Satan’s Slaves: Communion


Satan’s Slaves: Communion

Indonesia, 2022, 120’, Indonesian
Directed by: Joko Anwar
Screenplay: Joko Anwar
Photography (color): Ical Tanjung
Editing: Dinda Amanda
Art Direction: Allan Triyana Sebastian
Music: Bembi Gusti, Tony Merle, Aghi Narottama
Producers: Tia Hasibuan, Gope T. Samtani
Executive Producers: Priya N. Keswani, Bismarka Kurniawan, Wicky V. Olindo, Sunil Samtani
Cast: Tara Basro, Endy Arfian, Nasar Annuz, Bront Palarae

Date of First Release in Territory: August 4th, 2022


Indonesian horror has been riding communion high these past few years, with the likes of The Queen of Black Magic, Impetigore and the May the Devil Take You films winning over genre fans around the world. Involved in pretty much all of these productions has been horror mogul Joko Anwar, whose 2017 Satan’s Slaves proved one of the biggest hits of them all, a loose remake of the 1980 cult favourite Satan’s Slave, which he now follows up with Satan’s Slaves: Communion. Streaming in the west on Shudder, the sequel has been a massive hit in Indonesia, the first local film to be released in the IMAX format, and currently ranked as the third highest-grossing Indonesian film of all time.
Communion takes place in 1984, several years after the events of Satan’s Slaves, with the surviving members of the Suwono family now living in a massive concrete Jakarta apartment building, where father Bahri (Bront Palarae) believes they’ll be safe by virtue of being surrounded by other people. He’s wrong of course, and soon enough his daughter Rini (Tara Basro) and sons Toni (Endy Arfian) and Bondi (Nasar Annuz) come to suspect that something sinister is afoot, with strange things happening and graves being found nearby. After a tragic accident, the building is left cut off by a violent storm, and the Suwono family and the other residents find themselves beset by evil, with demons and the undead roaming the corridors.
With Satan’s Slaves: Communion, Joko Anwar has very much gone down the bigger is better route, quite literally, replacing the rural setting of the first film with a towering concrete block, itself a monstrous and quite terrifying brute of a location. Although it takes a while for the horror to begin, once the lights go out the film basically functions as a series of supernatural set pieces, most of which hit the mark, Anwar switching skilfully between atmospheric chills and entertaining jump scares. While there’s not much in the way of gore, the zombie makeup is enjoyably creepy, and the film gets lots of mileage out of characters being trapped in rooms with dead bodies which inevitably start to come back to life. Anwar does a good job of continuing the story of the Suwono family and of building an underlying mythology, and it’s not much of a spoiler to say that things are clearly being set up for a continuing series.
This is all well and good, though on the downside, it does mean that anyone who hasn’t seen or can’t remember the original Satan’s Slaves is likely to struggle with the plot, as there’s a lot which links back to the first film, especially during the final act, which is packed with revelations and exposition. The film as a whole is rather over-stuffed, and as well as the Suwono family Anwar throws in a large cast of new characters, not all of whom are particularly well-developed, and things do get a bit confusing in places for viewers not able to simply switch off and enjoy the scares. At two hours the film could certainly have done with a bit of trimming, and it’s definitely at its best during its set pieces, rather than in the lulls between them.
Still, Satan’s Slaves: Communion is a worthy sequel, and with a bit of brushing up on its predecessor the convoluted plot shouldn’t prove too much of a problem for anyone after another slice of Indonesian horror. Joko Anwar is very much at the top of his game when it comes to supernatural action, and when the film hits its stride, it’s arguably one of the better genre films from anywhere around Asia of the year.

James Mudge 


Joko Anwar 

Joko Anwar is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Indonesian directors. Selected several times at the FEFF and author of FEFF 12 opening titles, Anwar made his feature film debut in 2005 with Joni’s Promise and in 2017 he signed the biggest Indonesian horror hit of recent years, Satan’s Slaves. In 2019 he completed two successful feature films, Gundala and Impetigore, both screened at FEFF. The sequel Satan’s Slaves: Communion was released in 2022.



2005 – Joni’s Promise 
2007 – Kala 
2009 – The Forbidden Door 
2012 – Modus Anomali 
2015 – A Copy of My Mind 
2017 – Satan’s Slaves 
2019 – Gundala 
2019 – Impetigore
2022 – Satan’s Slaves: Communion


James Mudge
Film director: Joko ANWAR
Year: 2022
Running time: 119'
Country: Indonesia
24/04 - 11:40 PM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
24-04-2023 23:40 25-04-2023 01:39Europe/Rome Satan’s Slaves: Communion Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine