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Saturday September 7, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday September 7, 2013 MYT 12:32:22 PM
By AIDIL RUSLI
PROPER genre films are so few and far between in the Malaysian film industry that it becomes more than a relief when one finally arrives. Psychological thrillers are nothing new here (Aziz M. Osman’s 2004 effortTrauma being a fairly recent example), but they’re rare enough to make people sit up and take notice whenever one strolls into local cinemas.
Arriving without too much publicity, Psiko Pencuri Hati is quite a worthy addition to the list. Having been a fan of director Nam Ron’s independent films, especially the criminally little-seen Jalan Pintas, this movie marks his first step into the mainstream.
While it lacks the quirky irony of Jalan Pintas, Nam Ron and scriptwriter Ayam Fared’s trademark humour can still be found here amidst all the mystery and gore.
The film chronicles the efforts of crime novel writer O. Sidi (Bront Palarae, of Bunohan fame), who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder (get it?) and who’s trying to finish his latest novel, which is inspired by a real-life serial killer the press has dubbed “Psiko Pencuri Hati” (which roughly translates as the “psycho thief of hearts”).
Egged on by his friend Man (Amerul Affendi, who was also in Bunohan) he decides to delve into the mind of the serial killer as research for his book by visiting the killer’s latest crime scene. This ends up making things worse for him as he is haunted by nightmares and visions of the killer’s deeds.
Running parallel to his story is a tale about the unhappy marriage between Wani (played the late Yasmin Ahmad’s favourite Sharifah Amani) and Dr Khai (Syed Hussein, aka Sein, who gives quite an interesting performance here).
Suffering from depression, former lawyer Wani spends her days cooped up at home reading O. Sidi’s novels and her nights resisting the efforts of her husband who is trying hard to understand her condition and help her overcome it.
Their paths cross when Khai decides to take Wani to an island in the hope that it will help him get through to her. O. Sidi, with Man in tow, also turns up at the same island in an effort to calm himself and hopefully get rid of his nightmares and visions.
Because it is off-peak season, the only other people on the island are the resort’s owner Pak Abu (Suhaimi Yusoff, playing the straight man as a meek husband) and his hilariously catty young wife Siti (a scene-stealing Shera Ayob).
Being a fan of O. Sidi’s work, Wani takes a particular interest in him, asking for his autograph and even giving him advice on how to improve his new book. Of course this only ends up making her domestic situation even worse as Khai, who has patiently tolerated her depression, becomes jealous when Wani retreats into her shell whenever he’s around, but easily opens up to the writer.
This simmering tension boils over when there is another murder and Khai is convinced that O. Sidi did it. This being a psychological thriller, you can be assured that there are a few twists and turns in store. The film is clever enough at concealing things that quite a few people in the audience didn’t see one early swerve coming, even though I did. Then again, maybe I’ve been watching way too many horror films and psycho thrillers!
To those who’ve seen their fair share of such movies, like me, Psiko Pencuri Hati’s twists and revelations will not be much of a surprise.
So the enjoyment is in seeing how well things are kept hidden and how well it all plays out. Aside from a few holes here and there in terms of logic and plot, I’d say that the filmmakers did a pretty solid job, with the added bonus of strong performances from everyone involved and the dark humour keeping things moving along for those easily-bored viewers.
For a low-budget flick with a small cast, Psiko Pencuri Hati is quite a winner.
Going psycho in Psiko Pencuri Hati
Tags / Keywords:
psycho thief of hearts, Psiko Pencuri Hati
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