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Theatrical release poster
IndonesianPerempuan Tanah Jahanam
Directed byJoko Anwar
Written byJoko Anwar
Produced by
  • Shanty Harmayn
  • Tia Hasibuan
  • Aoura Lovenson Chandra
  • Ben Soebiakto
CinematographyIcal Tanjung
Edited byDinda Amanda
Music by
  • Bemby Gusti
  • Tony Merle
  • Aghi Narottama
Distributed by
Release date
  • 17 October 2019 (2019-10-17)
Running time
107 minutes
Box officeRp 71.8 billion[1]
($5.13 million)

Impetigore (Indonesian: Perempuan Tanah Jahanam, lit.'Woman of the damned land') is a 2019 Indonesian horror film written and directed by Joko Anwar. The film stars Tara Basro, Marissa Anita, Christine Hakim, Asmara Abigail, and Ario Bayu. After Maya (Basro) is mysteriously attacked, she and her friend Dini (Anita) travel to her remote ancestral village seeking a family fortune, only to find a hostile and suspicious community blighted by a curse.

Almost a decade in development, the film was announced as a Lifelike Pictures production in 2011 but was initially shelved. Seven years later, Impetigore was secured as an international co-production between Indonesia's Rapi Films and BASE Entertainment with South Korea's CJ Entertainment and the US-based Ivanhoe Pictures.[2]

Filming took place on location at various sites in East Java, including a village so remote that the crew had to build infrastructure and a road to access it. Filming also faced delays when Anwar contracted dengue fever on the first day and was hospitalised.

Impetigore was released in Indonesia on 17 October 2019. In 2020, it was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and began streaming in the United States on Shudder. It was selected as the Indonesian official entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, but was not nominated.[3]

The film was a box office success in Indonesia and received favourable reviews internationally, with critics praising its cinematography, sound design and use of Indonesian folklore. At the 40th Citra Awards, Indonesia's top film honours, the film received a record-breaking 17 nominations and won 6, including Best Picture, a second Best Director for Anwar, and a third supporting actress and ninth overall win for screen veteran Christine Hakim.[4]


Best friends Maya and Dini work as tollbooth collectors in Jakarta. On a night shift, Maya is attacked by a man wielding a golok, claiming to be from a village called Harjosari and calling Maya "Rahayu". Following the inscription on an old photo from her aunt showing a young Maya, identified as Rahayu, with a couple in front of a large house, Maya and Dini travel to the remote Harjosari village to look for the house in hopes of selling it for money.

In Harjosari, the pair encounter cold, suspicious villagers. They witness funerals for children taking place daily and observe that many headstones in the cemetery belong to newborns. Dini is lured away by villagers, who slit her throat and flay her, mistaking her for Rahayu, whose parents Donowongso and Shinta owned the house. While looking for Dini in the evening, Maya spies village chief and dalang Saptadi drowning a skinless newborn infant. She finds out from sympathetic villager Ratih that 20 years ago, Donowongso, a rich dalang, was rumoured to have made a pact with the devil and murdered three girls to heal his daughter Rahayu, who was born without skin. Since then, all babies in the village have been born skinless.

The ghost of one of the murdered little girls reveals to Maya that the actual way to end the curse is to bury the slain girls' skin, which had been made into wayang kulit puppets by Donowongso, together with their bones. The ghost also reveals that Rahayu was born skinless because Saptadi's dukun mother Misni had cursed her for having been conceived from an adulterous affair between Saptadi and Shinta, who was desperate after her effort with Donowongso had been unsuccessful. Donowongso, who himself was a dukun, sacrificed three girls to cure Rahayu's skin and, in doing so, cursed the entire village. Saptadi, who had been jinxed by Misni to forget about his affair, posed as Donowongso, killed Shinta and an entire group of wayang musicians during a performance, then killed Donowongso after framing him for the massacre. Misni convinced Saptadi and the villagers that the curse can only be undone by flaying Rahayu and making puppets out of her skin. Rahayu was then evacuated by her 'aunt', who in fact was one of Donowongso's servants, and renamed to conceal her identity.

