Satan’s Slaves 2: Communion (2022) Movie Explained: The horror genre of Southeast Asian cinema has commanded the imagination of horror fanatics since its early days. With its rich tradition of mythological tales, local folklore, and ghost stories, it has captured the attention of the global film audience. A potent mix of unconventional demons, original settings, and unfamiliar characters make it fascinating and unique, resonating beyond the home countries. The frightful world of Southeast Asian supernatural horror is peculiar for its reflection upon the trauma of the living and the dead.
Indonesian writer-director Joko Anwar, renowned for his occult horror films, has made a comeback with the most anticipated sequel to his first supernatural horror, Satan’s Slaves (2017), a loose remake-prequel to the 1980 film of the same name. The skillfully crafted award-winning film is the highest-grossing horror film of all time in the country. Originally titled Pengabdi Setan 2: Communion, Satan’s Slaves 2 is the first Indonesian film shot with IMAX technology. Like its prequel, it utilizes the typical horror iconography that includes sinister settings, eerie ghost and supernatural elements, satanic/demonic rituals, dangerous storms, diabolical conspiracy, chiaroscuro lighting, and tension-building music.
As the film is a follow-up to Satan’s Slaves, it’s best to approach the sequel after watching the first part. The recurrent characters and the events that follow become meaningful only after acquainting yourself with the prequel. Joko Anwar broadens the horizon of his horror universe by expanding the world, the characters, and the cult mythos. Set in a dingy apartment complex, it follows the surviving members of the Suwono family survive a night of terror as the sinister cult and satanic forces make their appearance again. The film takes its major influences from Omen II (1978), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and Hereditary (2018).
This write-up is an attempt to explain the film delving into the aspects that require more clarity. However, some of the events lack straightforward explanation as the director is determined to leave things ambiguous and open as there is a possibility for yet another sequel. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Refrain from reading the article and save it for later if you haven’t watched the movie.
A Quick Recap Of Satan’s Slaves (2017)
Joko Anwar’s previous outing Satan’s Slaves, an atmospheric domestic gothic horror, follows a hapless and struggling family living in the countryside in 1981. The family comprises a bedridden former singer Mawarni Sowono (Ayu Laksmi), her husband Bahri Sowono (Bront Palarae), his mother, Rahma (Elly D. Luthan), and the couple’s four children: 22-year-old daughter Rini (Tara Basro), who sacrificed her college education to care for her mother and her younger brothers; a lively 16-year-old Toni (Endy Arfian); Bondi (Nasar Annuz), an inquisitive 10-year-old; and Ian (Muhammad Adhiyat), a deaf lad about to turn 7.
The family’s woes worsen after the death of the matriarch Mawarni/ Mother, forcing Bahri to leave for town to raise money for mortgage payments, attesting Rini to look after her brothers. When the ghostly presence of Mawarni haunts the kids, followed by the tragic death of their grandmother Rahma, the family enlists the help of occult writer Budiman (Egy Fedly), who explains that Mawarni had secretly joined a fertility cult of Satan worshippers that targets barren women who want to have children. It brought her musical stardom and longed-for fertility but with a clause that the last child should be surrendered voluntarily in seven years. The cultists along with Mawarni and several pocong (Javanese undead) appear and take Ian, who cheerily joins the assemblage. One year later, Bahri and the family live in an apartment complex while their neighbor, a woman named Darminah (Asmara Abigail), ominously says, “It’s time for another harvest” to her husband Batara (Fachri Albar).
Satan’s Slaves 2: Communion Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
The sequel to Satan’s Slaves opens with a bizarre incident that happened in Lembang, Jawa Barat, a province in Indonesia, on 17 June 1955. Budiman Syailendra (Egy Fedly), a journalist, who was introduced in the first movie as an occult writer, was being escorted in secrecy by the police to an isolated observatory. He was summoned by the police commander and his best friend, Major Heru Kusuma (Rukman Rosadi), to show a freakish sight of corpses that had appeared out of nowhere and adopted praying positions. Heru is apprehensive and discloses that the dead rose from their graves on their own, and it was only the beginning of something sinister and dangerous. The incident was quickly covered up for political reasons, but he asked his friend Budiman to take photographs and reveal the truth to the people in a pulpy hoax article. It is also revealed that the dead have adopted a prostrated position submissively before the photograph of a woman (later revealed as Raminom), who has a striking resemblance to Mother/ Mawarni (Ayu Laksmi).
Where Is The Surviving Suwono Family Now?
