Originally posted on July 31, '07 at slangards.multiply.com
As a horror movie geek, I was excited to see this movie. Every time a new Filipino horror movie starts getting good reviews, I get excited. I keep thinking that this time will be it, this time I'll find a good Filipino movie that will impress me, scare me, get me to sh*t my pants.
Like before, I'm disappointed.
So far, the Filipino directors I've seen don't have the subtlety to create the suspense needed for a really great horror film, and the actors don't have the skills to really sell their characters fear (Desiree Del Valle's and Ruby Rodriguez's possession scenes come off as funny more than anything else). If you want to see a good possession scene, rent Exorcist or find a copy of Constantine and watch Jhoanna Trias go to work.
Find a copy of Bug or Sixth Sense or Tale of Two Sisters, turn off the lights and turn up the volume. There's enough atmosphere to these worlds; they choke their audience with the stink of melodrama and suffocate them with overblown homages rather than trying something experimental.
Anyone who's been through Jap Horror mania will recognize most of the cliches here. Girl with long stringy hair in her face wearing a white dress? check. The creepy child ghost who says cryptic things and is really only trying to help? check. The twin ghosts, one of whom is bad, and one is good? check? The contortionist ghost, the ghost under the bed, the ghost on the ceiling? check check check.
I've seen this all before, and I've seen it done better. This is just a string of cheap, rehashed thrills.
Then how do I explain all the "rave reviews" it's been getting? The "rated A by the movie board" I see in the paper? Simple. Media hype. The majority of Filipino audiences don't know it's a rip off. They don't know that there's a world of material out there, they aren't exposed to the really great stuff from other countries. And all the media is interested in is flogging the "local blockbuster" tag to death.
It doesn't take a big budget to make a good film. If production values were all I was talking about, I'd have given this a better rating. Neil Daza's Cinematography looks nice and the location (that underwater cemetery in Camiguin really deserves a better movie) is some kinda wow.