Saturday, May 7, 2022

Srigala (1981)

... aka: Fox, The
... aka: Wolf

Directed by:
Sisworo Gautama Putra

Treasure hunter Caroko (S. Parya) and his two younger assistants, scuba diving experts Johan (Rudy Salam) and Tommy (Barry Prima), arrive at the secluded Situ Angsana campground. They're there to scout for a valuable gold treasure that's rumored to be somewhere at the bottom of a nearby lake. Unbeknownst to them, a fellow visitor also searching for the treasure had already been murdered there for the exact same transgression. Their first night there, they spot someone spying on them as they're discussing their plans, but the person runs off before they can catch them. The following morning, they grab their scuba gear and hit the lake. Three college student environmentalists; Nina (Lydia Kandou), Hesty ("Sisca Karabetty" / Siska Widowati) and Pono (Dorman Borisman), show up for a relaxing weekend of swimming, sunbathing and camping. Caroko attempts to run them off, but they're not budging. 

While no treasure is discovered the first day, Nina has a strange encounter with some force in the water that pulls her down and temporarily seems to possess her. Tommy has to punch her unconscious to even get her out of the water and she's revived once they get her on the dock. Everyone then goes about their day as if nothing has even occurred! Much to the disapproval of Caroko, who is all business and doesn't want any distractions, the girls show up at the treasure hunter's cabin later that night and a little romance starts to blossom between several of the characters.

The following day while the men are back at the lake, a red speedboat driven by someone clad in all black (including a black hood) shows up and starts throwing sticks of lit dynamite at the guys! That leads to a high speed boat chase around the lake, with surprisingly good stunt driving (a boat going off a ramp, hopping over the other boat and then driving through it) and decent editing and camerawork, which ends in one boat being demolished (though the exact same boat is completely intact a few scenes later!) and the other crashing into shore and exploding. Even though no one is killed, you'd figure that would be a warning sign to either get the hell outta Dodge or, at the very least, watch your damn back. No such luck here!

Everyone's still out camping, wandering off in the woods by themselves and such the following night. Johan and Hesty sneak away to make out in the woods but are cock blocked by Caroko, which somehow leads to Nina and Hesty arguing, getting into a kung fu fight (?!) and accidentally kicking Pono in the balls when he steps in to break them up while goofy comic music plays. The discovery of a rotting corpse stuffed inside a trunk found in an underwater cave doesn't encourage anyone to pack up and go either, but it does prompt a nightmare from Nina where three zombies rise from the lake, chase her around in the woods and then stick her in the trunk.

After fifty minutes of miscellaneous stuff, this finally settles down into a pretty blatant FRIDAY THE 13TH rip-off. And, when I say "blatant" it's not just because of the camp / lake setting but because it blatantly steals ideas, entire scenes, music cues and even camera shots from that film. While a bad thunderstorm ravages outside, each of the cast members gets it from the mystery assailant. There's death by an axe to the head (shown in silhouette just like the bathroom murder in Friday), spear, harpoon, getting run over and a head crushed under a car hood. Bodies are tied up to scaffolding and trees, thrown through windows, etc. What this film lacks is a Tom Savini to really make the murder scenes pop. However, since he wasn't available, most of the murders end up taking place off-screen.

As far as the killer is concerned, if you've not seen Friday (though I'm assuming you have if you're here!) and don't want their identity revealed then you're best off skipping the next few paragraphs. While there are some minor attempts at turning Caroko into the prime suspect by having him be a crank and a voyeur lurking around spying on everyone the entire time, the psycho is revealed to be Hilda. Hilda? Yes, Hilda.

Remember how after nearly everyone has been slaughtered in Friday, Mrs. Voorhees just randomly pops in at the finale to explain her murderous motives to the lone female survivor? Well, Hilda (played by the crazy-eyed Mieke Wijaya, who coincidentally just passed away five days ago as of this writing) does the same exact thing. Remember how Mrs. Voorhees lured victims to their doom by imitating a child's voice? Well, same here. And the slapping around and cat fighting, running around and hiding, getting hit in the head with a skillet (though it's a board here) and the decapitation by the water (though it's merely a stabbing here)? All here! And so is the entire canoe part (except instead of Jason it's one of those zombies) and the part at the hospital with the cops.

While this is going to be of most interest to Friday and 80s slasher fans, perhaps its most notable quality is that it's a rare 80s Indonesian genre film NOT dealing with either black magic or ghosts. Other than that, this is a pretty standard film of its type. The cinematography is pretty good, it has its entertaining bits here and there and even manages to generate some minor suspense toward the end, but it also suffers from a slow-going first half, continuity issues, illogical plot elements and the usual brain-dead characters doing incredibly dumb things throughout to ensure their demise.

Never released in the U. S. nor in an English-language version (though fan-made subs are available), this Rapi Film production was issued mainly on the VCD format in Asia. However, a widescreen HD print, which has been a rotation of the Indonesian streaming service Flik TV, is also available for view.

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