Dukun is a tale about the lure of riches, power, eternal youth, beauty and the blood that must be spilled to achieve it. Directed by Dain Said and with a talented cast, it is loosely based on the infamous shaman and murderer, Mona Fandey.
The movie delves into the story of how lawyer, Karim struggles to come to terms with the disappearance of his wife and daughter.
In return for help to search for his daughter, Karim agrees to take on the case of accused murderer Diana Dahlan. The night club songstress/powerful shaman promises to find Karim’s daughter in return for certain favours and Karim’s life will forever be changed.
The DiscoverKL team recently had the chance to be amongst the first few in Malaysia to catch the film during its premiere screening. Here’re 6 things we noted during the preview:
1. Be prepared for some gore.
Here’s a little backstory for the uninitiated:
The character whom the movie is based upon rose to notorious fame when she, her husband, and her assistant were all charged with the murder of Mazlan Idris, a politician at the time.
His body was found in 18 dismembered parts and partially skinned near Mona’s residence, after her assistant confessed to the police on his involvement. It was reported that Mazlan sought after Mona’s assistance to boost his political career and had his head chopped off during a ritual.
If you’re looking for gore, you’ll get it, as the dismembering scene is retained in the movie though not explicitly shown.
2. Dukun was banned 11 years ago, but it isn’t now.
The public screening of the film was always pushed back due to concerns relating to contents of the film, the relationship with Mona Fandey and the implications for her family.
The movie also intercepts with issues that are taboo, inferring how far society will go to believe superstitious beliefs such as black magic that goes against the progress of a country and the advancement of Islamic teachings. It is also deemed negative for younger viewers. Interestingly, people were not calling for the movie to be banned, but rather, for something to be done about its P13 rating – perhaps increasing its age limit to those aged 18 and above.
The movie resurfaced when someone uploaded it on Facebook, reigniting the spark for the forbidden movie. It then became more highly anticipated than ever before. News of the grand debut was released soon after.
3. Keyword – ‘it’s loosely-based’
If you’re going in for a full-on Mona Fandey film fest, you ain’t getting it.
That’s because the film is merely ‘loosely based’ on the infamous character. Her story serves as more of a side plot that contributes to the main storyline.
In fact, the story follows more on Karim, the lawyer. Therefore, it isn’t exactly a biopic of Mona Fandey and we won’t get to learn much of her backstory but rather, how she uses her beauty and power to achieve her end goal.
Rest assured, you’ll find that her story is weaved seamlessly into the plot so Umie Aida gets a whole lot of screen time too.
4. They’ve got an epic marketing strategy.
Videos of a woman in a red kebaya surfaced on social media and quickly became viral. Turns out, it was staged and just a part of Dukun’s marketing gimmick. Safe to say, it scared the bejeezus out of some people.
A similar marketing gimmick was used when cult movie IT came out. Red balloons were tied to cars around Klang Valley and something could be found inside the balloons when you popped it.
Needless to say, considering how we’ve waited ages for the film to be released, it’s cool that they’ve gone to great lengths to turn it into a thing on social media too.
5. Mona Fandey’s last words might just haunt you for a while.
That’s because it matches seamlessly with the tagline of the movie.
Where Mona Fandey’s final words were ‘Aku takkan mati’ (I will not die), Dukun’s tagline is ‘Akhirnya kita bertemu’ (At last, we meet).
Now, this is just a theory, but when you think about it, Mona isn’t dead now is she? Her ‘legacy’ and story still lives on to this day, more talked about than ever before. Almost every Malaysian knows of her story, and some might even have the urge to explore her mansions. Truly, at last, we do meet her, through the silver screen.
6. The ending is only available exclusively in the cinemas
If you’ve watched the leaked version of the film that was uploaded on Facebook, you might’ve noticed that there was a cliff-hanger. This is because only ticket buyers will have the privilege of knowing what happens in the end.
The movie has also undergone a digital remaster to produce the best sound, colour and visual for its grand debut; making it a 2018 experience, not a 2007 one – thank God.
Our final thoughts
Collectively, the DiscoverKL team found the movie to be a little choppy and a little on the slower-paced side.
If you’re going in thinking it’s a full on scare fest, you’re in the wrong theatre. There definitely is gore, but not the type that makes your stomach turn.
Still, the sound, design, colour grade and visual aesthetics were great, as it uplifted the movie even more; you could really hear (and feel) the difference with the foley sounds. 2007 feels will still creep up from time to time, mostly in the subtitle fonts, cinematography and plot.
The theme song, “Merana Jiwa” did give us the goosebumps and Datin Seri Umie Aida, who played Diana Dahlan, was amazing. Her performance will make you very uncomfortable and personally, I’d think that even Christian Bale from the movie Psycho and Anthony Hopkins from The Silence of the Lambs would be intimidated.
Now, question is: was the wait worth it?
To me, no. But you should be the judge.
Dukun is now available in cinemas nationwide. Do you dare to meet her?
Feature Image Credit: Star2.com, Rowdiva.com