Danur: I Can See Ghosts

Why yes, Netflix did add that clumsy subtitle all by themselves, grape job guys.

So now we’re in Indonesia! And it’s absolutely crawling with ghosts. This film clocks in at a BRISK hour and fourteen minutes and goddamn was that a breath of fresh air. Based on a novel, Danur tells the story of a little girl named Risa (not the Star Trek sex planet) whose parents are always out of the house working and, with no siblings to play with, this kid is desperately lonely until she meets three ghost children. They all become fast friends and she is finally happy until her mother brings in a ghost expert of some sort who forces Risa to view her ghost friends as the corpses that they are and prevents her from being able to see them at all in the future.

But when Risa is grown and taking care of her grandmother, her little sister becomes friends with a Very Bad Ghost and Risa needs to call on her childhood ghost buddies to help out. And I FUCKING LOVE GHOST BUDDIES. (Which would have been a better subtitle, NETFLIX.)

Now, I love this plot a lot, but there are some, uh, weird wrinkles in the actual movie that made this whole thing less than spectacular. Like when Risa can’t control her grandmother while she is busy with ghost stuff so she HOG TIES HER GRANDMOTHER WITH HER OWN SCARF and then we never speak of that again. Or when her mother is trying to bury a demonic comb to stop the Bad Ghost and she immediately trips on a root and we watch her dramatically crawl to her preferred hole-digging spot for like…actual minutes of time. And then she is bad at digging a small hole so once she gets the comb covered by a small amount of dirt she just SLAMS THAT THING WITH A ROCK over and over and over again while the music indicates that this is a *very dramatic moment* and I am left wondering how this woman managed to raise two children. This whole sequence is spliced between poorly-filmed shots of Risa flailing around in a bathtub under red lights which does not help anything whatsoever.

Unfortunately all that happens at the dramatic conclusion of the Very Bad Ghost shenanigans, which really undercuts….everything. This movie mostly makes me curious about reading the book, because the actual story is pretty great. The movie itself, however, was…..


The execution was just kinda below average and hokey and, while I did enjoy parts, overall it just lacked in production quality and suffered from a few bad choices.

But if anyone’s got an English copy of Danur by Risa Saraswati, hit me up.

Or uh if anyone wants to translate one for me. Who speaks Indonesian?

Danur: I Can See Ghosts

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