HORROR films that use religious elements are just that much more chilling, as suddenly there is a basis for the supernatural events to be real. ( Think The Conjuring.)
Munafik falls into the same category. It revolves around Ustaz Adam ( Syamsul Yusof ), who lost his wife in a car accident and is unable to move on. While in mourning, he is asked to take on a case involving a woman who experiences unnatural disturbances. How will his ongoing emotional crisis affect his work, since he uses his faith and Quranic verses in the healing process?
Syamsul, who is also the writer/ director of Munafik, has obviously done his research and knows how to give viewers the heebie- jeebies. The creepiness is heightened because his filming locations are an actual cemetery and mortuary, and a reportedly haunted bungalow.
He also utilises the classic combination of music and light/ shadow play to give the audience jump scares, on top of the straightforward eeriness. However, it would’ve been good if Syamsul had taken the shrill soundtrack down a notch or two.
On the other hand, he has elicited good performances from his cast especially from actress Nabila Huda. But it must be said that some of the actions of Nabila’s character seem inconsistent with those of a normal person. There are moments too when the plot moves forward without rhyme or reason.
Nonetheless, Munafik is solid local horror fare – a film that promises to haunt your thoughts long after you’ve left the cinema.