Review: “Perempuan Tanah Jahanam” Proves Joko Anwar’s Thriller Prowess
We admit that “Gundala” let us down in some ways we wouldn’t think it would. Coming from a critically acclaimed director, Joko Anwar, the superhero movie made us think about his ability in sewing a coherent plot. A month after “Gundala”, the director revealed another project called “Perempuan Tanah Jahanam” starring Tara Basro, Marissa Anita, Christine Hakim, Asmara Abigail, and Ario Bayu. Of course, we were filled with excitement since the director is known as a maestro for thriller or mystery movies. The film talks about a woman named Maya (Tara Basro) who worked night shift as a highway ticketing officer. She noticed something peculiar while working her shift, an old car passed through her gate several times a day and the driver looked at her like he knew her. While telling the odd story to her workmate, Dini (Marissa Anita), the guy with a vintage car passed again and asked weird question about her origin and parents. He said that her family left a curse that haunted a village named Harjosari that she must revoked. He attempted to murder her, before police shot him dead. The incident left her traumatised, so she left her job and started a business with her workmate, Dini.
Maya grew up with her aunt who never told her about her biological parents or where she came from. Since the incident with the weird man happened, she grew more anxious about her past so she found an old picture with a man, a woman, and a little kid that looked like her 5-year-old self in front of a huge house. In the back of the picture, it was said “Rahayu”, a name that the weird guy told her before. Maya and Dini aimed to unveil the origin of that photo and thought that Maya’s parents must left a huge inheritance that could make them rich in an instant. Unknowingly, their journey to uncover the past led them to a bloody, mysterious, and scary experience that they would have never imagined.
“Perempuan Tanah Jahanam” sews a more coherent and believable plot than Joko Anwar’s previous effort in “Gundala”. We are aware that both movies serve an entirely different genre, but since the filmmaker is the same person, comparing how he build a plot should be taken into consideration. He truly showcased his prowess in creating horror narration that was unlike any other Indonesian horror movies which are predictable. Tara Basro embodied her role as Maya who is naive and confused. The real star who stole our attention in this movie is no other than Christine Hakim who played the role of Nyi Misni. She showed how acting should be done and her little physical gestures were so on point. The jump-scares were plenty and unpredictable, with images that could haunt your dreams at night. Mind you, the movie also contained explicit scenes with lots of blood, so brace yourself beforehand. It’s a delightful horror thriller movie that mystery fans should watch!