|Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam|
A beautiful and startling Malaysian dancer Meriam is the dream woman of many male citizen of little town called Paku Laris. Two friends Danial and Marsami also try to get attention from Meriam. For handsome Marsami comes a shock when Meriam falls in love with Danial, more regular and average type of spouse candidate. One night Meriam dies by unknown attackers and Danial drowns with his boat during the storm. After that, everything points into Meriam's return from the dead as a "pontianak", a ghost with a revenge in her mind. Marsani's friends and relatives are no longer in safe.
Malaysian horror movies are not the ones that find their way very often to western world. After watching "Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam", I realized that it is truly different than madness introduced by Indonesian extremities (Lady Terminator, Dangerous Seductress) or Chinese/Japanese/Korean horror efforts with pale-faced long black haired women. Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam is a low-tempo, relaxing mixture of romantic drama and horror. There are many long dance scenes that we are not used to, excluding those who are familiar with Bollywood movies. All this combined with ghost story that is told here, creates an unique experience that is easy to dismiss as a South East Asian soap opera goes "Ringu".
Director Shuhaimi Baba has her own dream-like, beautiful style in directing and pacing the scenes. Calm atmosphere is sometimes broken with frightening sound effects and appearings of Pontianak. It may require the viewer more than from an average blockbuster mainstream film, but it also gives much for those who give a chance. Maya Karin plays virtually three characters in the movie: Meriam, her daughter Maria and of course Pontianak. Karin does give the most memorable role of the actors and actresses of Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam, although Ida Nerina as Sitam / Bayang comes close.
In Malaysian mythology, Pontianak means female vampire or undead, who died during giving birth to her child. Harum Sundal Malam on the other hand, means "scent of the Tuber Rose". The sequel to Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam is coming up later this year.