Like every other typical horror movie, where scary things happen in a hospital, Mata Batin has such a scene. But this movie manages to completely obliterate the rest, though for a totally different reason.
Our heroine Alia (Jessica Mila) is in the toilet when she hears the sound of flushing water coming from a closed cubicle. For some reason, she feels the need to look into the cubicle to see if there is a ghost.
Why? Just a few days earlier, Alia had her third eye opened by bomoh Windu (Citra Prima) to disprove her younger sister Abel (Bianca Hello) who claims that her third eye is making her see dead people. The sceptic in Alia figures Abel’s condition is due to a psychiatric issue. You know how these teenagers are…
Well, it turns out that poor Abel is not lying and now Alia’s third eye is working overtime to make her see all kinds of dead beings. Trouble ensues when the dead start making some demands of their own to Alia.
Now back to the scene in the women’s toilet: Alia gets down on all fours to look under the cubicle door. And, of course, there is a ghost. But there is nothing scary about a ghost that looks terrible due to poorly-generated special effects. What’s really scary is the fact that Alia didn’t wash her hands after that and continues to touch her face for the whole time that the ghost is chasing her.
Ugh, the horror!
Mata Batin tells the story of two sisters who only have each other to stay safe (and sane) when they’re terrorised by ghosts. Director Rocky Soraya borrows a lot familiar horror movie tropes to keep the story going. Unfortunately, the story becomes predictable after about three loud-and-annoying jump scares.
The good news is, you’d want to keep watching just to see if your favourite horror movie makes it as one of Mata Batin’s inspirations. Take your pick from The Exorcist (here, the floating bed goes higher than ever), The Sixth Sense (I see dead people) and The Conjuring (thank you James Wan for redefining the cinematic “house tour” experience).
Some of Mata Batin’s much-needed entertaining moments also come courtesy of the mysterious Windu, whom the movie relies on a lot for unintentionally hilarious exposition. When Mata Batin needs another way to surprise the viewers, Windu just has to say “astral projection” and voila! we’ve got a whole new movie about crossing over to the other side.
Actress Citra deserves come credit for playing her character with conviction despite some of the corny lines she has to say. The fact that her character is made to wear black lipstick just to crudely enhance her sense of mysticism makes me want to give her a hug as well.
While Mata Batin fails to become a discerning horror movie, it does succeed as one that doesn’t stop trying to entertain audience members looking for a quick escape. Just like how Alia and Abel take their unwanted third eye to use for good – they try to solve a murder – Mata Batin just needs you to appreciate it from a different point of view.
Hopefully, from a position that does not require you to put your hands on a public toilet floor.
Director: Rocky Soraya
Cast: Jessica Mila, Bianca Hello, Denny Sumargo, Citra Prima, Epy Kusnan