The story leaps forward to 15 April 1984 in Jakarta, three years since the Suwono family escaped the horrifying supernatural events that resulted in the disappearance of the youngest son Ian along with Mawarni and the pocong controlled by the satanic cult. The Suwono family is now residing in a high-rise block of flats named Mandara Apartments crowded with tenants. Strangely, the rundown apartment building is the only building standing in an oddly isolated location in the middle of a field. It is a dark, decrepit, and damp building near the sea with a particularly rickety and unsafe elevator. Jam-packed into the one-bedroom flat is 25-year-old Rini, who is contemplating rejoining college to change her life for the better; her two siblings, Toni, a teenager who is enamored of his beautiful and free-spirited older neighbor Tari (Ratu Felisha), who is rumored to be a call girl, and Bondi, a curious and sarcastic younger teen who wants to be a gigolo; and their withdrawn and sullen father Bahri, who often departs to a mysterious job that Rini is suspicious of.
We are also introduced to a new set of characters who are also the occupants of the multi-storeyed building. Wisnu (Muzakki Ramdhan), is an adorable and precocious boy who lives down the hall with his deaf mother with whom Rini and Wisnu communicate in sign language; Bondi’s friend Darto (Moh. Iqbal Sulaiman), a scaredy-cat who lives elsewhere and Ari (Fatih Unru), who lives with his abusive father, sick and mute mother, and younger sister Wina (Nafiza Fatia Rani); and Dino (Jourdy Pranata), a smug and conceited teenager who had a confrontation with Tari when he heckled her.
What Is Rini Concerned About?
Bondi finds gravestones buried nearby the apartment building along with his pals Ari and Darto while his friends make fun of his wild imagination for telling tales of zombies chasing after him. He is dubious that the empty lot near the apartment used to be a cemetery but leaves them there without further consideration. Bondi goes back to his flat to join the family for dinner and reaches just in time when Bahri gets home. While serving dinner, Rini notices suspiciously Bahri putting his suitcase in a cupboard and locking it. Rini alerts everyone about the dangerous storm that’s going to hit the next day and is concerned about being trapped in the flooded highrise. When Rini relays the news of leaving the next day to pursue college to her father and brothers, having spent her whole life taking care of the family, Bahri encourages her to further her education. When she offers to find a place to crash when the storm worsens, Bahri reassures her that living in flats with many people is safer than living in a house.
During the night, Rini and Wisnu witness some odd and unusual happenings while going to dispose of waste in the chute. While passing each flat, Rini sees the tenants ominously laughing and behaving strangely, and at one point, they gather to observe her. Everything goes back to normal afterward, but Rini is shaken and flustered. Later, when Wisnu goes to dispose of waste, he hears a dreadful voice commanding him to open the door. The ghostly presence of burned man frightens him is later revealed to be his father who died trapped inside a burning building while Wisnu and his mother survived. He runs to his flat and knocks down the photo frame of his father. At midnight, when the tenants of the highrise are sleeping peacefully, the camera zooms in to the television playing in Rini’s living room showing a lot of static and then the image of Raminom found in the conservatory appears on the screen.
What Did Budhiman Find In The Box?
We also find a much older Budhiman still on the scene as the investigative editor of “Maya: Supernatural Magazine”, running it keeping his identity hidden, as promised to his friend Heru years back. He listens to a recording sent by Heru in which he reflects on the past and his guilt for letting the events happen. A newspaper report reads that Heru allegedly committed suicide. He opens a box that contains all the evidence Heru had collected as a police chief for almost 13 years, turning over the responsibility of fighting the evil forces to Budhiman. When he inspects the box, he finds several photographs of the satanic worshipper sect, a document containing the symbol of a seahorse, an instrument that appears to be the Pear of Anguish, the picture of Bahri among several other men, and also the photographs of Mandara Apartment where the Suwono family is now staying awaiting the storm. The symbol of the seahorse is possibly a reference to the cult Herosase (an anagram of seahorse), The Forbidden Door (2009), an organization in which members can access and watch numerous sadistic, horrific videos to fulfill their darkest desires, thereby making connections inside the Joko Anwar horror universe. Pear of Anguish is a torture device from the 16th century which was utilized for torturing women who are suspected of being witches. On finding the pictures of the apartment and Bahri among sect members, Budhiman decides to rush to the highrise, suspecting impending danger.
What Horrific Tragedy Happened In The Elevator?
The next morning, before leaving for college, Rini looks through the family album and finds a photo of Bahri and Mawarni amidst a group of people, arising suspicions about her family. While waiting for the elevator to arrive, a woman drops dozens of coins to the ground some of which fall through a hole in the ground. Wina and her three friends playing in the hallway notice it but continue with their hopscotch game. When several tenants including Bahri, Ari’s father, Wisna, and his mother enter the elevator, it gets stuck while going up. The occupants try to pry open the door and find the lift in between floors.
