Mantra Surugana (2023) Movie Review

Movie theaters are currently preparing to release a new horror film titled Mantra Surugana, directed by Dyan Sunu Prastowo. This film narrates the awakening of a demon through an incantation. Drawing from elements of local culture, Mantra Surugana showcases incantations spoken in the Sundanese language.

The cast of Mantra Surugana is adorned with young stars, starting with Sitha Marino in the role of Tantri, Cindy Nirmala as Dahlia, Fergie Brittany portraying Asta, Shabrina Luna embodying Fey, Rafael Adwel as Reza, Dewa Dayana playing Mahesa, and Yusuf Mahardika as Luki.

This film premiered simultaneously in all Indonesian theaters on July 27th. Intrigued by the storyline? Check out the review of Surugana Mantra below!

Summary of Mantra Surugana (2023)

Mantra Surugana tells the tale of a demon’s resurgence through incantations and haunting curses that plague a newly-professed student named Tantri (Sitha Marino).

Tantri plans to study and reside in a dormitory room. However, unexpectedly, she discovers a horrifying connection with incantations and curses from her past. These incantations and curses awaken the demon Surugana and claim its victims.

In order to save herself and her friends, Tantri must destroy the incantation book. The question arises: can the Secret Sect solve the issue without further casualties, or are they all destined to become targets of the demon Surugana?


Film Review of Mantra Surugana (2023)

Vivid imagery is a plus

It must be acknowledged that the film displays impressive visuals. The color palette chosen for classification is apt, avoiding excessive darkness or dominance of red hues. Camera angles are diverse, capturing various perspectives and accompanied by meticulous details.

The appearance of the demon Surugana is not limited to mere black and white makeup; it is prepared with seriousness and attention to detail. From the hair, facial features, and eyes to the body, every aspect contributes to its chilling aura. Furthermore, the dense Sundanese dialogues add to the eerie atmosphere.

Moreover, the Surugana incantations are presented diversely in dance sequences. Unlike most typical horror films, some jump scare scenes are genuinely shocking and unpredictable. However, the repetition of these jump scares diminishes their prolonged effectiveness.

mantra surugana

Subtle Messages Abound

The film conveys numerous messages, both explicit and implied. Clearly, it is not just about the prohibition of casual incantation use. Furthermore, there’s a discussion about sexual harassment, leading to revenge and the choices incantations entail.

Sexual harassment cannot be overlooked, as the perpetrator could come from anywhere, even within one’s family. Similarly, as implied in the film, Asta’s uncle has abused him since he was young, leading to his reliance on an oxygen tank due to his deteriorating health.

The resultant anger and thirst for vengeance prompt him to delve into forbidden incantations.

Additionally, the origin of the demon Surugana is traced back to a woman named Dahlia (Cindy Nirmala). Back then, Dahlia was drugged and sequentially raped by five men in the village. The ensuing anger and pain compel her to employ the forbidden incantations.

The curse by the five culprits is cast upon their bloodline, resurfacing in the future when Arum and Tantri are haunted by the demon Surugana. Both become chosen vessels to serve the malevolent demon until death befalls them.

However, there are too many messages to convey. This results in a downside, as the storyline becomes convoluted and fragmented. Some scenes seem unnecessary, while others lack sufficient development, given the film’s runtime of under two hours.

review mantra surugana

Balanced Scoring Approach

Another aspect worth praising is the balanced scoring of the film, avoiding unnecessary exaggeration. Everything is served in proportion and appropriately. Background music during the demon’s incantations in Sundanese enhances the tense atmosphere in the theater.

Especially noteworthy is the addition of the original score by Sara Fajira. Both the music and lyrics feel profound, enriching the film’s narrative.

Conclusion on Mantra Surugana

Overall, Mantra Surugana evokes a sense of horror with its stunning visuals and versatile camera angles. The portrayal of the demon Surugana is intricately detailed beyond black and white makeup.

Despite the story’s pervasive dissemination, this film, accompanied by Sara Fajira’s musical score, still manages to create tension through genuinely terrifying horror moments. Some jump scare scenes could surprise audiences, even if they are repeated, although their impact fades due to repetition.

For those who enjoy horror films, Mantra Surugana is a worthwhile watch in a nearby theater!


Zephyrine is an experienced film critic who has worked for many magazines and websites specializing in cinema. She has a deep education in film history and theory, as well as a passion for classic and independent films. Writing style: Zephyrine always evaluates films objectively and honestly, not influenced by external factors such as the fame of actors or directors. She often focuses on the content, screenplay, technique, and personal feelings to provide insights and reviews of the film. Her writing style is easy to understand and familiar to readers, but also professional and profound. Notable articles: "Step Up" - Success comes from the perseverance and relentless effort of young people "The Social Network" - A fantastic documentary film about the birth of Facebook "Moonlight" - A touching story about love and the essence of humanity "Nomadland" - A poignant journey of a mature woman "Parasite" - A sensational film of Korean cinema with profound social messages.

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