31 Days of Halloween: Impetigore is folk horror at its chilling best

Impetigore is an Indonesian horror film that hit Shudder in July, but October is the perfect time to watch it.

Impetigore made its US debut at Sundance in January of this year. And yes, it’s a foreign film, so there are subtitles, but don’t let that stop you from watching this creepy, intricate story unfold.

The film opens with Maya, who works at a toll booth. Maya is attacked by a crazed man who calls her by the name Rahayu, and when a movie opens with a scene this harrowing, you know you are in for a treat. Maya is rescued, the man is killed, and she soon thereafter finds out that she is heir to a large home in a remote village.

After talking her sassy friend Dini into joining her, the two set off for Harjosari village, which is where Maya was born. Upon arriving at Harjosari, they notice there are large number of infant graves, very few children and almost daily, there is another funeral.

Soon enough, the story starts to unfold. The village is suffering a curse placed upon them, which results in all of the infants being born without skin. Since the village elders believe Maya’s father was the reason for the curse, they are convinced that the only way to break it is to kill and skin Maya.

Impetigore

Ario Bayu appear in Impetigore by Joko Anwar, an official selection of the Midnight program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Ical Tanjung, I.C.S.
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Impetigore is filled with interesting, likeable characters. Maya herself (Tara Basro) is a sympathetic character, and Marissa Anita is outstanding as the tart, funny Dini. And though the gore scenes are not constant, there are no holds barred once they occur. There is blood and flaying at moments, but it definitely does not get in the way of this mysterious story.

Oh, did I mention the shadow puppets? Yes, there are some fantastic, gorgeous puppets on display as well, so it’s a treat for the eyes. Impetigore currently can only be streamed on Shudder.

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Have you seen Impetigore, or do you plan to watch it during October? Tell us what you think in the comments section.