Shackled – Indonesia, 2012

Shackled – original title: Belenggu – is a 2012 Indonesian psychological horror feature film written and directed by Upi Avianto. The Falcon Pictures production stars Abimana Aryasatya, Imelda Therinne, Laudya Cynthia Bella and Verdi Solaiman.

Plot:

A paranoid bartender haunted by visions of violent murders, a psycho killer in a rabbit costume and a mysterious femme-fatale.

While the bartender is tortured by these nightmares, there are killings going on in town – could the killings be linked to nightmares? In a small town everyone is a suspect…

Reviews:

“The inexperienced horror film director does a nice job engaging the viewer without tawdry shock scenes and by keeping the tension up until the conclusion, but makes too many missteps in pushing through such a nightmarish psychological thriller that requires some leaps of faith to digest its disjointed narrative in total.” Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

“A tight, well-directed psychological thriller, Shackled (Belenggu) might not be the most imaginative Asian Horror, but with such an unsettling and distinctive noir style, it’s a solid addition and worthy of watching.” Andrew Heskins, Eastern Kicks

“The horror itself is quite tame, almost comical. Elang’s frequent visions feature a mother and daughter who live next door being slaughtered by the rabbit, but the violent acts themselves are over the top. The arcs of thick blood and squelchy noises, with little shock factor, seem strange given the rest of the film’s controlled approach.” Richard Badley, Electric Sheep

“Such hard work on the aesthetic makes for an even bigger disappointment in a script that slow-winds itself to an outcome that is rather predictable, offering nothing new to the psychological horror stable. The journey, however, is so visually arresting, director-writer Upi Avianto marks herself as a filmmaker to track.” Naila Scargill, Exquisite Terror

” …there are clear similarities to David Lynch’s techniques regarding dream worlds, and to Donnie Darko with the rabbit idea, but we later discover that it is much more than a collection of horror clichés and succeeds in keeping us attentive until the very end.” Alice Pickard, Film Doo

” …the fluffy animal is the sole common link with Richard Kelly’s movie. And of course the very dark atmosphere as well. Upi offers you all the ingredients that are needed for an intriguing scary movie: a gorgeous femme fatale, a psychopath dressed up as a bunny (including with an axe) and of course lots of blood.” Didier Becu, Peek a Boo

“As the story progresses, we slowly get to the root of Elang’s problem and the extent of his imagined carnage and unfortunately the answers come as no great surprise. The film’s biggest problem is not that it unfolds in a wholly predictable fashion, but that it does so incredibly slowly.” James Marsh, Screen Anarchy

“Therinne’s eye-catching perf as the hard-boiled dame, and Nasution’s dogged detective are standouts in an impressive ensemble. Contributing significantly to the mystery is the topnotch production design, which brings a distinct retro feel to the contempo-set tale at well-judged moments.” Richard Kuippers, Variety

Cast and characters:

  • Abimana Aryasatya … Elang
  • Imelda Therinne … Jingga
  • Laudya Cynthia Bella … Djenar
  • Verdi Solaiman … Guntur
  • Jajang C. Noer … Javanese Lady
  • Arswendi Nasution … Yosef
  • T. Rifnu Wikana … Arturo
  • Bella Esperance … Crazy Old Lady
  • Avrilla … Senja

Technical details:

100 minutes

More Indonesian horror

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