We laugh at a horror film if the performances are not up to the mark. What is supposed to be frightening becomes funny, and the ghost starts to look like a prankster. One of the good things about Ginanti Rona's Qorin then is that it has talented actors. The young female actors especially are very flexible. Their gestures - wide eyes, brushing style - carry mirth. But they also creep you out when required (special mention to Selvy Lei for the makeup).
The title of Rona's film refers to "a jinn who accompanies and resembles humans." This jinn begins to torture the students of a boarding school when a teacher instructs them to perform a dark ritual. Soon, the characters come face to face with their evil doppelgängers, who apparently can harm you by harming themselves. Notice how this movie about doppelgängers is filled with dual elements. Zahra (Zulfa Maharani) is obedient, while Yolanda (Aghniny Haque) is a rebel. When these two initially meet each other, one of them wears a white dress while the other is seen in red. Yolanda questions the authenticity of an exorcism, while the other students are left shaken (so you have two groups: Believer and Non-Believer). The doppelgängers themselves are a malignant reflection of innocent students.
Finally, Qorin, at its core, is about victims and abusers. Ustad Jaelani (Omar Daniel) comes under the latter category and is aptly seen in a black uniform. You know he is wicked from the way the young girls quiver in his presence. Before all the bizarre incidents, it's Jaelani's presence that gives fuel to the fire of horror. When he goes near Yolanda and Zahra in the classroom, you feel he's about to engulf them in corruption and darkness. And we feel protective towards a certain character when Jaelani puts his hands on her shoulders. You shouldn't be surprised then if I were to tell you that he is responsible for invoking the phantasms.
Given Qorin deals with doppelgängers, you wish the scares had been delivered in a clever manner. But the movie is content with being a "Boo!" picture, and that's fine. Rona has an eye for horror images and knows where to direct our eyes during a particular moment. There's a well-timed, heart-in-your-mouth bathroom sequence, and the twisty movements combined with creepy smiles make you nervous. At first, a girl wets her bed, and later, another girl lifts her skirt and pees in front of a character (or, more accurately, the character imagines seeing this visual).
Going back to that thing about dual elements, Qorin derives horror from two different sources. The dread comes from the jinn and ghostly shadows in the dark. You know, the usual scary movie elements. On the other hand, horror also originates from sexual exploitation, as Jaelani uses his position to molest his students. None of these elements would have worked if Rona hadn't been a capable director. She infuses life into every scene and, thus, makes them palpable. There is not a dull moment as the movie relentlessly moves ahead, and it does so without compromising the tone. However, the final portions seem rushed, which somewhat fills you with disappointment. To watch a promising film deliver an underwhelming climax is also a horrific experience.
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