KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians love a good scare. If you need proof, go to the cinemas and chances are you would see a long queue for horror flicks such as Hantu Kak Limah and Munafik 2. These movies are making a killing at the local box office.
Hantu Kak Limah – which stars Awie and Zul Ariffin – has been crowned the highest-grossing local film in Malaysia, collecting more than RM35mil since its release on Aug 9.
Munafik 2, which was released on Aug 29, has earned RM21.6mil so far. The film was made with a budget of RM2.9mil.
Director Syamsul Yusof posted the staggering figure on his Instagram with the message “Allah makes the impossible possible”.
The first film, which was released in 2016, collected RM17.04mil at the Malaysian box office. It also won five awards at the 28th Malaysia Film Festival including Best National Language Film.
Munafik 2 tells the story of a cult leader who misinterprets the teachings of Islam for his own gains.
Ustaz Adam, played by Syamsul, takes on the cult leader when he comes to the aid of a single mother (Maya Karin), who is being held captive.
Syamsul, 34, said he took a month to write the script and felt pressured to live up to the success of the first film.
“The first film was loved so much by the audience, I had to one-up myself for the sequel,” Syamsul said.
He needn’t worry because from the get-go, Munafik 2 generated much buzz. When the trailer for the movie was released at the end of July, it clocked two million views within 24 hours.
Why do Malaysian moviegoers love horror so much?
“Our cultural and traditional beliefs in the supernatural are still present in our communities today,” said film director Osman Ali.
“Some of us have had supernatural experiences, while others love listening to and watching horror stories because we are curious about ghosts and such.”
Osman is gearing up for the release of his supernatural movie Langsuir later this month.
The movie Langsuir revolves around a group of holidaymakers who encounter the undead in an island.
Complications arise when one of them falls in love with the Langsuir, not knowing she hunts for human blood to live.
Osman said that horror films needed to have more than just a suspenseful plot to attract the audience.
For Langsuir, it is romance; in Hantu Kak Limah, it is comedy; while in Munafik 2, religion comes into play.
Syamsul said of his latest film: “I want audiences to find the film not only scary, but sad and disturbing. Sad because of what happens with the characters, and disturbing from the perspective of religion.”