A group of friends decide to have an interstate road trip and on their journey, they come across Dara and this is where the night turns into a crimson-hell for the friends, who find themselves trapped and hunted down by Dara and her cult-like family of her three deadly protégés.
Five friends visiting their grandpa’s old house are hunted down and terrorized by a chainsaw wielding killer and his family of grave-robbing cannibals. Sorry, wrong movie, let me start over. Six friends decide to have an interstate road-trip as a last attempt to reconcile one of them with his estranged little sister and along the way, they are terrorized by a chainsaw wielding killer and her family of limb-robbing cannibals. There, much better. I have to admit, Asian horror movies are usually creepy and sometimes, just flat out full-on horror. Just watch “Ringu”, “Jo-On”, “Ichi the Killer” or “Audition.”
Sadly, so many of them are re-made in America as pale imitations. In the case of “Macabre”, or as it’s known internationally, “Rumah Dara”, the filmmakers took the premise of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and added it to their idea instead. Interesting because, as I stated earlier, it’s usually America that takes their ideas. Sadly though, this is probably a rare case of an Asian film not being very good. That’s not to say that all Asian movies are masterpieces, on the contrary but in this case, I had heard so much good word of mouth that I was excited to check it out.
As the friends are getting ready to set out on their road-trip, they come across a young woman, Maya, who seems distressed and is unaware of her surroundings. They find out that her home is actually on their way so the good Samaritans that they are, decide to take her home. Once there, she introduces them to her creepy and ageless mother Dara and brothers Adam and Armand. Dara thanks them for taking good care of Maya and insists that they stay for dinner and, not wanting to appear rude, they all agree. After starting their meals though, they all appear woozy and collapse in their seats.
When they awaken, they are tied up and realize that they were drugged and one by one, the cult-like family eliminates them for one reason: body parts. The movie did not work for me as a whole. In an earlier scene, one of the friends is looking at some old photos of the family, Dara in particular and comes across some that are dated as far back as the late 1800’s with her looking exactly the way she does today. Someone even comes across an old occult symbol so for me, it seemed like they could be ageless demons from a long-forgotten past, an idea that would have worked much better but unfortunately, after introducing these passing references, they are never made mention of again.
Instead, these ruthless killers are slaughtering people so that they can get paid for harvesting their body parts. Some scenes were just so unbelievable and unrealistic that they completely took me out of the film. In one scene, one of them is tied to a table and cut up by a chainsaw while the others, who are tied up in the basement, start screaming and shouting in horror but do nothing to further their escape. You would imagine that hearing your friend being cut into little pieces by a roaring chain saw, would motivate you to get up off your ass and try to find a way out but no, they’d rather just wail and cry until it’s their turn.
People get stabbed, shot, knifed, bludgeoned, hacked and still, they’re able to get back up and continue moving about. With horror films, you have to suspend a certain amount of disbelief but with “Macabre”, you are expected to believe in the impossible. What starts out as an interesting idea involving the occult and quite possibly, demons, is, in the end, just an exercise in futility and a showcase for the filmmakers to see how creative they can be in dismembering someone.
In stores November 5th