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Tuesday, 19 November 2019

The 3rd Eye (2017) - A Film that Does Not Know How to End

The 3d Eye (2017) aka Mata Batin

The 3rd Eye (2017) - A Film that Does Not Know How to End

So Rob and I watched a film last night, a ghostly horror film to be exact. In the middle Rob uttered the words: "We're going to have to watch something else after this before going to bed so I can sleep."

The film was very scary - I mean Ju-On - The Grudge level scary.

I was watching it through my fingers.

And then ... it totally lost all scariness, ending with a fizzle.

Turns out we didn't need to watch anything else because the film did it for us.

Now before I begin, I have to say, this is not a bad film - it is well worth a watch, just be aware it starts with a bang and finished with a sigh.

The film was The 3rd Eye (2017) aka Mata Batin - it's Indonesian and currently on Netflix.


Jessica Mila ... Alia
Denny Sumargo ... Davin
Citra Prima ... Bu Windu
Bianca Hello ... Abel


Riheam Junianti ... (screenplay)
Rocky Soraya ... (story)
Fajar Umbara ... (screenplay)

Beware - this post is going to have a few spoilers, although I'm not talking in detail about the whole plot.

It started strong with a scary opening set in 2005.

Then it had a totally throw away scene setting section (say that fast three times ;)) set in 2017, using a character that was literally only there to tell us all about how the lead characters' parents died and why they have to move back to their childhood home. I mean I've heard of throw away characters before, but he was literally just exposition.

It was all telling and no showing, but I can forgive that, because then it got scary again, and the plot moved on well.

The story is all about two sisters, the youngest of whom, Abel, is aware of the supernatural realm - her 3rd eye is open. She is attacked in their childhood home and wears headphones all the time so she can't hear the scary noises associated with spirits.
Abel and Alia in 2005 - The 3rd Eye (2017) aka Mata Batin

Alia, her older sister, seems to be a little sensitive, but not like Abel, and Alia goes off to Bangkok to spread her wings, only returning to Jakarta when their parents are killed in a tragic car accident. (This was not a subtle plot). Along with her comes her boyfriend Davin.

To help her sister, Alia asks the local psychic, Bu Windu, to open her 3rd eye so she can see what Abel sees.

Bu Windu, Abel and Alia - The 3rd Eye (2017) aka Mata Batin

The scenes where Alia finally realises that all the talk of dead people and ghosts is real is amazingly done. It takes us on the journey that Alia is having and does it brilliantly, because it allows us to suspect, before it throws us right in the deep end. The haunting scenes in the girls' childhood home are also fantastic. They could not have been done better.

It is brilliantly scary.

However, then it goes on too long.

The film finishes twice.

We find out more and more about the haunting during the film, and it only gets scarier with each part we discover. The ghosts are so well done and the eyes - OMG the eyes! However, eventually the plot starts to resolve and because of the way the film is structured we lose some of the fear. This would be perfectly valid if this was the end of the movie, but it's not - it has a whole 25 minutes left to go!

That's what I mean by it ending twice. It even technically changes antagonist. However, the second antagonist is never really a threat, so they aren't frightening.

It goes from tension-tension-tension to tension-even-though-it's-not-quite-as-scary to OMG-there's-how-long-left?!

Now I do love the twist at the end, but it is handled in such a clunky manner. It's like the writer couldn't figure out how to put it all together in one climax, so we had to have two, with a complete tension breaker in the middle.

I have to admit, I haven't watched many Indonesian films (we're getting to them on Netflix, but we've only seen 2), maybe this is how they like their horror movies - really scary and then with a chance to wind down at the end. However, it was a complete tension killer for me.

Also I think the lead characters would have benefited from the odd Valium. When the characters have been told to control their fear because their fear makes the spirits stronger, them running and screaming all the time gets old. It's like they're not even trying!

Anyway - to summarise - well worth a watch, but the ending is a bit of a let down for fans of really scary horror.

Have you seen The 3rd Eye? What did you think? Is it indicative of the Indonesian style of horror movie, or just this particular writer/director? Do you totally disagree with my assessment (and no, I won't mind)?

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