After the movie premiere I almost got into an accident where one of the lanes on the highway was enclosed by orange cones and I was caught off guard; I quickly steered the car from the obstacles and missing other vehicles by a few inches before heading on the journey safely. That few seconds of adrenaline infused incident was scarier than the whole two hours of sitting through Langsuir.
Director, Osman Ali of Ombak Rindu’s and Jwanita‘s success explained that his latest movie is a love story set in the paranormal and this is not an alienated genre considering the tragic romance of Nang Nak and even the pining loss of a lover endured in Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam.
Langsuir, or according to olden tales is known as langsuyar, is the ghost of a woman died during childbirth or when pregnant; it is a terrorising vampire with long jet-black hair reaching her ankles and tapering nails of extraordinary length. In the book, Malay Magic by Walter William Skeat, the creature can be tamed and become a woman again by cutting off her claws and stuffing them in the hole of her neck but there exists many versions of combating the creature.
The Forced Romance
From the familiar horrors whispered about the langsuir, I expected a terrifying experience in the darkened cinema hall waiting for Langsuir to begin where a twist in the tale was made because the premise of the film was a forbidden romance. What was presented was a forced coupling of a demon and a man with almost zero chemistry and obnoxious villainous characters that have no motive at all to be so hateful.
Syafiq Kyle helms the role of Azlan who with his friends, Zaman (Firdaus Nadxaman), Kamal (Halim Radzi), Udin (Shah Hakimi Amin), Alias (Nazri John) and Eron (Daaim Jailani) went on a camping-cum-fishing trip on the island of Pulau Langsuir and while they journeyed through the beautiful green waters, they joked about the demons and evil spirits haunting the infamous island.
There, on one of his nightly flute playing session by the beach; Azlan met a young banshee named Suri (Hannah Delisha) and they immediately fell in love within minutes and had their first date on top of a hill amidst CGI-ed skies.
There was no explanation to Suri’s history except that she and Azlan do not belong in the same world and alas no backstory to make us care for her fight for love excluding that she was played by an undeniably beautiful actress who could have done more with a believable script of a demonic being falling for a man she should not be with.
The plot progressed with Zaman being envious with the relationship of Azlan and Suri for the sole reason that she was a really attractive langsuir and he must have his way with her because the screenwriters simply demanded it.
Zaman was an unnecessary evil rapist whose plan of capturing Suri and hammering a nail to the back of her head (a nail that he was diligently sharpening in front of his friends and he’d even threatened to use it on Azlan) somehow did not seem manic to his group of mates wanting only to have a fun and peaceful holiday; honestly, if a real person ever mentioned out loud that he desire to sexually assault a vampire I’m pretty sure they would have left the island quickly and begin to question their friendship.
However, what we get was also a group of friends fairly eager to gang on a banshee and rape her without even considering their moral compass in such an unusual situation but truthfully, are we surprised at this point that the only men that Osman Ali could write about are either potential rapists or not a sexual offender?
The movie then spirals out of control after the hammering of a nail on her scalp turned Suri into an ordinary woman as it led to a series of hauntings of her vengeful sister, Dewi played exceptionally well by Julia Farhana Marin (still, I was dumbfounded by the idea of a langsuir having a protective sibling and I spent almost the entire movie going over the biology of it).
There was also the meek horror aspect of the film that was neither shocking nor scary; it was just an imitation of other horror movies with unoriginal computer digitalised depictions of the paranormal and repeated jump scares that got tiring.
The Silver Lining
The force of the movie is undoubtedly the vibrant colours of the island of Pulau Langsuir in which the cinematography of the island, the ocean and the cave had more charm and personality than most of the cast. The comedy relief trio excelled at their delivery and performance which gave a hypothetical vision of what the movie would be if it was a mash-up of comedy, romance and horror.
Julia Farhana Marin should have been more of a main character since she carried her character well as a tormented demon and her enactment is the drive behind the horror theme. Langsuir had an interestingly odd premise that failed miserably and would have worked better if it was a TV movie than a featured film; the movie came out as lazy in both spectrums of romance and horror that only managed to stir up laughter from the audience who’d already taken the film lightly than focusing too much on its serious tone.
2 / 5
Langsuir is in cinemas starting 20th September 2018.