A still from the upcoming 'Dreadout,' the first Indonesian film adapted from a video game. (Photo courtesy of Good House)

Get Your Popcorn Ready, Nerd Out on 'Dreadout'!

DECEMBER 05, 2018

Jakarta. "Dreadout" is the first name on everyone's lips whenever anyone talks about homegrown PC video game. Released in May 2014, the Indonesian horror video game is now played by more than 10 million local and international users. By July this year, the game has already earned its creators more than $1 million.

Dreadout was the first PC game in Indonesia that made it through a development stage after a successful crowdfunding campaign via IndieGoGo and also the first game in the country to make its way to Steam, a digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation for purchasing and playing video games.

The game gained international fame after Swedish gaming YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, better known online as PewDiePie, raved about it in several of his videos, saying Dreadout is "one of the most fantastic horror games I've ever played."

The indie survival horror video game was developed by Bandung-based Digital Happiness. After attracting the attention of gamers across the globe, Dreadout is now being turned into a film by one half of the hip slasher/horror/gore team Mo Brothers, director and producer Kimo Stamboel.

Dreadout will be the second film Kimo will direct on his own, 14 years after making his now classic indie horror film "Bunian."

It follows the story of a group of high school students who visit an old abandoned town where they are confronted by ghosts and paranormal activities.

Things get even more interesting when one of the students, Linda, begins to uncover the real secrets of the town.

The game has been compared to the Japanese horror survival game "Fatal Frames," which also takes players on an adventure to uncover a mysterious town's deep dark secrets.

Kimo, who with his directing partner Timo Tjahjanto made the horror-slasher "Rumah Dara" ("Macabre") in 2009 and the extreme action "Headshot" in 2016 said in a statement he had seen Dreadout's potentials to be turned into a horror story a long time ago.

"When I played [Dreadout] for the first time, I knew it had big screen potentials. I already had these pictures in my head of how the film should be laid out," Kimo said.

Kimo said he was only too happy to get away from the "slasher" tag that his partnership with Timo has been branded with since Macabre.

He said the upcoming Dreadout will have fewer blood-soaked scenes.

One of the reasons being that the film will be targeted at teenage audience.

Kimo said adapting a video game into a film presented its own challenges.

"Translating a video game into scenes fit for a film was harder than I thought it would be. It was a big challenge trying to combine different ideas into a solid concept," he said.

"The script was tricky, too. It's a very popular game with heaps of fans. Expectations are high," Kimo said.

25-year-old Andi Randhika, a gamer who has been playing Dreadout since it was first released, said he was excited for the game's big screen debut.

"I hope the film is as good as the game, because often I get disappointed by game adaptations," he said.

Rezky Putra, a gamer from Bandung, echoed Andi's sentiment.

He said most films adapted from a video game only scratch the surface of the complex storylines in the game.

"Games give us new narratives all the time, and at the same time the liberty to control the characters. A lot of game films I've seen tend to get caught up in tedious backstories," he said.

To keep Dreadout's storylines as complex as they are in the game, Kimo said he decided to involve Digital Happiness in the production.

First Game Adaptation

Adapting video games to the big screen is nothing new for Hollywood, but it's a new thing in Indonesia.

Producer Wida Handoyo said Dreadout will be the first ever game adaptation in Indonesia and that Kimo has paved way for other Indonesian filmmakers to follow suit.

Wida said many filmmakers have approached her and Digital Happiness to make the Dreadout adaptation, but their choice fell on Kimo.

"Kimo has a keen eye for horror and I like his style. Digital Happiness agreed with me," she said.

Dreadout is scheduled to hit Indonesian cinemas on Jan. 3 next year. It will star child actor Jefri Nichol and newcomers Caitlin Halderman and Marsha Aruan.