Communion (2022) by Joko Anwar

Sequel to the great Satan’s Slaves, “Communion” is the first Indonesian film to be released in the IMAX format, and a huge box office success that has already become the third highest-grossing Indonesian film of all time, grossing 6.3 million. viewers.

Satan’s Slaves 2: Communion is available from Shudder

The film actually begins in the 1950s, when a photographer is “invited” by a friend to a truly hellish setting, where a number of bodies have been exhumed and used for some sort of satanic ritual, the friend asking the photographer to do everything in his power to let people know what is going on. In the 1980s, several years after managing to save themselves from the terrible events that led to the death of their mother and youngest brother, Ian, the family now lives in an apartment building. Rini, Toni and Bondi all have their own things going on. Toni is very fond of Tari, a neighbor who works at a resort, who eventually grows close to him when she asks him to fix her radio. Bondi is very afraid of anything unusual, and the fact that he discovers graves near the building does not help his fragile mentality. Rini, on the other hand, has decided to study and is about to leave the family home, a day before heavy rains are forecast for the area. The Father, still in shock, is determined to stay in the building, simply because he thinks the presence of so many people will bring some kind of security. The night before Rini leaves, however, the nightmare begins again.

Joko Anwar once again proves he’s a master of his craft, with the film excelling in every aspect, in a way that’s on a much higher level than similar genre entries. One only has to watch the elevator sequence, where Dinda Amanda’s sound, Dinda Amanda’s editing and Ical Tanjung’s cinematography come together in the most stunning way to kick off the action in the film, to realize the artistry involved here. .

The intense focus on the child protagonists could be said to resemble a “Stranger Things” vibe, but the presence of Rini, Tari, and the Father in essentially equal measure dampens that aspect, as much as the commentary included in the narrative. Regarding this last element, Joko Anwar makes a rather sharp comment on religion, with the way the priest insinuates himself into the lives of his neighbors when things start to take a dangerous direction, and his current motive, highlighting it in the best way, also because the remark is organically anchored in the narrative. The ending itself, and in particular the reference to the Bandung Conference, also points in the same direction, although I think this element will be better explored in the third part of the series, which Anwar has already alluded to.

As usual in Anwar horror movies, the best part is the atmosphere. Here he builds it slowly, taking his time to show how previous events have shaped his characters and also to introduce his new ones, while adding more and more supernatural and non-supernatural elements in order to create a real setting of terror. The elevator scene kicks it all off, and the tension builds from there, with Anwar including some well-placed moments of relief, which also serve to drive the story forward. The skipped cuts are there, but are organically implemented into the narrative, even completely out of place on occasion, in an approach that also highlights the clever sense of humor found throughout the film.

Also noteworthy is the excellent use of the building, with DP Ical Tanjung creating a truly hellish setting through a claustrophobic prism, with the entire “exploitation” of the block intensely reminiscent of “The Raid: Redemption”. Finally, Dinda Amanda’s editing adds to both the atmosphere and the presentation of the story by setting up the flashbacks of the 50s, while setting up a rather fast pace which befits the film perfectly. overall aesthetic. At the same time, and although the film’s production values ​​are at a fairly high level, a little more violence and the grotesque, as in some of the Indonesian’s previous films (“Forbidden Door” for example) would certainly benefit the film.

Tara Bastro as Rini highlights the chemistry she shares with Anwar once again, in a more mature role than those in the past as an older sister/mother figure, which seems to suit her quite well. Bront Palarae as the father has a smaller role this time around but still manages to steal the show on occasion, especially in the elevator scene. Endy Arfian as Toni and Nasaz Anuz as Bondi share great chemistry as big and little brother, while Ratu Felisha also steals the show as both the desired and in-the-know woman, and as ” victim” of the priest.

“Satan’s Slaves: Communion” may appeal to younger audiences than the horrors of Anwar’s past, but the artistry, humor, story, cleverly presented commentary and above all the atmosphere are once more at the top level, underlining the fact that the Indonesian is a master of his craft.

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