Arivind Abraham, a Malaysian filmmaker based in London, has given us a glimpse of his upcoming sophomore feature, 5:13, produced by his company Perantauan Pictures. And it looks like quite an exercise in claustrophobia and paranoia, well utilising shadows and light to put its protagonists in a taut situation. Arivind's first feature was the social drama S'kali, about five teenage friends of different races going through the trials and tribulations of life in Kuala Lumpur. After tackling social issues, he's now taken on the thriller genre, and the trailer looks quite good too. And one can't help but notice how the title 5:13 reflects the date May 13, the infamous day in 1969 when racial riots broke out in Malaysia. Certainly the story and the set-up (which have nothing to do with May 13) reflect the uncertainty and paranoia of those times.
Synopsis and trailer after the break:
Inspired by the real-life event of the 1996 nationwide blackout in Malaysia, 5:13 tells the story of two individuals in a desperate fight against paranoia, terror and eventually each other as they struggle to face growing, inexplicable threats from the outside whilst stripped of all information and resources. Vivien (Samantha Tan) awakes on the night of her wedding anniversary to find that she is alone, her journalist husband Richard nowhere to be seen. All electricity and phone lines are dead, and her only sources of information are the sudden infrequent news reports beeping through an emergency radio frequency. The broadcasts repeatedly refer to a worsening situation on the Thai-Malaysian border, where an unexpected incident has seemingly caused widespread chaos and destruction. All Vivien knows about Richard's whereabouts is that he is in a village near that region investigating a story about a bomoh (Malaysian shaman/witch doctor), and in her anxiety she cannot help but dread that there is some connection between the two. As the night progresses, strange noises begin to surround the outside of her home, and worry turns to terror as something gradually tries to break in. Out of nowhere, her husband's best friend Ash (Iki Putra) comes to her aid, bearing a strange message from Richard on his phone. A message that is soon to be contradicted by one she receives herself. As the night wears on, fear and paranoia begin to take hold. Not just despair at the events going on outside the house, but the emergence of old fears that have long underlined their lives and still cripple both her and Ash. As doubts and suspicions grow, deep cuts are reopened and old wounds are freshly bled. Slowly but surely, both Vivien and Ash learn that what you trust can hurt you.