Another Indonesian Gore-Fest
When it comes to the Asian horror genre, May The Devil Take You isn’t necessarily a bad film. Nor is it a particularly great one either. Instead, the film hovers somewhere in that realm of enjoyable mediocrity; the sort of flick you’ll enjoy fleetingly but quickly forget with the passing of time. With a disjointed story that plays on the excellent practical effects this style of horror has become known for, the story of a possessed woman and a family’s fight for survival is well shot and makes the most of its desperate setting. Unfortunately, May The Devil Take You fails to really stand out next to so many other horrors in this genre and given the hype this film has generated online, is likely to be one of the more divisively received pictures this year.
The story begins with an estranged man seeking help from a possessed being who claims to be the devil incarnate. After an unsettling opening, the film then skips ahead to showcase his daughter Alfie visiting the household villa some time later while her father is in a coma. Once here she reunites with the rest of her family who open a bolted-shut door to the basement kick starting the horror from this point onward. Unlike other horrors that masterfully weave a coherent narrative with gruesome gore, a creepy atmosphere and compelling characters, May The Devil Take You throws the script out the window and seems intent on presenting as many violent and gruesome scenes at us as possible.
While the acting is okay and the general set design is pretty good, where the film really excels is with its costume design and practical effects. The film does an excellent job bringing the possessed being to life and the general lighting of the scenes inside the house are creepy and unnerving. This alone makes some of the scenes well worth checking out but it’s just a shame this isn’t matched by a better story to accompany it rather than the indulgent convoluted plot we’re given here.
There is, of course, a market for these sort of films and May The Devil Take You is likely to find that on Netflix. After all, the later Transformer films and summer blockbusters like The Meg get by on these under-developed ideas just fine and this will surely follow suit. For those after something a little more substantial or the next big horror fix after Haunting On Hill House are sure to be disappointed with this film. While May The Devil Take You is a perfectly serviceable horror, it’s also largely uninspiring, propped up by an incoherent narrative holding it back from being a better film.