Impetigore (Perempuan Tanah Jahanam): Movie Review

"Impetigore" (Perempuan Tanah Jahanam) by Joko Anwar was amazing. Visually a feast and tonally captivating, the film was simply astounding on its first half as the mystery and the deadly realities that our characters must face slowly unfolded. Unfortunately, it bogged down when it decided to have a heavy shift to its supernatural aspects in its last half hour - breaking the glass that this may actually happen in real-life.

Maya (Tara Basro), a toll booth worker and a down-on-her-luck young woman, survives a murder attempt but in the process learns that she may be the only heir to a mansion in her ancestral village. Hoping that this may mean a drastic and much needed change for her life, Maya with her best friend Dini (Marissa Anita), returns to the village of her birth. Aware that the community there might be hostile to her and her family, they try to hide their identities as college students out for research on the village chief. As they begin to discover the dark and complicated reality about her past, Maya and Dini find themselves in a fight for their lives.
There's something about a rural setting that just amps up the atmosphere, the tension, and the horror. Part of the thrill is figuring out what the heck is happening especially to something that viewers are unfamiliar with. And "Impetigore" does this interplay marvelously as it took its time to unveil its deep dark secrets. While the eventual truth and solution to the problem was rather disappointing, the journey to get there was simply blissful. Part of this was the film's cinematography which was world-class. Director Joko Anwar knew how to work his camera to make each scene full of tension, curiosity, and fear. And on top of that, scene and settings used had that unsettling tone throughout the film's runtime. We also loved the cast and their performances. Of course, Tara Basro and Marissa Anita shine best as they gave believable performances as down-on-their-luck women who are desperate for change even if it meant a very risky proposition. But besides the leads, the supporting cast were great as well. In fact, characters, minor or not, were able to provide the perfect balance of being polite but being sinister at the same time. You really just don't know who to trust in the film. If we have an issue with the film, it would be its story. There are elements that just didn't make sense or at least needed more development. For example, it's pretty weird that two girls just stay at an abandoned and controversial house without ruffling some feathers instantly. Overall though, "Impetigore" was able to use its setting and unique rural culture and lore to bring one rare gem that's recommendable and unmissable if you have the opportunity to catch it.
Rating: 4 reels

Why you should watch it:
- it has the perfect mix of setting, culture, and lore that will keep you on your toes from start to finish

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the revelations and sudden focus on the supernatural was rather disappointing
Post a Comment