“The child is not yours anymore”
I must admit to being surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. There is nothing original here, coupled with a small budget, patchy SFX & even patchier (is that a word?) acting, it shouldn’t have been as much fun as it turned out to be. It does what it says on the tin with a real zeal & relish. Although I will give a plot synopsis in the next paragraph this movie is basically Inside crossed with Frontiers topped of with a little splash of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Adjie & his heavily pregnant wife Astrid are traveling to the airport with three of their best friends, where Adjie & Astrid will leave to start a new life in Sydney. Along the way they stop off to see Adjie’s estranged sister Ladya. Ladya is persuaded to join them in traveling to the airport to see them off. No sooner have they set off when they come across a woman Maya, wandering aimlessly at the roadside. Maya tells the group she has been robbed & the group agree to give her a lift home. Once at Maya’s home she introduces the group to her mother Dara, a soft-spoken, elegant woman who insists the group stays for some dinner as payment for their kindness. Adjie & Astrid go to one of the bedrooms so Astrid can rest, the others sit down for the meal. They are joined at the table by Dara’s other two children, both male. The wine they drink from is drugged & soon the friends wake to find themselves bound & gagged in a makeshift slaughterhouse & what does Dara want with Astrid’s unborn baby?
The first twenty minutes of this movie moves very slowly, establishing cast & characterisation. Once the friends are drugged the movie really picks up the pace & copious amounts of blood is split. As I have already stated the movie “borrows” heavily from other films. The scene with the police in Inside is lifted straight from that movie & placed in Macabre. You could easily spend the entire movie spotting all the homages (that’s a better word than ripoffs don’t you think?) from other genre movies. The SFX are a mixed bag, sometimes highly effective, the scene where a guy’s face is pulped by a rifle butt springs to mind. Yet at other times awful, the CGI flame effects are laughable & the blood has a horrible orange tinge to it, much like the blood in Romero”s Dawn Of The Dead. The acting from some of the supporting characters is straight from the Keanu Reeves School Of Ham. Despite all of this, the film has some decent plot turns, some imaginative splatter & moves at a good pace. But it is in it’s two stars that Macabre really shines. The movie’s heroine Ladya is played by Julie Estelle who is quite frankly stunning (sorry I’m male I can’t help it) Her performance strikes the right balance between plucky & vulnerable & gives you someone to root for. The film’s biggest plus is Shareefa Daanish, her performance as Dara is chilling. There have been some great villains in Asian cinema like Kyung-chul from I Saw The Devil. Daanish’s Dara is up there with the best of them. A soft, almost monotone spoken elegant psychopath, Dara is truly a horrifying creation, capable of truly extreme acts of violence & quite handy with weapons ranging from a chainsaw to a hairpin. It’s worth seeing this movie just for Daanish’s performance.
Macabre is never going to be considered a classic, but you know what, fuck it. It entertains, isn’t that the whole point. Despite it’s derrivative nature there is enough in the way of freshish ideas to make it work. Just a real funtime & as mentioned before worth the rental price for Daanish’s performance alone. Recommended.