For our next review, I’m very pleased and excited to recommend the best slasher film you’ve probably never seen. “Macabre” or “ Rumah Dara” as it’s known internationally, has been shocking audiences since 2009. This Indonesian gore-bomb is just sick and twisted enough to burrow its way into your dirty little hearts. Yes it’s subtitled, but most horror films worth a damn nowadays are coming from foreign lands anyway…get over it! This one doesn’t shy away from healthy amounts of the red stuff, and pays tribute to the classics like “The Evil Dead”, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, and even “House of 1,000 Corpses”. It’s sure to please even the most hardened horror hounds among us, as I can attest.
This film is old news for most of the world, but it still has yet to see a proper stateside release. It is currently available via region-free Blu-ray, and as of this writing it is the only way to see it. Bloody-Disgusting picked up the rights to distribute in 2010, but it has yet to unleash this beast on US audiences. Why? The world may never know. I urge you not to wait if you can afford the expenditure.
The premise is simple enough. A group of friends is traveling across the country drinking and looking for a good time. All the usual suspects are there…the nerd, the bad-girl, the party boy, and the pregnant couple. As our gang makes its way across the country, they come across a lone woman stranded in the rain. If you’ve seen even the bare minimum prerequisite slasher titles, you know that horror films are built on poor decision making. This film is no exception to that rule. In typical horror movie fashion, our group decides to give the mysterious woman a ride to her country home. What’s the worst that could happen?
Upon their arrival, the mystery woman’s creepy brothers and murderous matriarch, named Dara, greet the group. Dara insists that the group stay for dinner, and this is where the fun begins. As if Dara’s creepy stare wasn’t enough to let you know she’s not quite on the level, her vast collection of weapons and mounted animals might lead you to believe that we’re in for some serious mayhem. Foreshadowing anyone? There is more than meets the eye with this bizarre cast of characters we learn that the murderous family -through a series of reveals- has a deep dark past that it plans to continue well into the future.
After our dinner guests are drugged, we are subjected to all manner of blood-soaked mayhem including chainsaws, slaughterhouses, and killer hair chopsticks. The movie plays out like a fun house of terror. It knows how to walk that fine line between fun and gratuitousness. It truly has something for everyone, unless blood is not your thing. In which case, why the hell are you reading a horror blog?? There is a definite mean streak as the group is subjected to a wide array of psychological torture as well as physical. There are just some things American horror films don’t even attempt. This is what sets “Macabre” head and shoulders (literally) above the rest.
This film is brought to us courtesy of the Indonesian directing duo known as the Mo brothers. These guys have been around the block, and their film knowledge is apparent. “Macabre” has acted as something of a calling card to those that have seen it, getting the directing team jobs all over the globe. The duo went on the direct the segment “L is for Libido” in the anthology series “The ABC’s of Death”. That segment is a personal favorite of mine, and one of the most memorable segments between both installments of the series. They’ve also got several interesting projects on the horizon.
Indonesia has become something of a hot bed of extreme cinema in the past few years, exploding into the mainstream consciousness with the outrageously bloody action film “The Raid”. Once “The Raid” was released, the Mo brothers teamed up with its director to put forth the “VHS 2” segment “Safe Haven” and also assisted with the superb sequel “The Raid 2”. In fact, fans of “The Raid 2” will notice a few recycled actors from “Macabre”. The Mo brothers then went on to direct the festival hit “Killers” which features two dueling psychopaths trying to outdo one another. It was all the rage on the festival circuit this past year, and garnered the duo critical acclaim. I personally can’t wait to see what the brothers have in store for us in the future. No doubt it will be bloody and disturbing, as we have come to expect nothing less from these filmmakers.
For fans of international cinema and bloody slasher films, you can’t afford to miss “Macabre”. It’s sure to satiate all those base impulses horror fans require.