When ever i have been asked if i ever had a very unique experience with a foreign film, i know exactly what film that comes to my mind. It is a film that not only was one of the best films of one specific year, but it also turned out to be one of the best foreign films as well. The year was 2011, and this was the year when the Indonesian action film The Raid was released, from director Gareth Evans. If you never heard of The Raid, then you really need to pick it up on Blu Ray, right now. If you adore really brutal martial arts action films, you won´t find anything better than The Raid, this is a violence feast that is so damn good, that i guarantee you will stand up and jump, applauding all over your living room for hours. How do you describe such a beautiful film like The Raid? It is like watching a beautiful scenery like a sunset, that you just don´t want to leave. But let´s get into a little bit what the film is about. An elite squad is tasked to infiltrate a high-rise building, run by a ruthless drug lord - located in the slums of Jakarta. Even if this film is now 10 years old, this is still one of the better action films you can watch. The Raid have a lot of powerful scenes, that may be extremely violent, but looks more beautiful than you can imagine. A sequel called The Raid 2, was released in 2014. And if you loved the violent martial arts action in the first film, you are going to love this sequel as well. It has a bit of everything for fans of action films. Indonesia is not only known for making great action films, they have also managed to make some great horror films as well. One of the films that i especially remember, is the 2012 horror film Ritual, also known as Modus Anomali from director Joko Anwar. This film tells the story of John Evans ( Rio Dewanto ), who wakes burried in a shallow grave in the middle of the forest, and have no memory of how he got here. As he look for answers to what happened to him, he is about to find out the real truth. Ritual is a well made horror film, with great acting and have a plot that works well. For some time i have read several articles on an Indonesian horror film Impetigore, especially because it was nominated for 17 nominations at Indonesia´s biggest film honors , the 40th Citra Awards. Is this one of the best foreign horror films that you can see right now, or is Impetigore much more dull than i expected?
Maya ( Tara Basro ) and Dini ( Marissa Anita ) are best friends, and they both work as tollbooth collectors. Maya have noticed an odd man for a while, who keeps coming back with his car to see Maya. The man suddenly get out of his car to go after her, while Dini sound the alarm for security. Maya is attacked by a golok, but survive thanks to security. Her leg is wounded, and at a restroom she find that something is hidden within her leg, a small paper note with some odd words. Maya finds out that this note is connected to a village known as Harjosari, that she did not know was connected to her past. Maya decide to travel to the village with Dini, to find out the truth.
Right from the start we get the feeling that Impetigore is trying to tell us a mysterious story, of one woman´s strange past. And i have to say, it definetely works. This is the kind of horror film that focuses more on using old school horror tricks, than focusing on CGI effects. The written paper note that the main character Maya ( played by wonderful actress Tara Basro ) find inside her leg, gives this mystery a really interesting start. When you find out what the letters mean, you soon realise that it is connected to something very important. I think it is a very good idea to have an ordinary hard working woman being portrayed as the main character, so many women can recognize themselves in the struggles that Maya is going through. You can tell that Maya is hoping for a completely different life, than where she is today. Actress Tara Basro have no problem making her character Maya feel natural, and she also manage to bring out a different side of Maya, that she may be tougher than she might have expected. Actress Marissa Anita, who plays Maya´s best friend Dini, brings a charming personality who is not afraid to say what´s on her mind. Impetigore reminds me of the atmosphere of horror films such as The Orphanage, the 2007 Spanish horror film. Both of these films knows how to handle sound effects with a creepy atmosphere, instead of focusing on simple jump scares. The plots are of course very different in both films, but they both have the right kind of atmosphere that we usually find in foreign horror films, than in American horror films. The village that Maya and Dini visit, is a great location for a horror film like this, that is connected to an old curse. Most of the cast does a great job with their characters, but it is the horror elements that make Impetigore worth watching. Director Joko Anwar ( who also directed the Indonesian horror film Modus Anomali that i mentioned earlier ) is clearly inspired by old horror films, and he manage to pull all strings together, in a stylish way with Impetigore. If you are a fan of curse horror films from the 70´s, this should be what you are looking for. There is no doubt, Impetigore have more to offer than a lot of ordinary horror releases.