Review: The Queen Of Black Magic (2020)

  • Director: Kimo Stamboel
  • Writer: Joko Anwar
  • Stars: Ario Bayu, Hannah Al Rashid, Adhisty Zara, Muzakki Ramdhan


Ghosts and revenge are nothing new in horror but the combination of the two in The Queen Of Black Magic provides chills and heartbreak, all put together expertly with Joko Anwar’s script and Kimo Stamboel’s direction.

Hanif is taking his family back to the orphanage that he grew up in, to say his goodbyes to Mr. Bandi, the man who raised him. Meeting up with the two guys he grew up with there Anton and Jefri and their families. After deciding to spend the night, everyone finds out that the orphanage has secrets and those secrets are ready to extract revenge.

The whole cast (and it is a pretty big cast) is great, with everyone managing to make the most of their screen time. Anwar’s script is good without being great but he does manage to infuse a fair bit of understated comedy throughout and this is in complete opposition to the heartbreaking reveal in the films 3rd act. Stamboel’s direction provides urgency and dread where required but only manages to really provide a constantly scary atmosphere for the last twenty minutes of the film.

And of that last twenty minutes, the final fifteen turns into a real house of horrors, with some of the most effective sound design I’ve experienced in a while. A crazy bloodbath with bugs, blood and breaking bones with some excellent effects, despite the over use of the CG. The film also isn’t afraid to break the child killing taboo either with a bunch of pretty distressing images throughout the film.

The Queen Of Black Magic is another redo of an 80’s Indonesian horror film, with Anwar doing the same thing he did with Satan’s Slaves, taking the outline of the plot and bringing his own style to it. Whilst Stamboel is a technically excellent director I haven’t found a film of his that I click with as yet. Having said that The Queen Of Black Magic is definitely worth taking a look at.

The Queen Of Black Magic is available now on Shudder.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78

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