Film Review: The Queen of Black Magic

At the end of last century, horror cinema had lost its mojo. After the golden age of the 1980s and the rise of big franchises, the next decade was a damp squib. However, the twenty-first century has seen a huge resurgence, initially sparked by Japanese and South Korean films. In recent years, Indonesia has shown itself to be a hotbed of talent. Not least Kimo Stamboel (a Mo Brother) and Joko Anwar (Satan’s Slave, Impetigore). They team-up on The Queen of Black Magic.

Hanif (Ario Bayu) takes his family to the rural orphanage where he was brought up. The director is terminally ill and, along with a group of friends he grew up with, the happy family man wants to pay his last respects. Show his gratitude. When they arrive, they find the home largely empty and looking like it has seen better days. While their reunion is slightly awkward, events soon take a darker turn with the discovery of a bus full of dead children and the tale of an evil curse.

Although it’s a reimagining of Liliek Sudjio’s 1981 film of the same name, The Queen of Black Magic is unmistakably the vision of the writer and director. As you’d expect given their bodies of work, there’s plenty of gore, brutal deaths and strange occult phenomena on show. Indeed, while it takes a little time to get going, when it does it never lets up. The Queen of Black Magic is a bloody slice of supernatural chaos.

The Queen of Black Magic is exclusively on Shudder from 28 January.

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