In the Movies: Joko Anwar’s Pengabdi Setan

Oh boy, I love my horror movies. In fact I pretty much only exclusively watch horror movies.

I don’t know what it is: the adrenaline rush, the suspense, the crazy makeup, or what?

Anyway, after IT this was my first foray to the cinema for a horror movie.

I LOVE IT.

But first:

If you are planning to watch the latest version of Pengabdi Setan, I recommend you watch the older version first!

Here, I’ll wait.

The 1980s version is a highly meme-able movie, with memorably corny lines and superficial storyline which is much like most horror movies in the era.

In fact, I find it iconic of the era – the non stop on screen smoking (perhaps a heavy sponsorship from Djarum?), the cars and the house, the party Rita attended (in true 70s style), Darminah’s krebo hair, the blatant disregard of Islamic values and the comically frequent closeups!

If nothing, the movie imprints our mind with the first 10 minutes showing Muslim funeral proceedings in full detail.

It’s a movie worthy of the 80s. More importantly, it sets the background for the current version.

The current version of Pengabdi Setan is not a continuation of it, but rather a reboot. What that means basically u don’t need to watch the old one to understand the new, but there are certain parts of the movie you catch where it is an homage to the old version.

I caught some noteworthy ones:

SPOILER ALERT! BANYAK SPOILER BERABIS DI DUNIA! DAN GAMBAR BARITAKUT!

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Passport, Bag & No Idea Where I was Going

Would you go to a destination you know nothing about?

Few months ago, Emma Good Egg forwarded us a link to a website that organises “surprise trips”. I thought: wow!

How can I travel and not know where I’m going? Well, it involves a secret destination, all accommodation arranged for you as well as airfares.

All you need is a date.

That scares me to no end! What if I dont like the destination they chose? What if they put me up in a yucky hotel? What if my roommate is a cockroach? What if there’s no halal food? What am I going to eat?

I followed them on Instagram.

I thought it was crazy scary, and yet, genius.

Stalked them obsessively, kept on talking about it at the office and asking everyone would they do it?

Eventually I had enough: I had to try it.

“Ching wanna go on a trip with me next month?” I asked my colleague, sitting next to my table. She was typing furiously on her computer, chasing a deadline.

“Huh? Erm ok I guess?” She said absentmindedly.

“Ok u owe me $300. We’ll find out where we are going by mail.”

Bewildered, and feeling conned (again) my colleague agreed.

Few days later, received this:

Omg sport shoes 😧

What is “thin long pants”???

Are we going to climb Mount Rinjani???

Scarier and scarier!!!

Date loomed closer and fear turned to worry when the mail did not arrive. WHERE ARE WE GOING????

2 days before the trip I emailed the Anywhr team and they promptly emailed us our tickets and itinerary.

I now know where we were going,

But guess who printed everything out and recreated the Anywhr envelope?

Me.

And guess where we were going?

Mui Ne, Vietnam.

Where?!

Check out my journey here:

So would you go travel to somewhere you know nothing about?

YES.

Did I enjoy it?

IMMENSELY.

Will I do it again?

ABSOLUTELY.

Do I recommend it to u?

YES YES YES!