MENOR DE EDAD (Joel Lamangan, 2013)

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If Rashomon and The Blair Witch Project had a baby, this movie would be its turd. Talk about waste.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published January 24, 2013.)

BANAL (Peter Abanna, 2019)

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Dear bashers, hindi siya The Blair Witch Project, okay? Sobrang chaka kaya nito. Hiyang-hiya nga yung director na ilagay pangalan niya sa credits eh. Understandable naman.

Anong ginawa ninyo kay Marga? Humanda na kayo kay Dany Gurl.

Also, parang luluwa na mga mata ni Bianca Umali. She should have herself checked for goiter. (Huy, serious advice yan.)

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

THE FOREST (Jason Zada, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Forest:

1. Aokigahara Forest lies on the base of Mount Fuji in Japan and is more popularly known as Suicide Forest. According to locals, it’s a place where people left their sick or disabled family members to die during the war. Currently, it’s an infamous haunted site where depressed people committed suicide (single friends, never ever go here please).

I verified everything to be true (Google it, if you have the guts) and the folklore surrounding this, including the eerie pictures, could be the perfect fodder for nightmares. Unfortunately, this movie squandered a really interesting setting when it decided to be a typical ghost story full of cheap scares that reeked of B-movie Asian horror.

2. If you know your Hideo Nakata from your Takashi Shimizu, you’ll find this one completely derivative and repetitive. Every single Asian horror movie trope was used, most of them unsuccessful in generating genuine fear. (By the way, if the only Hideo you know is Muraoka, then I suggest that you go to the nearest Bench outlet and buy an underwear that you can use to cover your eyes while watching the original versions of Ringu, The Grudge and The Eye.)

3. I still haven’t fully recovered from The Revenant and this movie further reminded me never to go camping. Ever. (As the noisy grandma in front of me put it succinctly, “Hindi ako magtatagal diyan!”)

Forget the bugs or the lack of an actual toilet. I would never be able to sleep at night inside a tent in the middle of the woods where all I could hear would be crickets, owls, wolves, and other weird (hopefully) animal sounds (and probably the beating of my agitated heart). I completely blame The Blair Witch Project for this. Now that was a true horror in the woods flick where your hyperactive imagination did all of the scaring.

4. Do twins really have this intuition (twintuition?) of knowing and feeling whatever is happening to the other? I wonder if it’s exactly the same as gut feel (or as my lola would say, “Malakas ang kutob ko”) or women’s intuition (nope, your girlfriend’s not psychic when she randomly asked you if you were sleeping with her best friend).

Anyway, my favorite pair of twins would always be Richard and Raymond Gutierrez (sorry Mary-Kate and Ashley!) not only because they were so cute in their Nestle Klim commercials but also because I envied them for riding a giant flying bibe with ease in that Manilyn Reynes classic Feel na Feel as the wonder kambal Mumbo and Jumbo.

5. Are Viewfinders still available? I remember having one as a kid and I loved getting lost in all the adventures (Europe! Disneyland! Nature!) of these magic binoculars (mistaken as a camera by most of the viewers during our screening). This just might be the closest I would ever be to exploring a forest in my lifetime.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (Oren Peli, 2007)

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Just like any “found footage” movie, the biggest concern is why these people still find time to grab the camera and film everything instead of running for their dear lives. And just like any haunted house movie, you begin to question why they don’t leave when footsteps start appearing on the powdered floors.

If you get past those and willingly suspend your disbelief, you’ll actually enjoy this chilling flick that shows little but provides maximum scares. Similar to The Blair Witch Project, the horror resides in your brain and you scare yourself silly just by looking at a scene involving a dark room and hallway. When the actual “thing” manifests itself, prepare to scream your lungs out.

Rating: ★★★★☆