A Malaysian indie arthouse horror, Roh is a tense and atmospheric film directed by Emir Ezwan. The film stars Farah Ahmad as the mother, Mak, and Mhia Farhana as the daughter, Along. Harith Haziq plays the son Angah. Namron plays the character of the hunter Pemburu. Junainah M. Lojong plays the character of old lady Tok. Putri Qaseh plays Adik, the young girl. The film is set in the past and follows a family living in a forest. When a strange little girl visits them with a frightening prediction, supernatural events start haunting the family. Reinchez Ng has composed the music while Saifuddin Musa handled the cinematography. The film hit theatres in Malaysia and Singapore on August 6, 2020. Although selected as the Malaysian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, it failed to get a nomination nod.
The Malaysian indie horror is tight on budget but liberal on the spooks. Delivering creeps and scares through impressive use of tension and atmosphere, Roh makes for a terrifying experience. Director Ezwan has done a commendable job with a film that overcomes its budget constraints and delivers a fine horror flick. The actors have also done a commendable job portraying the horror-inflicted family amidst a supernatural forest. The ending of the film has left some speculating and questioning. If you’re one of those wondering what it means, fret not! Let’s dive into what the ending of Roh means. Spoilers ahead!
Two children, Along and Angah, live in a shed in the creepy forest with their widowed mother, Mak. One day, the siblings find a dead deer hanging from a tree branch. While on their way home, they encounter a young girl covered in mud. They take her in and the mother offers her food, water, and shelter. The siblings name her Adik which means little sister. Mak also tells the children a story — a legend about a hunter. The hunter, as the legend goes, is a spirit and hunts animals and children. However, people can save themselves by hitting two rocks together and chanting a mantra, which Mak then teaches the kids. In this desolate jungle, appearances are supernaturally deceptive. And Adik is one such terrifying example.
When the family wakes up the next day, they find Adik eating raw birds. She then foretells that they will all be dead by the next moon before slitting her own throat. The family takes Adik’s dead body and keeps it near a dead tree in a clearing amidst the jungle. Upon their return to the home, they find an old lady who calls her Tok. She tells them that the rocks lying near the house are a bad omen and they should discard them. Angah and Along follow her advice. In the night, Along encounters Adik’s ghost in the crawl space under the house. Following this encounter, Along falls ill and develops a high fever. Mak goes to Tok to seek help. Tok performs a ritual and asks Angah to kill two pigeons as a sacrifice. However, Angah fails to do that as he lets one of them fly away.
The Hunter, Specters, and Death
A hunter arrives at their house and asks for Adik but Mak refuses him. The same night Along sleepwalks to the site where Adik’s dead body is and sees her spirit again. The following day, the hunter finds Along and returns her to Mak. Mak is highly suspicious of the hunter, thinking he abducted Along and harmed her. A terrified Along tells the hunter about his dead daughter’s location. He finds her corpse and grieves. The ghastly encounter takes a toll on Along and she hits her head on a protruded nail repeatedly and dies.
Mak decides to leave the forest but Angah has gone off to search for food. The hunter returns to Mak and warns her that her family is in danger from evil entities. An already suspecting Make refuses to buy whatever he says and also accuses him of Along’s death. As the hunter leaves, she starts to follow him, with an intent to kill. Is the hunter the killer? Will Angah survive and who is Tom really? As the disturbing events unfold, we get the answers to these questions, and yet the ending confuses many. Let’s now take a look and try to explain what the ending of Roh entails.
Roh Ending Explained
At the ending of Roh, the hunter sees Angah and slits his throat. As he kills Angah, Make creeps up behind him and impales him with a spear. The hunter wakes up later on and finds that Tok is performing a ritual over Adik’s body. We then learn that Mak had suspected the one who wasn’t bad and believed the one who was. We learn that Tok is “Iblis”, and refers to herself in the plural, as “we”. Iblis is an evil entity that possesses children to carry out their evil deeds. After Tok taunts the hunter for not being able to save Angah, we see children’s spirits roaming the forest. As the denouement approaches its completion, we see Along arriving at the house. But it’s actually her spirit and not Along herself since she’s dead.
She then sets fire to the house where Mak, weakened by all the blood loss, and Agah’s body lies dormant. The fire burns the house, along with the mother and Angah’s already dead body inside. What happens to Angah though? Because as we later see, the hunter has not killed Angah but a deer. So how is Angah dead? We believe that Angah had been killed earlier by an evil spirit. The Angah we see on the screen for the most part at the end was just his ghost. We also have reason to believe that the hunter was a spirit as well. In the beginning, Mak tells the children a folk tale about the hunter spirit. It’s plausible that the hunter was the same spirit. However, unlike the legend, it was not him who was killing the children, but Tok/Iblis.
You can stream Roh on Netflix.
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