Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Shudder: May the Devil Take You Too

The problem with surviving a horror movie is it’s never really over. This is the second demonic rodeo for all the characters we are about to meet, so that necessarily means some will not be so lucky this time around. In the previous film, Alfie Wijaya and her little step-sister Nara literally survived an encounter with the Devil, but she is still haunted by the experience. Nevertheless, a group of terrified Indonesian orphans abducts her in the belief she can help them defeat their old demonic tormentor, who has recently reasserted himself. Wijaya suspects her presence will be like fighting a grease fire with a can of gasoline, but nobody asks her opinion in Timo Tjahjanto’s May the Devil Take You Too, which premieres tomorrow on Shudder.

Budi, Jenar, Martha, Gadis, Leo, Kristi, and Dewi are sort of like the grown-kids from
It, except they were horribly abused orphans—and Dewi will be killed in the prologue. They grew up in a provincial orphanage, where they became accustomed to the cruelty of wealthy founder Pak Ayub. However, they were forced to kill him when they discovered Ayub intended to sacrifice them to the demon Molloch. They thought that was the end of it until his demonic spirit started attacking Gadis, the weakest of their circle.

Martha, the bookish one, studied the old demon-worshiper’s Black Bible and identified Wijaya as a demonic survivor with enough mojo to deliver the necessary incantations. She did not go easily and she remains skeptical. However, when the irredeemable Ayub starts possessing and killing his former victims, Wijaya is forced to go along with the plan, in order to protect Nara.

Although the concept is not exactly unprecedented, there is still a good deal of utter and complete lunacy in
Take You Too. Arguably, it is also a bit restrained compared to some of Tjahjanto’s previous work (especially as part of the Mo Brothers), but there are still a fair number of over-the-top gross-out scenes. It certainly should not diminish Tjahjanto’s fan following. To the contrary, the way the eerie sense of foreboding gets under viewers’ skin and leads to rapidly escalating anxiety should only burnish his rep.

Take Me Too
is massively creepy cinema, but it also a loud, unruly pinball machine-style film and Chelsea Islan is at the center of all the bedlam. As Wijaya, she rages and roars like a Vandal plundering Rome. It is quite a spectacle to behold. Islan is definitely who you’ll remember, but Karina Salim has some nicely turned moments of pathos as shy Martha.

Brace yourself, because
Take You Too is a wild ride, culminating in a conclusion that is both totally off-the-wall and profoundly unsettling, on a metaphysical level. Just as it reinforces Tjjahjanto’s reputation as a horror master, it also maintains the momentum for Indonesian horror, which has been having an international moment with the success of films like Joko Anwar’s Satan’s Slaves and Impetigore, as well as the Mo Brothers’ Killers. Highly recommended for fans of demonic horror, May the Devil Take You Too starts streaming tomorrow (10/29), on Shudder.