Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kuntilanak 2 – review

Director: Rizal Mantovani

Release date: 2007

Contains spoilers

In many respects Kuntilanak 2 starts exactly where Kuntilanak leaves off… ish… sort of…

That is, it does after the credits. Before the credits we get a scene of three children breaking into the, now abandoned, Mangkujiwo Boarding House to play. There is a brother and sister and an older kid and the house has been invaded by vegetation making it an ideally eerie place to play in. The brother counts on the stairs as the sister hides on the ground floor and the older kid hides on the second floor (if you recall that’s the really bad one).

kids in the mansion
Well all the floors are bad, to be fair, and one by one the kids are scared by a variety of kuntilanak – I am convinced there is more than one there. The main one has a very broad mouth reminiscent of the creature from Death Note, but that’s beside the point. The brother and sister both confront kuntilanak and then go to the older kid – their eyes now weirdly staring and fixed rictus grins adorning their faces. They walk him to one of the broken mirrors and say that this is where they live now. Suddenly the mirror is fixed and they are inside it.

Julie Estelle as Sam
Sam (Julie Estelle) is in a taxi and the driver very casually suggests that he will rob her. He stops the car and she hands him her purse and gets out of the cab. He follows her as it isn’t enough, rape seems to be on the cards when she turns to him and sings the chant. He runs and gets in his car, his nose bleeding. The kuntilanak beheads him with the cab’s window.

The Kuntilanak
Meanwhile a business man has visited the Mangkujiwo, the satanic cult, and whatever he has asked them to do has failed. The head Mangkujiwo admits it is the case and the man demands his money back. For his trouble he is injured and taken out to a pit where he is brained and tossed in with other bodies. The Mangkujiwo discuss how their last Kuntilanak singer got herself killed by the new girl and that Yanti (Lita Soewardi), the boarding house manager, is missing. They determine to find the new girl.

Eva Sanders as Gung
Sam reaches her destination, a shop with a room to rent from the family who run it. The little girl, Yenny (Cindy Valerie) knows that there is something wrong, evil even, with Sam. Gung (Evan Sanders) is dreaming and, in his dream, he is back with the kuntilanak being tortured and fed upon. He awakens with a start and reaches for medication. I said in respect of the first film that Sanders’ acting was filled with histrionics. In this his character has suffered a break down and the acting style works really well. His friend Iwang (Ibnu Jamil) suggests that he must find Sam and return back to where the trauma began (the boarding house).

chanting down the phone
Sam meanwhile is having a crisis of personality. She knows that Iwang has suggested Gung find her and sings the chant down the phone to him (she also appears to have developed a psychic dialling system for the phone). She seems comfortable with the maggot puking that follows a chant. The chant causes Iwang to be killed in the manner of a kitchen accident. She then dreams of all her victims in hell begging her for forgiveness.

Sam faces herslef
Madame Mangkujiwo (Alice Iskak) appears before her as a ghost talking of regret and Sam looks at herself in the mirror (which is the Kuntilanak mirror that she has had delivered to her new lodgings) and her reflection moves differently. It becomes manifest in the room and she fights with herself. The good Sam wins against the evil Sam but she knows how good the evil feels and how at peace she would be if she let herself surrender to it. Yes we have a whole Jedi type dark and light battle going on and, actually, it is probably better handled than the (new) Star Wars films!

The Kuntilanak feeds
The film rumbles along at a fairly even pace and has a twist to get us to the finale that you can see a mile off. That said there is a twist cliff-hanger, at the very end, that is designed to go into part three of the series that worked better. Estelle is still rather pleasant to look at and she betrays more emotion in this part than the simple bewilderment she previously protrayed.

Sam chanting
The photography wasn’t as nice this time around and the kuntilanaks seemed falser, more like caricatures so the atmosphere wasn’t quite as good. There are some logic flaws, the main one being that because the mirrors were broken (by Sam in film 1) the kuntilanaks were free and looking for revenge on the chanter who controls them. Yet one of the mirrors was intact (and with Sam) and the kuntilanak still heeded her chants. That aside 5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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