M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Moving on to Year Four of my year-long Retro-Best in Horror I’m recapping the Countdown beginning officially on October 1, 2013 and going through September 30, 2014. I have posted compilation lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around, and even adding a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t!

How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st, 2013 and September 30, 2014 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number—31. Again, I never call myself any kind of expert in horror. I simply watch a lot of horror films and love writing about them. Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!

Released on November 1, 2013. Available on digital download, On Demand, and DVD/Blu-ray!

MACABRE (2009)

aka RUMAH DARA
Directed by Kimo Stamboel, Timo Tjahjanto
Written by Kimo Stamboel, Timo Tjahjanto
Starring Ario Bayu, Shareefa Daanish, Julie Estelle, Ruly Lubis, Daniel Mananta, Mike Muliadro, Arifin Putra, Dendy Subangil, Imelda Therinne, Sigi Wimala

MACABRE was released quite a few years ago, but didn’t make its way to wide distribution until 2014, which is a good thing because that means moreeveryone now gets a chance to see a wickedly awesome film. While MACABRE might not be the most original film, it does do what it does right, and sometimes that’s all it takes to get a recommendation from my end.

MACABRE is a story set in Indonesia, which I remember doing a report on in the 6th grade. From that report I remember that it was an exporter of sugar cane, is populated with all kinds of wildlife including sloths and orangutans, and that Jakarta is its capital city. What I didn’t include in that report was that it housed an ages-old family of cannibal butchers lead by a wicked, wicked mother.

The narrative follows TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE more than any other film as a group of young adults, including a newlywed couple, on a roadtrip in a van. They run into a woman in distress on the road named Maya (Imelda Therinne) who states that her home is not far and on the same path the travelers seem to be taking. Being decent folk and not wanting to leave the seemingly harmless gal on the side of the road, the group decides to drop her off on their way, but when they do, they meet Maya’s creepily intense brother Adam (Arifin Putra), her mostly silent weirdo brother Armand (Ruly Lubis) and finally the poised matriarch of the family Dara (Shareefa Daanish) who insists that the group stay for dinner as gratitude for saving Maya from the elements. Though it wouldn’t be a horror movie if the group declined; all signs point to crazy cannibal family from the start, from the bizarre little gestures the family makes to one another to the trophy room full of hunting gear and stuffed animal heads. Throwing caution to the wind, the group stays and ends up trying and mostly failing to avoid becoming the next course on the cannibal family’s menu.

While the premise is not very original (THE INDONESIAN CHAINSAW MASSACRE would have been a more apropos title here), the execution is highly energetic and feels fresh. Everything from the initial kills to the frantic way the group fight to survive is electric, and just when you think someone is dead and written out of the film, they pop back up, bloody and maybe missing a few body parts, but still kicking and fighting. This intense thrill ride doubles in power when, after a lot of the group has been perished, a quintet of cops shows up to investigate their disappearance and soon they are pulled into the crazy cannibal vortex as well. Directors Kimo Stamboel & Timo Tjahjanto (who are also responsible for the exhaustive energy drink of a bloodbath “Safe Haven” from V/H/S/2) have a way of handling non-stop violence and carnage that few filmmakers possess. One violent act spurs another in this film, and the semi-realistic way that people just don’t die from one wound as they often do in most horror genre films and return to continue fighting is something that makes this film stand out.

For creating a level of intensity that is unsurpassed and an iconic character in the mother figure Dara (in which Shareefa Daanish absolutely rules in and makes me hope and pray she returns in some kind of sequel), MACABRE is a true standout in modern horror and deserves to be experienced. Sure, this one may have been released in one form or another in the past or played prominently in festivals, but now is the time to experience one horrific and truly unique international horror film called MACABRE.




THE 2013-2014 COUNTDOWN!


#19 – MACABRE
#20 – GRAND PIANO
#21 – RIGOR MORTIS
#22 – ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE
#23 – THE MACHINE
#24 – DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN
#25 – THE SACRAMENT
#26 – THE SEASONING HOUSE
#27 – THANATOMORPHOSE
#28 – DEVOURED
#29 – CONTRACTED
#30 – DISCOPATH
#31 – SATURDAY MORNING MYSTERY


M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.

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