Jakarta. 2018 has been a busy year for film director Rocky Soraya. After resurrecting Suzzanna in his latest box office hit "Suzzanna: Bernapas Dalam Kubur" ("Suzzanna: Still Breathing in the Grave"), he's now working on another horror flick, "Mata Batin 2" ("The Third Eye 2"), a sequel to last year's blockbuster "Mata Batin."
If you want to check out the first Mata Batin flick before the sequel, it is now available on Netflix, one of a growing number of Indonesian films being made available on the online streaming giant's playlist.
The tagline for the sequel is still the same as last year: "Once you see them [the supernatural beings], they will see you and come after you."
Some characters in the movie are blessed with a "third eye" that allows them to see astral beings and experience paranormal activities.
The storyline is predictably run-of-the-mill and the jump scares, as always, are employed too liberally, but from the preview Mata Batin 2 looks at least neatly crafted.
It has perfect color grading, great sound design and cleverly designed sets that give you chills.
The original Mata Batin attracted more than one million viewers and ranked eighth in last year's blockbuster list.
Rocky is a horror specialist whose filmography includes "Sabrina," "The Doll" and "The Doll 2."
At a press conference in Central Jakarta on Tuesday (04/12), the director promised Mata Batin 2 will be more intense and even scarier than the original.
He also revealed the sequel will be the most expensive horror film Hitmaker Studio has ever produced.
"Even the trailer is intense. I've decided to go all out horror this time," Rocky said.
The story follows Alia (Jessica Mila), as she volunteers at an orphanage owned by her parents' friends, Fadli (Jeremy Thomas) and Laksmi (Sophia Latjuba).
Alia works at the orphanage to take her mind off the death of her sister, and there she meets Nadia, an orphan who has a third eye and can hear and see astral beings.
The plot of the film revolves around a forbidden door in the orphanage.
Just like the red door in Netflix's horror hit "The Haunting of Hill House," or in Joko Anwar’s 2009 thriller "Pintu Terlarang" ("Forbidden Door"), mysteries hide behind the forbidden door in Mata Batin 2.
Alia and Nadia cannot resist the temptation to open the door (of course). When they do, they unintentionally unleash an evil spirit called Darmah.
Once again, the plot is cheesy and predictable, but the film's aforementioned craftiness saves it from being totally ordinary. And that includes the use of real mantras.
Indonesian actress and parapsychologist Citra Prima plays Bu Windu in the film and also created six mantras in Sanskrit.
She said the mantras include six elements that she learned from her personal "goddesses."
"I contacted them [her goddesses] and received a prophecy. I’ve never learned Sanskrit. I just put down on paper what I heard from them," she said.
Citra said the mantras can be used to open one's "inner eyes" and open and close unseen portals to the netherworld.
"The mantras are genuinely powerful. You'll feel their electromagnetic vibrations when you watch the film," she said.
"They won't harm you, but they'll definitely give you this out-of-this-world sensation," Citra said.
Mata Batin 2 will be released in cinemas on Jan. 17 next year.