In the Movies: Dukun

I was 20 years old when Dain Said’s Dukun first made its rounds in the Malaysian horror scene. The fabulous Umie Aida (now Datin Paduka), playing the role of a dukun, in a movie loosely based on the high profile murders involving Mona Fandey and politician Dato Mazlan Idris.

As a society that loves gossip and intrigue, this movie is GOLD.

Sadly, it was not released 12 years ago. It waited 12 years to stew, embroiled in censorship and sensitivity, and finally today, barutah we get to see!

I completely understand the need for the ban. The topic bears likeness to a case that gripped Malaysia, and Brunei (even though I was so young that time), by the sheer horror. I remember as a child reading the details of the gruesome murder. I don’t believe the family of all involved would be thrilled now the case is yet again the du jour sensational topic of the moment.

However, I am here to talk about: is the movie worth the 12 year hype? Spoilers ahead.

Here are 5 things I feel about the movie:

ONE: What is it like? Like watching a time capsule.

Watching Dukun is a unique experience that it is a movie set 12 years ago, but was also filmed 12 years ago – yet at the time it’s considered pretty advanced.

Dukun shows some sophistication in plot, and concept – employing flashbacks and intertwining the stories of Diana Dahlan, Karim and Nadia, that eventually connects in the end. Unfortunately rather predictable, and you sort of see the “twist” from early on.

I love that bits of what was current 12 years ago – from the Mercedes model, to Dato Jefri’s outfits, decorations in the “nightclubs” and Nam Ron’s Nokia mobile phone (super high end at the time) was featured. It gleefully transported me back to 2005 most definitely.

TWO: Genre is more “crime thriller” rather than horror

If you want to watch something that gives you an adrenaline rush, this is not the movie. Dukun plays more as a crime thriller, plus courtroom drama, with a touch of supernatural.

Th execution (pun intended) of this genre is not as tight as I’d prefer, but it’s still watchable though I definitely did not need to close my eyes lol.

This is the first movie by Dain Said – but I have to say if this is what he was capable of 12 years ago, I am excited to find out that he has 2 other movies after Dukun. Definitely deserves a watch.

However, the haunting song in the soundtrack, Merana Jiwa sent chills down my spine – it reminds me a little of Pengabdi Setan’s song – Di Kesunyian Malam.

THREE: ALL HAIL PRIMADONA UMIE AIDA

One word: WOW! A moment of silence to the sensual, seductive temptress that brought to life the character of Diana Dahlan. Why is she retired again????

Umie Aida’s performance elevates the shaky writing and mediocre editing and is the reason why you will watch this movie. Something magnetic about her- she draws u in towards her, and when she speaks, u cannot avert your eyes!

Like a snake!

FOUR: Faizal Hussein is grossly underrated

Faizal Hussein gained fame many years ago for portraying the quintessential bad boy hero in movies like Gila Gila Remaja & Tak Kisah La Beb! He faded a bit in the background as Malaysia made way for young actors and the age of Yusof Haslam dawned and engulfed us in yucky love movies.

In Dukun, Faizal Hussein played Karim, the lawyer that held Diana’s defense in court.

In this role as Karim, forgive me, but this is the first time I’ve seen Faizal Hussein, like seriously see him. His acting is ON POINT, he is skilled, and so nuanced – talent and experience all rolled in one. His character underwent the most development in the writing, although in the end, there was a bit of an abrupt turn which was a bit cliched.

I seriously cannot get enough! He deserves a spinoff movie…

FIVE: Loose Ends

So many things I feel make this movie less enjoyable:

  1. In the first 10 minutes, there’s a scene in 1962 Indonesia which was never referred back to in the whole movie.
  2. Daud – the private investigator – is killed off rather abruptly like they ran out of budget. I find his foray in the middle of the night so out of character since he is supposedly so careful all this while
  3. Who is that guy in black with the weird haircut and samurai? U mean no one thought of bringing him in for questioning for the murder case of Dato Jefri? He is literally just running around looking suspicious haha.
  4. Why did Nadia run away from home? Is she so irrepairably scarred because she witnessed the murder of her mother? Who brought her home after that anyway?
  5. Speaking of Nadia’s mother, why did Diana need the foetus? How did she keep it so fresh in her loose powder component for so many years sheesh. What is the significance of her eating it?
  6. Dato Jefri’s character is a waste of Adlin Aman Ramlee’s talent haha.

Is there a Dukun 2 – with Elyana???????? Cause I will definitely support that!!!

Dukun, 12 years later is a 6/10 – it seems to set the foundation for a cult classic but I am praying for a sequel, maybe in 2020. I am praying and hoping.

 

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