Dead Mine (2012) Horror Movie Review


“Dead Mine,” the 2012 action-horror film directed by Steven Sheil, marks a significant entry in the Southeast Asian film industry as HBO Asia’s first original feature film. The movie unfolds on an Indonesian island, where a group of treasure hunters becomes trapped in an underground bunker, setting the stage for a tale of terror and survival.

The film boasts commendable production values, with its stunts, props, sound engineering, special effects, and art direction contributing to a technically polished cinematic experience. The use of Infinite Studios’ new soundstage facility in Batam, Indonesia, adds a tangible depth to the filmmaking process, showcasing the region’s growing capabilities in the industry.

Despite its technical prowess, “Dead Mine” falls back on genre clichés, with a screenplay that, while starting with an intriguing premise, fails to maintain a tight narrative. The pacing fluctuates, with a slow build-up to establish characters that fit the typical molds of the genre. However, once the action sequences kick in, the film shows glimpses of potential that hint at what could have been a more impactful debut for the collaboration between HBO Asia and Infinite Studios.

The plot centers around the legendary Yamashita’s treasure, rumored to be stashed away by the WWII Japanese General somewhere in Southeast Asia. The cast, led by Miki Mizuno as Rie and Ario Bayu as Captain Tino Prawa, navigates the dual-layered setting of the mine, which suggests a history steeped in more than just hidden treasure but also sinister wartime experiments.

“Dead Mine” shines in its set pieces and production design, creating a believable and atmospheric location that serves as the film’s backbone. The underground scenes are particularly well-crafted, juxtaposing the sandy depths with the concrete labyrinth above, hinting at the mine’s dark past.

Critics have had mixed reactions to the film, with some appreciating the production quality and action sequences, while others found the story lacking in originality and depth. The film has been compared to other movies in the genre, with some reviewers noting it as a better alternative to similar films, albeit not without its own set of flaws and illogical moments.

In the Nutshell

“Dead Mine” is a film that showcases the potential of Southeast Asian cinema in terms of technical execution but ultimately falls short in delivering a compelling narrative. It serves as a reminder that, despite the allure of high production values, the essence of storytelling remains paramount in the world of film. For those interested in action-horror and regional cinema, “Dead Mine” might be worth exploring, if only to witness the strides being made in the industry. I give 2 out of 5 stars.

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Genre:  Thriller

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