[review by JA Kerswell]
|What would an Indonesian beach set slasher be without a 10 minute frolic on the beach in bikinis and trunks?
One of the cheap cash-ins made after the box-office success of the Indonesian slasher AIR TERJUN PENGANTIN (2009), PENGANTIN TOPENG - whilst offering little new - is a breezy, fun masked slasher whodunnit. A betrothed couple and their friends head to a beachside resort to celebrate the upcoming nuptials, but end up marooned at a remote beach and are hunted by a killer in a traditional Indonesian bridal mask carrying a pair of garden shears.
Randy (Hardy Hartono) and Alexa (Masayu Anastasia) are engaged to be married. They invite their three best friends on a vacation to celebrate. Billy (Gabriel Tabalujan), Kinar (Lolita Putri) and Rosa (Adelia Rasya) join them for the road trip to the resort. At a pit stop, they have a run-in with a strange, silent young man (George Timothy) and have further problems when their car breaks down. The group decides to spend the night on the beach until the resort can send a car to pick them up the next morning. However, exploring a run-down house near the beach they discover a bloodied corpse of a recently slain man slumped in the corner.
The group split up to try and get a signal on their mobile phones to call the authorities. Only, they soon realise that they are not alone when a sinister figure appears from the darkness and begins to bump them off one-by-one …
|A killer in a traditional Indonesian bridal mask turns up with a deadly pair of garden shears in PENGANTIN TOPENG
PENGANTIN TOPENG slavishly copies much of what made AIR TERJUN PENGANTIN so successful. And, given it is a beach-set South Asian slasher, that means literally ten minutes of frolicking in the surf and an extended bikini cheesecake photo session before the murders begin! The budget is pretty low, but not painfully so. It is competently shot and the small cast is likeable - plus it splashes around a fair bit of the red stuff.
When the movie shifts gears into slasher territory it has a good handful of suspenseful set pieces. It surprisingly references Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA (1977) with one character meeting her demise after falling into a room of razor wire. It also borrows one of its central twists from a franchise-starting horror mega-hit from a few years before. Despite its magpie tendencies, PENGANTIN TOPENG moves along at a fair clip - although the solution to the identity of the killer is fairly obvious if you piece together the clues.
At a trim 75 minutes, the film doesn’t outstay its welcome. However, it would have benefited from a bigger cast of potential victims as the masked killer angle doesn’t make up as much of the movie as might be expected. Although the motivation for the killing spree is delightfully daft - and it features a gruesomely violent showdown at the beachside cabin.
PENGANTIN TOPENG flopped at the Indonesian box office. It isn’t an easy film to find uncut, but it is worth seeking out for those who have enjoyed other Indonesian slashers.
female: 2 / male: 2
1) Female stabbed with garden shears
2) Male run over with a car
3) Female beaten to death with a rock
4) Male stabbed in the back and decapitated with shears
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