In 1982, a horror movie called “Pengabdi Setan” by Sisworo Gautama Putra shook the horror film scene at that time. The film gives Indonesian audience a taste of cultism, black magic, superstition, and horrendous creatures with a mix of religious flair as its opposite. Fast forward to thirty-five years later in 2017, filmmaker Joko Anwar decided to remake this film with the same title, but with an enhanced horror flavor and plotlines. Pengabdi Setan was taking place in the 80’s and centered around the story of a family. It was told that Ibu (Ayu Laksmi) was critically ill, and she was a popular singer back in her days, however those glory days had passed and she could not make the same fortune as she did. Ibu was taken care of by her husband, Suwono (Bront Palarae) and her four children, Rini (Tara Basro), Tony (Endy Arfian), Bondi (Nasar Annuz) and Ian (M.Adhiyat). Unfortunately, her health could not be recovered and she passed away. Her death haunted the rest of his family who could not be at ease as her spirit loomed over the house. The family members had to break away from this curse and lived their lives peacefully.
With this plot line which is seemingly simple, Joko Anwar puts money where his mouth is. He was capable to present a great music scoring for this film. Aghi Narottama, Bembi Gusti and Tony Merle who are in charge in this department clearly understand the style of Joko Anwar’s film and they successfully helped raising goosebumps and excitement while watching the movie with the scoring. The ghosts and creatures in this film do not get enhanced by CGI, so it’s all down to make up and wardrobe. The blood, flayed skin, and ugly faces looked realistic enough to scare us, even though the wardrobe choice should be better considering the film was set in the 80’s. It feels a tad more modern looking than it should be. Pengabdi Setan managed to insert comedic side into their dialogues and scene without decreasing the scary factor of the whole movie. This is ladies and gentlemen, how a horror remake should be done. It could be a further reference for other horror movies in Indonesia. You should watch the film and test your braveness!