2019

Kuwaresma

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FILM INFO

Rebecca and Arturo’s daughter Manuela just died and their son, Luis, returns home to pay his last respects. But Manuela’s ghost haunts Luis and when he asks his parents, both are tight-lipped. Rebecca, on the other hand, is also experiencing taunting from her daughter. The search for the truth behind Manuela’s death leads Luis to a psychic named Salve who warns him against returning to the old house. But as Luis perseveres to unlock the mystery of his twin sister’s death, he comes face-to-face with the malevolent history of their house and unravels suppressed memories from his dark past. This is directed by Erik Matti under Reality Entertainment.

CAST: Sharon Cuneta, John Arcilla, Kent Gonzales & Bam Gonzales

GENRE: Horror, Mystery, Drama

WHAT I LIKE?

Kuwaresma is perhaps one of the most unique Pinoy Horror Masterpiece ever made and has surely made its mark on the genre. To be honest, I felt like I was watching an International Horror Movie. Let me go into details and don’t worry, no spoilers ahead. First of all – THE STORY. Story-wise, Kuwaresma is about a family haunted by their daughter Manuela and their dark and twisted past as a family living in an old house. At first, it was predictable. But when the twist came, it was truly the best Twist of any Pinoy Horror Movie. It was on-point, disturbing, twisted and mind-blowing. The attack of the story is pretty creative & conventional. They invested much on classic horror tricks an for me, it was effective. Is it SCARY? Yes, it is and I must say it is spine-chilling & disturbing. If you are in for some screaming lead actors and actresses and a movie with heavily-pounded cheap jump-out scares, then KUWARESMA is not for you. Kuwaresma is film that will send creeps into your spine as they invested on new horror techniques along with brilliantly-executed prosthetic. The disturbing feels settles slowly as the story progresses and as it gets darker. The climax was truly evil to say the least. And the twist, DEYYYYM! Still thinking about it after some time. The movie gave a different kind of fear that is close to reality. A fear that can happen to anyone of us. The Exorcism scene was pretty dope and epic. Though, the best exorcism scene still goes to Aubrey Mile’s SANIB but the scene in Kuwaresma is also memorable. Production-design and set-design is highly-commendable too. Set in 1965 and 1985, the film is consistent and has truly invested in making the scenes apt to the Period. I am really amazed. From the house, way of living, casset tapes down to the outfit. Musical-scoring was really impressive. I loved the Introduction Scene by the way. Choices of Music were really great. Cinematography is also commendable. I loved how Erik Matti played with unconventional camera angles to create fear. The Color Grading was also perfect to attribute to the film’s eerie and dark theme. The real strength of Kuwaresma lies on its actors and actresses. Sharon Cuneta delivered her best on her first ever Horror Film. She was just a shining star effortlessly blending with the great actors in the fil. John Arcilla deserves another Acting Award. He was so damn effective on his role. His Exorcism scene will truly be one in the books for sure. New-comer Kent Gonzales is surprisingly great too. Given the amount of screen time given to him, it felt like he was the lead in the movie. But, he was able to deliver at par with Arcilla & Cuneta. Pam Gonzaes (his sister in real life) was also impressive as the haunting spirit. Overall, Kuwaresma gave a new taste in the Pinoy Horror Genre with brilliant plot and a twist that will linger for a while. It may not be as scream-fest as Sukob and Feng Shui, but Kuwaresma will surely be one of your favorite Pinoy Horror Movies on yout list.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Erik Matti should master downsizing some unnecessary scenes and angles specially on the Climax Scene. Some parts of the Climax could have been better if it was shortened. Well, for me, it is forgivable.

