Imagine paying a visit to the hospital to see your partner’s sick step-father and the old man ends up puking on your face. ‘Yuck’ probably doesn’t cut it. Well, that’s just one of the disgusting scenes in the 2018 horror movie “May The Devil Take You” and it takes place in the very first 15-20 minutes.
Directed and written by Timo Tjahjanto, this Indonesian horror flick has an interesting story, but the makers focus more on grossing the viewer out, than simply scaring them. It reminds one of “Drag Me To Hell” by famous horror director Sam Raini, which pretty much uses the same formula – disgust your viewer with creepy/ridiculous scenes. Well, let’s get to the plot – a young woman called Alfie (Chelsea Islan) goes to her father’s old villa to find some answers after he falls seriously ill. Her step-mom and three step-siblings also turn up at the isolated property the same night, in hopes of finding something that could help them financially. But none of them are ready for a deep dark secret that lives in the cursed house, where the patriarch Leslana (Ray Sahetapy) had made a sinister deal with the devil.
The cast does a pretty fantastic job in the acting department, but it’s the absurd exaggerated story-telling that soon starts testing the viewer’s patience. It’s hard to understand why Leslana has a villa in the middle of nowhere, or why the kids decide to waste an entire day doing nothing, after a traumatic night of supernatural events. Also, why does nobody have a phone charger?
Timo Tjahjanto uses ancient horror tropes, exaggerates them, and in the end, seasoned horror enthusiasts are just left laughing at some scenes that are meant to be serious and scary. Themes of Satanism, voodoo and the classic ‘devil’s bargain’ is used without any new twists. Towards the climax, things begin to drag for no reason and the movie could’ve ended 20 minutes earlier.
Chelsea Islan, the lead actor, for some reason kept reminding me of Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt. “She acts way better than Alia Bhatt!” pat came the reply from someone who was watching it with me, when I made the observation. Islan does to a pretty great job, so does Pevita Pearce, who plays her mean step-sister Maya. However, the cast cannot make up for the fallacies of the script.
It’s a 5/10 from me.
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