So, I just watch an Indonesian horror movie, a genre that if you’re an Indonesian probably dismissing as some sort of “lesser” being in Indonesian movie. That’s because most Indonesian horror movie is a cheap excuse for stupid jump-scare, stupid story and finale, also a weird fetish excuse for showing girls with something skimpy or sexual innuendo 😅.
But this one is different, this movie is supposedly a remake of the old 80’s movie with the same title Pengabdi Setan. I’ll be honest to say that the old movie is one of my favorite movies. Probably because when I was small, that movie is scary. But even after I rewatched it many times, I still have soft spot for it. Just see the old movie poster I post below. Also Joko Anwar written and directed it. So far he never fails to make a movie. All of his movies is good and the genre is varied.<
hee old movie is a grounded conservative horror movie about a family (a rather faithless one, more hedonistic and material one, they’re crazy @$$ rich) facing a disturbance from unearthly force that came from their new maid (a satan worshippers, hence the title Pengabdi Setan) whose using the faithless family as an offering for satan for her bidding. This movie shows a unique scene where the character is doing Sholat (prayer) in Islamic way but still facing a deadly encounter with the spirit (kinda original back in the days) and a scene where the family hired a shaman to deal with the disturbance that ended with the victory of the evil. But the ending is very conservative, in a very typical fashion where an ulama (religious Islamic clerk) came to the rescue, chanting Quran verse and the satan and worshipper destroyed.
The new movie has different premise, a poor family in the rural had a hard time because their mother, once a famous singer, have been sick for 3 years. Then the mother died and the disturbance begins. That’s the premise and to make it short, I’ll just said watch this movie. It’s good, scary and well made. The rest of this blog will be filled with spoilers. Spoiler warning on.
So this family lives on remote rural area near graveyard and living in an old house. All indications as an awesome set for horror movie. And Joko Anwar exploits it in a very tastefully manner. The music, the lighting, the angle. All is carefully crafted. The 1981 setting also implemented very convincing.
It’s not a jump-scare festival per se. But it guarantees to make you gasp. The plot also have more layers than the old movie. The plot twist is good although if you ask me, it’s kinda drag and silly.
I love how the revelation of who is the Pengabdi Setan (satan worshipper) and the motivation of why it happened. Also why all the family members don’t share a resemblance (kinda fourth wall breaking 😁).
Seriously, I love the cast. Despite the mother (who is already scary even before she became ghost) and the grandma (who supposedly also become a plot twist) feels wasted and forced for the sake of the story to progress. The finale is cool although kinda moves to zombie territory rather than ghost he he. The smallest kid is adorable and Tara Basro as lead actress also good.
Well, it isn’t spoiler after all he he. Honestly it’s a very good movie, not scary (for me at least), but what doesn’t sold me is how the story progress. It begins as usual haunting movie but somehow it turns into mixture of The Omen and Rosemary’s Baby. A good horror movie for me it’s the one that psychologically disturbing, haunting even after you saw it because it makes you think what went wrong. That’s what I didn’t get from this movie. Sure it’s good scare fest but didn’t leave a lasting impression for me.
Oh, there’s one thing that bug me from this movie, or recent horror movie nowadays, is the lack of religious “closure”. Sure most movies have religious theme or background. But somehow it’s only serves as a background or support the event. It never serves as saving grace or something he he. This is also what happens in Indonesian horror movie nowadays. As if evil is the force that can’t be stopped and it never ends happily.
Even for me, not so religious type of person, it feels like pessimism is in the air and people hate God or something ha ha. I admit that the scene where the ulama is killed is awesome but as if there’s no way out. As if committing suicide is better rather than facing the inevitable.
Again, it’s a good movie. You should watch it. If there’s another good thing about this movie, is Tara Basro. She usually viewed as sultry, foxy, femme fatale but IMHO she is misguidedly advertised as some sort of bad girl. But if you ask me she is some misunderstood good girl. In this movie she played as a good girl, a girl acted as the man of the house since their dad is kinda suck. She is an apple to our eye, especially in this movie. Behold her appearance in the movie, feast your eye 😁
This is another of her image for your pleasure 😁