Mystics In Bali DVD Review

What’s It About: Kathy, an American anthropologist is collecting data to write a book on black magic. In order to complete the book, she enlists the help of a boyfriend in Indonesia to track down practitioners of Leak (lee-ACK) magic, the most darkest and primitive magic in the world. After finding a Leak sorceress, she studies the way of Leak…only to find out that during her slumber, the Leak sorceress uses Kathy’s head as a way to gather sustenance to help provide her the power of eternal beauty. Now it’s up to Kathy’s boyfriend and his shaman uncle to free Kathy and destroy the Leak sorceress.

Lurk Like The Leak

The Good

This is considered the first Indonesian film that deals with local lore and was created with westerners in mind. It’s sort of a back alley version of The Serpent And The Rainbow in a way. H. Tjut Djalil worked on this movie as a one off feature to earn brownie points to work on better projects, almost giving up when Mystics was banned. He later became the go to guy in “westernizing” certain properties basted off lore and myth. His crowning achievement being Lady Terminator.

Another thing that makes the movie work is W.D. Mochtar playing the shaman. He plays the part to almost Obiwan clarity and as you’ll see in the next section, was one f the only one’s carrying the picture.

Taser Tips of Torture

The Bad

Ohh man, where to start. Almost all the acting is awful, save for Mochtar and the various women playing the Leak sorceress. Especial when your lead female isn’t an actress, but a freaking tourist who was just pick up for the film. I mean for Lang’s Sake, if you see your girlfriend barf up slime and live white mice, you’re not going to be cuddling and groping here five minutes after. You would be freaking. The fuck. Out! You’d be trying to stop her studies and get her home! But this doesn’t happen.

The script is weak and full of holes, While you do get the general gist of the movie almost all the way through, there are still characters left hanging that you know nothing about till the very end. We have no connection with these people. They’re just silly little pawns that had no form of build behind them. Not to mention the repetition of the whole movie till the end. Practice Leak, go home and talk about Leak, screwed up stuff happens. Practice Leak, go home and talk about Leak, screwed up stuff happens. Wash, rinse, repeat, Bob’s your uncle. There’s one point where I want to pull my hair out where Kathy tells her boyfriend that she practiced Voodoo and proceeds to do nothing with that plot point. No protection spells or anything.

I’m not going to rag on the SFX. The SFX is great for what they were, but after the third SFX sequence, I was beginning to want some more plot development or characterization or maybe a good talking scene. After the fifth sequence (I think that was the flying flaming tarballs) I was about ready to kill my television. Just way to many sequences to bury the point home and dance on it’s grave.

John Singleton wasn't the first director to cameo as a postal worker.

The DVD:

The DVD is alright. Mondo Macabro still hitting them out the park. The colors and picture is crisp and the audio is great. The dub track for this has no hiss! Hooray! 

The extras include a text essay on Indonesian Cinema and it’s “race west” to westernize movies for mass consumption, a small documentary on the start of the industry which is defiantly worth a look, a list of all H. Djalil’s cinema work and a guide to becoming a Leak. Of course I must urge you not to try that at home.

Final thoughts? I think that while this is a pivotal film, I’d kinda hold off on buying until you at least are ready to complete a collection or something. If you’re not a collector, rent it for a laugh.

Score: 3/5

Dry Slaps: Three. One for the acting, one for the story and one more for not putting more effort into the film.

GS Reviewer: Royal

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