Starring: Carl Ng, Pamelyn Chee, Sani Hussein
Directed by: Esan Sivalinhgam
Duration: 90 mins
Reviewed by Guy Adams
I went to Singapore once. I liked it very much. Beneath the immaculate — frankly anally so — landscape there was a sense of a dark, fascinating mythology. The legends of Formosa, the grotesquery of the Tiger Balm gardens, the food served in our hotel (whose atrium was so high you couldn’t actually discern the roof). It was an interesting place.
About their cinema I couldn’t comment, sitting down to watch Curse (released over here by new company Grayson Pictures) I had no idea what to expect. I hoped for a flavour of that darkness, something suitably off-kilter and interesting. Unfortunately I got some soldiers shouting at one another in the woods. There’s a long history of this sort of thing in Western cinema already, Hollywood troops like nothing else than to divide themselves into the pre-requisite ranks (rebel, geek, over-earnest, hero, wet-behind-the ears) then go and shuffle around the undergrowth having a rant and getting picked off one by one. Our Singaporean troops follow in these well-worn footsteps, they even march to a constant bedrock of rock music until the film falls into its horror groove and it becomes clear they are marching through cursed territory and that the lingering spirit of a witch promises to make their stay a short and bloody one.
There’s nothing wrong with low-budget cinema and people learning their craft before your eyes (while I get the impression that some of the cast may have acting history it’s clear that others don’t) but unlike such obvious examples as Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead or that seminal low-fi nature ramble The Blair Witch Project, Curse shows limited sign of powerful magic bubbling to the surface, either on or off screen. Sadly flat, bland and too rough around the edges.