Sunday, January 19, 2014

Kami Histeria [2014]

Director: Shamyl Othman
Writer: Rafidah Abdullah
Starring: Sara Ali, Mila Jirin, Diana Danielle, Umie Omar, Nad Zainal, Nur Fazura, Izzue Islam, Afdlin Shauki
Genre: Comedy
Rating: General
Verdict: "If you're going to watch just one movie this coming month - local or international - make it Kami Histeria..."

The end of the semester break also marks the reemergence of Histeria, a rock band fronted by Laila (Diana Danielle), featuring Bad (Sara Ali), Peanut (Nad Zainal), Jojo (Umie Omar) and Airin (Mila Jirin). Due to financial reasons, the ladies move to a run-down flat in a secluded neighbourhood, where they achieve their greatest success as a band with the help of... something. But when it's time to pay the piper, will they be able to?

What to Expect
1. Ninety minutes of fun
2. Kickass soundtrack by LoQue
3. Crafty visuals
4. High production value
5. A refreshing take on horror tropes
6. Lovable characters & memorable performances

What NOT to Expect
1. Ghostbuster Imam or bomoh
2. For it all to be a dream
Best film to start off your 2014 with
Remember when I said that all I want is "normal" movies with good stories? Now this, is exactly what I'm talking about.

Kami Histeria is not the first movie I've seen in 2014, local or international, but because I like it so much, I'm just gonna pretend that it is - something unthinkable a few weeks back when I first saw the poster. I remember how I actually cocked my head to one side, looking at the Kit Kat logo like it's a stain or somethin'. Don't get me wrong, I love Kit Kat, but seeing it like that on a movie poster leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

But at least we don't see the producers anywhere on it, so I shrugged it off. I mean, it is a Red Film production, after all. When have they ever disappoint?

And indeed, they didn't. Simply put, I was taken from the get-go, and the next ninety minutes exceeded all my expectations with many pleasant surprises in between. Well, only one thing was a bit of a comedown, which I will get to in a bit.

I won't elaborate so much about the characters, I think it'd suffice if I just say that much of Kami Histeria's strength came from the characters. Put aside the fact that they were all very easy on the eyes, the actors' performances deserve praise. Energetic, but at the same time didn't seem like they snorted cocaine between takes, such was the case with Osman Ali's Cun [2011]. From the moment we first see them, without saying a single line, we get the idea as to what kind of people they are, and they kept to their roles instead of trying to outshine each other.

Now, you could make a case saying that Diana Danielle didn't leave much of an impression, whose role didn't seem to go beyond flipping her hair and "flirting" with the audience. However, I think this has less to do with her performance and more to do with her role as the straight man (or "straight person", for you militant feminists). I think she did fine. Not great, not bad, just fine.

And while we're on the subject of performances, I found it surprising that they gave the best lines to AF alumni Mila Jirin, which at first may sound like a bit of a risk especially when you consider the rest of the cast. After all, they had the-impossible-to-dislike Nad Zainal (who spoke only one word in the movie) and talented Sara Ali. But it worked, and it came as a pleasant surprise.

All righty, enough about performances.

I won't elaborate much about the story either because, well, spoilers. I will tell you, however, that I was also pleasantly surprised by the fact that the horror element, though not exactly a subplot, wasn't at the forefront either. So if you have reservations about this being another pointless, run-of-the-mill "citer hantu", I say don't worry. The horror part wouldn't have been there if it wasn't an integral part of the narrative. You'll see.

Which also brings us to the comedown part I mentioned earlier. Even though at no point were we introduced to a Ghostbuster Imam (or bomoh) shooting Syariah-compliant hadoukens, there was a showdown between the ladies and a supernatural being, and only then it got a little boring for me. Now, arguably it was a matter of personal preference, because I remember feeling the exact same way when I saw Sembunyi [2013].

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad. Not necessarily. If I'm being 100% objective, I'd say it's well-choreographed, well-shot, and well-edited. But as far as feel is concerned, I was numb to it all. Looking at the big picture, however, it was only like a little dead ant in a tall glass of ice tea; I scooped it out and still enjoyed every sip to the last drop.

You'd find that easy to do too, once you hear the score and the soundtrack. Oh I effin' love the soundtrack! Written by none other than LoQue (of Butterfingers and MonoloQue fame), whom I consider to be the voice of a generation, the music complemented the visuals really well, as with any Red Films-LoQue collaborations in the past. The only thing different this time, it was all about rock n' roll, and I had to resist from bobbing my head right there in the cinema.

Add all that up, I say we have a winner over here, and I'm inclined to have a break, have a Kit Kat and watch Kami Histeria a second time. I'm serious. It's polished, the visuals are crafty, colourful, energetic, the characters are lovable, and the soundtrack kicks ass. If you're going to watch just one movie this coming month - local or international - make it Kami Histeria.


Anonymous said...

Dik, abang baca komen-komen netizen dari blog-blog hiburan Melayu rata-rata meluahkan kemuntahan masing-masing terhadap filem ni. Walhal semuanya belum lagi menonton di pawagam. Sedih.

Mamü Vies said...

Eh? Biar betul? Filem ni tak keluar pun lagi. Takpe, tunggu diorang tengok dulu.

Halle Calypso said...

I sgt suka citer nie mamuuu!!!! Watched it twice already.hahaha

Mamü Vies said...

Yeay! So happy that you do! :D

Anonymous said...

enjoyed every moment of it..except the duel bit lah. but overall memang best! :D

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