Directed by #TimoTjahjanto
Written by #TimoTjahjanto
Alfie (Chelsea Islan) is a badass survivor. You can tell because she’s really mean to everyone and she and others repeatedly mention the ordeal she’s already survived.
One problem: if you haven’t seen writer/director Timo Tjahjanto’s 2018 film May the Devil Take You—and you probably haven’t—you’ll need to take this film at its word. May the Devil Take You Too (also called May the Devil Take You: Chapter Two) revisits the hero of that little known Indonesian film two years after the incidents you likely don’t know about.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you totally know all about Alfie, young Nara (Hadijah Shahab) and some kind of demonic parenting issues. If you haven’t seen the original—and I haven’t, by the way—you should probably still be able to make heads or tails of this sequel’s story. More or less. Kind of.
So here’s the skinny. Meanie-pants Alfie, badass survivor, and young Nara find themselves the involuntary guests of seven foster siblings. Like Alfie, the group has some diabolical paternal concerns. It’s never at all clear why they think Alfie could help them, why Nara had to come, or why the whole thing is staged as a kidnapping.
The point is, best not to look closely at the details.
The filmmaker has his own take on religious ritual, possession and afterlife horror, although he is unafraid to wear his American influences on his sleeve. Evil Dead references are a lot less fun when delivered so humorlessly, though. (You may also detect several Nightmare on Elm Street references, and just a touch of Constantine.)
Chapter Two does a lot with a limited budget, relying mainly old fashioned practical effects and makeup for scares—with frequently decent outcomes. There is some grisly fun to be had in Tjahjanto’s nightmare funhouse.
The filmmaker’s strength is certainly more in staging and effects than it is in writing, however. Contrived and often counter intuitive, the plot is little more than an opportunity to string together kills and the dialog is weak. Not one character makes natural decisions— mainly they stand around in a group looking shocked and screaming each other’s names while something happens.
But once it gets going, Chapter Two is pretty relentless with the bloody action. That’s probably not reason enough to see it, unless you’re a huge fan of the original. Maybe that one was good.