The title of the Indonesian horror film Para Betina Pengikut Iblis (2023) literally translates to ‘Women following the Iblis.’ The figure of Iblis, who is described as the leader of the devils, is often used in Indonesian horrors. This film, in particular, alongside presenting the Iblis, exploits horror elements such as shamanism and cannibalism parallelly. Rearing its ugly head, what also makes itself abundantly known is the history and the remnants of Dutch colonialism.

The article breaks down the plot of the film, along with elaborating on the ending.

Para Betina Pengikut Iblis (2023) Movie Synopsis & Plot Summary:

The film opens with Sumi frantically running to meet their village doctor. Upon reaching Dr. Freedman, Sumi pleads with him to accompany her to their house, where her father is succumbing to a septic leg. Back home, the doctor calms Sumi’s father with anesthesia and amputates his infected leg. However, for some unknown reason, Sumi does not get rid of the amputated leg; instead, she keeps it in a freezer and lies to her father about getting rid of it the following day.

The relationship between Sumi and her father, Karto, is antagonistic. Sumi wishes her father a speedy recovery, but her wish is not a product of sympathy or care for her father. Instead, she believes her father’s recovery would guarantee her freedom and would allow her to break free from the bounds of her obligations towards him. What bothers Sumi the most is how she is spending away her youth tending to a curmudgeon of a father. After breaking free, she dreams of going to the city to find her lost mother and brother. But for now, she has to survive. To make ends meet, she plans to reopen her father’s gulai shop. She shares her woes and dreams with her friend, Saber, and the latter promises to take her to Mr. Mimin.

Things do not go down well with Mr. Mimin and Sumi as, instead of offering her help, he makes lewd sexual advances toward her. Meanwhile, Karto’s wound has started showing signs of a more severe infection. Karto demands Mr. Freeman, but when Sumi runs to fetch him, she spots him riding away with a local girl.

In her dreams, Sumi is taken away at the site of a water body, where she spots a mysterious figure. She wakes up to the cries of Karto. Karto demands Sumi make food for him and complains about not getting good care, which agitates Sumi a great deal. A physical fight ensues between the two. When Sumi flees from her abusive father, she meets the mysterious, ghostly figure of her dream. The ghostly figure claims that it is only he who can help Sumi. He forces Sumi to accept him as his friend and lures her into believing that he can help them realize her wish to meet her mother. The ghostly figure is the demon Iblis.

Following the demon man’s instructions, Sumi cooks and feeds her father his own leg. The same night, a local girl, Ningrum, goes missing. The next day, Ningrum’s sister, Sari, gets visited by Ningrum’s spirit, who presses her to avenge her death. Iblis forces Sumi to dig up Ningrun’s grave and unearth her body. She butchers Ningrun’s body, takes out the heart, and feeds it to her father. The rest of the flesh derived from the dead body is used to make gulai for her customers. While Sumi is serving the customers at her gulai shop, Saber arrives with the news of the disappearance of Ningrun’s body from her grave. After arriving at the graveyard, Sumi is visibly shaken and runs away.

The demon instigates Sumi to turn against Saber. He advises Sumi not to trust Saber as he might be interested not in helping her find her mother but in taking advantage of her sexually. According to the demon, Saber’s help could be used in a different way. The gulai shop is the only means for Sumi to survive. The demon feeds her the idea that this time, Saber could serve as the main ingredient of her dish.

Who killed Ningrun?

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A still from Para Betina Pengikut Iblis (2023)

Sari is visited again by Ningrun’s spirit, who gives her a bracelet with the name ‘Cempaka’ embedded on it. Sari arrives at Asih Cempaka’s place and shows her the bracelet. While Sari’s intention is only to find out how the bracelet ended up with Ningrun, Asih calls her a thief, and her son strikes her out of nowhere. When Sari leaves, she hears Cempaka abusing her son, as he was the one who stole it and gave it to Ningrum. This time, at night, Sari dreams of the demon.

The demon appears and reminds Sari of her indebtedness to him for saving Ningrun’s life in the past. Sari might have been a devotee of Iblis and a practitioner of black magic as she takes out an old box containing a small figurine of the devil and a voodoo doll. Sari, who has now turned into a dukun (Indonesian term for the shaman), performs black magic to find her sister’s murderer. She demands her powers to kill the person who killed Ningrum.

The next morning, Dr. Freedman arrives at Sari’s place. While he is examining her, a villager comes and informs him of a death in the village brothel. When Sari and the doctor arrive at the brothel, they find Cempaka’s son, Buras, all bloodied and dead. Cempaka, who could not be found after her son’s death, comes to Sari’s place and hands over the bracelet to her. She says that a childhood friend of Sari has asked her to give this away. Sari then dines with Dr. Freedman with a newfound secret that she starts to reveal.

Buras, who had an intellectual disability, tried to imitate what he saw around the brothel. He would force himself on women in exchange for money and ornaments. When he found women rejecting him, it was Dr. Freedman who taught him to kill. Buras killed Ningrum because she rejected him. It was Dr. Freedman who used Buras to serve his colonial interests and showcase hostility towards the poor Indonesian villagers. At last, using her powers, Sari kills Dr. Freedman and his servant.

Para Betina Pengikut Iblis (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:

Where is Sumi’s mother?

After Saber’s murder, Sumi attempts to run away from the house. However, just when she is about to depart, the demon stops her on her way out. The demon says Sumi’s house hides a secret that might concern her mother. Karto hides in the freezer, but Sumi finds him out. The demon asks Sumi to confront her father, who might know more than he claims. Karto reiterates the same narrative of her mother leaving for the city with a man, but Sumi is not convinced. By this time, Karto is convinced that Sumi has a demon instructing her. When Sumi threatens to chop his tongue, Karto reveals the truth. Karto reveals that his marriage to Sumi’s mother was a forced marriage as he loved Asih Cempaka.

Buras is actually the son of Karto and Asih. However, Buras was detested by Karto. When Sumi’s mother comes to know about the affair, Karto kills her. Karto also gives away the site where he buried the body–under the bed. Upon learning the truth, Sumi kills him and severs his head. Sumi finds her mother’s skeletal remains and embraces them. The film ends with Sari arriving at Sumi’s place in search of her sister’s body. This time, she is also accompanied by a lady with a covered face who has come looking for her lover, Karto. Sumi believes this is Asih Cempaka, and the film ends with Sumi crying out to her that she is the source of all her misery.

Will the story continue?

The story is left unfinished, with an indication that it is to be continued in the next installment. There are many questions that are left dangling, and perhaps the next story will provide closures to those. The next film will perhaps explore whether Sumi, Sari, and Asih join forces to serve or end the demon.

Read More: Everything Coming To Netflix in June 2023

Para Betina Pengikut Iblis (2023) Trailer:

Para Betina Pengikut Iblis (2023) Links: IMDb
Para Betina Pengikut Iblis (2023) Cast: Adipati Dolken, Mawar Eva de Jongh, Hanggini
Indonesian Horror – Para Betina Pengikut Iblis (2023) Runtime: 1h 30m
Where to watch Para Betina Pengikut Iblis

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