A must-see for fans of the genre
by Nav Qateel
Bayu is a journalist who went after a big story that threatened to expose the unsavoury dealings of the crooked Mr. Dharma, a businessman turned politician. As punishment for looking into his affairs, Mr. Dharma ruines Bayu, and now he’s almost jobless and separated from his wife and daughter. Bayu’s troubles go from bad to worse, when in self-defense he kills a taxi driver and his partner-in-crime when the pair tried to rob then rape him. Worried about comebacks and to throw the police off, Bayu mimics the M.O. of a local serial-killer, who records his victims take their final dying breath, then posts the video on the internet. Thanks to Bayu doing the same, the serial-killer takes an interest in him, resulting in a strange bonding between Nomura and Bayu.
Directors Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto, jointly known as The Mo Brothers, have been making a name for themselves in the indie horror circuit for the incredible work they produce. Their first feature was the gruesome Macabre, a film that actually had to have its horror toned down for their native Indonesia. Their solo projects have included shorts that were part of ABCs of Death (L for Labido) and V/H/S/2 (Safe Haven), short-films that remain highlights of both anthologies.
The Mo Brothers fully-realised, 3-dimensional characters, allow us to connect with both these men, and even find empathy with Nomura after each of his kills, which was a clear demonstration of the Brothers’ directorial skill, this early in what looks to be promising careers.
Bayu is played by Mo Brothers regular, Oka Antara (The Raid 2, V/H/S/2), who put in a solid performance as the journalist who finally gets fed up with the injustice he’s suffered, and through a strange set of circumstances, finds a way to get even with the man responsible. In many ways Bayu’s plight is like that of Dwight, the protagonist in that brilliant indie revenge flick Blue Ruin, in that both men are totally inept when it comes to killing anyone, and they actually proceeded to make matters even worse. We watch as Bayu is pushed to the edge by these hoods, and when it looks as though things can’t possibly get any worse, that’s exactly what happens, usually ending with Bayu taking yet another beating.
Kazuki Kitamura did a stellar job as Nomura, the handsome, charming, sick and twisted serial-killer. Where Bayu was bungling his way through life, messing up everything important to him, Nomura was in complete control of his surroundings, to a fault. Nomura also displayed classic OCD symptoms, with a particular focus on cleanliness and order. Nomura is lonely and desperately reaching out to anyone he thinks will understand his special needs. He befriends Hisae, a young woman who owns a small flower shop, after he witnesses Hisae’s failed attempt at trying to kill her kid brother by leaving him in the middle of the road. Nomura also sees Bayu as another like-minded individual, and seeing each of these socially awkward characters interact, made for interesting viewing.
Watching Nomura and Bayu slowly come apart at the seams, was just like witnessing a car crash you’re unable to do anything about, except grimace and watch the inevitable disaster unfold. Like many Asian genre movies, this film doesn’t have a happy ending, so it’s inadvisable to get too attached to any particular character, because you just don’t know who’ll be left. The storytelling isn’t all that far-fetched and the fact that it feels pretty grounded and plausible, gives the brutal violence, of which there’s an abundance, more potency.
There are three languages spoken in the beautifully shot Killers, English, Japanese and Indonesian, with the latter making up a majority of the dialogue. Mind you, Killers was filmed in Indonesia and Japan. This is a film anyone into action and horror will love, and it’s also another winner from The Mo Brothers. The pair don’t appear to have another feature signed up for just yet, but individually the directors have solo projects penciled in for a 2015 release, so those will be worth keeping an eye out for. Killers is a must see for fans of the genre.