May the Devil Take You (Sebelum Iblis Menjemput)
17th October 2018 8.45pm at Curzon Soho
18th October 2018 3.30pm at ICA Cinema
Every once in a while, a horror film comes along that is so well executed, and so finely tuned it will send shivers down your spine. May the Devil Take You (Sebelum Iblis Menjemput) is not one of them. Featuring over-the-top effects, plenty of overacting with endless screaming – as well as every cliché in the book – this movie will leave viewers screaming with laughter.
The plot is as ridiculous as it is entertaining. Alfie (Chelsea Islan), a 20-something woman estranged from her family, pays her dying father an overdue visit. Since nobody knows the cause or type of disease plaguing his body, she joins her step-siblings and their mother to the father’s run-down villa to discover clues that could help him. It turns out he had made a pact with the devil – selling the souls of his own family in return for financial success. Now, Alfie and her stepfamily have to deal with the consequences of his foolishness.
Undoubtedly inspired by 80s slasher films such as The Evil Dead, director Timo Tjahjanto uses largely jump scares and gore to shock the audience, rather than relying on atmosphere and subtlety. Everything is overflowing with blood and muck: the actors, the villa, the woods. Coupled with a soundtrack which is too loud more often than not, this makes for a feature which is hilariously excessive – an effect enhanced by the ridiculous storyline with several plot holes. That’s not to mention characters who just gaze in horror while their family is being torn to shreds, or who don’t seem to care when their mother is possessed.
The cast, too, mostly resorts to overacting. Jaded Alfie is constantly miserable and aggressive to everyone. Ruben (Samo Rafael), the dorky stepbrother, is so silly and nerdy that it’s hardly a surprise when he gets it. But Maya (Pevita Pearce) takes the cake, first screaming around until she sounds hoarse, and then laughing like a second-rate movie villain once she’s possessed.
May the Devil Take You is hardly a success if it is meant to be taken seriously as a horror film. But so many different things are combined in this picture that one can hardly believe that it’s not meant to be a comedy. A miserable failure as a horror flick, but wildly entertaining nonetheless – for an audience which can stomach the gore.
May the Devil Take You (Sebelum Iblis Menjemput) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for May The Devil Take You (Sebelum Iblis Menjemput) here: