The sins of the past come back with a vengeance in this new film from two of Indonesia’s modern masters of horror. It is one of the best horror thrillers I’ve seen in a long time. The Queen of Black Magic was directed by Kimo Stamboel (HEADSHOT) and written by Joko Anwar (SANTAN’S SLAVES, IMPETIGORE). The film stars S Ario Bayu (IMPETIGORE), Hannah Al Rashid (V/H/S/2, THE NIGHT COMES FOR US), Adhisty Zara (TWO BLUE STRIPES), and Muzakki Ramdhan.
Synopsis for The Queen of Black Magic
A family travels to the distant, rural orphanage where the father was raised to pay their respects to the facility’s gravely ill director. But his and his best friends’ homecoming turns into a terrifying supernatural ordeal that threatens their and their families’ lives: someone is using dark magic to avenge evil deeds, long-buried but not forgotten. Stamboel’s film is a reimagining of the 1981 Indonesian horror classic of the same name.
First, I have never seen the original 1981 film, but I plan to do so soon. That being said, The Queen of Black Magic was an incredible viewing experience. It was a haunting and terrifying revenge story with powerful performances, and scenes that delivered pure nightmare fuel. The Queen of Magic blended different subgenres together and creates something wickedly magical.
As previously mentioned, this is a revenge story of epic proportions and no one is safe, even if you think you’re “innocent.” I loved how the story unfolded layer by layer and took time building the suspension and mystery. It gives time to build a relationship with the characters and when chaos devours them, the viewer can’t help but feel invested and horrified by the crazy turn of events. All of the performances were outstanding and emotionally powerful in The Queen of Magic. Out of all them, I think I was blown away by Muzakki Ramdhan the most. He may be young, but he was phenomenal and his character goes through hell and back. It’s devastating to watch.
This film doesn’t hold back on the blood and gore and excelled at delivering pure fear and shock. Some of the scenes were horrifying and cringe-worthy. I found myself holding my breath and looking away – specifically during one traumatizing scene where here a character is cutting the skin away from their body!
The Queen of Black Magic promises visceral body horror, tormented folklore, and an inescapable past and it delivered on all aspects. I was blown away by this film and I think this will become a horror classic. It is now exclusively streaming on Shudder and I highly recommend checking it out!