The Reel Review
This sequel to the 2017 Indonesian supernatural horror Satan’s Slaves has the surviving Suwono family members, three years after uncovering their matriarch’s pact with Satan, finding new terror in their new home in a dreary, rundown high-rise apartment building on the outskirts of North Jakarta. When an approaching monsoon knocks out the building’s power, family members find themselves battling a new legion of the dead.
Writer/director Joko Anwar swings for the fences in this overstuffed, two-and-a-half-hour sequel, showing us that both his filmmaking techniques and his budget have grown substantially since the prior film. A shoddily constructed apartment building situated in the middle of a flood plain (and where a cemetery once stood) is the centerpiece of this first Indonesian film shot in IMAX.
Set in 1984, the drama unfolds when newly dead inhabitants from a horrifying elevator disaster start haunting the building’s inhabitants. With much of the cast from the prior film reprising their roles, there is plenty of suspense, some effectively gory moments, and even some gallows humor – all set to a chilling score.
The approaching monsoon and resulting power outage results in much of the second half of the film taking place in the dark, making it both spookier and frustratingly harder to follow. The film has more of a scream-filled haunted house vibe than anything truly terrifying, with a rushed finale setting up what is almost certain to be another sequel. While this is an improvement from 2017’s Satan’s Slaves, here’s to hoping the next installment in the franchise will be even better.
• With estimated box office revenues of more than $19 million, Satan’s Slaves 2: Communion is Indonesia’s 3rd highest grossing domestic film of all time. 2017’s Satan’s Slaves is 9th.
• Born in Jakarta and educated in Australia, 5’4″ Tara Basro was a teen model before her current career as an actress. In 2020 she was nominated for the Citra Award for Best Actress at the Indonesian Film Festival, for Impetigore, which also was directed by Joko Anwar.
• Joko Anwar already has indicated that there will be another sequel.
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