Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Queen of Black Magic Review: A Creepy Reimagining of the Indonesian Classic

Ario Bayu	...	Hanif Hannah Al Rashid	Hannah Al Rashid	...	Nadya Adhisty Zara	Adhisty Zara	...	Dina (as Zara JKT48) Muzakki Ramdhan	Muzakki Ramdhan	...	Haqi Ari Irham	Ari Irham	...	Sandi Ade Firman Hakim	Ade Firman Hakim	...	Maman Sheila Dara Aisha	Sheila Dara Aisha	...	Siti Tanta Ginting	Tanta Ginting	...	Anton Miller Khan	Miller Khan	...	Jefri Imelda Therinne	Imelda Therinne	...	Eva Salvita Decorte	Salvita Decorte	...	Lina Giulio Parengkuan	Giulio Parengkuan	...	Hasbi Shenina Cinnamon	Shenina Cinnamon	...	Rani Yayu A.W. Unru	Yayu A.W. Unru	...	Pak Bandi Ruth Marini	Ruth Marini	...	Ibu Mirah

Release date: January 28, 2020
Running time: 100 minutes
Starring Ario Bayu, Hannah Al Rashid, Adhisty Zara, Ari Irham and Muzakki Ramdhan.  
Director: Kimo Stamboel
Writer: Joko Anwar

A SHUDDER ORIGINAL.  The sins of the past come back with a vengeance in this new film from two of Indonesia’s modern masters of horror, director Kimo Stamboel (Headshot) and writer Joko Anwar (Satan’s Slaves, Impetigore). A family travels to the distant, rural orphanage where the father was raised to pay their respects to the facility’s gravely ill director. But his and his best friends’ homecoming turns into a terrifying supernatural ordeal that threatens their and their families’ lives: someone is using dark magic to avenge evil deeds, long buried but not forgotten. Stamboel’s film is a reimagining of the 1981 Indonesian horror classic of the same name.

Produced by  Priya N.K.	...	executive producer Wicky V. Olindo	...	executive producer (as Wicky Olindo) Gope T. Samtani	...	producer Sunar S. Samtani	...	creative producer Sunil Samtani	...	executive producer Lani Sonda	...	line producer     Directed by  Kimo Stamboel	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Joko Anwar
Indonesia has some fantastic horror films and The Queen of Black Magic is a worthy addition.  The film has a great setting in an old orphanage, with all the creepiness you would expect.  It assembles a large cast for this location, allowing a suitably horrific experience to unfold.  The movie also has some wonderful atmospheric sound and music, amplifying the whole experience. And it has some truly horrifying special effects, although this film used more CG than I am used to in an Indonesian horror film.  It still has some quite disturbing make up and sequences, just uses more CG than I anticipated.  The overall setup has a very creepy vibe that only gets more pronounced as the film continues.  

And it definitely dials in the creepy at times, with some tense and unsettling scenarios.  There are some very disturbing dealing with the effect of black magic on this group of individuals, which really helps to escalate the dread.  One of the earlier scenes involving a bus had me on the edge of my seat.  However, there are quite a few instances of CG effects that look less than realistic.  These broke some immersion during some otherwise terrifying scenes.  Thankfully, these didn't happen that often in the build up but they are more prevalent as the movie progresses.  Additionally, the overall story and motivation of the film didn't quite make sense.  The setup is very good, with a wonderfully tense and obfuscated scenario, but as you start to learn more about what happened the motivation starts to fall apart.  Given what we learn about the characters throughout the film, the ending and justification just did not seem to gel with what happened.  It made for a disturbing film, but not for an ultimately satisfying one.

The Queen of Black Magic is another Indonesian horror spectacle with plenty of disturbing, gory scenes and an overarching sense of dread.

Rent it.

Horror Indonesia Orphanage Dread Tension Scary Gore Gory Special Effects Blood insects
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The Queen of Black Magic is available to stream on Shudder starting January 28, 2021. 

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