Maya and Ratih bury the puppets made from the three girls' skin in their grave and their spirits are pacified. Misni arrives with the villagers and reveals that Saptadi and Donowongso are actually half-brothers, as Donowongso's father had an affair with her. Maya begs for her life to Saptadi and tells him everything, and when Misni moves to flay Maya, the distraught and ashamed Saptadi grabs her hand and uses it to slit his throat instead. Horrified, Misni slits her own throat to join her son. As a healthy baby is finally born in the village after 20 years, Maya escapes.

One year later, a villager suffers a violent miscarriage as it is shown that Misni's ghost has extracted the foetus and devoured it.


  • Tara Basro as Maya
  • Marissa Anita as Dini
  • Asmara Abigail as Ratih
  • Christine Hakim as Misni
  • Ario Bayu as Saptadi
  • Zidni Hakim as Donowongso
  • Afrian Aris as Banyu
  • Kiki Narendra as Bambang
  • Faradina Mufti as Shinta
  • Abdulrahman Arief as Nano
  • Muhammad Abe as Suryo
  • Mursiyanto as Sono
  • Ahmad Ramadhan Al Rasyid as Tino
  • Aura Agna as child
  • Sindris Ogiska G as child
  • Devona Queeny as child
  • Latisya Ayu as young Maya
  • Adi Irawan as Donowongso's father
  • Teuku Rifnu Wikana as Bimo
  • Yansky as police
  • Sinyo Sandy as police
  • Ical Tanjung as police
  • Kuncoro P Widi as Chondro
  • Djandi Asmara as Djono
  • Santo Widodo as market security guard
  • Mian Tiara as Siti, Banyu's wife
  • Arbaiyah as Ratih's grandmother
  • Mariana Resli as Rina
  • Eka Nusa Pertiwi as Tiwi, Tino's wife
  • Aghniny Haque as Laras, Suryo's wife
  • Sahadat Fahzan Fadlil as Tole
  • Karni as midwife



Wayang kulit, Indonesian traditional shadow puppetry, and dalang (puppeteers) are a central part of Impetigore.

Director and writer Joko Anwar described the film's concept as originating from a story his older brother had told him as a child; that the leather for Indonesian shadow puppets came from human skin. To form the concept for the film, he combined this with the idea of a strong but intimidating maternal character (inspired by his own mother), and various Indonesian social and political issues.[5]

In 2011, Anwar revealed a poster for the film, one of several planned films announced simultaneously.[6] A Twitter account for the film was also created around this time.[7] The project was later cancelled due to the large number of films produced by Lifelike Pictures, which was initially on board to produce.[8] Anwar also said difficulties finding a filming location that matched the script and a lack of budget led to the project being shelved.[9]

The project was revived seven years later, when Ivanhoe Pictures announced a three-film collaboration with Anwar which includes Impetigore, Ghost in the Cell, and The Vow.[10] He announced on Instagram that the film will be called Perempuan Tanah Jahanam on 31 December 2018, adding that it will be different from his previous horror film Satan's Slaves (2017).[11][12] In February 2019, Anwar announced the cast members, including frequent collaborators Tara Basro, Marissa Anita, Asmara Abigail, Ario Bayu, and Arswendi Nasution.[13]


Director and writer Joko Anwar.

The film was primarily shot on location in Banyuwangi, Lumajang and Ijen in East Java.[7] The film crew spent three months searching for a village that matched the location described in the script. The village chosen, which was established in 1941 for workers on Dutch plantations, was so remote that the crew had to construct a path for vehicles and equipment to reach it.[9] Many local villagers appear as extras in the film.[9]

Filming was expected to take 29 days, but experienced difficulties when Anwar contracted dengue fever on the first day and was hospitalised for 8 days. Anwar later reflected that he had almost died during the illness.[9] The film crew had to construct the village's first toilets themselves, as well as the house that was used for the main set. After filming, this infrastructure was left by the crew for use by village residents, with the house set converted into a public library with books provided by the crew.[9]


Impetigore was released in Indonesia on 17 October 2019.[14] It was screened at the Sundance Film Festival on 26 January 2020,[15] and was released in the United States on horror streaming service Shudder on 23 July 2020.[16]

