1/25/2021

The Queen of Black Magic (2019) (Review)

Director: Kimo Stamboel
Writer: Joko Anwar
Cast: Ario Bayu, Hannah Al Rashid, Adhisty Zara, Muzakki Ramdhan, Ari Irham, Ade Firman Hakim
Year: 2019
Min: 99

Three young men bring their wives and children with them, as they visit the orphanage that they grew up at. Their purpose being to visit the old man, Mr. Bandi (Yayu A.W. Unru), that ran the orphanage, as he is sick and dying. While, there creepy and increasingly weird things begin to happen, as the place is haunted by the vengeful spirit of Ms. Mirah (Ruth Marini), who used to work there. The reasons for her vengeance are slowly revealed, as the horrible truths of what happened there begin to come to the surface.

The Queen of Black Magic is a very loose, Indonesian remake of the 1981 horror film of the same name and country of origin (stills of which appear during the end credits, if I am not mistaken). I have never seen that film, but have heard of it. That flick will be coming to Shudder next month, February 1, 2021, where we will all be able to see it. For now, this one will be coming to Shudder this Thursday, January 28th. 

Directed by Kimo Stamboel and written by the country's reigning master of horror, Joko (Impetigore, Satan's Slaves) Anwar, the film starts with a slam-bang of a beginning. As we see the first family we are introduced to hit what they think is the dead deer that they see on the road. But, we, and not the family, see a dead girl. It is a great what the fuck moment that sets the whole thing in motion. And, while it slows down considerably from there, once it gets going again, it doesn't let up.

The movie, at first, has a lot of generic and predictable moments, which might even lead you to believe that it is not much more than another clone of The Ring. But, even when it seems to be at its most predictable, it always remains an entertaining watch. And, once the movie gets further along, it has some nice shocking twists which I won't discuss here. All I'll say is that they make the flick get under your skin and makes you feel uncomfortable. 

And, trust me when I say that this one doesn't fuck around. As, there are some really gruesome gore moments dispersed throughout the movie. They include: self slicing, centipede barfing, literal head banging (as in the kind that doesn't involving listening to Slayer), a truly wince inducing staple to the mouth, hot water baths, a vicious decapitation that ranks as one of last year's best kills, and more! 

Most of the CGI is actually pretty good, including a great scene involving centipedes crawling out of someone's skin. But, even in parts with weaker CGI, the film is so well directed by Stamboel, that you'll be caught up in the moment and won't care much. Stamboel also really knows how to use jump scares to effective results. Thanks to his solid directing we get a great looking film, that is further helped along by the excellent acting by the cast.

The Queen of the Black Magic is a wonderfully entertaining, supernatural gorefest that is an absolute blast to watch! It is a bit slow after that roadkill beginning, but once it gets going again it moves at a faster and faster clip. By the end, it simply flies by! While at first, it looks like it is gonna be another generic female ghost flick, it has enough surprising twists to stand out amongst its competition. Plus, it's also good looking, has mostly solid FX, and is further strengthen by good acting. Pumped up with some truly stomach churning gross-out moments, fans of harder edge horror will be enjoying the hell out of it. 


3 out of 4

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