Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Paku Pontianak (2013)

Sidek Hussein has been carrying around this facial growth for 30 years. Horror movies always benefited from it. Apparently he's gonna have to operate soon.

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The nail of necrophilia! Nice design, too.
At a glance:
Metrowealth's 85th title Paku Pontianak (2013) (lit: Vampire's Nail) aims to repeat the trusty but tired formula that has made them some money in the past, like Santau (2009), Mantra (2010), Sumpahan Kum Kum (2012) and most recently Minyak Dagu (2013), the last in that list I believe is the only horror production of theirs that has managed to turn in a profit so far this year. Reportedly shot for some RM 1.82 mil, it's a pretty standard genre exercise, about a labu sayong maker played by Pekin Ibrahim who bangs some chick in the middle of the road and takes her into his home to care for her. Yes, it's definitely a missed opportunity to sensationalise the traditional Malay gourd-shaped clay carafe industry like what Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore did for pottery in Ghost (1990), since they drove so deep into Kuala Kangsar to shoot, yet failed to take much from the culturally rich locale. Anyway, the fella bangs some chick (debutante Uqasha Senrose) on the road and brings her home to care for her since she's conveniently lost her memory as well. Time passes and his mum (Ruminah Sidek) starts to push for marriage in view of the gossipy villagers, but a jilted fan of his (debutante Hidayah Samsudin, fresh from her SimplySiti Star Search win) comes up with the theory that her rival is actually a vampire. Jeez, I've got to move to the country some day.
Bad news on the doorstep:

Some good did come out of this movie, eh?
Well, this might go down as one of the most beautiful movies in the world for the lead couple who met and got hitched on set (Pekin insists he has known Uqasha since the both live in Subang but have never exchanged words), but for the rest of us who are dyin for some fresh horror chops, it's only the most recent in the catalogue of MIG titles that you start to forget even before walkin out of the cinema. Ismail Bob Hashim gets another go at horror after Sumpahan Kum Kum (2012), but it's the same Brian Ng sound mix (I like the guy, by the way), the same David Teo box office pantun pontifications, the same haunted angles, the same Ella Sandera makeup SFX and even the same tray of black magic paraphernalia, it seems. To MIG's credit, it has slightly more character development than usual, built on the otai boost of Ruminah Sidek and Sidek Hussein. However, most of the characters add little dimension to the story and I'm sorry to have to single out Uqasha Senrose here for a grossly uneven debut performance that really made no difference to the role and looked even worse next to Pekin's masterful nuances.
Perennial wonderment:
"So, is your skin as nice as Robert Pattinson's?"
Twilight notwithstandin, how many human-vampire romances have we seen recently? The director confesses to usin Nang Nak (1999) as a reference but he strangely brings this up as a positive distinction in a TMO clip. Well, the latest reupdate on that age-old Mae Nak legend just happens to be the new Thai box office champ, Pee Mak (2013), so what did Paku Pontianak bring to the table? Did they drive that crane so far deep into Kuala Kangsar to come away with such a pedestrian effort? What's so special about this story that it needs to be told? Even with low expectations, things have gotten very stale in the MIG stable.
Hidayah Samsudin tries to get her man back.
Reminds me of:
The Kuntilanak trilogy. Yep, I saw all of them. I persevered because Julie Estelle starred in all of them but they really got worse and worse!
I can't remember if I cried:
When I count how many MIG movie I've seen. I really enjoyed Santau (2009) but things have just been goin round in circles and I'm just dyin for MIG to try somethin like Centipede Horror (1984) someday.
Watch out for:
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Adiba Yunus should've been the lead!
All eyes are on 21-year-old Kelantan-Siamese beauty Nik Zaris Uqasha Senrose Nik Sen and she is kinda cute but the real sex appeal and commandin female performance in this movie belong to Adiba Yunus (Siti Adibah Mohd Yunus) has risen up the MIG ranks from a mere film extra. She plays the suspicious sister Suraya with sharp conviction that is neither annoyin nor frivolous. I'll resist writin another paragraph on her seductive dominatrix looks out of respect but I do hope we'll get to see more of her. Oh, she's apparently landed the lead role in the upcomin Nasi Kangkang. Wow, my day just got better.
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Box office voodoo!
Pekin Ibrahim shines but this is essentially the same punt forward with the familiar big reveals and convenient tie-ups near the end. The third act is a real downer and I really don't fancy these lazy expositions. That bein said, Paku Pontianak is actually a slight improvement on several technical fronts. How about breakin the PG-13 mould by goin for somethin that will really get the industry talkin? Oh well, I do hope Pekin and Uqasha get married next year -- then somethin great would have come out of it.★★
Bonus material:
Well, they have to promote it, don't they?
L-R: David Teo, Uqasha Senrose, Hidayah Samsudin, Adiba Yunus, Along Eyzendy, Pekin Ibrahim.

Didn't we see all this in Kuntilanak already?
"Dayummm girl... you've been eatin' all that petai again, haven't you?"
No labu sayong sex scene like Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore? Guess not.

"So vampires huh... you're not gonna cheat on me like Kristen Stewart, are you?"
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