2017

The Debutantes

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PICTURE SOURCE

FILM INFO

The Debutantes is a story of girls aspiring for an enjoyable 18th birthday celebration but has instead turned bloody with a curse cast upon them. This is directed by Prime Cruz under Regal Entertainment Inc.

Casts: Sue Ramirez, Miles Ocampo, Michelle Vito, Jane de Leon, Chanel Morales, Paolo Gumabao,

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Previous Movies of Prime Cruz: Can we still be friends? (Star Cinema, 2017)

WHAT I LIKE?

As a horror film, The Debutantes is generally consistent with its tone, formula and storyline. Horror films produced by Regal Films lately are really changing the industry’s trend in Pinoy Horror film-making. What I like about The Debutantes is its risk in bringing in young and fresh faces in showbiz as its main characters. It was actually refreshing to see these young, talented and beautiful ladies who each portrayed well in their respective roles. Sue was a great lead actress. I can see her shining in every scene and she was able portray well that weirdo and troubled kind of person. Michelle, Chanel, Jane & Miles were all great too. The 3 mean girls were pretty annoying hence they are all effective. Miles was a good support lead too. In terms of plot, The Debutantes is straight-forward in being a Horror film with a handful of solid jump-out scares and fairly-executed death scenes. Its a bloody ride indeed. The sound effects were good and the horror scenes are safely done without some obvious CGI effects. Its dark, silent and mysterious.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

The main problem I see with The Debutantes is its obvious flaw of revealing the twist at the first half of the movie. The mystery and excitement of its promising material was ruined because of its predictability in the first place. If you are to indentify the turn around of its plot on the early part, there is no more grand or special to expect but see the characters die one by one. This ain’t a spoiler. The trailer already gave a glimpse of them dying in horrible ways. Being scary in general, the film is only average compared with Regal Film’s best Horror movie so far – Haunted Mansion. What The Debutantes lack is the intensity of its death scenes. I could have expected more since there’s a lot to improve in Pinoy Horror films nowadays. Majority of the death scenes could have been more creative and bloodier too. I mean, the movie is totally dark and straight forward so I expect that they will invest on bloody scenes. Unfortunately, death scenes are in small proportions that could have been way better. The talented casts were really put into waste by its poorly-written storyline that is utterly forgetable. You may or may not watch this on cinemas.

RATINGS:

5/10 Popcorns.

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2017

Annabelle Creation

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FILM INFO

Sam and Ester, after 12 years of losing their daughter from an accident, welcomed a nun and six girl orphans at their farmhouse. Terror began when one of the girls found a cursed doll believed to be inhabited by a demonic force. This movie is directed by David Sandberg under New Line Cinema and is part of The Conjuring Universe.

Casts: Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Talitha Bateman, Anthony LaPaglia, Grace Fulton, Lulu Wilson, Philippa Coulthard, Samara Lee & Samara Lee.

Genre: Horror, Suspense

WHAT I LIKE?

Annabelle Creation is truly a redeeming installment of its lackluster predecessor. Its great to see a much improved interpretation for this 2nd flick. The story simply evolves on a simple farmhouse where six orphans were accommodated by the Mullins. Plot-wise, the movie will bring you to a clearer origin of Annabelle. What I like about the movie is how it played well on the mood and creepy atmosphere of majority of the scenes. Also, I must commend the solid jump-out scares that really better and scarier this time. The tone of the movie is superb. I love the location of the house and the production design. I also love its consistency as a period film. The film generally pulled some thrilling scenes that will truly leave you breathless. If you are in for some screamfest, Annabelle Creation is for you. What I also like about the movie is the characters especially the young girls. They all played pretty well in their portrayals. Annabelle Creation can easily be part of your Hollywood Horror List.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

If you are a fan of Insidious kind of horror, you may find Annabelle Creation sluggish. At some point, I felt there were too many gaps and horror scenes are piece by piece. Slower approach on these scenes are really risky especially if lots of good horror films are produced in Hollywood. The scarers were effective but I still prefer Insidious than Annabelle Creation. Also, the plot is thinly-written and is really visible almost half of the film. How I wish they were creative enough in investing on the phasing rather than play so much with the mood. Still, I enjoyed the film with a handful of screams.

RATINGS:

8/10 Popcorns.

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2017

Wish Upon (2017)

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FILM INFO

Claire got an old music box as a gift from her father. She soon found out that the music box can grant her seven wishes. Seduced by the dark powers and temptation of this music box, Claire was satisfied to see improvements in her life after every wish. But everything changed when the people closest to her dies in violent and elaborate ways. This is directed by John R. Leonetti under Broad Green Pictures.

Casts: Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, Ki Hong Lee, Mitchell Slaggert, Shannon Purser, Sydney Park, Alice Lee, Kevin Hanchard & Sherilyn Fenn.

Genre: Mystery, Horror

WHAT I LIKE?

