Release Date: TBD
Director: Jose Poernomo
MPAA Rating: NR
Film Pulse Score: 6/10
Things that go bump in the night, the shriek heard deep in the woods, the footsteps coming from the attic. These are some basic examples of ghost stories told around a warm campfire to chill the blood and entertain the listeners. The type of ghost stories that often resonates the most are those about local folklore. That house down the street, the abandoned prison, the creek deep in the forest, etc. When these stories are tangible they gain a certain level of intrigue and creepiness especially if you know you could try to experience it first hand. Jose Poemomo’s latest film 308 introduces audiences to a piece of Indonesian folklore, the legend of Nyi Roro Kidul.
With the bills piling up and while caring for her little sister Naya finds herself in desperate need of a job. When a friend tells her that an old friend of theirs is looking to hire someone to work at his beach-front resort hotel she finds she can’t miss out on the opportunity. Hired as the housekeeping supervisor she is informed that due to a recent outbreak they must remain in and maintain the hotel for the next four days while the grounds are sprayed. After being given a tour and introduced to the other staff she is told of one of the hotel’s cardinal rules, never go into room 308. Never.
Poemomo and screenwriter Riheam Junianti have crafted an entertaining mystery/ghost story that unfolds gradually and escalates towards its conclusion. At just over two hours they are in no hurry to get to the good stuff, dropping clues and the occasional jump-scare as they develop these colorful characters who reside in the hotel. In the film’s opening we are introduced to the caretaker of 308 while he explains what exactly he does to a pair of journalists. Wisely, during that scene Poemomo and Junianti do not tell us what’s behind that door and immediately hooks the viewer into wanting to know what’s in there.
Performances are adequate to quite good for the genre. Shandy Aulia is strong as she effectively portrays a woman who must not only serve as a mother to her little sister but must also deal with the responsibilities of her new job. You can see the wheel’s turning as she investigates the strange occurrences throughout the hotel. Denny Sumargo is good as Sena the general manager. The film also stars Sylvia Fully, Ki Kusumo and Gilang Dirgahari as fellow hotel workers who must also make it through the next four days.
When someone says a movie is about a haunted hotel, Kubrick’s The Shining will likely come to mind. There are some allusions to that classic such as the bird’s eye view of a car driving through the streets on the way to the hotel. The hotel itself is nothing like the Overlook, it certainly is more opulent and doesn’t look like it’s haunted. Poemomo, who also served as director of photography, captures the hotel quite nicely. Dark and foreboding in some corners while bright and picturesque in others.
Poemomo’s film about an Indonesian legend is an entertaining ghost story. While it may seem long there is always something going on to intrigue. There’s one effects sequence that did seem a bit on the cheesy side but it wasn’t enough to hinder the film. Overall it’s a simple but effective ghost story that could easily motivate someone to go and investigate the tale for themselves. Just make sure you get permission before entering.