A confident and well-made Indonesian/Japanese horror from The Mo Brothers
Following the failure of a major investigation, Indonesian reporter Bayu (Oka Antara) is feeling deeply depressed – the only things that even arouse his attention any more are his estranged family and the online snuff videos created by Japanese serial killer Nomura (Kazuki Kitamura). As Bayu feels murderous urges awaken inside himself, Nomura sees promise in his protege, and commences a correspondence.
There's a satisfying contrast to the lives of these protagonists: clinical, psychopathic Nomura is a neat fit for the plasma-screens and neon lights of Tokyo, and his preferred methods of killing – involving fluorescent lighting, plastic sheets and surgically-clean instruments – are indicative of a man who regards himself as an artist, taking great care over his work. Bayu on the other hand is right at home in the hectic sprawl of Jakarta; his crimes are messy, chaotic affairs, committed either as a necessity to survival or as ungovernable emotional reactions.
The Mo Brothers have created a film that builds slowly over a long running time (comfortably over two hours), which may test the patience of some horror fans. Those who stick with it though will find much to enjoy: one tense, lengthy sequence does an exceptional job of wrong-footing the audience, while the conclusion is satisfyingly well-constructed. Western filmgoers will be most familiar with the directors from their collaboration with The Raid's Gareth Evans on horror anthology V/H/S/2 (Evans crops up here as an executive producer); with any luck, the confident and well-made Killers will serve as their new, feature-length calling card.
Reviewed at Glasgow Film Festival 2014.