Monday, December 12, 2016


Year: 2016
Director: Dain Iskandar Said
Cast: Shaheizy Sam, Iedil Putra, Prisa Nasution, Nicholas Saputra

Plot: A detective and a forensic photographer team up to solve a series of strange murders, which involve antique glass film negatives and a lost tribe.

Review: Dain Said's Interchange is a welcome change from the usual type of films Malaysia is known to produce, such as silly comedies, weak horror films and the standard rom coms. This country does not produce many fantasy films in this modern era, and none have looked this macabre.

In Interchange, Detective Man is investigating a series of strange murders, where the victims are found hanging from the ceiling and drained of all their blood. Pieces of glass film negatives are found at the scenes, prompting Man to seek the help of Adam, his friend who used to take pictures of murder victims, until he got spooked and quit, and now spends his time taking pictures of his neighbors instead. Man persuades Adam to pursue the case with him, and through his mysterious female neighbor Iva, the latter discovers a lost world and lots of supernatural goings on. It all leads to a mysterious man named Belian, who obviously isn't human. So what's going on exactly?

First off, I'll give credit where it's due. For Dain to attempt something so daringly different than what our audiences are accustomed to is commendable. Interchange is dark, bizarre and quite grim, yet most fascinating. I liked how Dain presents us a city that is unnamed (though it probably is KL) and though familiar, still quite different from any place in Malaysia I know of. The camerawork is exquisite, from the tight shots indoors to the wide shots of the scenery when the characters are standing on balconies, rooftops and the like. The shots from Adam's balcony of his surrounding apartment blocks is amazing.

The story however, is almost there. I say almost, because it starts off promisingly enough, but it doesn't quite get the finish it deserves, and a handful of points are left unsolved or properly clarified. In my opinion, Belian's role in all this is the most important point, but never really explained satisfactorily, other than the fact that he is otherworldly and crucially needed for something I can't talk about lest I give too much away. A bit more time spent at the end to clarify things would really help.

The cast perform to expectations, but it is Shaheizy Sam's wise cracking detective that stands out the most. Iedil Putra is alright as Adam but his character is much too two dimensional. Prisa Nasution fares better as Iva, while Nicholas Saputra is solid as Belian, even though the exploration of his character is the weakest, and the poor makeup effects don't help either.

In the end, Interchange is worthy to watch and experience at least once, just to taste something fresh and unconventional in Malaysian film. It lacks a proper finish, but the potential is there. (7/10) 

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