SXSW Review: MODUS ANOMALI

By Mark Saldana

 

            This Indonesian thriller by writer/director Joko Anwar undoubtedly has its chilling moments and surprises, but this “slow cooker” drags on too long and wears its low budget on its sleeve.  A man (Rio Dewanto) awakens in a shallow grave in the woods, not knowing who he is or why he was buried.  He discovers a video showing the murder of a woman he concludes to be his wife.  He realizes that his children have survived the ordeal and proceeds to search for them. The mystery man tries to remember all of the previous events prior to his burial and struggles to locate the missing kids.  To complicate matters, a masked person attacks him and continues to torment him as he attempts to discover the truth behind these frightening events.  

            This movie had the potential to be truly amazing, but the story’s pace becomes tiresome and tedious.  The film’s micro-budget becomes way too apparent in the sloppy special effects as do the limitations of the script, as certain moments feel redundant and drawn out too long. The events that slowly play out are a mix of shocks, some thrills, but mostly the absurd.  By the time the mystery is revealed, I felt exhausted to the point where I no longer cared.  This film lost me way too early.  By the time the end credits rolled, I could only feel relief that this ordeal of a film had finally ended.

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