Also known as "Ponti Vs Omi", Afdlin Shauki's latest comedy tells the story of a rivalry between two supernatural beings, a Pontianak (Vampire) and a Orang Minyak (Oil Man) who have just been inducted into the otherworld, however, in order for newbies to be accepted by the others, they have to be tested on their skills to scare the villagers of Kampung Puaka, which also consist of five Malay shamans. Ponti is a male vampire who is hated by the other vampires because most of them are women while Omi is a soft-hearted orang minyak who drives his kind crazy because of his naivety. To make things worse, the villagers of Kampung Puaka are not afraid of supernatural beings, as they descend from lineages of shamans or are supernatural beings who have repented. What will happen to Ponti and Omi?
Review By Peter Chai
Directed by Malaysian Film Festival nominee Afdlin Shauki, "Pontianak Vs Orang Minyak" sees two young men named Ketiak (Johan Raja Lawak) and Ponti (Nabil Raja Lawak), who accidentally get themselves into the horrifying world of the supernatural, where they then become the students of the experienced Orang Minyak, a Malay spirit that is covered in oil, and Pontianak, a Malay vampire spirit. However, the soft-hearted Ketiak has no idea how to become a tough protege worthy of Orang Minyak while Ponti finds himself caught vying for the position against female ghosts. To make things worse, when they are assigned to haunt the villagers of Kampung Puaka, Ketiak and Ponti fall in love with two girls in the village instead, which creates a huge dilemma for the bumbling duo. Now they are forced to choose between proving their abilities to the ghost community or fighting for their loved ones.
We always have our thumbs up for Afdlin Shauki, who plays Chief Kodok, when it comes to acting in comedies. Nevertheless, there will not be a "wow" kind of response from the audience this time for Shauki's directorial skills and boring performance in his new horror comedy. It is very common to see stars sitting on the director's chair and appearing in their own film at the same time these days but not every filmmaker is able to handle such a heavy job except for Shauki. This time though, it seems that Shauki has finally fell victim to the issue.
As a director, the Johor Bahru-born comedian tries to do something different from the past local supernatural-themed films as he makes a twist in the conventional portrayal of creepy Pontianak myths by placing Nabil's character as the misguided man trying to earn his position as a female ghost, resulting in his struggles with his gender. On the other hand, when it comes to his own role as Pak Rejab, his character is weak and unsurprising as a leader of the village. In another words, it does not demonstrate but underplayed the comedian's strong capability for such a role.
Speaking of storyline, there is nothing exciting after the "acceptable" hilarious introduction of the story. The rest of the film are so plain and boring, especially the ghost-attack scenes at Kampung Puaka. Sad to say, you are only tickled by cheap jokes made by Johan and Nabil and at some point, you might find yourself being impatient, hoping the story to end faster.
You will also not find yourself giving credit to the cinematographer of the film. The poor dark cinematography really turns the audience off. It is distracting and an eyesore to see the black and oily image of the Orang Minyak without much lighting.
"Pontianak Vs Orang Minyak" is just a disappointing piece from a great comedian and a waste of money to buy a ticket for.
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