7/20/2020

Impetigore (Review)

Writer/ Director: Joko Anwar
Cast: Tara Basro, Ario Bayu, Marissa Anita, Christine Hakim, Asmara Abigail, Niki Narenda
Year: 2019
Min: 106

It is night time and Maya (Tara Basro) is working at a toll booth. She's on the phone telling her friend, Dini (Marissa Anita), who is working at another toll booth, about some stalker. Soon said stalker appears and tries to kill her. He is soon shot dead by the cops. Later on, thanks to a photo from her aunt and what the creeper told her, she finds out that she has inherited a large house in a small village. She and Dini go to said village to get the inheritance. Soon, they realize that something is very wrong there, and their lives are at risk in increasing danger.

That is about all I will tell you about the plot, since part Impetigore is the mystery of it. The flick is an Indonesian, supernatural horror film from the country's reigning master of the genre, Joko (Satan's Slave) Anwar. He serves as writer and director of this creepy and decidedly fresh take on ghosts and witchcraft. As much as I enjoyed his earlier movie Satan's Slaves, I think this one is even better.

Anwar's directing is top notch. The beginning of the film is creepy as fucking hell and builds tension really well. It is a legitimately scary scene that is exactly how you start off a horror movie! The flick actually has some genuinely spine-chilling moments throughout. Anwar really know how to build fear and suspense, especially in stalk and chase sequences. Even when the movie looks like it is headed into generic territory, it ends up being done in a good and gory way. For example what you will early on dismiss as typical creepy kid ghosts are done so well here, especially in terms of one bloody, good shock scene.

Speaking of gory, the movie has some real holy shit moments. For example, there is one featuring already flayed skin that is hung out to dry that made even this jaded old gorehound's eyes pop out! While, American horror is usually afraid to tackle the killing of children, this movie ain't. Yet, it doesn't feel exploitative or for pure shock value, as it is of utmost importance to the plot. Splatter wise, the film really loves throat slashings, flayings, and machete mayhem.

Credit must be also be given to Anwar's script. The mystery of what is going on is interestingly constructed and very well done. It may unravel slowly, but throughout the movie it keeps your attention glued to what is happening onscreen. There are some really good twists that propel the action and tale being told. The shock ending could've come out as silly, but it's actually decidedly unnerving.

The acting is excellent and the cast really bring their respective characters to life. Especially good are Tara Masro as Maya and Marissa Anita as Dini. Both are super likable and have great chemistry with each other. As such, their friendship is handled really well.

Impetigore is so fucking good! It is a solid shocker with a mysterious plot that really holds you in its tight, icy grip. This is achieved through Anwar's white knuckle directing and tight script. The flick is hair-raising, edge of your seat genre film-making. I especially love the way the storyline unfolds. Shocking bits of graphic violence further adds to the uneasiness. The excellent acting, especially from Basro and Anita, add more merits to the film. Anwar continues to show that he is a force to be reckoned with in Indonesian/ Asian horror. You should check this out for yourself when the movie begins streaming on Shudder this Thursday, July 23, 2020.


3 out of 4

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