Wisna managed to get out through the small space while on the ground, Wina along with her friends started picking up the coins. The occupants are attacked by some invisible force and the lift starts descending crushing and killing Wina’s three friends. Wina narrowly escaped hearing the lift coming down but gets drenched in a pool of blood. Surprisingly, Bahri was the only person who survived the fall with a leg injury. The Suwono family and the tenants mourn the disastrous elevator tragedy leaving at least 10 people dead including Ari’s father and Wisna’s mother.
What Spooky Things Did The Tenants Experience?
Rini stays back after the horrific accident to take care of Wisnu who lost his mother. At night, as predicted by Rini, the residents get stuck in the building as a result of the heavy downpour. The flooding in the lower storeys causes power failure in the building, leaving the tenants in darkness. In the meantime, Budhiman tries to reach the apartment building pleading that it is “a matter of life and death” but finds it almost impossible owing to the storm and the flood. While waiting at the bus stop, Batara, Darminah’s husband forebodingly informs Budhiman about the horrific accident, however, Budhiman pays no heed commenting something more terrifying is going to transpire in the highrise.
Toni returns the radio entrusted by Tari for repairs to her apartment. While listening to the radio, it starts playing spooky voices and she hears herself talking on the radio show expressing her pain about being confined to a small coffin, and sees her own twisted body on the roof. She asks Toni to throw the radio away. Concurrently, Rini stays with Wisnu who tells her about his abusive father and how Wisnu and his mother learned their own secret sign language from a book in an unopened suitcase in a bookstore. When Wisnu asks Rini about her little brother, she tells him that Ian is missing. They console each other. Meanwhile, Bondi and Darto stay with Ari’s family. They hear a voice telling them to “bow upon Him who will soon be born.” When Rini goes to find her father’s suitcase leaving Wisnu alone, her attempt fails as her father wakes up. Toni along with Ustaz Mahmud go to check on the victims during the wake service. When he goes alone to check on some victims, he feels the dead bodies looking at him and runs away frightened.
What Did Bondi And Toni Find About The Apartment Complex?
Bondi wanders around the building with his friends and finds that it was too quiet as if there were no one. They knock on the doors of some of the residents but find them mostly vacant. Eventually, they enter the apartment of the local police chief and break into his locked office where they find the registration documents of all the tenants in the building. They also find that the apartment building used to be a cemetery, confirming Bondi’s findings of gravestones. They also observe the pictures of the apartment building hung on the wall each taken every 29 years on the same date, 17 April. The trio realizes that something is going to happen when the clock strikes midnight. While analyzing the pictures, Bondi also finds that there is an additional floor in the building.
At the same time, Dino finds Toni while running away and asks his help for fetching a fork that fell on his neighbor’s apartment through the hole he made to steal from his neighbor. Toni fits through the hole and finds himself in the neighbor’s flat. There, he finds a photo album and finds a picture of Raminom, that resembles that of his mother, the satanic cult members, and the music albums of his mother, thus concluding that the cult members lived in the apartment building. In the meanwhile, Ustaz Mahmud finds himself in the apartment of Tari who was running away from the spirit of the mother haunting her. When she says that she is a Muslim, he advises her to perform Salat/namaz and to fully surrender to God to escape from any evil spirits. While performing namaz, she continuously sees visions of the undead and corpses. A frightened Tari runs out of her apartment and runs into Toni.
Satan’s Slaves 2: Communion Movie Ending, Explained:
How Do Tari, Wina, And Dino Die?
On hearing eerie sounds coming from the inner room of her apartment, Wina goes to check and finds herself surrounded by the ghosts of her dead friends near the elevator. The ghosts push her down and she falls to her death. In the meantime, Rini takes the suitcase from the cupboard when her father was sleeping. Rini, Wisnu, Toni, Tari, and Dino together reach Dino’s flat to check the contents of Bahri’s suitcase. Toni shows the picture of the satanic cult members along with a photo of Raminom he found in the flat adjacent to Dino and shares his findings. They all agree that something is haunting them in the apartment building. They also observe that all the floors are empty like all tenants have disappeared. Next, they decide to check the suitcase and find it filled with fingers.
Terrified, they run out of Dino’s flat to escape from the apartment, but find Bondi missing. Whilst searching for Bondi, they see Wina walking to the toilet and suddenly vanishes without a trace. They also find the body of Ari and Wina’s mother hanging from the ceiling. Tari and Dino reach the ground floor to find it flooded. It is dangerous to swim as the water is exposed to electricity. While contemplating a way of escaping a building, Dino comes across Raminom on the stairs wearing a white dress and a veil. He is pushed down and his neck gets pierced through by a garden fork. The victims of the elevator accident have turned into pocong now and they appear in their shrouds frightening Tari. Tari seeks the help of Ustaz and finds his twisted body with his neck broken. Petrified, she hides in the waste disposal chute. She looks up to find a baby coming out of a pecong’s mouth and loses hold of her grip and falls to her death breaking her leg.
