Before Teluh Darat series was finished, another horror film directed by Kimo Stamboel was released entitled Sewu Dino. Like KKN di Desa Penari, this film is based on a viral story on SimpleMan’s Twitter account. This film is played by the Teluh Darat series’s main star, Mikha Tambayong, with Karina Suwandi, Givina Lukita Dewi, Rio Dewanto, Pritt Timothy, and Agla Artalidia. With the filmmaker alone, it is enough to give his work a good mark. The full house cinema audience when I watched it also answered it emphatically. Millions of spectators are waiting in the weeks ahead.
Sri Rahayu (Tambayong) is a young village girl who needs more work for her father’s treatment. She tried for a job vacancy with a very large salary, and an unexpected incident made her accepted. From the start, there was something odd about her new female employer, Mbah Karsa Atmodjo (Suwandi), and it was soon answered why the salary for this job was so high. Sri and her two colleagues, Dini (Artalidia) and Erna (Lukita Dewi) are taken to a remote location in the middle of the forest, and there is a small house/hut where they have to bathe the body of a girl named Della who is possessed by a demon. Until when? It’s only four days before sewu dino (1000 days).
Such a promising premise does indeed explore a relatively fresh story; it’s just that the curse of our horror films (the weak script) has not been completely gone. Before discussing the plot further, one reason why I watched this film is Kimo Stamboel. So far, the filmmaker has produced quality horror films right up until the production of his last series, Teluh Darat. Now, Kimo is back playing with black magic and brutal entities. The film’s rating (13+) makes me doubt because we know that Kimo is never half-hearted in packing his brutal actions. Eid factor? It’s not that there isn’t brutal action; it’s just that it’s too soft now compared to the filmmaker’s previous films. However, this is enough to meet the demands of the story.
The limited space characteristic of the filmmaker is now even narrowed down to just one small hut building containing only a few rooms. The living room, the sleeping room of the caretakers, and of course, the room for the possessed girl’s body. Isn’t this even more intense? That’s right; there’s no room to run around like in Ivanna or DreadOut. The focus is only on one room, where Della’s body is covered by cloth and a bamboo coffin. There is also no electricity there; they only rely on candles and petromax lamps. For matters of atmosphere or horror atmosphere, Sewu Dino is fairly good. Even exploring jump scares, limited by such a narrow space, is difficult, and the filmmaker executed it well.
With such a promising premise, the excellent technical side is again disturbed by several sides of the story that must be adequately explained. Of course, many things cannot be disclosed here because of the spoiler factor.
If this situation is so EXTREMELY CRITICAL for the Atmodjo family, why must it be done in the middle of a forest, far from anywhere? Then why risk hiring new people who are guaranteed to have no one in their right mind interested in the job? Not to mention, there are lots of surprises in the final segment, which raises new questions. What is the real purpose of these two parties fighting each other to such an extent? Revenge, material, envy, or what? Then there is the position of the devil (who possessed Della) between these two parties. What’s in it for the devil? Then, the ultimate question is, why does it have to be 1000 days (in fact, the film’s title)? What was waiting until that time? How many victims have been over the previous 996 days? There are still dozens of other propping questions. Hmm… Sewu Dino 2, everyone?
From an aesthetic point of view, Sewu Dino is a classy horror film with a classy filmmaker through all his attributes which unfortunately don’t match its weak story motive. One more plus point for the filmmaker apart from Teluh Darat, Sewu Dino is his directed film which is almost separated from the Western-style storytelling side that he often carries. Playing with mystical elements and local values is a challenging matter. The dialogue in the script should also accommodate the abilities of the players whose accents could be more fluent in East Javanese. Why should you be responsible and not use the Java language entirely? It sounds strange to the ear to sound half-assed like that, just like our other local horror films these days. Scripts are still the biggest curse of our horror films. We are still awaiting our quality horror film, both aesthetically and in the script.