LANTAI 13 (Indon horror thriller)
Cast: Widi Mulia, Virnie Ismail, Lukman Hakim and Bella Esperance
Director: Helfi Kardit
Time: 105 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? Here we go again, another thriller about the horrors on the 13th floor of a building. However, unlike Stephen King's "1408", the plot of this Indonesian effort is rather predictable - with only a handful of genuine scares thrown in.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? "Lantai 13" opens with jobseeker Luna (Widi Mulia of the Indon singing trio AB Three) arriving for an interview with a posh company. There, she is met by a representative, Laras (Virnie Ismail), who takes her to the 13th floor office of the building for a written test. However, even before she agrees to take up the secretarial post, Luna gets her first fright when she envisions a room with a dozen dead women - the ghosts of applicants like her. Other scary omens include a stench in the lift, and the 'missing' button to the 13th floor.
Now, would Luna run for her life and look for another job like any normal girl would do? Nah, she reports for work the next day, despite pleas from her boyfriend Rafael (Ariyo Wahab) not to take up the job. So what is it that makes her so eager to work in a haunted building? Is it the charmingly handsome boss Albert, or the mesmerising pull of his mysterious henchman Kuntara (Tio Pakusodewo)? The answer is neither.
HITS & MISSES: It is simply a case of careless, illogical plotting that also suggests the practice of human sacrifices for the sake of business prosperity - in this day and age! Writer-director Helfi Kardit however, does a good job at creating an eerie atmosphere, especially at the stairways and corridors, and even a few comical scenes which we may call 'pseudo-scares'. The movie also makes liberal use of loud, screeching sounds to jolt us, or to prepare us for the frights ahead.
There is potential for human drama in Luna's relationship with her caring boyfriend Rafael but this is not properly developed. The same goes for other interesting characters like the enigmatic Ibu Siska (Bella Esperance) and villainous-looking Kuntara. Instead, Kardit goes for the jugular - using cliched devices from other horror thrillers in the hope that some would work. Well, some of these 'boo' moments actually do - in a low-brow, physical way. It would have helped a bit if we had credible performances from the cast. However, none of them gave us anything memorable or outstanding.
THE LOWDOWN: It is obvious that Kardit has done his homework before writing the script. He has provided what most viewers want from horror films: enough scary moments to lure dating couples to the cinema. And with a few humorous and eye-candy sequences thrown in, "Lantai 13" should satisfy the young dating crowd.