A scene from the movie. - Courtesy of Horizon Film Entertainment.

MANY years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamt of watching a horror movie, even in broad daylight, as the horrifying images would replay in my imagination long after watching them.

Fast-forward to the present and I’m no longer easily scared by images of ghosts or apparitions I see on screen (provided they remain on screen, no live spooky close encounters, of course!).

Which all turns out fine now that I sometimes have to catch horror film screenings at night for work.

However, the downside to not being easily spooked is that it sometimes makes me question what the big deal is about for certain horror movies when they barely make me twitch in my seat.

That’s how I felt when watching the Indonesian horror, Hide & Seek Minako, recently.

Okay, I admit, there was one scene which made me jump, but the rest of the supposedly scary scenes we re just so-so, barely giving me any goosebumps!

A scene from the movie. - Courtesy of Horizon Film Entertainment.

The cast includes Malaysia-born actor Miller Khan, and Indonesian actors Nicky Tirta, Regina Rengganis, Ario Astungkoro, Novinta Dhini and Wendy Wilson.

The movie, which opened in its home country two years ago under the title Petak Umpet Minako is based on a bestselling novel by a writer who goes by the pen name of Manhalfgod.

It tells the story of Baron (played by Miller) who is invited to a high school reunion party at his now-deserted old school with his girlfriend Gaby (Wilson).

Baron is not keen to attend the party. However, at Gaby’s insistence, he shows up later, only to find that Gaby and the others have disappeared.

While searching for Gaby and his friends, Baron experiences weird and spooky incidents. He bumps into one of his good friends, Kaisar, who explains what has happened.

One of their old schoolmates, Vindha (Regina), a girl who used to have a crush on Baron, had initiated a mysterious game based on a popular Japanese culture, Hitori Kakurenbo, which is a cross between Ouija and hide-and-seek.

A scene from the movie. - Courtesy of Horizon Film Entertainment.

They discover that the game is not an ordinary one played by children, but an evil game where only one player will survive!

While the cast gave believable performances, and the doll Minako had a rather scary appearance, the other zombies looked like those resurrected from 1980s B-grade horror movies.

Although it was said that filming took place at a real-life deserted building, it looked more like a stage to me.

What I find very hard to believe is that certain parts of the storyline were just so incredibly lame that you wouldn’t even want to talk about why the director had taken the easy way out.

It was almost as if he had hoped the audiences would be so scared by the doll Minako and become as panicky as the characters in the movie that they would not question the credibility of some of the details in the storyline.

For a deserted school, the characters sure had no problem finding things to use such as salt and the fact that the taps had running water as well!

And then, there was that church beside the school. From the outside, it looked just as deserted and as dilapidated as the school. But why was the main hall not dilapidated?

And why did they all run into the church for shelter, as if Minako wouldn’t be able to cross its threshold, only to find out later that the ghostly doll could saunter in without any difficulty?

Mind-boggling as some of the details were in the movie, why would anyone agree to attend a school reunion at a deserted old school at night and play a game that summons spirits from the other world?

Too many questions and implausible scenarios just took the joy out watching the movie for me and get invested in the story and characters.

This is not horror, it’s just horrible!


Directed by Billy Christian

Starring Miller Khan, Nicky Tirta, Ario Astungkoro, Novinta Dhini, Regina Rengganis, Wendy Wilson

Duration 87 minutes

Rating P13