The easiest way to explain a horror movie to someone who has never watched it before is to simply compare it to a similar movie. For instance, if someone has never watched Zombi I would say, “It’s like Dawn of the Dead but in the Caribbean and there’s a zombie vs shark fight scene” and you’d pretty much get the gist of what the movie was about. Let me see if I can do the same thing with the 2018 Indonesian horror film The 3rd Eye.
It’s like Insidious mixed with The Exorcist and The Evil Dead with a little bit of Hellraiser and The Sixth Sense.
You may be thinking, “how in the hell?” and after watching it I’m not completely certain. Hopefully this spoiler free review will motivate you to watch it and maybe we can figure this out together.
Mata Batin aka The 3rd Eye follows the story of sisters Alia and Abel. Alia, the eldest sister is moving back to her childhood home after the tragic and sudden death of her parents. Abel, the youngest sister is reluctant to move home as she claims to see dead people, and no, this is not the only similarity to The Sixth Sense in this movie. With the help of Davin, Alia’s boyfriend, they move back into the big creepy house in the country where Abel’s visions of the dead begin again. Looking to help her sister through this troubling time Alia takes her to a psychiatric/psychic Bu Windu who informs them that everyone has a third eye and Abel’s is permanently open and receptive to seeing the undead. Alia wants to help her sister get through this and asks Bu to permanently open her third eye, and this is where shit gets crazy.
Shortly after her eye is opened, Alia begins to see dead stuff everywhere! This movie is not short on the jump scares and creeping ghost imagery that’s for sure. Soon after, the undead souls inhabiting their house escalate from simply being visions to physically interacting with Alia. The sisters team up with Bu Windu to try to rid their house of these evil spirits and to do that they must enter The Astral Realm.
It’s so cool to see movies explore other ways to address the demon/trapped soul problem. For far too long it’s just been a priest coming to exorcise a ghost or demon so it’s great to see something else being done in the paranormal world. The Astral Projection scenes in this movie are much different than Insidious, they are more like time travelling to see what happened to the original inhabitants of the house and why they’ve turned into grumpy ghosts. Much like Insidious though this has an inherent risk as the dead may latch on and take over the body of the living. And of course, that’s exactly what happens.
Once the possession happens this thing really kicks into high gear as we get the possessed Alia strapped to the bed like The Exorcist. Tons of chanting, growling demons and body contortions. The demon possessed Alia breaks free from her restraints and bloodily, stumbling, laughing like The Evil Dead marches around looking for the killer. She exacts revenge on the killer in an extremely brutal and gory scene which I was not expecting at all. Up until this point the movie has been very “Conjuring” like with story, atmosphere and a few jumps. The gore was over the top but necessary.
After this was all sorted out I thought the movie was over, but this was only the second act. The third act dives into a bit of The Sixth Sense like twists and turns, a return to the astral realm but this time a much, much deeper area of it which resembles the Hellraiser realm more than anything. A whole hell of a lot more jump scares, freaky imagery and a conclusion that leaves the movie open for a sequel, which was released in 2019.
A stellar all female cast. A fantastic twisting and turning story line which spins a nice little web of intrigue without tying itself in knots. Tons of jumps, tons of creepy house noises, tons of creepy ghosts sneaking in the shadows and tons of fun. An outstanding movie that fans of Insidious and The Conjuring will love. I give The 3rd Eye a 4 out of 5 stars not only for a great movie but for introducing me to the world of director Rocky Soraya and Indonesian Horror in general.
The 3rd Eye is currently streaming on Netflix.
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