Indonesian horror had a renaissance barely a decade ago when director Rizal Mantovani came up with his well made indie ouvre "Jelangkung" which managed to crossover international borders. There were undeniable references to "The Blair Witch Project" but the film was unmistakably Asian in theme, slant and texture. And it was darn scary. Mantovani followed this with the "Kuntilanak" trilogy - accounting for the country's version of "aswang". Though this should have encouraged a resurgence of the well-made genre in Indonesia, this has turned into a cacophony of - pardon my French - vomit-inducing, mind-numbing works like Helfi Kardit's "Bangku Kosong" (Empty Chair) which gratuitously displayed the logic-free narratives almost pathognomonic of Indonesian horror.
Angel (Gwen Zamora) finally decides to join her expat family in Jakarta who had moved in the Indonesian capital 10 years ago. Three months into her migration, Angel is gradually settling down in their lavish home. But one fateful day, she meets a stranger who massacres her household. Six people get shot to death, including her parents and younger sister Safara (Kimberly Ryder). As she hatches for an escape, the unknown assailant eventually tracks her and leaves her for dead.
Buoyed by enviable production values and resplendent cinematography (Joel F. Zola), Muhammad Yusuf's "The Witness" impels with great promise. In the early scene where indiscriminate firing occurs, the audience is soon submerged in some wild hypothetical quandary. Random violence from a disgruntled mind? After all, killing people couldn't be anything less, right?
To be honest, waiting for its narrative climax was like anticipation of a root canal! You want it over and done with to end your agony!
Straight forward storytelling is lost in this megman's desperate bid to impress. The result is one of contumelious cinematic conceit that irritates than entertains. It also highlights the stark inability to maneuver its premise into something vaguely frightening.
The second part of the narrative revolves around an unlikely triangle: Safara (Kimberly Ryder) gets infatuated with her boyfriend Aris' (Agung Saga) popular father Satria (Pierre Gruno), an iconic musician in the local scene. This emotional upheaval has caused Aris to kill himself. As a consequence, Satria avenges his son's death - by killing everyone in Safara's family!