MOVIE REVIEW: FENG SHUI 2 (Chito Roño, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Feng Shui 2:

1. Roño mentioned in a recent interview that he didn’t want to do a sequel since he didn’t want to make the same movie. He named this Feng Shui and it was supposed to be a continuation of the original story. The title was apt since it was basically a retread of the original.

2. The previously novel idea of people dying based on their animal signs proved to be stale this time around. Who could forget the well-thought out sequence in the original where Lotlot de Leon (born on the year of the horse) got hit by an ironing board and fell to her death on cases of Red Horse? None of the deaths here had the same impact.

3. Every death had to be explained and every animal connection had to be in full view just in case the audience didn’t get it. What happened to subtlety? We’re not idiots.

4. Rat killer, Red Bull, Doug wearing a dogtag, Playboy shirt and Red Rabbit fire extinguisher, Snake Island truck, chicharon, these were the best that they could think of?

5. Bad dubbing. Really bad dubbing.

6. A lot of the characters here had never seen a bagua. I guess they weren’t able to watch the original movie.

7. Am I the only one who found it funny that a movie about karma (or close to it) actually starred Carmi Martin? Carmi Martin was really just around the corner.

8. As expected, there were mini-commercials shilling products endorsed by the stars. And so we got all the reasons why we needed to buy Nxled lights by Akari. I suddenly missed that Chunkee dinner scene in the original.

9. One clunky scene had Coco being thrown around by an invisible being. The special effect was too funny. And too lame. What was that?

10. And yet another scene was ripped from The Grudge (the eye and hair shot, you’ll remember when you see it).

11. Kris Aquino had this perpetually constipated look like she was watching Darla consume a whole lechon.

12. I guess all the zumba did her good with all those running scenes.

13. I saw the movie with the noisiest crowd ever (both fun and annoying at the same time). They were screaming their heads off as soon as the lights dimmed. I think they had lots of fun shouting in every scare scene regardless if these weren’t really scary.

14. The ending hinted at another sequel (hey Direk Chito what happened to that no sequel thingie?) and the final scene tried to be social media relevant with the bagua being shared online. So the third movie will be The Ring? Digital na ang karma? Wait, you can’t see your reflection on a picture! How will that work? I give up.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published December 26, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR (Johannes Roberts, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Other Side of the Door:

1. Mothers always make the toughest decisions in movies. Whenever a mother of two kids gets involved in an accident with them, you can expect a Sophie’s Choice moment where she has to decide and save (and therefore show her bias/favoritism/put more importance to) a specific child. She’s then subjected to endless guilt and shame on top of the overwhelming feeling of loss.

I last saw this happen in the local horror flick Amorosa where Angel Aquino had to decide if she should save Enrique Gil or Martin del Rosario. Tough call, right?

2. In this movie, Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori of The Walking Dead) was placed in the same situation and the consequences of her choice made her desperate to do anything to communicate again with the son that she lost. An Indian woman advised her that she could do this in an abandoned temple between the dead and the living (huh?) as long as she didn’t open the door (insert Ate Gay joke here) and let out the spirits saying hello from the other side (insert Adele joke here). Since this was a horror movie, you knew that door will be opened.

3. Why are most of the (good) scary stories set in Asia? Even Hollywood remakes tried to bring back the stories to their original settings because it just seemed more natural. The Grudge sent Sarah Michelle Gellar back to Japan. Even the recent horror flick The Forest had to use a Suicide Forest in Japan. (Wait, I’m visiting Tokyo soon. Should I be scared?) It must be the exoticism of the region that just made it more mystical. (FYI, this movie was an exception. Completely horrible.)

4. Most of the scenes were too dark that it was hard to see the apparently horrific things happening onscreen. The sound effects cued every scare, but nothing worked.

5. Do you still remember Flower Girl from Sukob? The one who reminded siblings not to get married on the same year? The one who left a trail of leaves whenever she made a surprise appearance? The only one that successfully killed Kris Aquino outside of her massacre movies? She has finally conquered Hollywood. I’m so proud of her!

6. I remember reading this short horror story where a father was trying to pacify his crying son who was saying that a monster was under his bed. When he peeked under, he saw his real son who shushed him and said that there was another boy on his bed. That was a real goosebumps moment. The movie tried to incorporate a similar scene but it was nowhere near as effective.

7. After an hour of terrorizing the family, how did they get rid of the ghost? The mother begged him to go away. Eh puwede naman pala pakiusapan jusko!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: 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: ★★☆☆☆