Film Review: Satan’s Slaves (2017); Director Joko Anwar.

Satan's Slaves

All Rights Reserved to the rightful owners. © Paramount Pictures 2018.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 4/5.

Author: Feargal Agard | Runtime: 107 min. | Director: Joko Anwar | Year: 2017.

Scary! and so Fun! Satan’s Slaves took me on a freaky ride of frightening appearances, a spooky tale and terror-like moments. Its original style makes it so different from what you’re normally used to see.

Satan’s Slaves | Pengabdi Setan tells the story of Rini’s (Tara Basro) family that consists out of her grandmother Rahma Saidah (Elly D. Luthan), her mother, Mawarni Suwono (Ayu Laksmi), her father (Bront Palarae), and her three younger brothers, Tony (endy Arfian), Bondi (Nasar Annuz) and Ian (M. Adhiyat). They live in the outskirts of Jakarta in an old house in a forested area. Their mother Mawarni Suwono has been suffering from a strange illness for three years and she doesn’t seem to become better. When their mother dies they suddenly find themselves haunted by her ghost, the living dead and a satanic cult.

Satan’s Slaves | Pengabdi Setan was directed by Joko Anwar and the screenplay was written by him and Sisworo Gautama Putra. This movie is a prequel to the 1982 cult-classic with the same title. It is interesting to know that the 1982 version inspired and encouraged the director to become a filmmaker and he has had the honor to make his dream come true. Thematically the film has a clear approach; scaring people, but even though the film is set in 1981 -one year before the original film takes place- it does subtly reflect through a few points what’s going on in our present day. The film stars Tara Basro, Elly D. Luthan, Ayu Laksmi, Bront Palara, endy Arfian, Nasar Annuz and M. Adhiyat.

The acting performances were convincingly great. You can really feel what the characters are going through making you sit on the edge of your seat hoping that they’ll survive and stay unharmed. Then again to me the children were the biggest stars. They do not have so much acting experience and for the youngest, it was actually his first time, but they gave us the best performances. Strong, sweet and very believable. Besides that we all know that it’s really hard to direct child actors, expecially at such a young age. Joko Anwar did a good job directing these little kids. We feel all the fear and scare that they go through as they often are the ones who end up in the most scary and tenseful situations.

The special effects have an authentic and expected quality. It’s not that you see the newest effects, but just the right effects to startle you, scare you and making you want to close your eyes. The apparitions and living dead look realistic enough to make you second-guess when you are trying to convince yourself that nothing’s real. The story is well worked out, but I do feel that the hints in the beginning of the film were a little bit secluded. Causing you to think that the background points are suddenly thrown in to explain the ‘WHY’ behind everything that’s happening. But fear not! Being really scared or tensed causes tremendous compensation, making the ‘WHY’ good enough, because it’s more important to be scared.

Satan’s Slaves | Pengabdi Setan is the movie you need to see for a night full of fright! It is different than your average Hollywood horror-film and therefore filled with unexpected turns and scares. It will take you on Joko Anwar’s intended scary rollercoaster ride and leave you wanting for more.

In Dutch theatres as from the 31st of January 2018.

Genre: Horror, Thriller, Action | Languages: Indonesian | Dutch Distributor: Paramount Pictures.

In regard to all pictures and trailer footage. All Rights Reserved to the rightful owners. © Paramount Pictures 2018.

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