Best friends Maya (Tara Basro) and Dini (Marissa Anita) are tired of being stuck in monotonous, dead-end jobs. Working at toll booths is not their style and they dream of one day opening a clothing store. One night, while at work, Maya is attacked by a mysterious man who leaves behind an ominous message, “We just don’t want what your family left behind”. Maya and Dini soon start a struggling clothing store but Maya continues to remember the attack. She soon finds a photo of her deceased parents in her late aunt’s belongings. Maya is then compelled, with Dini, to travel to her childhood village and learn of the disturbing legacy her family left behind.
Written and directed by Joko Anwar, Impetigore is an Indonesian horror/mystery. A follow-up to the excellent Satan’s Slaves (2017), Impetigore is equally impressive as it is effective. Joko Anwar’s horror films tend to have a nice mixture of ghostly creepiness with disturbing gore and Impetigore is no exception. Being introduced to the village where Maya grew up sets the tone perfectly for what is yet to come. The village’s set design is eerie and otherworldly with bits of story sprinkled in just the right places to keep the viewer in suspense. Later, when the bloody violence starts to escalate, the audience is hooked by the narrative and can’t help but to view the ongoing horrors.
While the beginning of the story is told quite well the conclusion, unfortunately, is a bit clumsy. We get a dump of dialogue that, while answering most of the viewer’s questions, also feels extremely rushed in comparison to the rest of the film. So many plot points are wrapped up at once that I had to watch the reveal a couple of times to fully understand the ending. A slower, more deliberate approach to the finale would have been greatly appreciated. Another minor criticism is the lack of practical effects. This was probably do to time or budget constraints, however, and the special effects are serviceable in getting the job done.
Overall, I feel Impetigore is an excellent addition to Joko Anwar’s impressive resume and the Indonesian horror genre. Even with the accelerated, clunky ending and lack of practical effects, Impetigore still nails its story buildup and atmosphere. Trust me when I say that Impetigore lives up to the name. The scenarios at the end are truly gory and impressively disturbing. Any horror fan that loves their ghost stories sinister and bloody will love Impetigore. Impetigore is currently streaming on Shudder.
I give Impetigore 5 out of 6 reels.
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