There is a scene in Bayi Ajaib where a hand emerges from the toilet and attacks an old woman. It's a perfect metaphor for this film, in which writer Alim Sudio and director Rako Prijanto grab the elements from trashy horror movies and attack the audience with a derivative tommyrot. The movie is devoid of a vision because the filmmakers merely want to make a quick buck. All they do is subject us to 1 hour and 38 minutes of dullness. The material is competitively photographed, but "pretty images" alone do not make a film successful. We have nothing to bite into, as what the filmmakers have served us is completely hollow.
Bayi Ajaib has traces of other better films. Didi (Rayhan Cornellis) and Rini's (Anantya Kirana) friendship reminds you of Let the Right One In, which was about a bond between a normal child and a special one. But Bayi Ajaib doesn't develop this angle. Didi and Rini's relationship exists in the margin of the screenplay and is never allowed to become something real or palpable. Didi is referred to as a demonic baby, and his head rotates 360 degrees in the climax. It's all lifted from The Exorcist. The face of the demons is also similar to an extent. Furthermore, Bayi Ajaib, too, suggests that religious people have nothing to worry about. It's the people who don't pray to God that are most susceptible to the influence of evil forces. However, even this message is blunted by an uninspiring treatment and the promise of a sequel.
All Bayi Ajaib wants to do is hit us with as many "Boo!" moments as possible. This vehicle is riddled with jump scares, and while some of them are serviceable, they all follow a conventional pattern. The sound is muted to build suspense, and then suddenly, something pops up in the frame, accompanied by a loud bang. The movie sometimes does not show us the death scene as it cuts away to the next event. But when we do see the monster killing its victim, it looks almost laughable. Didi, with an old man's head, bites his target, and this visual lacks sufficient blood and menace. We also see that lame and unoriginal death scene where a truck appears out of nowhere and runs over a character. Horror movies like these generally have incompetent drivers and/or vehicles. You never know when your car or bike will stop obeying your command. Go for a drive during the night, and your vehicle will surely stop in the middle of an empty road (this area is usually surrounded by forest).
I love horror films, and I believe they can be more than just a series of stupid jump scares. But even a basic "Boo!" movie and slasher can provide us with "horrific delights." For that, you need a strong screenplay as well as skills. Bayi Ajaib is the epitome of bad decisions. Take it as a case study to understand how not to make a horror film. Every nook and cranny here is soulless, making it a true abomination. You can either sprinkle holy water on the screen or use the fast-forward button to save yourself from this bland production. The people who would come across this film on Netflix and won't click on the play button could be compared to those smart characters who run away to a safe location as soon as they sense danger.
A blade bends when it touches Didi's you-know-what during circumcision. I can only imagine what a Scary Movie-like film would have done with a scene like that. Anyway, Didi's father, Kosim (Vino G. Bastian), wants to be the village head and uses his money to buy voters. Bayi Ajaib could have been a horror movie about politics, but that would require creative muscles, and the filmmakers here are merely content with supplying a vapid product. Go in with zero expectations, and you might still end up disappointed.
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