The Indonesian horror film Suzzanna: Kliwon Friday Night is an example of a film that might entertain more in cinemas when you watch it with a crowd full of strangers than it does on Netflix. Sitting in your room, you might not feel what the film was going for. Directed by Guntur Soeharjanto, Suzzanna: Kliwon Friday Night is gory where it needs to be and also has that comedic touch, reminiscent of classical horror films from Hollywood. The story of the film is pretty straightforward, but with proper execution, the idea is brought to fruition. The film confuses in the beginning about if it’s going towards more of a ‘ghostly’ universe, but then mixes it with body horror. The performances in this film will be polarizing, but I feel Luna Maya, the Indonesian star, hits the perfect note for this film.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
In the 1980’s, when black magic practice was rampant, Suzzanna was coming of age, and she had already chosen Surya, the local wrestler, as her partner. Her parents were extremely poor peasants, but Suzzanna’s real problems began on the day the village’s wealthiest landlord, Raden, set eyes on her. He sent his goons to threaten her father, for he owed him a lot of money, and later invited the family to nullify the debt in exchange for Suzzanna’s hand in marriage. The family had no option, and Suzzanna became a martyr for the family, leaving Surya. Suzzanna was going to be Raden’s second wife, and she was just going to be used to get him an heir. Minati, his first wife, was jealous and insecure and was not going to rest until she got rid of Suzzanna.
Why Did The Shaman Use The ‘banaspati’ Curse?
Minati approached a shaman to use black magic to kill Suzzanna. Suzzanna was completely unaware that she wanted her dead. Her life in Raden’s palace was relatively good, but emotionally, she was still yearning for Surya. Before the marriage, he had attempted to attack Raden, but to no avail. Suzzanna ultimately got pregnant, but whenever she got the time, she went out with the housekeeper Ratih to the market, where she could see Surya. Minati, on the other hand, wanted the shaman to not only kill Suzzanna as early as possible but also to make that death the most painful. Minati had given him a lock of Suzzanna’s hair, and he began using black magic, but it wasn’t strong enough to do her harm. Suzzanna was terrified of the strange occurrences but survived every time. The closest she came to death was when she woke up and found her room riddled with snakes. When the shaman tried harder, Suzzanna almost choked on a lock of her own hair. On one of her visits to the market, she saw Surya, and the painful past came up again. But Surya understood that she was in trouble. She showed him the lock of hair she had coughed up, as it was proof that someone was using black magic on her. Days went by, and her belly grew in size. Minati was worried that Suzzanna would give birth to a healthy son and that Raden would have no use for Minati. Desperate, she forced the shaman to use the most powerful curse he could. She was even willing to sleep with the shaman, but she wanted him to use the curse to kill Suzzanna. Frustrated, the shaman decided to use the ‘fireball curse’ or ‘Banaspati’ which made the baby be born out of Suzzanna’s back. The birth killed Suzzanna, but the baby survived.
How Did Surya Bring Suzzanna To Life?
Surya knew she had died due to the use of black magic, and hence he dug up her body. He might have the idea that he would bring her back to life, but firstly, it just seemed that he did it out of sheer shock. He couldn’t believe Suzzanna had died and wanted to see her again, as he loved her so deeply that he couldn’t just let her go. On his way out of the jungle, he heard the voice of ‘Samil’, aka death. Samil understood what Surya wanted to do, and so he made a deal with him. In exchange for giving up the baby to Samil, death would bring Suzzanna back to life. Samil convinced him that the newborn was the child of death and had to be returned. Surya, wanting to see Suzzanna come to life again, agreed to the deal. Immediately, Suzzanna rose from the dead, and it seemed that she had been resurrected with special powers. Surya didn’t tell her about the deal with death, as he understood that he had made a deal with the devil, Iblis. Suzzanna was a force to be reckoned with as she went on to brutally kill the shaman with Surya and Ratih’s help.
How Did Japra And Rojali Help In Bringing Suzzanna Closer To Her Baby?
Ratih was the one that could have easily helped Surya and Suzzanna enter Raden’s heavily guarded house, but the shaman killed her before he was finished off by Suzzanna. Japra and Rojali were the village policemen, and they didn’t know about Suzzanna’s terrible death. They saw a woman roaming around in the forest and called Raden to check. Raden was shocked and went to see if Suzzanna was alive. Suzzanna used her power to shapeshift and appear quite different to the police than she did to Raden. Japra and Rojali were ineffective cops who could be terrorized to go against Raden. They first tried to check if Suzzanna was the ghost people were talking about in the village, and indeed she was, but they were too scared to do anything. Surya came and made them understand how Suzzanna was a force of good, and she just wanted their help to get into Raden’s house. They understood her plight, and on Kliwon night, the festive occasion where it is believed that ancestors visit their family, they distracted Raden’s men, and Suzzanna got the chance to enter the house without letting Minati harm the baby.
Why Did Surya Kill Suzzanna?
Suzzanna went in as Ratih, but she wasn’t aware that Minati had told Raden about the shaman and his use of black magic. Raden had hired a renowned shaman to protect them and the baby from Suzzanna. The shaman had given her an iron nail that would put an end to the resurrected Suzzanna’s life and other paraphernalia to make sure she couldn’t deceive anybody. Ratih was seen roaming around the house and searching for the baby, who was nowhere to be found. Minati, suspecting her to be Suzzanna, checked by looking in the mirror that the shaman had given her, which revealed the true appearance of the hollow-backed Suzzanna.
Surya was right behind Suzzanna in case she was caught. It was difficult, but it wasn’t impossible. Raden’s men entered the house and tried to use the shaman’s nail to kill Suzzanna. Surya had to intervene, and he was the one who ultimately shot the shaman, who had almost managed to put the nail through Suzzanna. Unstoppable, Suzzanna became an agent of death, killing men left and right until she rescued her baby. She killed even Raden, who had given up his weapons. Suzzanna took her revenge when she possessed Minati’s body, only to come tearing through her back, imitating how she had died. She calmed down only when she held her baby, but Surya put the shaman’s nail through her head. He had realized her mistake. She was not his Suzzanna, but a murderous version who wasn’t reliable enough to take care of the baby. If the deal was to be honored, he had to kill the baby, but he decided to kill Suzzanna instead, following nature’s path. Bringing somebody back from the dead was a violation of natural law, which had negative consequences, and Surya had seen the catastrophe on the violent Kliwon night. Surya decided to raise the baby as her own, and she grew up to be a beautiful young girl, cheering for Surya while he wrestled in the mud, something that Suzzanna always loved to do as well.