RATINGS:

8.5/10 POPCORN,

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2018

Buy Bust (2018)

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PICTURE SOURCE

FILM INFO

After surviving the slaughter of her entire squad in a drug raid compromised by dirty cops, anti-narcotics special operative Nina, is eager to go head-to-head with the drug cartels that hold a bloody grip on Manila. But when her new mission in the city’s most dangerous slum goes south, the angry civilians turn on her squad. Trapped between a brutal drug gang and hordes of bloodthirsty citizens, their only option is to fight their way out, turning one claustrophobic street at a time into a symphony of apocalyptic violence. This movie is directed by Erik Matti under Well Go USA Entertainment.

Casts: Anne Curtis, Brandon Vera, Victor Neri, Arjo Atayde, Levi Ignacio, Alex Calleja, Lao Rodriguez, Joross Gamboa, Ricky Pascua, Nonie Buencanimo, Mara Lopez & AJ Muhlach

Genre: Action, Thriller

WHAT I LIKE?

Buy Bust is perhaps the best Pinoy Action Film ever produced for me. More than just an impressive Cinematography and Visuals, the movie is a Socio-Political awakening masterpiece about the current situation of the Philippines in the campaign of War on Drugs. Buy Bust is a thought-provoking film that will somehow leave a lasting impression after watching it on screen – it gives a disturbing feeling that this kind of issue in the Philippines has taken its roots already and the solution is truly not a walk in the park to begin with. What I like about Buy Bust is its direct and solid plot. The film revolves around a Buy Bust operation of a notorious drug syndicate. What happens after is a complete bloodbath and violent sequences after the whole Squad was cornered with people in a certain place in Tondo, Manila. Plot-wise, the movie got the right elements from the beginning. The whole Production Design was impressive especially on the scene of Gracia in Sta. Maria. It was a perfect description of little hell. The whole maze thing and the rain effects on the slum area was perfectly executed. Aside from that, the action scenes were the best in the history of Philippine Movies so far. The stunts and fight scenes were staged flawlessly and were realistic at most times. I can literally see violence right in front of my eyes from the sound of punches, disturbing sounds of  knife stabbing, sound of bullets and some pretty horrifying sounds of humans in pain. Everything was pretty disturbing and intense. I was literally at the edge of my seat and feeling terrified on the series of bloodshed scenes. Anne Curtis gave her best and all I can say, she is the strength of Buy Bust along with other talented casts in the film. Anne’s fight and stunt scenes were beautifully executed and her role was given with enough justice in terms of consistency and acting. Anne deserves an award on her epic portrayal in the film. On the other hand, Brandon Vera was as impressive with Anne on the fight and stunt scenes though the Filipino conversation parts were a bit off at some point. Victor Neri, Mara Lopez, Nonie Buencamin, AJ Muhlach and the rest of the casts were impressive too. I have never seen so many talents on one screen giving their best performances yet. More than just the brilliant staging of these scenes, it gave me a glimpse of reality and horror that is actually happening on this pursuit in making the Philippines drug-free. For me, I felt something after watching it. I was even disturbed afterwards. It was a lingering feeling that has stirred so many questions and doubts. Regardless of Political views, Buy Bust is a must-watch movie and it deserves an International Award. Oscar Nomination would be the least for me.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Due to strong violence, the movie is R-16. If you tend to set aside Political Views and Shades, the movie is an awakening masterpiece that will provide a lingering and disturbing feeling after watching it.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorns

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2017 · Pinoy Indie

Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz

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PICTURE SOURCE

FILM INFO

A newly assigned cop in a small town was faced with a mysterious case of a young girl who is believed to be possessed by demons. Aside from solving the girl’s case, the cop must learn to surpass the evils surrounding her and her vulnerability with this dangerous mission.  This movie is produced by Erik Matti and directed by Katski Flores under Kamikaze Pictures & VIVA Films.

Casts: Sarah Lahbati, Shy Carlos, Julian Trono, Jim Paredes

Genre: Mystery, Horror, Suspense

Other Films of VIVA: Darkroom somehow delivers. A risk on Pinoy’s first ever found-footage film.Working BeksBakit lahat ng Gwapo may Boyfriend?!Camp Sawi

Erik Matti Films: Seklusyon

WHAT I LIKE?

Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz is no doubt a major breakthrough Pinoy film in the genre of exorcism & suspense-thriller. Actually, it is not a straight horror film so don’t expect some screamfest we enjoyed from the mainstream ones. However, this film is straightforward in bringing in disturbing and spine-chilling feels that lingers even after watching it on the big screen. Story-wise, I really like the way the Director position Ruth’s backstory (Sarah Labahti) through flashbacks and brilliantly integrate it to the whole plot which is the mystery behind Leah’s strange phenomenon. Also, the scenes weere executed well and the phasing was just right to give way to a very thrilling climax. It has some good twist and turns too. The whole storytelling technique was consistently serious and dark. Suspense-filled scenes were executed well too. Its not overrated generally. It invested on the psychological aspect and played well with shadows and whispering voices that are pretty scary and hair-raising. I like the shadow and subtle interpretation of the devil. My most favorite scene is the library scene (Watch it to find out why). The library scene is pretty unique and cool for a suspense-thriller movie. I also like the sound engineering. It was on-point especially on scenes were you are trying to hold your breath if something horrifying will happen. Production design and cinematography is comendable too. I love their locations. It feels so laid back and adds more to the dark atmosphere of the whole film. Camera angles were impressive. I love the shots specifically the tight shots of faces and things. The technique used gave a relentless feel of tension and fear. Aside from an impressive attack on the plot, the film’s strength lies with its characters. For me, I must give it to Sarah Labahti. She was stunning and very convincing as a troubled policewoman in the movie. She is monotonous, brave and less glamorous here and she really fits the role. Shy Carlos was a big revelations too. Being the one who was possessed, her role is the most demanding of them all. She was able to impressively gave justice to her character. I am really amaze with her acting skills here. Lastly, Julian Trono was a great support actor too. He was also effective being a young brother-like figure and his acting during the climax was commendable. Overall, I really enjoyed the film. I am very much happy that a lot of film-makers are coming up with quality suspense-thriller movies nowadays. Highly-recommended for fans of the genre.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

If you are expecting a horror movie, this movie is not for you. It is actually a suspense-thriller one. Also, if you get easily bored with less conversations and more symbolism via creative shots and eerie atmosphere, this movie is not for you. Personally, what I don’t like about the movie is the casting of other supporting characters. They could have found a better parents for Leah and a better and younger character to portray Sister Eloisa which plays an important role in the whole film. Being Spoiler-free at all – a certain death scene in the movie could have been way better in terms of execution. Moreover, the movie faltered a bit in terms of execution during the climax. Don’t expect Leah to be tied up on a bed and floating in the air. The movie ventured another angle of that. Not much of the details of the climax but it lacks substance and there was something missing. It feels like the momentum went down because of the camera angle used and the choice of the setting. Not minding this forgivable flaw, Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz will go down as one of the best Pinoy suspense-thriller movies and the best of the genre after Sanib.

RATINGS:

7/10 Popcorns.

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2016

Seklusyon

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Heavy. Creepy. Dark. Spine-chilling. Brilliantly-crafted. Thought-proviking. Seklusyon is a breakthrough MMFF 2016 entry and perhaps Erik Matti’s best so far. This film is actually the best Pinoy horror-mystery that may actually a bit heavy to handle but surely is worth the watch. Seklusyon tackled a controversial topic about Religion and Faith and presented it in a very creative and symbollic format. The fear of the film is felt not because of the scary faces but because of the eerie and realistic approach and interpretation about the demons that surround us. Acted by good performers and supported with a very impressive sound engineering, the movie will surely please those fans of quality films minus the overrated screams inside the cinema. Aside from that, the movie’s strength lies in the production design. I am pretty amazed on the setting as it gave justice for a period film set-up. Truly, a world-class Pinoy film worthy of an international screening. Expect less of the Pinoy horror you expect and be ready to be impressed with an interesting storyline very rare in Pinoy film-making industry. Perfect 5 stars for this.