In November 2020, it was selected as the Indonesian official entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards, but it was not nominated.[3] When announcing the submission, Garin Nugroho, head of the Indonesian Academy Awards Selection Committee, cited the film's showcasing of Indonesian values and culture, as well as for its direction and script.[7]


Perempuan Tanah Jahanam (Original Soundtrack)[17]
1."Pujaan Hati" (Darling)The Spouse2:30
2."Berlibur" (On Vacation)The Spouse2:43
3."Pria dengan Mobil Tua" (Man with the Old Car) 1:31
4."Perempuan Tanah Jahanam" (Impetigore) 1:41
5."Pesan dari Masa Lalu" (Messages from the Past) 0:38
6."Harjosari" 1:05
7."Kedatangan yang Diharapkan" (Expected Arrivals) 3:23
8."Malam Ini Ada yang Lahir" (Someone Is Born Tonight) 1:28
9."Darah" (Blood) 2:02
10."Kulit" (Skin) 4:33
11."Ki Donowongso" (Mr. Donowongso) 4:59
12."Kerasa Nggak?" (Do You Feel?) 2:37
13."Memburu Kutukan" (Chasing the Curse) 2:15
14."Kisah Wayang Berdarah" (Bloody Puppet Story) 6:40
15."Kubur Kami" (Bury Us) 2:23
16."Persembahan Terakhir" (Final Offerings) 6:46
17."Nyi Misni" (Mrs. Misni) 0:36
Total length:48:00


Box office[edit]

Impetigore was a box office success in Indonesia. It opened in first place in the local box office with an audience of 117,000 on its opening day[18] and attracted 700,000 admissions in its first week of release.[19] At the end of its domestic theatrical run, it ended up with 1.7 million admissions, making it the seventh highest grossing domestic film in 2019.[20]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 92% approval rating based on 39 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Impetigore uses its folk horror setting as the brutally effective backdrop for a supernatural story that sinks its hooks into the viewer and refuses to let go."[21]

Dennis Harvey wrote a positive review in Variety, praising the film's production design and sound, calling it a "handsome and atmospheric production" and "good, sometimes grisly fun that’s not terribly scary, particularly once hectic climactic events prove less suspenseful than the slow-burn buildup".[2] On, Peter Sobczynski gave the film 3 ½ out of 5 stars, commending film's style and use of Indonesian folklore, but criticising some elements of the ending. He particularly highlighted the film's opening sequence, calling it "electrifying" and "absolutely spellbinding".[22] In Screen Daily, Wendy Ide commended the film's atmosphere but critiqued its use of exposition, calling it "entertaining, pulpy horror, [that] focuses more on incorporating Indonesian cultural elements rather than delivering neatly packaged scares".[23] The Independent called the film "a must-watch for fans of scary films".[24]

In a more mixed review, James Marsh in South China Morning Post rated the film 2.5 out of 5 stars and said the film was "unevenly paced and fails to capitalise on its grisly premise", but praised Basro's performance.[25]

