Det. Azman (Shaheizy Sam) is charged with investigating a series of bizarre murders all marked by the same horrific details; veins torn from the bodies and drained of blood, beads placed under the victim’s eyelids, and strange puncture wounds on their jugulars. Adding to the mystery, heron feathers (a bird that is native to Borneo) and shards of glass are found at each crime scene. Azman enlists the help of ex-crime scene photographer Adam (a man that now spends his time taking pictures of his comely neighbor from his apartment window) who quickly identifies the shards as glass plates that were utilized in photography a century ago. Adam takes the plates to Uncle Heng (Chew Kin-wah) who develops them revealing they were taken by Norwegian explorer Carl Lumholtz, who recorded native customs in Borneo a century ago…customs that resemble the fates of the murder victims. The strangeness escalates as Belian (Nicholas Suprata) enters the film…because B-man is a sort of half human, half bird…exactly what I expected to show up in my Se7en-esque dark crime picture. That being said, it all makes sense as things roll on and the sins of the past result in tragedies in the modern age (that is the vaguest bit of nonsense I have ever typed…but c’mon, did you think I’d give the whole thing away in a freakin’ review? Nah, I’d save that for some drunken Facebook post or some shit…)
Interchange has some interesting dynamics and production design at work. The deft cinematography and story that mixes elements of dark police drama, the supernatural, and an examination of the far reaching effects of Colonialism is definitely one of the more unique things I’ve seen lately in the horror biz. Adding to the mix are some strong performances by Iedl Putra as the damaged Adam, Sam as the traditional grizzled cop, and Suprata as Belian, who’s performance is a tour de force of dance-like movement. Speaking of Belian…
Interchange is not without it’s faults…and one of them is the aforementioned Belian. The costuming used for this character contrasts immensely with the vibe presented for the entire rest of the film…imagine if a character from Broadway’s version of The Lion King appeared in Se7en and you will begin to understand my problem with how this fantastic being was presented. While I had absolutely no problem with the fantasy chocolate mixing with the police procedural peanut butter (in fact, I absolutely loved that story element) it would have been more effective to keep Belian in shadow and mystery rather than go full-on in your face with the creature reveal as realized. Also of note is the fact that the story’s pacing in uneven throughout, with some sequences running on too long and bringing the foreward momentum of solving the mystery to a halt.
Filled with a gripping story and a unique story to tell, Interchange is worth a view for lovers of dark thrillers with a touch of the supernatural…even with an uneven pace and questionable creature design.
For more on Interchange from Horror Fuel, head here!