Directed by Sidharta Tata, Waktu Maghrib (2023) is an Indonesian movie that captures the pulse of the Koranic idea about evil lurking during sunset hour. It weaves a horror story around the incidents that take place in this village when a few children defy the scriptures by remaining outside their houses or mosques during this hour. Simply put, many possessions take place in this movie, accompanied by the tale of a school teacher and a select few students in class. This not only adds to the layers of horror in the movie but also makes it confusing to watch. If you indulge in the horrors of Waktu Maghrib (2023), you can fall back on this guide for a detailed explanation of the movie and its ending. Happy reading!
Waktu Maghrib (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
The movie begins with three young children playing in the field during sunset. One of them, Wati, reminds the two boys with her that dusk is approaching and they should be on their way back home, but the boys refuse to return home immediately. Wati wanders towards the woods while the object (a piece of stick) that the boys were playing with accidentally finds its way to a particular site in the forest, which we learn in the recurring scenes is haunted.
As one of the children tries to fish out the stick from the hole it has fallen into, his hand experiences a pull and later loses a finger. His friend falls dead nearby, and Wati can hear a voice calling her towards itself to play with him. This is the prologue to the movie.
Now, we have moved 30 years ahead in time. Adi (played by Ali Fikry) and Saman (played by Bima Sena) are two young boys (and friends) who always arrive late to school. Their class teacher, Miss Woro (played by Aulia Sarah), is constantly cross with them about their late arrival and punishes them by detaining them in school after class hours. Their friend, Ayu (played by Nafiza Fatia Rani), is a bright student, and Mrs Woro detectably appreciates her efforts at studying.
On one occasion, she even gifts her a pen to express her appreciation towards her. We also see a glimpse of the three children in the mosque taking lessons from a maulvi about the importance of a dusk prayer and how every child must leave the house a little before dusk to reach the mosque before dusk sets in since dusk is the hour of evil according to their Holy Scriptures.
Saman lives with his grandmother and elder brother. They are not well-to-do, and Saman is bestowed to supply a few bottles of wild honey to Ayu’s parents. On multiple occasions, he forgets about the same and is beaten up by his brother. One day, he decides to venture into the woods with Adi after school, knowing fully well that it is the hour of dusk, and happens to wish for death upon Mrs. Woro for all their sufferings just when the Maghrib’s evening prayers are being pronounced.
At this moment, Adi and Saman are hitchhiking a ride, and their vehicle mysteriously loses control, and they are saved from a major accident. Saman also perceives the silhouette of someone in his rearview mirror during this time.
That evening, Miss Woro experiences a supernatural presence around her and is soon murdered by a ghost. Saman and Adi learn about her death soon after returning to the village. Adi expresses curiosity over this incident, pointing out how Saman wished death upon her a little while ago. At Miss Woro’s funeral, Saman hallucinates twice that it is a ghost and not Miss Woro’s corpse lying in front of him, leaving him shocked and fatigued. Back in the hut, it is time for Saman to experience the same supernatural presence. It also becomes evident that a dark spirit now possesses Saman.
On the other hand, Miss Ningsih (played by Taskya Namya) is the replacement teacher for Miss Woro and a recent recruit in the local school. Adi arrives late the next day at school, but the new teacher is patient with him. Ayu’s over-eagerness, however, is carefully handled by Miss Woro when she informs the latter that she has finished all the questions in their workbook.
Meanwhile, upon learning that the bottles of honey had still not reached their destination, Saman’s brother reaches home and attacks him, beating him up mercilessly. Saman also wishes death upon his brother, and soon the supernatural presence takes him down. The following day, a possessed Saman hands over the bottles due to the shopkeeper while the head of the village wakes up to discover that all his chickens have been killed. In class that day, Ayu senses the presence of a ghost in her former school teacher’s clothes, and it is discovered that the honey bottles are full of blood.
When Ayu’s father, the village head, and a police officer go to Saman’s house to inquire about the chicken blood, they discover the mutilated body of his brother, buzzing with flies, lying on the floor inside the hut. Ayu and Adi also arrive at the spot, and concerned about Saman’s well-being, they rush into the forest to save him. Adi discovers a possessed Saman at the stream, bringing the latter home.
Miss Ningsih proposes to talk with Saman to try to get him to talk, but all goes in vain; Saman instead commits suicide. A traumatized Adi is told by Miss Ningsih the next day in school that he could share his feeling with her to help him feel better and asks him to stay back to study. Adi decides to pray in his school classroom during dusk that evening, but the boy starts experiencing a supernatural presence around him. Soon, Adi also falls into the trap of possession similar to Saman’s.
Sensing a change in Adi’s recent behavior and experiencing multiple rounds of supernatural sightings, Ayu decides to help put a pause on these extraordinary incidents with the help of Karta (played by Andri Mashadi), the village madman whose finger had gone missing 30 years ago. Will Ayu be able to save Adi from the clutches of the djinn? Well, Waktu Maghrib (2023) is deeply religious in its beliefs and screenplay.
Waktu Maghrib (2023) Movie Ending Explained:
Adi and another child from the village, Bondan, go missing, and the villagers soon turn frantic in search of the kids. Meanwhile, Ayu is suspicious of the new class teacher and tries to test her with an amulet. The latter does not affect her; instead, she is told not to wander around and go home directly after school. On her way to the mosque that evening, Ayu spots Adi disfiguring an animal while an unconscious Bondan is found. Adi starts chasing Ayu, who takes refuge in the nearest house.
Adi constantly tries to enter the house and harm them, but a police officer arrives on the spot and leaves Adi temporarily unconscious. Everyone in the village is now buzzed with Adi’s possession and believes it to be an evil spirit passed down from Saman. The maulvi also performs an exorcism on Adi in the presence of the villagers, who come to believe that these incidents are Karta’s doing; Karta is captured and beaten up by the villagers.
When Ayu is in bed and resting, Miss Ningsih visits her, and her malicious intentions are soon clear to Ayu. She comes to realize that Miss Woro’s ghost has possessed the new teacher, and she tries her best to keep Ningsih away with a charm/amulet, which is waved off as mere superstition by the ghost. Ayu reaches out for help to Karta, who asks Ayu to help save Adi while he faces the djinn; Karta is sure that the evil spirit must be back with a cruel intention and for a cause.
He soon realizes that it is a witch inhabiting the body of Miss Ningsih, and the witch metamorphoses into his old friend Wati in front of him. They understand that Saman and Adi were both possessed by the djinn, who now wants a fresh body to possess. Karta decides to set fire to the lair that is believed to be the origin of this djinn.
As the evil spirit is destroyed in the fire, it leaves Adi’s body once and for all. The movie, however, ends with a hint that the evil from that site has not been completely obliterated and that there continues to be evil and darkness lurking in the dark at dusk, making it unsafe for anyone to be outside their houses or mosques. Waktu Maghrib (2023) is an interesting horror movie that somehow feels blinded by its faith in religious superstition. However, if you’d like to watch something different, feel free to pick this one up! You won’t be disappointed.