Evil Dead‘s distant prodigal cousin, Sebelum Iblis Menjemput (May the Devil Take You), has finally gotten a tougher, grittier, and more fucked-up sequel dubbed as Sebelum Iblis Menjemput: Ayat 2 as if it’s a chapter in a demonic bible. In the follow-up story, writer-director Timo Tjahjanto does not really bother with narrative merits as he’s busy sacrificing souls to the cinematic god of death (as in The Night Comes for Us). Compared to the predecessor, the second chapter is way nastier, campier, and more frivolous with the “nightmares exist out of logic” credo held dear.
The myth still follows the protagonist of the first movie, Alfie (Chelsea Islan), who has succumbed to sedative drugs in the aftermath of the first taking. The news of her survival from the cataclysmic nightmare has somehow reached a band of orphans—Jenar (Shareefa Danish, in an unholy reunion with the director), Budi (Bhaskara Mahendra), Gadis (Widika Sidmore), Leo (Arya Vasco), Kristi (Lutesha), and Martha (Karina Salim) — who then kidnap her and her half-sister, Nara (Hadijah Shahab). The culprit is a hungry, vengeful diabolical figure that plagues them with a promise to take them to hell. What follows is a non-stop, nonsensical terror that will make Sumarian demons from Necronomicon burst into satisfied laughter.
The terror is, oftentimes, visceral. The demonic apparitions take no time to show up and when they do, they never shy away from making full-frontal contacts, overshadowing the engineer of jumpscares and blatant sound effects. The Deadites-like creature returns with black blood and black vomit, as well as their exceptional crawling skills. Human characters keep shouting at each other and make a series of foolish decisions. However, it seems that Timo Tjahjanto never cares about them, except for Alfie who is dragged-into-a-conflict-she-does-not-belong-but-she-needs-to-survive outrageous. Torture-porn aficionados or those who fancy exploitation horrors will find the set-pieces ultra-satisfying.
To spice up the whole catastrophe, Timo Tjahjanto injects Sebelum Iblis Menjemput: Ayat 2 with huge loads of absurd humor with the whole plot as the punchline. On one occasion, Alfie beats up the Deadite who then caves in and gives her a satanic middle finger. The whole scene seems out of place but never misplaced; it somehow confirms the director’s eagerness to fuck off with everything and focus on having fun. As if the middle finger is not enough, Alfie is also required to make a metal sign of the horns to activate her newly acquired ability. Deadpan one-liners also find ways to get into the story which has already cramped with unnatural and nonsensical dialogues.
There’s no real urgency for Alfie to be in this story, which could have gone on independently and collided in a third movie. The fact that she is in the story makes the narrative logic falters and Chelsea Islan’s portrayal of Alfie is not quite as gripping as in the first movie; but, that’s not stopping Timo Tjahjanto from making her an iconic figure. Shareefa Danish’s reunion with the director is also not as compelling as it could have been. The MVP titles are finally handed over to Lutesha, who takes over Karina Suwandi’s levitating stuntwork, and Widika Sidmore whose psyche-horny character is proven to be diabolical to the level of giving birth to adult demonic figure.
With Sebelum Iblis Menjemput: Ayat 2, Timo Tjahjanto has made the Sumarian demons along with the prophets feast over the nastiness of it. Our soul, however, might possibly feel the pain of the torture more than the pleasure of this diabolical BDSM gore-gasm. The whole second taking might not make sense at all; but, at least, it’s way more plausible than the promise of being taken by 72 angels.
Further movie information: Sebelum Iblis Menjemput: Ayat 2 on FilmIndonesia.or.id