Screened at HOME in collaboration with Channel 4, FilmFear showed a range of horror films from indie premieres to mainstream retrospectives. Malaysian body horror Tiger Stripes was one of their first screenings of the weekend, coming to Manchester after a successful festival run at Cannes and London Film Festival.
The film features classic gothic and horror tropes but subverts them to fit its contemporary Malaysian backdrop. Video diaries reminiscent of Blair Witch Project are instead TikTok videos as the haunted forest is replaced by a jungle inhabited by tigers and wild women with glowing eyes.
Tiger Stripes is refreshing in every sense of the word. It’s an exciting and interesting premise, starring a young cast (most of whom are making their acting debut), and an actual plot rather than relying on A-list celebrities or litres of fake blood to carry the narrative. There is some witty dialogue too which earned laughs from the audience and provided nice moments of relief from the horror.
However, the film lives in a middle ground between being on the nose and being allegorical. Whilst the overall narrative does make sense, some moments feel random and like unnecessary red herrings. Perhaps this was the intention, but it left me wondering if there was more to the story or a bigger plot at work.
Tiger Stripes is very much not a typical slasher film but instead a subtle horror film about the unknown, growing up, and societal taboo.