Director: Timo Tjahjanto
Notable Cast: Chelsea Islan, Hadijah Shahab, Baskara Mahendra, Widika Sidmore, Lutesha, Arya Vasco, Karina Salim, Shareefa Daanish, Karina Suwandhi, Tri Hariono
Hell hath no fury…like Alfie.
The energetic and stylish arrival of May the Devil Take You was a pleasant surprise. Timo Tjahjanto delivered on a Sam Raimi influenced Indonesian cabin in the woods film filled with black magic demons and flair, fury, and flamboyant gore. It’s still a film I regularly watch to this day due to its strong balancing of genre elements and incredibly high entertainment value. Naturally, a sequel has lofty expectations to go with it considering the strength of filmmaking in the first. May the Devil Take You Too exceeds those expectations with fervor. The balance between gore, dark humor, atmosphere and style is impeccable. Timo takes his influences to the next level, powering tropes and concepts with a distinctly strong sense of execution and fun, then he impressively grounds it all with a story about the ghosts of trauma and the manifested demons of past sins. May the Devil Take You Too is powerful horror film making that will kick its viewers to the floor with dozens of iconic moments and then vomit demon viscera into their mouths to make sure the experience never fades.
Perhaps the most brilliant part about what May the Devil Take You Too offers is that it delivers on its promises of more. While the first film could be call excessive, only in the best way, this follow up is truly EXCESSIVE and the manner that it balances all of it is truly a sight and experience to behold. In continuation of the Evil Dead comparisons one could make with the first, it’s easy to make connections to Evil Dead 2 with this film too. Particularly in this sense in the over-the-top approach to the material and the manner that the humor is embedded so cleverly in the horror.
This, of course, starts off with what most people remember about the first film – the gore. Yes, this film is outright filled with eviscerations, violence, black goo, bodies that bend in unnatural ways, and plenty of other types of body horror. It’s brimming with horrific sequences of ghostly and demonic mayhem. The special effects and practical make-up are fantastically executed, from possessions to stunt work to mass bodily fluid ejections. Not to mention, there is a general nightmarish quality to the lack of consistency of demonic powers that Timo and company regularly utilize to maximum effect. As a viewer, one never knows what the hell is going to come around the corner in this one. There are even some great key moments that find themselves coming back regularly just for shits and giggles, like a circular saw blade. Fans will certainly be impressed.
May the Devil Take You Too is not all blood and guts though and, while as a horror fan I have to say the monstrous insanity that ensues is what is going to get me to come back year after year, there is a sense of purpose to the narrative and writing with the film that improves on its predecessor. The ultimate question in a horror sequel is how one gets either the ‘protagonist’ or the ‘antagonist’ (or both) back into the ring for another round. May the Devil Take You Too manages to bring back Alfie, played in a high energy, maniacal performance by Chelsea Islan, and throw her and her little sister Nara back into the black magic fray. This time it’s a group of young people with a checkered past looking to rid themselves of an abusive father figure who continues to haunt them. In a true Evil Dead inspired spin, they have a Black Bible and mean to use it against the demonic force. With a whole new set of bodies to slaughter and an even more heroic arc for our heroine, the film aims bigger with its narrative. There’s an entire black magic network involved and they are out for blood against Alfie. Blending the new story with Alfie’s continued efforts to avoid dealing with demon shit makes for a righteous fun time and the increased focus on giving our lead a more defined heroic arc makes the film feel even bigger. With some intriguing depth to the story about trauma and its lingering effects on different people, May the Devil Take You Too simply delivers on both plot and narrative in more operative ways. More layers, more thrills, and more fantastic character building.
While I love May the Devil Take You, I have to admit that May the Devil Take You Too improves on it in almost every way. It’s bigger, badder, faster, and more ambitious than expected, delivering on all of the things that made the original great, but fine tuning the balances of humor injected horror into a well (blood) oiled machine in delivering its kills and spills. Alfie has quickly become one of the greats in horror heroines, the gore and monsters are incredibly well done, and the expanded black magic universe only makes this franchise a viable one for another six entries. If we don’t get a third one, perhaps titled May the Devil Take You Three, then I’m apt to start kicking down some doors.
See this one as soon as possible or may the devil take you too.