At recent convention I was asked “What is you favorite horror film of the past 10 years?” Without pause, I gave my stock answer, “It depends on my mood.” This is a simple truth – not a blow-off. Sometimes it is a slasher, sometimes it is a ghost story, and others it is a supernatural film. However more often than not – my choice of film is typically one made abroad. One of the positive bi-products of the “Global Village” where we now find ourselves living is the access to new stories and new methods of convey such tales.
One such film I recently screened was Rocky Soraya’s 308. The title of this 2013 Indonesian release is a reference to a guest room in a grand hotel.
Barely able to make ends meet for herself and her young sister, Naya is desperate for a job. Out of the blue she is offered a management position ina a luxury hotel run be her college friend Mr. Sena. Upon arriving with her sister, they are told that for the next four days the hotel will be closed to guest so that the grounds can be fumigated. They will be locked in with a small skeleton crew staff. It is now that Naya is given the two rules for dealing with the eponymous room 308 – Do not enter the room and never wear green in the hotel. It is from this point in narrative that the mystery and terror of room 308 take control of the film.
Paying homage in the in the most respectful manner, Soraya pays tips his hat to Kubrick’s 1980 horror classic the Shining. Most notably, the hotel itself becomes a character. Slow tracking, wide-angle shots of the halls, grand ballrooms and stairways fill screen on a regular basis. There are even echoes of the horrors of the recent past, as well as those of long buried ancient myth and history. The last third of the 308, like the Shining, is a rapid paced frenzy where nothing is as it seems and the characters we have come to know have transformed into something we could have never imagined, While 308 is told in a very liner and clear narrative, there is a distinct Indonesian accent to the story telling language. Zoom in close-ups of people swooning over someone they find attractive accompanied with a increase in the tempo of the musical score are functions of classic Hollywood, yet they fit in nicely in the over structure of the film. Color (not just green) play an important part in conveying the mood of the scene and in many ways the mood of the hotel itself.
As mentioned – I tend to look off shore for horror that is fresh and interesting – 308 is definitely a film worth checking in too… I mean checking out