BLOOD FLOWER on Shudder is a new Malaysian horror movie (org. title: Harum Malam). If you like Asian horror and exorcism stories, you can expect to like this. I found it to be too slow-paced and with a few irritating developments, but check it out for yourself. Read our full Blood Flower movie review here!
BLOOD FLOWER is a new Shudder horror movie from Malaysia (org. title: Harum Malam). In fact, this is the first Malaysian Shudder horror movie, which is quite an achievement. Also, when the movie begins, you’ll see a familiar face early on, if you’ve watched the amazing Satan’s Slaves horror movies. The father from those movies is also the father of the main character in this one.
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Sometimes, you need an angle or reason to give a foreign film a chance, so maybe this could be it. However, that doesn’t mean I can give this horror movie my full endorsement. I did like parts of it, but it became too slow towards the end, which was a shame.
Continue reading our Blood Flower movie review below. Find it on Shudder from September 8, 2023.
Iqbal can see dead people… before they die!
This very first Shudder Original from Malaysia definitely has a strong beginning. Yes, even if I wasn’t blown away by it, I have surely seen many worse horror movies. At least this one was clearly made with passion. Also, despite being thrown right into the mix of everything, I did like several scenes and twists during the beginning.
We meet the 16-year-old Iqbal who is tormented by visions. Both visions of the dead (or those who will soon die) as well as spirits from other dimensions. His ability to be both a faith healer and an exorcist stems from his mother, while his father helps during exorcisms. Basically, it’s like The Warrens from The Conjuring. She has the gift, he takes on the fight.
For Iqbal, there’s an extra “twist” to his gift. He has a tendency to see people who will die before they actually do die. Obviously, this results in very grim experiences for the 16-year-old. Instead of “I see dead people”, it’s more of an “I see people as dead before they die”.
Different religion, Same exorcism
In Blood Flower, the key plot revolves around a malicious spirit that begins to wreak havoc around Iqbal and forces him to “harness his supernatural gifts”. Only by doing this can he save his family and friends. Blood Flower stars Idan Aedan (Mr. Midnight: Beware the Monsters) as Iqbal and Bront Palarae (Satan’s Slaves) as his father.
For many horror fans, Blood Flower ultimately has a story that will feel very familiar. Well, if you’ve watched horror movies with an exorcism plot anyway. The big difference is that Iqbal and his father use the Quran and verses from that religious book, while we’re used to people battling demons carrying the Bible and shouting the good ol’ “The power of Christ compels you”-line.
This Malaysian horror movie is just like The Exorcist but with a different religion. Also, the story is very different, but the whole exorcising demons by using religion is the same. Having watched a lot of exorcism horror movies – some good, many bad – I feel like they all blend together. Or most of them do.
Unfortunately, this one doesn’t stand out much for me either. Is that just me being jaded by all that I’ve watched in the past, or because it’s not one of the better exorcism movies?! Probably a combination. However, I will say that the details revealed towards the end about the origin of the demon are brutal. An important social commentary and not something that will be easy to watch.
Watch Blood Flower on Shudder and AMC+
Blood Flower (org. title: Harum Malam) comes from director Dain Said (Interchange, Dukun), and was also written Dain Said with Nandita Solomon and Ben Omar. The Malaysian horror movie was an official selection of both Fantastic Fest and the Sitges Film Festival. Arguably two of the biggest genre film festivals in the world.
For many years, horror movies from Japan and all kinds of genre movies from South Korea have been at the forefront of international releases coming out of Asia. This has clearly resulted in people wanting to check out other Asian genre films. Indonesian horror movies have had a few good years – thanks to the horror brilliance of Joko Anwar, in particular – and other Asian countries are getting a chance now as well.
Malaysian horror may not be something you’re familiar with yet, but that doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be in the future. For me, the Malaysian episode of the Asian HBO horror anthology Folklore was the best. And, again, Blood Flower isn’t the very best example of horror from Malaysia, but I do believe fans of exorcism-driven plots will enjoy it.
Blood Flower premieres on Shudder and AMC+ on September 8, 2023.
Director: Dain Said
Cast: Idan Aedan, Bront Palarae, Remy Ishak
A young apprentice healer tries to suppress his supernatural abilities so he can fit in with the other kids, but when a malicious spirit breaks out in his apartment, he decides to use his abilities while dark family secrets are revealed.