After a recent re-introduction to the work of Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel, I’ve made it a personal mission to watch everything in their filmography which I’ve missed over the years. My latest viewing was actually of their first feature film. I’m talking, of course, about 2009’s Macabre.
A group of friends are on their way home to Jakarta when they see a poor girl out in the rain who claims to have just been robbed. After kindly returning her home, they are invited in for a warm meal. Little do they know that the meal has been drugged and the grateful family has much more sinister plans for the now helpless friends.
Like all of the previous films I’ve seen from The Mo Brothers, Macabre is of the highest quality. Not only in production value, but also storytelling, acting, and, of course, special effects.
Timo and Nimo have always been proponents of strong female characters. This is evident in their entire body of work, Macabre being no different.
Julie Estelle who would go on the collaborate with the brothers in future projects plays the role of Ladya, a tomboy who doesn’t like being told what to do. Ladya is the main protagonist of the film, but she is not the only powerful female we are introduced to.
Opposite Estelle is the just-as-talented Shareefa Daanish. As the film’s antagonist, Dara, Daanish is equal parts stunning and creepy. She plays the role of the macabre mother impeccably and the scenes between her and Estelle are amazing to watch.
Originally titled Darah, Macabre is based on the Brothers’ work in the anthology film Takut: Faces of Fear. With the feature-length version of the film, the self-proclaimed slasher fans wanted to bring a mixture of Eastern and Western horror to Indonesia that had not been seen before, especially at the time of its original release.
Macabre is a fast-paced film that, once kicked into high gear, never lets up. With multiple decapitations, limbs being chopped off left and right, and many other forms of brutality bombarding my screen for the film’s 95 minute duration, I would still consider this one of the more tame Mo Brothers projects.
You don’t need to be able to speak Indonesian to realize that The Mo Brothers have an expert level command of the language of filmmaking. Even this early on in their career, the writing, producing, and directing duo were able to set the table for a perfect horror film with expert understanding of sound design, cinematography, and editing.
If you like your splatter films to have more substance than just blood and gore, you need to be paying attention to the films by The Mo Brothers. Whether it is Macabre, their first feature film, or their latest works — The Night Comes for Us, May the Devil Take You, or Dreadout: Tower of Hell — there is no way you are going to be disappointed.
I give this one 4.5 bear pencil toppers out of 5.