Pengabdi Setan [Satan’s Slaves] (2017)

Pengabdi Setan
Director: Joko Anwar
Writer: Joko Anwar
Based on: the 1982 film of the same title
Cast: Tara Basro, Bront Palarae, Dimas Aditya, Endy Arfian, Nasar Annuz, M. Adhiyat, Arswendi Nasution
Part of: /slash 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 4.5.2018

Rini’s (Tara Basro) mother (Ayu Laksmi) used to be a successful singer, but in these past few years, she has been slowly dying from a mysterious illness that nobody really understands. When she finally succumbs to it, Rini’s father (Bront Palarae) has to leave the children to settle the necessary affairs. But as soon as he is gone, strange things start to happen in the house

Satan’s Slaves has a fantastic first and a muddled second half. Despite that drop in quality, the film is definitely worth it: the first part is definitely strong enough to make up for the second part.

The first part of the film was really one of the best horror films I’ve seen in a while. I had goosebumps running up and down my body practically constantly. The entire thing was just super scary. I also liked the characters and was completely with them the entire time. In fact, I was practically glued to the screen, it was that good!

And then the satanists turned up and I started to lose my interest in the film. I mean, it wasn’t that I minded the satanist angle per se, but it didn’t really come together for me. That has more to do with the fact that the film just becomes pretty confusing by that point and just didn’t make all that much sense to me.

The film lost its tension so much that I even fell asleep for a short bit towards the end. Often when this happens, I feel like I am lacking vital information or just missed an integral part of the film. But in this case, I didn’t feel like that at all. I don’t think I missed anything much. And that’s a pretty hard indictment in itself. Apart from that, I was also rather annoyed that Rini’s little brother starts talking at the end of the film because it felt like his disability was being erased.

But up until the film unravels, boy, it is so good. Creepy, awesome visuals, great tension and an atmosphere so heavy I thought I could literally touch it. If only the entire film had been like that.

Summarizing: Watch at least the first half.

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