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Review The Queen of Black Magic a.k.a. Ratu Ilmu Hitam (2019): Definitely one I can recommend!

genre: drama, horror, mystery

This is a remake of the 1981 movie 'Ratu Ilmu Hitam', starring Indonesia's most notorious scream queen, Suzzanna. Not going to lie, never heard of her existence, so I am very curious about her and this original. I only found this out after having watched it, and therefore do feel compelled to do a review on the original, when I can track down a copy. The remake is about three men and their families revisiting the orphanage where they grew up, and discover a horrific supernatural presence lingering in their former home.

Naturally, the premise is compelling from the start, and they do a good job of establishing the setting and the characters. There is a huge contrast between how children are being raised in the orphanage and the children of the orphans who are now parents themselves. One of the kids, the youngest who is named Haqi demonstrates this by asking about WI-FI and not knowing what a video recorder is. Apart from the joke, it also emphasizes that this orphanage is in the middle of nowhere and where you won't be getting any help soon if they were to need it. Most of the modern Indonesian horror titles I have seen seem to bank on this element, and rightfully so, since it is very effective. It's therefore quite fun to watch the characters get into certain predicaments and have no clue to get out of them. Even when some of the people aren't that likeable, you do empathize with their situation. So, director Kimo Stamboel is capable of delivering good horror content.

As the terror increases, the mystery gets unravelled. A common horror trope, but one I often appreciate since it gives films like these more substance and some social and political commentary. More importantly, events get very gruesome in the most rewarding ways. So definitely one I can recommend!

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