Primbon is a gripping 2023 film that delves into the lives of a superstitious family who are tightly bound by the beliefs of the Primbon book. The story revolves around a girl named Rana, who mysteriously disappears in the woods on her mother’s supposedly cursed birthday. Everyone assumes she’s dead and ends up conducting a funeral ceremony called the Tahlilan ritual for her peace. To everyone’s shock, Rana returned that very night. However, doubts linger about whether she is truly alive or whether something more sinister has transpired. As the family grapples with the unsettling idea that their daughter might be possessed by a bad spirit, viewers are drawn into the mystery of Rana’s disappearance and the enigmatic nature of her return. The film challenges the reliability of the Primbon book by questioning whether everything written within its pages speaks the truth. As the narrative unfolds, the village becomes a breeding ground for suspicion and contemplation. The tension peaks as viewers question Rana’s existence and the possibility of an otherworldly presence. Primbon not only captivates with its suspenseful plot but also serves as a gateway to the Javanese culture, unraveling a conundrum of beliefs. The film skillfully keeps the audience on the edge, leaving them pondering what to believe amidst the mystique of superstition and reality.
How Does Rana’s Return Impact Her Family?
The movie starts with Rana and Janu setting out to the woods to make a birthday gift for Rana’s mother. However, Rana goes missing in the woods, which leads to a frantic search by the entire village. As days pass without finding her, the family resorts to a Tahlilan ritual, fearing Rana might be dead. They refrain from designating the day of her disappearance as cursed on the obituary and battle with the dilemma of whether to consider the day she went missing or the day the village called off the search after one week as a presumed day of her death. The tension amplifies when Rana unexpectedly returns on the very night of the Tahlilan ritual, naked and drenched in rain. The family was torn between relief and suspicion, and questions arose as to why she had supposedly returned on this cursed day. The superstitious atmosphere takes a toll on her parents too, although they feel glad to see that she’s back. The family becomes increasingly wary as peculiar incidents unfold. When Rana’s sister, Tari, goes to check on her in the bathroom, she witnesses an eerie moment when Rana is not found anywhere in the bathroom but then suddenly appears from behind, out of thin air.
The family grapples with Rana’s unexplained actions by intensifying their skepticism. Rana’s father was really concerned remembering a scary tale from the Primbon book that said bad things would happen to her if she went to the woods on her mother’s birthday. As the family seeks answers, they place flowers and other spiritual elements on a tray in Rana’s room to test for supernatural activity. They later found out that the flowers had dried up and turned black within a day, which made them think that there was no way Rana was a human and that it was her ominous presence that had caused that change. One day, Rana asks her aunt to comb her hair. In a shocking turn, her aunt discovers maggots crawling on Rana’s head, which further reinforces the family’s fears, seeing that her scalp is rotten.
The unnerving discovery aligns with the superstition that a cuckoo’s continuous singing signals death in the house. Further unsettling events unfold: Rana’s nosebleed during lunch, the doctor finding no pulse or heartbeat while checking Rana’s health, and maggots infesting her mouth. The family grapples with contradictory interpretations, with Rana’s parents fiercely denying the supernatural claims. Amidst the chaos one night, the family experiences an attack by a sinister, horrifying figure, which leads them to desperate prayers for divine intervention as they suggest that Rana attracts bad spirits. Rana’s return becomes a source of division, with the family torn between scientific reasoning and Primbon’s beliefs. Rana’s mate Janu suggested a cleansing ritual to confirm her identity by reading the Primbon book. The family faces a complex web of mysterious and terrifying events, with each incident deepening the enigma surrounding Rana’s return. The conflicting forces of superstition and skepticism cast a chilling veil over the family and the village, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats, craving a resolution to the spine-chilling mystery.
What Happens To Rana?
As tensions escalated within the family, the family members hurled accusations at Rana’s mother, blaming her for being born on a supposedly cursed day. The discrepancy in birth dates between her and her husband further fueled the belief that they were an ill-fated couple and deemed unworthy to enter their sacred family, according to the Primbon book. Amidst the heated argument, Rana’s mother defended herself by insisting that their daughter should not be dragged into the conversation. Before the anticipated cleansing ceremony, Janu and Tari ventured into the woods in a desperate attempt to locate Rana’s body. While the cleansing ceremony commenced, Rana began witnessing ominous dark spirits around her being engulfed in the holy chanting, and it made her scream out in pain. On the other end of this suspenseful tale, Tari and Janu discover Rana’s body amidst the woods. Tari cradled Rana’s body and let her take her last breath on her lap. The revelation shattered the family and the entire village, confirming the tragic fate that superstition had hinted at—that Rana had been dead this entire time and an ominous creature was hovering over the family and the villagers all along.
The concluding scene transitioned into a heart-wrenching flashback through a video recording Rana had made before venturing into the woods with Janu on her mother’s birthday. The recording portrayed Rana’s unwavering belief in her mother’s goodness and her vow to prove the world wrong about her supposedly cursed birth date. Rana expressed an immense love for her mother by urging her to keep the video as a testament to their bond. This poignant moment stood in stark contrast to the superstitions and accusations that had surrounded the family.
Primbon ended with the devastating impact of the blind belief in the Primbon book, as the cleansing ceremony meant to purify Rana resulted in her tragic demise. It all connects back to Rana’s mom having a cursed birthday. The movie suggests that maybe, because of this supposed curse, Rana faced the terrible fate of losing her life in such a tragic way. This situation makes viewers wonder if sometimes superstitions might actually come true, as it sadly did in Rana’s case. It’s a really sad and thought-provoking ending to the film, which makes us question the impact of beliefs on our lives and the outcomes they might bring.