Malaysian Blood Flower (FANTASTIC) Possesses with Supernatural Terror
Title: Blood Flower
First Non-Festival Release: TBD
Director: Dain Said
Writer: Ben Omar, Dain Said, Nandita Solomon
Runtime: 102 Minutes
Starring: Idan Aedan, Arnie Shasha, Eriza Allya
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
This film’s review was written after its screening at the Fantastic Film Festival in 2022.
Iqbal (Idan Aedan) is not like other kids, and that frustrates him. Both he and his mother possess special gifts that allow them to fight demons and free humans from their terrifying grasp. His training is halted, however, when a particularly nasty djinn possesses him, and his mother makes the ultimate sacrifice to save him. In the fallout, his father binds his powers to save him the torment of his mother’s fate. Unfortunately, Iqbal’s friends set free a powerful force from one of their father’s greenhouses setting forth a chain reaction of deaths and possessions. Iqbal must convince his father to let him fight the entity before it takes everyone that he loves away from him.
Typical southeast Asian demonic possession horror Blood Flower delivers solid frights despite familiarity.
While appropriately plotted, some of the reveals end up tying the film together very nicely. The battle between good and evil plays out like it should despite the many times the demon could easily get the upper hand. There is also an element of revenge that doesn’t quite translate to the plot but nonetheless comes through in the end. This ends with the film feeling rather static. It leaves the ending opening for more sequels should audiences demand it, but the likelihood is low considering its underwhelming story.
Much of the story in Blood Flower has been done before by countless Southeast Asian horror films, but it is still enjoyable. It leans into the tropes while still adding its own flair to the formula. Mixing moments that are equal parts The Evil Dead and The Exorcist, Blood Flower puts its own signature twist on possession through its conduit of the terror. Its goal is certainly to shock, as it contains many moments that challenge the viewer’s stomach and senses.
Blood Flower gets started quickly and keeps the audience on its feet for the remainder of its runtime visually. At any given point, there is plenty of blood and viscera oozing from orifices and inanimate objects while demons go bump in the night. At times, the ambitions of Blood Flower stretch its constraints. There are some truly dazzling visuals and effects every so often that are blunted by hokey creations the next. Nothing captures this quite as well as Iqbal’s trip into the spirit world, where everything looks simultaneously beautiful yet artificial.
While frightening and sickening, the visuals in Blood Flower numb the viewer far quicker than one would expect for a lengthy horror venture. The audience gets desensitized rather quickly due to poor pacing and overexposure. It doesn’t stop the film from being an entertaining horror romp, but it does prevent the film from getting truly scary.
The actor who plays Iqbal, Idan Aedan, is charming enough as the young hero. He, along with the other child actors, do a great job of realistically portraying the fear of the supernatural and the sinister glee of demons taking over their bodies. The adult cast is a mixed bag. They provide serviceable performances but ultimately take up space due to the size of the cast and lack of interesting storylines to distribute.
Sometimes all you need is an entertaining demonic possession film to satiate your horror appetite. Blood Flower just does this by sticking to genre conventions and enjoying itself along the way. While few surprises are planted in this Malaysian gem, there are enough terrifying moments and imaginative sequences to tide an audience over who is aching for something different than the typical Christian perspective of exorcisms. Great child actors and mesmerizing Islamic mysticism allow for this feature to differentiate itself from other films with similar setups. It’s no shock that something titled Blood Flower is such a fun ride, but make sure you take a trip to the greenhouse to enjoy this hot festival film.
Overall Score? 6/10