The Chanting

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The Chanting – Horror

Cast: Julie Estelle, Evan Sanders, Ratu Felisha, Alice Iskak, and Lita Soewardi
Director: Rizal Mantovani
Released by: Mega Films
Year released: 2007
Running time: 1 hr 33 m
MTRCB rating: PG-13
Official web site: http://www.filmkuntilanak.com/

Movie Review: This is one of the best Asian horror film Ive ever seen.. Filmed in Indonesia (in Bahasa but with subtitles). Its story about Sam who chosed to live separate with her step-father who takes advantage of her. Having no job and money, she rented a large and cheap room, ignoring the fact that it is located in a haunted neighbourhood right beside an old cemetery with a Kuntilanak tree in the middle. Upon arrival, the dorm keeper sang an ancient Javanese chant that somehow taps into Sam’s nerve. Whomever she sings the chant to will die a horrible death. Things go out of control when Sam chants about her boyfriend, Agung, who disappears mysteriously.

The ‘pontianak’ or ‘Kuntilanak’ (as known in Indonesia) is a type of vampire in Malay folklore. The kuntilanak is usually a woman who dies during childbirth and her spirit seeks revenge and terrorises villages. Therefore, ‘Kuntilanak’ is probably derived from the Malay words ‘bunting’, which means pregnant, and ‘anak’, meaning child.

Strange things start to happen and Sam sees a white apparition sitting on the chair, combing its hair. She later discovers strands of white hair on the chair. One day, an argument takes place between Sam and a housemate. Shortly after the incident, the housemate dies – right after an involuntary chanting by Sam. Soon more of her housemates join the body count, including her close friend, Dinda (Ratu Felisha). When Sam’s boyfriend, Agung (Evan Sanders), disappears mysteriously, everyone leaves the rented house, except for Sam, who insists on getting to the bottom of the mystery.

Indonesian director Rizal Mantovani has definitely put in a lot of effort in the production of “Kuntilanak”. The sound effects are relatively good – enough to chill your bones; and so is the cinematography. I never expected Indonesians to produce this kind of movie, fantastic. Its comparable to “Sukob”, a locally produced horror movie by Star Cinema. The cast – Julie Estelle, Evan Sanders and Ratu Felisha – are credible, especially Estelle who manages to sustain our attention as a vulnerable student. The unpredictable storyline, and the scenes of innocent people dying with their heads turned to the back, all add up to another horror outing about the myths of pontianak.

Im sure a local film outfit will create something similar to this…. You know who? remember smallville? with a local copycat?