Tuesday, November 2, 2021

ROH (Soul) Review: An Unsettling Film That Grows On You

Release date: October 29, 2021
Running time: 83 minutes
Written and Directed by: Emir Ezwan
Cast: Farah Ahmad, Mhia Farhana, Harith Haziq, Nam Ron, Junainah M. Lojong, Putri Syahadah Nurqaseh

Cut off from civilization, a single mother puts her children on high alert when they bring home a strange young girl caked in clay. She tells of spirits and spirit hunters and after spending the night she delivers an ominous prophecy: the family will all soon die. As strangers begin to show up on her doorstep, and terrible events crop up around them, she quickly finds another reason to fear the forest. This eerily atmospheric folk horror tale marks the stunning directorial debut of seasoned visual effects artist, Emir Ezwan. From the ominous lighting, off-kilter tone, isolated locations and strange goings on, ROH is a visceral, spine-tingling revelation.

Roh is an impressive film from start to finish, starting with some really great camera work.  You get a sense of both the beauty and expanse of this forest, and the level of isolation for this family.  But unlike in a Western film, the isolation isn't overplayed, it is just a fact of where this family lives and the vastness of the forest.  And after the beautiful cinematography, you will be caught up in the wonderful effects.  Roh has good practical effects and plenty of gore.  It ties it into local beliefs and mysticism, with some sacrifices, some horrible occurrences, and plenty of gore.  It is not a gratuitous amount of gore, but it is enough to show just how good these effects are.

And the story of Roh slowly spirals as the family experiences more and more in this strange tale.  I liked the sense of unease as more strangers came and the news became more unsettling.  And the events occurring around and to the family slowly become more pronounced.  Towards the end, you have a series of horrible things happening.  And through it all I really liked the subtle music.  There is not a ton of music in this film, which contributes to the overall sense of isolation that this family experiences.  However, as the events spiral, it does seem to escalate fairly quickly towards the end.  There is a nice slow buildup that seems to descend relatively quickly.  And this might just be my own unfamiliarity with the culture, but I found it difficult to follow what was going on.  I was enjoying the experience and the wonderful setting and cinematography, but I couldn't tell you exactly what happened in this film.  

Roh (Soul) is an unsettling film with a sinister setting, wonderful camera work, and a story that descends into some dark and gory places.  

Rent it.

If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube
Roh (Soul) is available in virtual cinemas.  For showtimes, click here

No comments:

Post a Comment