Macabre (2009)

Macabre ReviewReviewed by Gareth Jones

Starring Ario Bayu, Shareefa Daanish, Julie Estelle, Ruly Lubis

Directed by The Mo Brothers

Another UK premiere offered by the Film4 Frightfest is the Mo Brothers’ buckets-of-blood shocker Macabre – a gorehound’s wet dream.

The plot itself involves a group of friends on their way to Jakarta for the 8-months-pregnant Astrid (Sigi Wimala) and her husband Adjie (Ario Bayu) to take off for their new life in Australia. Amongst them is Adjie’s estranged sister, Ladya (Julie Estelle), with whom he hopes to patch things up before they leave.

Just before hitting the road, a young woman approaches from the rain claiming she has been mugged and needs a ride home. Being the charitable bunch that they are, our protagonists take the girl, Maya (Imelda Therrine) home and are soon introduced to her mother – the disturbingly robotic Dara (Shareefa Daanish).

It doesn’t take long before the lot of them are drugged and awake to find that Dara and her family are members of a cannibalistic cult, eating the flesh of humans in order to live longer. In fact, Dara herself is over 100 years old! One other thing…..newborn baby is a delicacy to them, so Astrid is in for one hell of a night.

There isn’t much more to say about Macabre, as from the reveal onwards it’s basically just a wall-to-wall gorefest. Bodies are chainsawed, shot, stabbed, decapitated, limbs broken, necks broken, arrows shot through flesh – it’s an absolute bloodbath. The Mo Brothers keep a tight visual reign on everything even as chaos ensues and the body count extends beyond just our original group of friends, and there are surprises to be had with regards to who survives and who is despatched in as bloodily a fashion as possible. The fact that each of them is likeable means you are never rooting for the cannibals themselves. This stops the flick from becoming a basic Guinea Pig-esque exercise in grotesquery and keeps you invested in the proceedings while people are literally sliding across floors in their efforts to escape the marauding maneaters.

The cannibal family are played to maximum freakishness once everything kicks off, with the silently deadly and ultra-efficient killing machine son being one of the most fearsome members, and the climax featuring Dara finally letting her hair down and going absolutely mental with a chainsaw is extremely entertaining.

A short review, I know, but honestly I was just having so much fun once the action kicked off (festival organizer Paul did warn the audience beforehand to stick through the build-up of the first 20 minutes – and I’d advise the same) that I was in no mood to nitpick.

Get this movie, get some friends, and get some beers. There’s tons of fun to be had if you’re in the right mood and ESPECIALLY if you’re a gore-lover. I won’t lie – it’s not smart, it’s not clever, it’s not intricate in any way but it IS an unashamed, in-your-face tour-de-force of butchery. Whether or not you think “oh, yes” upon reading that sentence will tell you whether or not you will enjoy the dubious delights presented by Macabre.

3 1/2 out of 5

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Gareth Jones

Copywriter and critic sporting a lifelong obsession with all things horror. A little bit sane.