Satan’s Slaves is a 2017 Indonesian horror film directed by Joko Anwar. It’s distributed by Rapi films and CJ Entertainment. The film made it’s Northeast American debut at the Cinepocalypse 2018 Film Festival. It’s a remake of the 1980 horror film Pengabdi Setan.
A former singer turned mother dies after a three year illness leaving the family penniless. The father leaves the kids shortly thereafter to take a job in town. While he is gone strange things start to happen signaling the mother’s return as a ghost to take the children back to the land of the dead with her.
For years I prided myself as a person who watches horror films from around the world who has seen it all and could not be frightened very easy. Along comes a film like Satan Slaves not only to prove me wrong but scare the pants off of me. I used to have the original film on a split DVD with another Eastern horror film called Corpse Master (sadly it’s out of print and my copy got lost in the wild during a move). Normally, a horror remake hardly does the original film justice; however, the 2018 Satan’s Slaves not only does the 1980 version justice, it surpasses it. The film was budgeted at $150,000 US and managed to haul in 16.2 million US in box office receipts and won some major awards in its home country. Based on these factors a sequel is in the works and slated for a 2019 release.
As stated earlier, this film managed to creep out and scare me as it unfolded. Also, another trope I noticed is its use of the Muslim belief system instead of the usual Christian ways of fending off the evil force that is vexing the family. However, like with most horror movies of this type it doesn’t work out quite the way it is hoped to be by the family. As family secrets are revealed, a way to end the nightmare is found but itself comes with a high price. The question is whether the family will pay it or try to find another solution. To answer these questions would be to spoil the fun of watching this masterpiece of horror. Don’t let the fact it is subtitled or the length of the film throw you off, it is worth the investment. Plus, there is a nice scene that connects this movie with its original.
Keep your eyes out for a home video, VOD, or streaming release, because you don’t want to miss out on this one.