Mystics In Bali, The Devil’s Sword and, of course, Lady Terminator. Indonesia has a legacy of bizarre and inventive horror films. More recently Joko Anwar has been reviving that tradition with films like Rituals and Satan’s Slaves. Now Arie Azis and Raffi Ahmad try their hand at the genre, co-directing The Secret: Suster Ngesot Urban Legend.
Kanaya (Nagita Slavina) comes from a rich family. We’re talking chauffeured Rolls Royce limousine rich. So when she comes back to Jakarta after studying in Australia to find her father Ridwan (Roy Marten, American Hunter, The Raid 2) has married Sofie (Tyas Mirasih), a woman almost her age she is not pleased. At the party her father throws for her return her ex Tedi (Raffi Ahmad) tells her he’s still in love with her. Fifteen minutes later she sees what looks like Tedi getting it on with her stepmother. Kanya storms off in her car. A storm, or at least lots of thunder, rolls in out of nowhere. She hits a woman in the road and slams into a tree.
She wakes up in the hospital, with Tedi at her bedside. He tells her there was no woman, she simply lost control on the wet road. She insists otherwise. It doesn’t take long before the hospital, and Kanya in particular becomes the target of supernatural activity. Activity that follows her to her daddy’s summer house.
The Secret: Suster Ngesot Urban Legend is an incredibly dull and vapid film. Kanaya and Tedi are a pair of one-dimensional trust fund babies. Once the film moves to the summer house we get some characters who we’re supposed to relate to, but they’re just as bland. Yoga teacher Putri (Kartika Putri) and her daughter Kemala (Kanaya Gleadys) who is an Indigo Child with psychic abilities. And her home school teacher Marsh (Marshanda). None of them are given any background or personality, they’re just there to advance the plot.
And what a generic plot it is. Actually calling it a plot is stretching it, The Secret: Suster Ngesot Urban Legend is just a series of supposedly scary events strung together. Doors and windows that open, close and lock themselves. Disembodied voices reciting creepy nursery rhymes. And a very generic looking Asian style ghost popping up occasionally.
But nobody tries to figure out what is going on or why. They just go on with their lives as shit happens around them. Finally, in the last few minutes, Kemala’s psychic powers give us a convenient explanation. One that, no surprise, takes us back to the prologue. And yes, it’s the explanation you dismissed as way too obvious.
The Secret: Suster Ngesot Urban Legend doesn’t even deliver on the level of jump scare junk food. It’s a deadly dull collection of warmed-over clichés that builds to a climax that’s meant to be heartbreaking but is so overdone it’s hysterical instead.
For reasons I can’t fathom Netflix has picked up The Secret: Suster Ngesot Urban Legend.