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'Modus Anomali'

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Reviewed by Richard Whittaker, Fri., March 16, 2012

SXSW Film

Modus Anomali

Midnighters
D: Joko Anwar; with Rio Dewanto, Hannah Al Rashid

There are many venomous scorpions in Indonesia's forests, and that's what Modus Anomali is: a black-hearted and blood-lusting thriller with a vicious sting in its twisted tail. That's a lesson John (Dewanto) learns quickly when he wakes up, buried alive under a few inches of soil in the jungle. Fogged with amnesia, he must also find out who he is, where he is, and why a maniac with a machete and a crossbow is trying to kill him. In his first English-language feature, director Joko Anwar (The Forbidden Door) constructs a superior stalk-and-slash storyline as John flees for his life across a jungle he is sure he must know. Then Anwar mercilessly rips through a third act switchback of neck-snapping speed and severity. It's a full-blown David Lynch narrative meltdown, but it's Dewanto's tormented performance that keeps the audience strapped in when the gears strip. Watch for that tail: it's a killer.


Friday, March 16, 12mid, Alamo Lamar

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