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Review: RASUK (2018)

Indonesian director Ubay Fox’s debut feature Valentine: The Dark Avenger was an enjoyable superheroine action film. Since then, he’s done several horror films that don’t seem to have gotten North American releases. I finally got the chance to see one of them, 2018’s Rasuk. Saying I was disappointed would be something of an understatement.

Langgir (Shandy Aulia) is a very unhappy young lady. She saw her father killed by a bus when she was a little girl. Her mother still blames her years later. She doesn’t like her stepfather and loathes her half brother. She doesn’t like her friends Sekar (Gabriella Desta), Inggrid (Denira Wiraguna), and Lintang (Josephine Firmstone) much either. But she goes with them to a villa in the forest anyway.

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Of course, the girls get lost on the way but are led to the villa by a strange woman Kumala (Weni Panca) who vanishes once they get there. There’s also somebody waiting for them there, Abi (Miller Khan, Dreadout). He and Inggrid have hooked up, which doesn’t sit well with Langgir, who was crushing on him. She storms off into the night and promptly gets lost.

Of course, there is an evil spirit in the woods. And a practitioner of black magic. Dark secrets are revealed, people get possessed, and everything gets wrapped up in time for the ridiculously sappy ending.

The script for Rasuk was written by Alim Sudio (Kuntilanak). With 46 scripts to his credit, you would think he could write something better than this mess. I understand making the lead somebody with issues, but Langgir is so nasty, bitter and hateful to everyone around her, it’s impossible to sympathize with her. And equally hard to imagine why her friends put up with her.

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Once we get past the teen drama and into the horror, Rasuk doesn’t get any better. The girls get possessed by the spirit of a local girl who killed herself after being raped. Her father turned to black magic to bring her back, and now she searches for the perfect body to possess. And to get revenge on the rapist. But she’ll attack anyone nearby just because they’re there.

The identity of her father is supposed to be a shock when it’s revealed. But there’s a bit of dialogue early on in Rasuk that makes it clear one character knows way more than he should. He’s also the least effective villain I’ve seen in a movie in ages. Even with weapons including a knife and a log, he can’t win a fight with the girls.

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Rasuk concludes with an incredibly weak exorcism and an ending that is so sugar-coated you could box it and sell it as a breakfast cereal. It’s supposed to be touching, uplifting and have a positive moral message. Instead, it’s so unbelievable it had me laughing.

A total disaster from start to finish Rasuk is one to avoid. It was based on a popular novel, so there is a Rasuk 2, but with a totally different cast and crew. I can only hope the two films Ubay Fox has done since are more like his first and not like this.

The copy of Rasuk I saw was subtitled, but I could only find the original trailer online.

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