Not ready to end the scary-movie season? ‘Roh’ is just what you need – KMUW

So, yeah, yesterday was Halloween, but this time of year just generally feels a little spooky, and if youre still looking to scratch that itch, theres a movie that just came out for streaming rental thats exactly right for the part.

Its called Roh, which translates to something like soul or spirit, and it was Malaysias submission to last years Oscars. The movie seems deeply rooted in the dark dread of folklore, and starting a movie with the atmosphere of a folk tale and a house in some creepy woods is a surefire way to get me instantly on board.

A woman and her two children live alone in the middle of the woods. Theres mention of a village on the other side of the river, but we never go there, and it could be a thousand miles away for as much good as it seems to do the small family. One day, a mud-covered girl starts following the two children, so they bring her home to feed her and get her cleaned up. As you might imagine, this doesnt go so well, as one day the family wakes up to see the girl eating birds, at which point she tells them theyre all going to die before the next full moon.

There are a million ways this could have gone, and just as many ways it could have gone wrong, but what Roh does so well is to be patient and to find its horror in the unfolding story instead of in the usual movie tricks. There are few, if any, jump scares, and while theres a decent amount of blood, it doesnt rely on gore. And the way it uses sound is magnificentone scene in particular gave me actual physical shivers, not because of the horrifying thing I was seeing, but because of how it came at me through the insistent beat of the sound.

I acknowledge theres plenty in the movie I just plain didnt understand, and probably some of that is intentional ambiguity, but Im sure my cultural ignorance is at play here, too. Even so, it didnt really matterfor this time of year when it gets dark early, Roh is a supremely spooky tale.

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Not ready to end the scary-movie season? 'Roh' is just what you need - KMUW

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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