Monster (2024) is a Proud Indonesian Horror Movie with a Thrilling Ending

By Daniel Hart
Published: May 16, 2024
Monster (2024) Netflix Indonesian Horror Movie Image for review and ending
Anantya Kirana in Indonesian horror movie Monster (2024) (Credit - Netflix)


The biggest selling point of the Indonesian horror movie Monster is that it has no dialogue. Netflix warns viewers before starting the film, which I think is a bad idea because I imagine this would be off-putting for many. While the film feels experimental and slightly amateur in some places, you can tell that the director was proud of this remake of the US thriller The Boy Behind the Door

The film follows two young schoolchildren living their innocent lives. It plays out the charm of going to an arcade with your friend, with the lollipop in your mouth — the whole world is at your feet. Little do these children know that there is a suspicious-looking man nearby waiting to kidnap them. What follows is the horrific ordeal of two young children trying to escape a dangerous home that hints at heinous crimes.

The only way that this movie could work is if it uses it set to the maximum effect, and Monster does. Director Rako Prijanto knew that to make this work he had to allow the viewers to suspend their belief with no words being said in the entirety of the 90 minutes. As the film progresses, the girl (Anantya Kirana) of the two children is the most courageous one. The movie follows her tiptoeing around the grim-looking building, putting together a plan to try and save her and her friend’s (Sultan Hamonangan) life.

The Indonesian movie is a horror, of course, but the real horror is having a natural attachment to wanting the kids to survive. When you realize the kind of crimes the kidnapper commits, it dawns on you that this is not simply an abduction storyline but an event that’s part of a broader criminal scheme. The use of children heightens this thriller, and if you are a parent, you will be horrified by what could happen rather than focus on the outcome. 

Expect moments that make you wince. There is violence. But you must applaud the young actors and how they perform this script with no dialogue whatsoever. Coordinating young actors is one thing, but getting them to honor an environment like this with nothing to be said is another. Credit where credit is due—the director understood the mission of ensuring they got this right. 

Unfortunately, a great concept comes with some criticism. Monster does feel slightly amateur at times, and it could be because they were on a tight budget, but there was some disjointedness between the villain, the children, and the environment. Some scenes felt oddly shot, almost like the production team had run out of time for the day or, unfortunately, picked the wrong edit in the final cut. 

By the time you get to the third act, it is less horror and more thriller, with a particular reference to The Shining. Prepare to be enlightened by the lack of dialogue but quickly stimulated by the near misses. 

[WARNING – spoilers ahead]

There’s a woman with an ax chasing children in the Monster Ending

Marsha Timothy reliving The Shining in Monster (Credit – Netflix)

Once the young girl kills her abductor, it’s easy to believe that the ending of Monster is nearby. Unfortunately for the Indonesian horror movie, that’s not the case. The young girl continues navigating the environment, but then a woman arrives, frighteningly having motives similar to the man before. The children do not reach safety until the very end. 

Eventually, after plenty of tussling, a dead police officer, and near-death experiences, the woman gets hold of the ax and repeatedly attempts to get nearer to the children. This provides a similar moment to The Shining: the woman breaks down a door and looks through the hole. 

Eventually, the children make it outside, and the injured woman continues to put in the effort to recapture (or harm) them — it’s difficult to tell at this stage. Finally, the woman has the children where she wants them, and as she’s about to swing her ax, she’s shot by a bullet — the police have turned up. I forgot about the police involvement at this stage, so seeing her get shot was a surprise. 

The children’s nightmare is over, but the ending of Monster highlights the bravery of the young girl. The fact that these children survived this dangerous house, mostly unharmed, and made it look believable makes the movie a satisfactory piece of work.

Of course, the ending doesn’t provide any context as to what evil crime syndicate the children were being kidnapped for, and with a lack of dialogue, it leaves it to the viewers’ imagination. But, to be honest, I imagine most viewers will care that the kids survived. 

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