We caught Silam on B-Movie TV Friday night. This movie is like riding the ghost train, but it’s a bus. Silam was based on a popular novel by Risa Saraswati, which I would like to read in order to clear up a couple of points. Why do I always need an explanation when it comes to supernatural horror? Because I’m crazy! The film is also available on YouTube if you weren’t watching B-Movie TV on Friday. And if you aren’t watching B-Movie TV but have been reading my site, I recommend that you download it on Roku because it’s its own thing, it’s our kind of thing.
A ten year old boy named Baskara lost his father a few years ago but still stops by the cemetery to talk to him. Baskara’s mother is understandably stressed to the max being a widow and a single parent, but to Baskara’s childish mind she is just being mean all the time. He decides to run away to his father’s twin brother’s house on the other side of town. This is an uncle he hasn’t seen since his father died, so as I was watching I was thinking this is probably not going to go well, but that’s an understatement.
On his way to his uncle’s Baskara goes ahead and goes on his class’s planned school field trip to a supposedly haunted museum. Because he had said that he doesn’t believe in ghosts, some bullies lock him in the most haunted room of the museum. Baskara falls and hits his head, and when he wakes up he can see ghosts.
He finally gets across town to his uncle’s house after enduring several spectral encounters on the way (the bus ghost about made me fall out of bed) and is received with open arms, but something’s off. What follows is a mashup of ghost stories we all know and love, with Indonesian folklore. The uncle, aunt, and twin cousins seem to be living the same day with the same meals and conversations over and over, and his uncle likes to type on a laptop that’s not turned on. The family is also way, way too happy. In addition, someone breaks in every night to do flash photography, and there’s a mysterious old lady who leaves food outside on a tray. Her granddaughter, who also sees ghosts, tries to help Baskara go home, but he’s still too mad at his mom. No matter how mad I was I would prefer my mom to good ol’ Uncle Sardonicus and various ghosts climbing in and out of my bedroom window at night.
We thought we had this figured out from the time Baskara woke up in the museum, and then we didn’t, and it turned out that we did, but not entirely. The truth was a little bit more evil and sad than what we thought we knew. I’m going to assume the book was even better than the movie. And I’m not at all one of those people who thinks the book is always better. Although I’m sick of every ghost story needing to do a recap of all the times your stupid ass should have figured out the twist, Silam held our attention pretty much the whole running time. If you would enjoy going on a theme park ride called Blumhouse Presents Six Insidious Shining Groundhog’s Paws then we can go together because I’m ready right now.