May the Devil Take You: Chapter Two (2020) Doubles the Curses, the Demons and the Trauma
Title: May the Devil Take You: Chapter Two
First Wide Release: February 27, 2020 (Theatrical Release)
Director: Timo Tjahjanto
Writer: Timo Tjahjanto
Runtime: 110 Minutes
Starring: Chelsea Islan, Widika Sidmore, Baskara Mahendra
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
The sequel to the smash 2018 Indonesian hit, May the Devil Take You: Chapter Two takes place two years after Alfie and Nara survive the demonic terrors of their old family home. This film starts off with a group of masked strangers kidnapping Alfie and Nara and taking them to a remote children’s home in the middle of the forest. Once there, Alfie is enlisted to help a group of orphans who grew up there that are now trying to fight off a similar curse that was placed upon them. Timo Tjahjanto returns to direct this highly anticipated sequel.
A retread with lofty ambitions, May the Devil Takes You: Chapter Two provides cursed thrills and chills.
While entertaining, this sequel does not reach the heights that the original film traversed, and that’s okay! My main concerns in this film come from the setup. It feels really forced and contrived to kidnap Alfie and throw her into almost the exact same situation. It does create some good tension throughout the film but it just seems very outlandish. The addition of the dark magic and witchcraft that is introduced later in the film is, however, welcome. It feels like more of an addition that is both fun and realistic within the universe. That being said, by the time it is introduced the story had dragged a bit and it was in need of a finale.
I’m not the hugest fan of why the events are happening, but I will say that the new characters are worthy of the introduction they receive. We don’t get to know them all too well, but they do stand out as caring and protective of each other, even the most annoying of their group, which does increase their likability tremendously. Alfie remains a kickass character. Her determination, spirit, and genuine desire to do the right thing make her an easy character to root for. Nara does get sidelined in this film, which is unfortunate, but her story does not need much more to it so I understand the decision. She does get a very neat chase scene that solidifies her as one of the easiest kids to cheer on in modern horror.
May the Devil Take You: Chapter Two revels in its imagery which carries the film. Its props and set elicit strong and effective feelings, particularly the blood rituals, the Black Bible, and the basement/bunker. There are also moments of really interesting camerawork done here. My favorites include the Black Bible being dragged across a table from its point of view and an incredibly bleak and foreboding nightmare-esque realm. May the Devil Take You: Chapter Two doesn’t skimp on its setting but it does seem to on its effects work. Some of the effects are a little hokey: some fire scenes and a few ghost shots come to mind. Some, on the other hand, is downright impressive. Noticeably a spider walking scene ranks high in its execution both in technical merit and scares.
May the Devil Take You: Chapter Two is a dark and comedic tale of possession and supernatural mayhem that many have suggested is Indonesia’s answer to the Evil Dead series. Tjahjanto does great work again, even if it doesn’t meet expectations one might have after watching the first film. My biggest complaint is that the story could be tighter. It feels pretty repetitive at times, but it is still an effective movie. I praise Tjahjanto for taking the film in an interesting direction and not completely reworking the first, although a bit more deviation would be welcome.
It’s clear that familial curses are central to the May the Devil Take You franchise. While the first chose to expand upon how family dynamics can affect family well into adulthood, its sequel delves further into what trauma and abuse can do to those who grew up in that environment. The trauma is prevalent in the orphans returning to their childhood home. I appreciate that each orphan is given their own coping mechanism and it is clear how it affects them while they fight the curse. It gives an added layer of depth to the film and a deeper sadness to the terror of their situation.
It doesn’t stray too far from the path its predecessor began, May the Devil Take You: Chapter Two is an enjoyable and frightening sequel that keeps the spirit of the film alive and well. Fans of the original and anyone interested in the emerging market of fantastic Indonesian horror films should check this film out (after watching the original of course). One doesn’t have to make a deal with the devil to find and enjoy the best in international horror. They just need an account at Shudder.
Overall Score? 6.5/10