Fantasia Festival 2019 Review: DreadOut

Whilst it’s hardly an everyday occurrence, it’s not unusual for siblings to make films together. In Asian cinema, Shaw Brothers was at one time a world-famous production company whilst more recently Oxide and Danny Pang have had hits with Bangkok Dangerous and the Eye films. Whilst the Mo brothers’ greatest success so far has been 2016’s Headshot, it hasn’t stopped Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel making their own films. DreadOut is the latter’s latest offering.

Linda (Caitlin Halderman) has vague memories of her mother (Salvita Decorte) and a trauma which was inflicted on her when she was a little girl. Now in her teenage years, she knocks around with a gang obsessed by their social media profile. In order to increase their popularity, they break into an abandoned apartment with a disturbing occult history. However, they get more than they bargained for and it all seems oddly familiar to Linda.

Based on a popular Indonesian video game, DreadOut is a mix of faithful adaptation and familiar genre tropes. As you’d probably expect, it’s a mixed bag. The combination of teen horror and cult tradition works well but at times it’s hard to keep up with exactly what’s going on. It’s visually arresting, with some great cinematography from Patrick Tashadian and good effects work. Overall, DreadOut is well worth your time. It takes a few risks which largely pay off.

DeadOut screened at Fantasia Festival 2019.

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