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One Movie Punch

Nov 26, 2018

Hi everyone!

Welcome back to the podcast. This is the first of two podcasts today as we get caught up from the wildfire evacuation. I’ll be continuing my story from the wildfire evacuation in a minute, but if you haven’t heard the earlier segments, hit pause, then go back to my review for “Outlaw King” (Episode #314) for the first segment, then listen every episode after that for another installment. Let me know you’re listening by sharing this episode with #WelcomeBackOMP. 

Last segment ended with my family having fled inside our host family’s home after the smoke had blown back towards us, then receiving the notification that our mandatory evacuation had been lifted. We had discussed earlier that day, before the smoke, that maybe we should stay where we were even if we got the okay to repopulate, because of air quality. But now the choice was to be stuck inside their house or inside our own home, and we chose the latter, after repacking our car for what we hoped would be the last time, and thanking the host family, with a promise to cook dinner for their family once everything settled down. It’s the least we could do for the shelter they gave us.

Speaking of giving thanks, while I can’t make dinner for him, I would like to thank @paul_patton for reaching out on Twitter while the podcast was offline. I traded posts with him during the 2017 #DLMChallenge, and we’ve kept in touch since, although not as frequently. Thanks, Paul!

Today’s movie is “May The Devil Take You” (2018), the Indonesian Netflix Original horror film written and directed by Timo Tjahjanto. The film follows Alfie (Chelsea Islan), who is called to the hospital after her father Lesmana (Ray Sahetapy) contracts a strange illness. His second wife Laksmi (Karina Suwandhi), attempting to deal with Lesmana’s financial failure, wants to liquidate a property in Alfie’s name, and when they visit the home, release an evil responsible for Lesmana’s success and current state of decline.

Spoilers ahead.

I was a little nervous to watch this one, given the string of Indonesian horror films Netflix has chosen to import. “The Third Eye” (Episode #276) and “Kuntilanak” (Episode #297) were less than entertaining, but today’s film was helmed by Timo Tjahjanto, who blew me away recently with “The Night Comes For Us” (Episode #295), so I was intrigued, and hoping he would bring the same level of brutalism to today’s film. And the result? Mostly derivative, but with a few strengths, and enough to restore my hope in future Indonesian horror films. I really hope my upcoming review for “Sabrina” (Episode #328) holds up as well. 

“May the Devil Take You” is definitely a derivative film, a combination devil’s bargain, possession, and haunted house horror film that doesn’t pull too many punches. That handicaps the score quite a bit for me, especially since the film doesn’t really break any new ground. However, when done right, a derivative film can be a pleasure to watch, and I would say this film is done right, if not necessarily done well. Sure, the story is reductive, but there are a few moments that I thought were cleverly done, whether that was POV camera work, or practical scares, or every scene with a hammer. Nothing really stood out too much as an eyesore, aside from maybe all the bloody vomit that just seemed to be there for the squirm factor. It revels in its derivative nature, which lowered my expectations while increasing my enjoyment.

Once you figure out the sort of film you’re watching, it makes appreciating it a lot easier, for whatever it is instead of whatever it might be. It also makes finding things to like about the film easier, like the performances by Chelsea Islan as Alfie, and Pevita Pearce as Maya, Alfie’s stepsister, even as the script took random turns for their characters. Solid effects, sets and costumes. Decent, if derived messaging. Put all that together with the clever moments mentioned earlier, and you have a thoroughly enjoyable film, at least for horror films. 

“May the Devil Take You” (2018) is the first Netflix Original Indonesian horror film I’ve liked, despite its derived and reductive nature. While it doesn’t break any new ground, it is still a decent film with more than a few solid scenes and moments. Horror fans looking for an easy watch, aside from the massive amounts of blood, should definitely give this a shot, and appreciate it for what it is.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

Metacritic: NR

One Movie Punch: 7.6/10

“May the Devil Take You” (2018) is rated TV-MA and is currently streaming on Netflix.