[review by JA Kerswell]
AIR TERJUN PENGANTIN (which translates into English as BRIDE WATERFALL) is an unpretentiously entertaining Indonesian slasher, where beautiful people go to an island and beautiful people get dead at the hands - and pointy implements - of a psycho Shaman in a big-nosed mask. Blessed with extended cat-and-mouse chase scenes and fun gore effects, it is unsurprising this was a big hit in its native country and inspired countless rip-offs and a direct sequel.
|Cheesecake on the beach in Rizal Mantovani's AIR TERJUN PENGANTIN.|
Tiara (Tamara Blezinski) has flashbacks - whilst rolling around in bed in a skimpy negligee naturally - to being almost buried alive after a car accident. Her boyfriend Lilo (Kieran Shidu) and her niece Mandy (Navy Rizky Tavania) convince her she needs a vacation to take her mind off her trauma. So, along with a host of other beautiful friends, they take two boats to the remote 'Brides Island'. A place famous for its waterfall, where legend has it that wishes come true under its spray. There is also an urban legend that a Shaman killed the men who worked on the island after they caused the death of his wife - and forced the remaining people to abandon a fish canning factory in fear.
Not letting an urban legend spoil the fun, the group frolic on the beach to a pop music soundtrack in their bikinis splashing water on each other and lovingly rubbing suntan lotion into their long, lithe limbs. It is perhaps unsurprising that its DVD title was LOST PARADISE: PLAYMATES IN HELL. However, they soon realise that there may be some truth to the legend after all when one of the group spots a man mask spying on them. It was probably the big nose that gave it away. Soon they are picked off one by one and taken back to the killer's lair, where he drinks their blood in preparation for taking a new bride …
|The killer knows whose nose will sniff out beach ready twenty-somethings!|
AIR TERJUN PENGANTIN certainly doesn't win any prizes for originality, but once the Victoria Secrets'esque mugging is over it moves at a fast clip and turns out to be an entertaining little slasher movie. Seemingly its main inspiration was WRONG TURN (2004), as it briefly flirts with the idea of cannibalism and features similar set pieces including one where a group of survivors spy on the killer as they hide in his lair. Given its vintage, it is also unsurprising that the influence of so-called 'torture porn' raises its head - although thankfully briefly. It also seemingly takes some inspiration from the similar beach/island set slashers THE DEADLY CAMP (1999) from Hong Kong and South Korea's BLOODY BEACH (2000). The film flirts with the idea of black magic (and of a vision that drives the killer to murder), but this is very much a masked slasher movie in the vein of the films that came out post-SCREAM (1996) - although played very much without self-conscious comedy. Although, some elements stretch credulity such as the girls wanting to stop and shower in a blood-soaked fishing cannery. And this film may hold the Guinness Book of World Records Award for the most people who fall over running away from a killer!
Understandably, given Indonesia's strict censorship laws, there is no nudity in AIR TERJUN PENGANTIN. But the film scores points not just for its relentless chases scenes in its second half, but for its eye-popping cheap but effective gore effects. In one instance - with a gag presumably inspired by FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III (1982) - quite literally. However, I think it might be fair to say that Tamara Blezinski was chosen for her looks rather than her acting ability. She has trouble conveying convincingly the weight of past trauma and somewhat hilariously under-reacts to the news that there is a killer on the loose with little more emoting than if she had been handed a parking ticket. To be fair, she does fine with her final showdown with the killer.
|AIR TERJUN PENGANTIN features some great chase scenes and a good splattering of gore.|
Blezinski appeared in the somewhat belated sequel AIR TERJUN PENGANTIN PHUKET (2013), where the action moves to Thailand and she faces off against a cult. More immediately, the film's box office success inspired a number of other Indonesian slashers such as PENGANTIN TOPENG, NAKALNYA ANAK MUDA and PENGANTIN PANTAI BIRU (all 2010) as well as a number of scantily clad models vs monsters movies for the next few years. Of course, Indonesia isn't a stranger to the slasher movie. See SRIGALA (1981), the infamous FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) rip-off.
Despite its cheesecake leanings, AIR TERJUN PENGANTIN is actually an effective and fun slasher movie that's ripe for rediscovery by a wider audience.
female: 4 / male: 7
1) Female appears drowned
2) Male hung up on hooks
3) Male slashed with a machete
4) Male killed with a broken bottle to the eye
5) Female whacked in the head with a machete
6) Male has spear thrown through his head
7) Female dies after having her throat similarities
8) Male stabbed repeatedly with a spear
9) Male pushed into spike that makes his eyeball pop out
10) Female decapitated with machete
11) Male stabbed in the eye with scissors and impaled on a spear
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