUBIS, DANIEL MANANTA, MIKE MULIADRO, ARIFIN PUTRA, DENDY SUBANGIL, IMELDA THERINNE, SIGI WIMALA
RUNTIME: 95 MINS APPROX