If my Netflix research is any indication, Indonesia has a thriving modern horror cinematic tradition. Satan’s Slaves, currently streaming on the horror lover’s dream app Shudder, has been receiving acclaim. And the movies look like a delightful stew of all the things that get me: demonology, witchcraft, satanic panic. You know- everything that makes a movie worth watching.
And when I dove right in to 2018’s May the Devil Take You, I knew I was right!
May the Devil Take You (2018)
Director: Timo Tjahjanto
Writer: Timo Tjahjanto
Notable Cast: Chelsea Islan, Pevita Pearce, Ray Sahetapy, Karina Suwandhi, Samo Rafael, Ruth Marini, Hadijah Shahab,
Plot: When her estranged father falls into a mysterious coma, a young woman seeks answers at his old villa, where she and her stepsister uncover dark truths. (source: IMDb.com)
Commentary: I need to round out the plot description of May the Devil Take You. The movie opens with the family patriarch, Lesmana (Ray Sahetapy), who at this point is married and has a daughter Alfie. Lesmana hires a crazy demonic witch to make a Faustian bargain for wealth. Subsequently, he leaves his wife and child for a younger actress, and fathers three children with her.
This movie is strong primarily because of its protagonists. Chelsea Islan is terrific as Alfie, a vulnerable yet tough young woman with conflicted feelings about the father who abandoned her. She was a well realized character and I enjoyed her journey. As expected, her relationship with her stepmother is highly strained but refreshingly, she has a warm funny rapport with her half siblings, especially her brother Ruben (Rafael).
And all that drama carried an excellent fright show that owes more than a little bit to The Evil Dead in terms of possessed hijinks, a stylish haunted house atmosphere and fun gore.
What We’re Afraid Of: No mystery here. There’s the sins of a Faustian bargain made for upward economic and social mobility visiting you to bite you and your loved ones in the ass.