Tiger Stripes - Review (London Film Festival 2023)
You Can't Keep Secrets To Yourself. 3 / 5
Directed by Amanda Nell Eu.
Zaffan, 12, lives in a small rural community in Malaysia. In full puberty, she realizes that her body is changing at an alarming rate.
A teenage girl who craves to be the centre of attention gets what she wishes for in the dynamic Tiger Stripes.
Zafreen Zairizal plays Zaffin who gets up to mischief with her friends at school but when puberty arrives, things turn upside down as her once loyal friends turn their backs on her and she begins some abnormal physical transformations.
Slowly transforming from a coming of age film to a gleeful body horror, writer/director Amanda Nell Eu goes all into this puberty metaphor but it doesn't fully reach its potential, pulling back rather than committing in its final act.
Whether that is a creative choice or a logistical/budgetary decision, the film slowly builds to an extreme climax and doesn't quite know what to do once it gets there.
It definitely managed to capture the angst of high school in its own unique way with many of the intimidating bullying scenes ending up scarier than the later bloody horrors.