For years, versatile Indonesian director Joko Anwar wanted to remake Pengabdi Setan, a 1982 horror classic from his home country. Anwar’s version (a box office smash in Indonesia) is set in 1981, complete with period haircuts and clothing, yet gives the haunted house narrative a surprisingly modern twist.
When twenty-something Rini’s mother dies after a long illness, her father is forced to work in the city. Rini and her three younger brothers stay behind at her grandmother’s shadowy, creaky house. Soon they are joined by an apparition uncannily like their mother. It’s up to Rini to find out what the poltergeist wants.
The producers maintain that there is actually a spirit in the film as they hired 24 extras for a scene in which the dead rise again – but if you look closely, there are 25 undead in shot.