Let’s play in the rain.
We decided to rewatch the first Satan’s Slaves before checking out the sequel and realized that was a mistake. I like the first one well enough, but a second viewing makes the flaws a bit easier to spot. Already a bit perturbed by foolish character choices (though the characters are likable enough) we dove right into the sequel.
We’re back with Rini, where they have moved to a different apartment complex for thin reasons. Now, they live in the middle of nowhere in a nearly dystopian style housing unit filled with a bunch of jerks (most of whom leave before the large storm hits). After a tragic accident, strange things begin occurring as the residents are trapped by flood waters. Will Rini be able to save her family and figure out what is going on? Will anywhere care? Will movies start believing in providing decent lighting again?
Note: if you liked the overarching narrative of the first one dealing with a cult and something larger you’ll get very little here. The story goes nowhere and we end in just about the same place we began.
Our family unit immediately separates from each other. Bondi and his friends are out investigating what is going on and killing time (and they are the best part of the film). Toni, who was slick in the first one is now awkward and was apparently told by the director to “stare creepily and hornily at everything in every scene.” Rini is the only one who seems to be remotely aware of the danger, but is too busy trying to do about five different things (taking care of dad, taking care of a kid, investigating dad, finding family, uncovering mysteries) to have much impact on the story.
In short, the whole thing is an absolute mess from start to finish. We have too many threads that all feel a bit half-cooked. I suppose the nice part of this structure is that we do have a plethora of scares that range from cheap to interesting. I am honestly stunned that director Joko Anwar replicated two scenes pretty much shot-for-shot from the first one. The scares weren’t that good originally, and now it feels a bit cheap. It is all just jumpscare crap anyway.
The movie is serviceable enough for the first 75% of the film. It is a classic jolting horror film with dumb characters but happens to have enough intrigue to keep you engaged. Meat and potatoes genre stuff, which if you’re in the right mood for it works just fine. However, once we get the big “reveal” the filmmaking changes to an absolute mess.
We switch to an almost found-footage style of shaky cam, loud noises, and terrible lighting. The flashing lights gave me a headache. Worse though, is this makes the climax of the film an incomprehensible mess. It is painful to watch due to shoddy lighting and terrible design choices. The film crashes from a serviceable enough genre flick to easily one of the worst of the year in minutes. I cannot believe the stunning ineptness of these scenes and the decisions to actively make the film an unwatchable disaster.
How on earth this one is getting such high praise is beyond me. I found this astonishingly bad.