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Film Review: Satan's Slaves (2018) - Good Atmosphere, But Ruined in Zombies and Sadako...

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

FILE PHOTO: A Screening of SATAN'S SLAVES (2018). ©Ryota Nakanishi
FILE PHOTO: A Screening of SATAN'S SLAVES (2018). ©Ryota Nakanishi

This Indonesian genre film is originally a prequel to the Satan's Slave (Dir. Sisworo Gautama Putra, 1982) which is a kind of imitation of Phantasm (1979).

However, it has real originality with creating of Satan which holding umbrellas in dark forests. It has something really Lucio Fulci-like realist quality of horror imaginary. It is a serious attempt to create the real image of demon in the modern sense. This is positive side of this genre film.

Moreover, the actress Tara Basro is typical face of contemporary actress in Japan and other parts of Asia. You can easily find common features in your familiar Asian actress. In this film, female protagonist is not a target of antagonists who want to kidnap the boy Ian who created by Satan.

Indonesia is more closer to Western and Middle East Islam cultures than Japan or China. Satanism is something does not fit to East Asia however it does fit Indonesia. This film proved that due to Indonesia being the largest Islamic country in East and South East Asia. And Islamism itself contains the basic dualism of God and Evil which links to the Western Christ religions.

As the result, the art direction is also affected by this cultural linkage between Islam and Western religions. The typical example is the Rini's house design. It is like house in The Amityville Horror (1979). It is quite Westernised mood of horror film. Japan, Taiwan or Hong Kong can't create the similar stylish atmosphere in their environment due to their cultural background. Tombs are also qualitative works in this way.

On the contrary to these features which highly realistic and successful cultural mixture, this film actually is ruined by the imitation of zombies and Sadako-like ghost performance...

The Act 3, in which, demon with umbrellas are the best expression of creating antagonist imageries, however, when they are sifted by zombies, this film's originality and its solemn mood are severely damaged into parody of zombie films. And its female ghosts are very similar to Sadako's figure. It has this film an imitation of Japanese ghost Horror films like, Ring (1998).

The Act3 should be reedited. It is not a story issue but the narrative devices like Sadako and zombies actually failed this film at the end.

FILE PHOTO: A Still image of SATAN'S SLAVES (2018). ©Ryota Nakanishi
FILE PHOTO: A Still Image of SATAN'S SLAVES (2018). ©Ryota Nakanishi


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