Wish Upon is actually an enjoyable B-Movie for some cheap scares and random night outs. What I like about the movie is that it appeals to a younger market of audience. Plot-wise, Wish Upon is consist of decent scares mostly attributed to gory death scenes. Its like a FINAL DESTINATION-themed movie combined with Philippine’s Feng Shui. I like the progression of scenes and some of death scenes are really realistic and well-done. What is good upon Wish Upon is that it will give you some chills and thrills without the presence of scary faces and figures. It also acted by good actors and actresses especially Joey King. Generally, I did enjoyed the whole movie.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Wish Upon is a forgettable flick and somehow not original. Its not that scary and horrifying as it should be. I just find it poorly-written and conceptualized. They could have played on the history of the music box. The film’s main downfall is the absence of an in-depth portrayal of the history of the music box. At some point, it felt useless and lazy since we really don’t know the reason behind the strange phenomenon. As a whole, the movie felt a little bit blank and off. There were lots of inconsistencies along the way especially in terms of story-telling and plot presentation. Despite all its major downfall, Wish Upon is still an enjoyable horror movie .

RATINGS:

5.5/10 Popcorns.

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2017 · Pinoy Indie

Ang Pagsanib kay Leah dela Cruz

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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

Ouija: Origin of Evil

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Started a little bit slow and uneven but Ouija: Origin of Evil is a deliciously creepy and disturbing horror masterpiece that gave its Predecessor a big run for its money. Well, at least the 2nd one didn’t suck at all. Some might expect much as it is compared with Conjuring and Insidious but the movie is a stand-alone for me in majority of horror technicalities. It is not the scariest film for me though. What I love about the movie is the tension it slowly build towards a spine-chilling and terrifying climax. In fairness, the movie introduced several new scare techniques and invested on a very talented young cast and superb sound engineering and some good visuals too. This board-game horror piece combined a decent house thriller councept and exorcism formula in the right amount. I must give it to the cast though especially Lulu Wilson who is by far the best child horror actress for me in Hollywood. She is adorable and scary at the same time. Lots of solid jump-out scares and some really badass scare stuff. If you are in for some screams this Halloween, this movie is for you and your friends. Giving it 4/5 stars.

2016

Lights Out

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Lights Out was right to be afraid of the dark. This horror masterpiece is one of this year’s best after Conjuring 2. Well, James Wann has still a touch of this as a Producer. Lights Out will bring you to a horrifying viewing experience in the dark as it brings several solid jump out scares. Never been afraid of a shadow when I watched this. Scenes are still frightening even though it is repetitive. I commend the sound engineers. Never as disturbing as Conjuring 2 but Lights Out will deliver some enjoying and satisfying screams inside the cinema house. Cheers to great actors and actresses as well. One of my most favorite horror piece this 2016. 5/5 stars.

2016

I Love You to Death

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Watched I Love You To Death with very low expectations as I believe it would be another non-sense Pinoy flick but ended loving the film afterwards. This is surely the best Pinoy Horror-comedy after D’Anothers & Bulong in terms of Cinematography & Production design. Yes, Regal Films invested on quite impressive visual take on this film. Well, it is evident on its recent flick, Haunted Mansion. Comedy was good. Kiray was the star. Her performance made me loved her even more. Enchong was in his craft too. Their chemistry was also good. Loved the supporting characters as well. They were all given moments to shine in the film. The mix of horror was great. Death scenes are a bit gory than goofy as a whole. Well, it is generally non-sense but this surely will make you laugh and scare you a little. 3/5 stars.

2016

The Boy

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The Boy is a slick thriller flick with a handful of solid jump-out scares and some decent creeps-into-your spine moments. The film is a little bit bloated as it contained overdue conversations and slow phasing. The film’s major downfall was the plot itself. The Boy did not actually tell the story. It was made to scare us a bit and exhaust its audience with gaps and unnecessary sequences making the film too long. It has the Annabelle-type formula and indirect scare techniques. However, the film ended in a blank state despite a good climax. For the record, I didn’t see any justifiable connections with The Boy & Annabelle. 3/5 stars.

2016

The Other Side of the Door

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The Other Side of the Door is actually a good horror film. The mix of Indian culture and setting was a good choice. With a little dark & eerie formula, this film delivered favorable chill from the spine moments at most scenes. It has some solid jump-out scares that is quite unique as well. It may bear some clichè horror formula and storyline, but it is overall distinct, interesting and worth-watching. The film’s strength lies from Sarah Wayne Callies’ (Lorie of The Walking Dead) great acting performance. The film introduced some interesting horror technique as well. It may not be the best horror to date but this is surely worth some screams. Giving it 4/5 stars.

2016

Conjuring 2

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Conjuring 2 is a heart-pounding & chill from the spine horror masterpiece that gave Insidious 1 – 3 a run for their money. Perhaps, this is the best modern horror to beat in terms of scare techniques that are truly memorable and terrifying at most scenes. I love how James Wann played with darkness and applied some unique cinematography and visual editing as well. Screamed a lot on this 2nd installment of Conjuring that perhaps learned how to step up the game in Hollywood mainstream horror after the success of the Insidious chapters. Plot is still derived from the true cases of the Warrens in the 1970s. It still includes a family and house setting. Similar formula might be used by the plot was crafted with creativity this time. I loved how they the director injected the drama of the Family and the main characters. It is a roller coaster ride of surprises and twists. 5/5 stars.