When one of the crew members of the Indonesian movie Sabrina was possessed during filming, the three main actors were more excited than frightened with what was happening.
Actresses Luna Maya and Sara Wijayanto even tried to exorcise the supernatural entity out of their acquaintance.
Actor Christian Sugiono, 37, who was in Kuala Lumpur last week with Luna and Sara to promote Sabrina, recalled: “My first thought was, ‘Finally! This is happening.’
“You hear of possession stories on the set of a horror film all the time. But, when we were shooting, there was nothing until one of the crew members was possessed and I saw it first hand. It was surreal,” he added.
Sabrina is Christian’s first venture into the horror genre. His female co-stars, however, are familiar faces in Indonesian horror films.
Sara appears in all three films in The Doll Series – The Doll (2016), The Doll 2 (2017) and this year’s Sabrina – playing the character Bu Laras, an exorcist who takes on difficult cases involving demons.
It turns out that Bu Laras is kind of based on Sara herself, who does exorcism in real life as she has the ability to see ghosts.
“I could see things since I was eight years old. My grandmother also had that ability, as well as a few other relatives,” said Sara, 39.
Meanwhile, popular actress Luna has starred in The Doll 2 previously, and her next film is also a horror flick titled Suzzanna: Bernafas Dalam Kubur. No surprise then that she is referred to as the horror queen of Indonesia.
“I believe in the existence of the supernatural but I don’t go looking for them. I think as long as we are respectful towards all beings, living and dead, we will be fine and won’t be disturbed,” said Luna, 35.
Sabrina revolves around newly married couple Maira and Aiden (Luna and Christian) who adopt Vanya, an orphaned girl. Aiden is a factory owner who comes up with the Sabrina dolls.
All is good in this household until a demon enters a limited edition Sabrina that Aiden gifted Maira. Now, that doll is trying to kill Maira. One of the ways Maira’s life is put in danger is when she falls into a hole and is completely buried under the sand.
“That was the most challenging scene for me,” mentioned Luna. “I had to hold my breath while I was buried under and thoughts like ‘So this is how it feels to be buried alive’ were running through my mind.’
“Actually the whole film was challenging, especially the 90-minute travelling we did to the remote location on a daily basis. It was tiring. But it was worth it because Sabrina was a hit in Indonesia. I hope it will be received well in Malaysia too.”
Despite its success, the movies in The Doll Series have been criticised for being similar to the 2014 film Annabelle from Hollywood.
Sara countered: “The similarity is we have a doll. But if you watch the films, they are different. Anyway, if you follow the same logic, there was Chucky the evil doll before Annabelle. So did Annabelle copy Chucky?
“I feel it doesn’t matter if there are similarities, as long as each story offers something different,” Sara added.
According to Christian, he had been offered many horror films in Indonesia before, but was reluctant to take them. “I don’t want to make second-rate horror films. If the script only relies on jump-scares for shock, then I am not interested. But Sabrina has a good story, character development and an ending with a twist – all that attracted me to sign on to the film.
“I am hoping Sabrina won’t be my last horror film either,” he said.