As revealed in some of my previous blog postings, I do amateur ghost hunting. I am not an expert but I do have some knowledge in the field. Therefore, when it comes to horror flicks being shown in cinemas, I always look forward to it. My review of this film will be particular interesting because it is based in-part (not storyline) by an actual incident in Malaysia.
The film is called Highland Tower. It is directed by Pierre Andre. It stars Mikael Andre, Niezam Zaidi, Eddy Rauf, Atikah Suhaime, Shima Anuar, Adibah Yunus, dan Zairi Zainal. It is produced by Metrowealth Pictures and produced by famed local producer, David Teo. Here's the trailer:-
Will this film scare me and the audience? Do read on...
In December 1993, a luxury condominium tower block collapse after ground erosion from the neighbouring hillside. About 50 people lost their lives and to this day has become one of the darkest and saddest tragic incidents in Malaysian history. Twenty years later in 2013, a group of documentary filmmakers venture into the remaining two blocks that is left standing to do a ghost hunting expedition. What they discovered is not for the faint-hearted.
The film's plotline is pretty straight forward. Investigate a supposedly haunted place and get some footage. Understandable but even the most straight forward plotline films need a good structure. This one had its script all over the place and it felt messy. 80% of the film feels like it is unscripted or ad-libbed which I am okay with it since it fits with the concept. More thoughts on this in the 'FILMING' section of my review.
Stagnant and unconvincing with the exception of one or two actors. I liked the actress Shima Anuar's performance in this film. I do applaud the casting of relative unknowns in this film but I felt the producers could cast totally unknowns. This would have made the film sweeter.
The shooting method for Highland Tower is done in a 'found footage' style. This style was first brought to prominence in The Blair Witch Project (1999), an awesome award winning horror flick. This style has slowly influenced other genres besides horror films, notably Cloverfield (2008) which involved an alien monster from outer space. I don't mind local filmmakers adapting this over-used 'found footage' style for Malaysian cinemas. I think it is creative. However, even a messy style of film-making has its structure in some form of paperwork. This film felt like it had no preparation. The editing was not too bad but the visual effects was pretty poor. Some nice scare moments but could have been more.
For a film that is rooted in fast cuts, scare moments, and short duration time, this film was draggy as hell! (Pun intended)
Scaring audience during unexpected moments while characters experience intense panic situations.
Draggy and poor visual effects. Predictable storyline. I may be biased since I am an amateur ghost hunter but my friends who are not into ghost hunting also found this film horrible.
A new breath of fresh air with a different concept (rather than the regular ones) when it comes to Malaysian horror flicks.
Quite a poor film and mildly satisfying with the plot. Go watch it if you like being scare at unexpected moments. If you want to know more about ghost hunting at Highland Towers (I feel the title should be plural instead of singular like the film since there are two towers still standing), you can read the 'NOTE' section below.
5.5 out of 10
If you are interested to read an ACTUAL ghost hunt at Highland Towers, you can read my friend Adam's blog by clicking here. Some nice photo evidence in this posting. Also some more photo postings in a ghost investigation which Adam participated in by clicking here.
For more on the Highland Towers incident, you can click here.
I apologize of lack of photo stills as the movie company only released a few which were too small in resolution. Will update from time to time.