Finas, the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia, has submitted the horror film Roh as their country's selection for the International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars.
Amir Muhammad of Kuman Pictures, the studio behind the film, expressed his delight at the selection in a Facebook post:Roh, which was released theatrically in both Malaysia and Singapore, tells the story of a family living in rural Malaysia -- comprising mother, daughter and son -- who discover a feral girl living in the woods.
They bring her home, but she makes a dire prediction that everyone in the family will die.
Directed by Emir Ezwan, the movie took a noticeably different tone from contemporary Southeast Asian horror movies, eschewing jump scares and surface-level frights in favour of slow-burning, more atmospheric horror.
It also has an intriguing philosophical ending that makes the viewer question everything that they have seen so far up to that point.
In terms of tone, it was more Hereditary than Halloween, but no less horrifying.
Up against Anthony Chen's Wet Season
The 93rd Academy Awards is scheduled for Apr. 21, 2021, and the International Feature Film award serves as a way for the American-centric ceremony to highlight movies from around the world.
This year's slate of candidates included memorable triumphs for South Korean film Parasite in both the International Feature Film and Best Picture categories.
The films submitted for the 2021 Awards include entries from a diverse range of countries, including Iran, Ecuador, and a debut offering from Lesotho.
Interestingly, Singapore has also submitted a film for consideration in the same category, Anthony Chen's Wet Season.
A Singapore film has never progressed beyond this stage, but if both films do make it to the shortlist, then we could see a Singapore vs Malaysia stand-off.
Top image from Kuman Pictures and Q Entertainment YouTube channels.