Ceroboh The Screaming Sky 2022

Ceroboh (aka The Screaming Sky) is a 2022 Malaysian sci-fi thriller, directed by Feisal Azizuddin. Mostly known for directing shorts, Feisal made his move into feature-length directing the drama thriller Kabus as well as Ceroboh in the same year. Written by Chong Keng Fatt, the script was the winning entry out of hundreds entered in a competition held by producers Kuman Pictures.

The world is overrun by mind-controlling aliens called the Sky Beasts. Six people hide out in an abandoned building, but when one of them is exposed to the aliens, paranoia among them proves to be just as deadly as any threat from the sky.

Contrary to its apocalyptic sci-fi-fi setting, Ceroboh lacks an in-depth exploration of this aspect of the story. Instead, the production acts as a character study of a small group of survivors struggling to deal with fear, paranoia, and slow descent into madness— with these factors acting as the main antagonist for the most part. The blend of trauma, delusions and an oppressive atmosphere on the human psyche is a far more powerful foe to overcome than any world-ending scenario that could be presented to humanity.

Those expecting a War of the Worlds-style battle between man and alien for the fate of humankind may be disappointed, as the awesomely named Sky Beasts lack an actual visible appearance on screen. Yet, this absence allows for the power of one’s mind to create a mental image more powerful than anything brought about by a small budget production such as this, highly working in the film’s favour. However, that isn’t to say that these extraterrestrial beings aren’t presented as a threat. The very idea of having ones’ mind ‘jacked’ and suddenly becoming an unthinking, raged-fueled psychopath creates an intense sense of apprehension and distrust, ingeniously reinforcing the production’s core concepts.

Although the performances from the respective cast ranges from capable to mediocre, a stand-out performance is delivered by Mia Sara Shauki, who plays Aisyah. Her portrayal characterizes the disheveled existence of life under constant threat with remarkable ease. The stress of having to sleep with one eye open for an extended period of time noticeably increases as the film progresses, presenting a more authentic representation of a group of survivors. Additionally, as the production approaches its thrilling conclusion, Shauki’s undaunted energy produces dramatically intense scenes that could have come across as stilted if not for her dynamic exhibition.

Behind the scenes

Full of intense atmosphere, constant unease, and an oppressive soundtrack to boot, Ceroboh is an incredible exploration of an atypical catastrophe—the realisation that the biggest danger may not be those that have invaded the planet, but our own minds. Writer Chong Keng Fatt has displayed an incredible aptitude for storytelling for a first-time scriptwriter, hopefully utilising this opportunity to kick-start a successful career in film production.

Ceroboh (The Screaming Sky) will be available to stream on Netflix from August 31st in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Brunei (with more locations to be announced soon).

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