Movie reviews

Kuntilanak 3

Kuntilanak 3 from 2008 (also known by its anglicized title The Chanting 3) closed the original horror trilogy from the director Rizal Mantovani, and it goes without saying we’re gonna have a look at it as we did with the previous two movies.

The movie ties in directly with the previous one, in which Samantha (Julie Estelle) was told to go to the village of Ujung Sedo to solve the problem with her evoking the Kuntilanak by chanting the old Javanese chant. And so she goes.

First, we are introduced of the couple on their hiking trip, which ends up quite not the way they would expect. But I guess meeting the kuntilanak in person is probably never a happy encounter. This introduction to the movie is pretty creepy, the ghost/apparition is well done and spooky.

So, the engaged couple is lost and their friends are now embarking on the mission to find them. And here’s where the fun begins.

On their way they meet Samantha and they take her along in kind of a good Samaritan deed. Well, it’s a jungle and you’re not gonna let a young woman walk alone through it, right?

I’m not gonna spoil the movie for you (at least, not too much), instead, let’s talk about some positives and negatives here. Because both aspects are present.

First, the positives. Creepy atmosphere, especially the final segment of meeting the Grandma. That mask was fantastic! Although, truth to be told, I was a little lost of what the hell was going on and why, but I’ve found that out. Sightings of kuntilanak were also great.

That much for the positives, I’m afraid, however, the not so good aspects of the movies might not be what you would expect. And the movie is not bad, I will say straight away.

The shot-on-digital picture disappoints a little with the TV-soap look, but that final segment with the Grandma reedeems it (and to be honest, I don’t really mind digital picture, it is, what it is, deal with it), plus a nice segment from the very and with the violet background filter behind Julie standing on the waterfall, that was really nice.

The real problem lies with the script itself. Dialogues are silly and that can be forgiven, but the reactions of characters to their surroundings and development is just totally WTF category. One example for many – the party is searching for Herman (Reza Pahlevi) and they come to the abandoned village. After discovering the corpse hanging from the tree (or pole), one of the characters says something to the effect – for tonight we’re staying here, we will go back tomorrow. I mean, really? I would be out of that jungle in a heartbeat!!! Not to mention the baby (and this is never explained), or what about the scene when one of the characters say in that year about 26 people went missing in that area – yet you’re going there? C’mon.
Also when characters meet kuntilanak in the various scenes, and they just go on like it’s no big deal. You know, one thing is the effort to try to save their friends, the other is being stupid. And not to mention, Julie Estelle’s Samantha character is degraded to a caricature of the last girl standing.

The movie ends up with an open ending, but I guess the creators did a wise thing not to exploit this possibility.

Good thing is, the move to reboot the series with 2018 Kuntilanak (a.k.a. The Chanting Revisited) makes sense now.

Let’s have a look at the cast.

Rizal Mantovani and Julie Estelle we’ve discussed in the review for the original Kuntilanak, so I’ll skip them here.

Laudya Cynthia Bella starred in the opening scene as Stella, she can be found mostly in dramas, but also in horror movies Belenggu (2012) and Kakak (2015).

Cindy Valerie reprised her role of Yenny from Kuntilanak 2, her only other film credit is Cado Cado: Doctor 101 from 2016.

Mandala Abadi Shoji has filled the character of Darwin, his two other film appearances are horror movies Enam (2007) and The Ghost of Mortuary (2009).

One of the female characters is Petra, played by Laura Antoinette, with her only other film credit being Jakarta Undercover (2006).

The other female of the party, Asti, is portrayed by Imelda Therinne, this Indonesian actress was also in Macabre (2009), Belenggu (2012), Hi5teria (2012) or The Queen of Black Magic (2019) among others.

Reza Pahlevi did a few movies too, debuting in Jelangkung 3 (2007), also in Hantu Perawan Jeruk Purut (2008), Pocong Kamar Sebelah (2009) or Kuntilanak-Kuntilanak from 2012.

Summed up – Kuntilanak 3 is a nice culmination of the story and despite its flaws, still a likeable viewing.


Rudolf Schütz

The creative mind behind the,a fervent connoisseur of cultural treasures, with an unwavering passion for Asian and Indonesian movies and music. He is a true aficionado, driven by a desire to unearth hidden gems and shed light on the often-overlooked. From the grand stages of mainstream performances to the gritty underground scenes, Rudolf is equally at home, recognizing that every note and frame tells a unique tale. As a cultural enthusiast, Rudolf is not just an observer but a storyteller in their own right. Through his insights, analyses, and reviews, he shares the captivating narratives that ripple through Asia's music and movie scenes. Whether it's a haunting melody that resonates from Indonesia's hidden corners or a cinematic masterpiece that transports you across time, Rudolf is your trusted guide to the captivating world of cultural expressions.

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