THE QUEEN OF BLACK MAGIC (2019)
Indonesian horror finds Hanif (Ario Bayu from Impetigore) returning with his wife Nadya (Hannah Al Rashid) and family to the orphanage he grew up in, to pay tribute to it’s ailing caretaker (Yayu A.W. Unru). Soon strange things start to occur and as the evening goes on, it becomes clear something malevolent has targeted the visiting families. With stories of missing children and a woman who practiced witchcraft, Hanif and the others may all be in terrible danger, as the past comes back to haunt them…literally.
Indonesian horror is directed by Kimo Stamboel from a script by Joko Anwar, who has helped put Indonesian horror cinema on the map this year with Impetigore. The film is a distant remake of a 1981 Indonesian chiller of the same name and has some spooky and disturbing moments. Stamboel does not quite have the style and storytelling savvy that Anwar has, but gives us some goose-bump inducing and gross-out sequences, even if by the end we start to get a little tired of the constant bombardment of blood and insects. Anwar’s script once again gives us a story of horror that involves family, past misdeeds and a background steeped in occult practices and dark magic, much like his Impetigore and Satan’s Slaves. The film can be quite gruesome and the scenes of insects crawling in and out of people’s mouths can chill, but the film lacks the outright scares and brooding intensity that Anwar gives the film’s he directs. A decent horror, with some effective moments, but not in the same ballpark as Anwar’s films, or the May the Devil Take You series, also from Indonesia recently.