I can’t phrase it any better than this: Satan’s Slaves is a damn fine horror flick. Director Joko Anwar put together an intense, atmospheric, and frightening AF scare-factory. If you enjoy The Conjuring series’ style of scares than you’ll feel right at home with this wild nightmare machine.
If the world were fair, Rini (Tara Basro) wouldn’t have to be her family’s matriarch, but hey, that’s life living in a cursed home. Her family has struggled ever since a mysterious illness derailed her pop star mother’s career three years ago. Now Rini, eldest child, granddaughter, and sister to two younger brothers, looks after everyone while her father works. Things take a supernatural turn when the mother passes away, and the father (Bront Palarae) leaves town for a job. Their mother may have died, but she hasn’t moved on. Her spirit remains, lurking in the shadows and tormenting the kids. As Rini uncovers her family’s dark past, it’s clear what the evil spirit wants and why she’ll stop at nothing to get it.
The reason Satan’s Slaves works like gangbusters isn’t because of its many great scares. The movie works because we feel the warmth and affection between the people in peril. You get the sense that these are genuinely good people who care for one another and would do anything to protect each other. These intimate family bonds raise the emotional stakes because these aren’t throwaway characters in a slasher flick. You care about these characters, which intensifies your sense of dread when they’re put in jeopardy. When they confront one of the picture’s excellent set pieces, the anxiety-level goes through the roof.
Satan’s Slaves is one of the year’s scariest movies; it’s a film that dares you to watch it at home, alone with the lights off.