Al Jazeera highlighted Impetigore as part of a new wave of low-budget folk horror films bringing attention to Southeast Asia's film industry, alongside Malaysian film Roh.[26]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2019 8th Maya Awards Best Feature Film Impetigore Nominated
Best Director Joko Anwar Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Christine Hakim Nominated
Marissa Anita Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Joko Anwar Nominated
Best Editing Dinda Amanda Nominated
Best Art Direction Frans X. R. Paat Won
Best Original Score Aghi Narottama
Bemby Gusti
Tony Merle
Mian Tiara
Best Sound Mohamad Ikhsan
Anhar Moha
Arifin C. Noer Cup for Best Brief Appearance Teuku Rifnu Wikana Nominated
2019 3rd Tempo Film Festival Best Director Joko Anwar Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Christine Hakim Won
Best Screenplay Joko Anwar Nominated
2020 Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival Melies Award for Best Asian Film Impetigore Won
2020 40th Citra Awards Best Picture Won
Best Director Joko Anwar Won
Best Actor Ario Bayu Nominated
Best Actress Tara Basro Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Kiki Narendra Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Christine Hakim Won
Marissa Anita Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Joko Anwar Nominated
Best Cinematography Ical Tanjung Won
Best Editing Dinda Amanda Won
Best Art Direction Frans X. R. Paat Nominated
Best Original Score Aghi Narottama
Bemby Gusti
Tony Merle
Mian Tiara
Best Sound Mohamad Ikhsan
Anhar Moha
Best Theme Song "Pujaan Hati" by The Spouse & Tia Hasibuan Nominated
Best Costume Design Isabelle Patrice Nominated
Best Makeup & Hairstyling Darwyn Tse Nominated
Best Visual Effects Abby Eldipie Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Data Penonton 2019" [Moviegoers Data in 2019]. (in Indonesian). Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b Harvey, Dennis (29 June 2020). "'Impetigore': Film Review". Variety. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  3. ^ a b Hayati, Istiqomatul (10 November 2020). "Indonesia Resmi Ajukan Perempuan Tanah Jahanam dalam Penilaian Oscar". Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  4. ^ Media, Kompas Cyber. "Daftar Lengkap Pemenang Piala Citra FFI 2020 Halaman all". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  5. ^ "'Impetigore' Director Joko Anwar Talks Horror And Golden Age Of Indonesian Cinema – Contenders International". Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  6. ^ Brown, Todd (2 July 2011). "Exclusive Poster Art for Joko Anwar's 'Impetigore'". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Joko Anwar's 'Perempuan Tanah Jahanam' (Impetigore) selected as Indonesia's submission for the Oscars | Coconuts". Coconuts. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  8. ^ VIVA, PT VIVA MEDIA BARU- (18 September 2018). "Alasan Horor Thriller Impetigore Batal Digarap Produser Wiro Sableng". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d e "How 'Impetigore' Director Gave Back to Remote Indonesian Village Used for Filming (Video)". 11 January 2021. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  10. ^ Frater, Patrick (10 September 2018). "Ivanhoe Finds Partners for Slate of Films from Indonesia". Variety. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  11. ^ Yuniar, Nanien (16 September 2019). "Gaya film "Perempuan Tanah Jahanam" akan beda dari "Pengabdi Setan"" ["Impetigore" film style will be different from "Satan's Slaves"]. Antara (in Indonesian). Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  12. ^ Yuniar, Nanien (2 August 2019). "Poster film horor "Perempuan Tanah Jahanam" dirilis" [Poster for horror film "Impetigore" released]. Antara (in Indonesian). Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  13. ^ Rosalia, Indra (27 February 2019). "Christine Hakim ramaikan Perempuan Tanah Jahanam". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  14. ^ "Teaser poster for Joko Anwar's 'Perempuan Tanah Jahanam' released". The Jakarta Post. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  15. ^ "2020 Sundance Film Festival Schedule of Sunday, Jan. 26". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  16. ^ "Indonesian Horror Movie 'Impetigore' Debuts on Shudder This Week". 21 July 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Perempuan Tanah Jahanam (Original Soundtrack)". iTunes. 25 October 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  18. ^ DH, Agung. "Perempuan Tanah Jahanam Joko Anwar Ditonton 117.001 di Hari Pertama". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  19. ^ Frater, Patrick (24 October 2019). "Joko Anwar's 'Impetigore' Tops Indonesia Box Office Ahead of Film Markets". Variety. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  20. ^ "Data penonton tahun 2019". Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  21. ^ "Impetigore (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  22. ^ Sobczynski, Peter. "Impetigore movie review & film summary (2020) | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  23. ^ Ide2020-01-27T15:40:00+00:00, Wendy. "'Impetigore': Rotterdam Review". Screen. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  24. ^ "The terrifying folk horror film that could be nominated for an Oscar". The Independent. 25 January 2021. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  25. ^ "Impetigore: modernity vs tradition in Indonesian horror". South China Morning Post. 5 March 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  26. ^ Ferrarese, Marco. "'New kinds of monsters': The rise of Southeast Asian horror films". Retrieved 7 February 2022.

External links[edit]