Is Ian Devil’s Offspring?
Rini, Wisnu, and Toni go in search of Bondi while Tari and Dino leave them to escape. Bondi and his friends go to the 14th floor to find the stairs that could take them to the 15th floor. However, they are unable to find them and realize that the stairs might be placed somewhere inside a room. During their search, Ari discovers one room unlocked. On entering, Bondi found his deaf little brother Ian inside, who had joined the procession of the satanic cult three years back. Soon, Bondi and his friends are reunited with Rini, Toni, and Wisnu. Wisnu, who understands sign language, starts communicating with Ian. Ian confesses to living in the apartment for quite some time. He tells Rini that he has no recollection of what transpired years ago. Having faith in his words, Rini takes him with the rest and tries to escape the building, but Bondi refuses to believe Ian. They are stopped in their tracks by Bahri. Rini confronts him about the suitcase to which he reflects that he did it for them. On finding Ian along with them, Bahri tries to attack Ian with his crutch, and the scene goes black.
The next scene shows everyone running amok in different directions searching for one another. We see cult members in suits standing on the stairs. Someone knocks Rini down unconscious. When she awakens fluttering her eyes open, she finds Ian leading the cult chanting words, revealing that he can speak. Rini grasps the truth that Ian is, in fact, the offspring of the Devil and has been planning this day. Ian feeds Rini the leaf of oblivion to make her join the cult but she spits the leaf rejecting the idea. She witnesses in her half-conscious state Ian summoning Toni, Bondi, Bahri, the undead pecong, and Raminom.
Under Ian’s orders, Bahri gets brutally murdered by wrenching the limbs from both sides. When Toni was about to get executed, Budiman enters the scene with his gun shooting at the cult members and the pecong. When Raminom tries to attack Budhiman, he takes out the Pear of Anguish and opens the spoon-like segments and points at Raminom. It makes her powerless and leaps to the wall. An enraged Ian, provoked by the attempts to stop the ritual, tries to bring back his control of the cult. However, he is pushed away by Wisnu and undoes his retaliation. Rini strikes Ian in his head with a stick and unfastens Toni from the ties. Rini, Wisnu, Toni, Ari, and Darto escape with Budhiman from the building in an inflatable boat.
Why Did Bahri Carry Fingers In His Suitcase?
While escaping from the building, Budhiman reveals the past story of Bahri and Mawarni. Back in 1955, Bahri was a police officer. On duty, he found out about Raminom’s cult and asked Mawarni to join the cult so that she could be a star and they could have children. Throughout the film, newspapers and local tv news tell the public to beware of an executor of mysterious sniper shootings whose victims have reached 2000 since 1981. It is revealed that Bahri was the one behind the massive killing. The cult demanded Bahri to kill thousands of people to terminate the pact and this resulted in mass extermination. And thus he was carrying the fingers of the victims he had killed as evidence to the cult members. Budhiman tells Rini that he was protecting his children from the cult’s eyes all this time. When Rini accuses his father of sacrificing their mother, Budhiman remarks that Mawarni only served as a camouflage. He also divulges that the cult is not just targetting their family and that a much more sinister agenda is brewing.
In the epilogue of sorts, we see Darminah and her husband making another appearance just like in Satan’s Slaves. It’s still unclear about the identity of this doting and mysterious couple and whether they are a part of the occult or on Rini’s side. Darminah thinks aloud and tells that they had to let things happen the way it had happened and that they are on their own side. They express their love for each other and dance to the tune of Mawarni’s music while the camera zooms in to show a photograph of the couple as participants of the 1955 Asian-African Conference that took place in Bandung. Batara and Darminah look as if they haven’t aged a day in the present even though the picture was taken 29 years prior. And it becomes obvious that Joko Anwar is inevitably in the works of another to answer all the unanswered questions.
Satan’s Slaves 2: Communion Theme Explained:
THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
Shakespeare once remarked, “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; They kill us for their sport.” In relation to the satanic horror universe, we can reframe it by replacing gods with the evil forces that torment and inflict suffering on the powerless. The problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with an omnipotent and benevolent god. Satan’s Slaves 2 puts forward the idea that faith alone can’t save anyone if they rely on religion solely as a means to get rid of the evil forces from their lives. Tari, a Muslim, on the advice of the Ustaz, performs namaz to get rid of the haunting spirit of her mother. She falls more into the depths of evil and even Ustaz gets killed despite his religious faith and deep core Islamic beliefs. Major Hera’s words become meaningful in this instance about the problem of evil. He wonders, “Was evil created at the same time humankind was created? If this was true, is there any purpose in attempting to defeat it? Is evil something we have to accept just as we have to accept humanity?”