By By Pablo A. Tariman
THE MAKING OF A BLOCKBUSTER HORROR FILM
posted 23-Apr-2019  ·  
381 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

And so it came to be that Mikhail Red’s Eerie earned P40 million in its first four days of screening.

In the past, indie directors are used to lukewarm reception at the box office even as they get one good review after another and later vindicated in foreign film fest abroad.

That Eerie was reviewed by critics of consequence was one thing but the horror film fans followed suit doing their own personal reviews of the film. It is a good sign that when a film connects very well, it brings out the best among reviewers, seasoned and otherwise.

It is another rare case when a critic’s verdict finds acceptance in mainstream audiences.

The film’s premiere night was an indication of its phenomenal acceptance. The mass screaming came one after the other and after the screening, you realize how well made the film was. But deep in your heart, you wish the film would have more following.

In past premiere nights, it doesn’t follow that if the film finds good acceptance on first screening, it doesn’t mean box office triumph will follow. We have so many cases of Rated A and B films that languish in the box office enough for one director to shout help saying its time the government intervenes and find a solution.

Assorted analysis followed to the effect that too many TV digital platforms has discouraged moviegoers to watch on the big screen. Because they are easily available on TV’s assorted digital platforms a month or so later.

Eerie however was made of sterner stuff and proved that a well-made film will make sense not just with reviewers but with the mass audiences as well.

It ended up a truly landmark horror film that found acceptance from different audience types from the millennials to the post-millennials.

It created initial tension with a well-appointed convent school setting and its repressive rules and the characters gradually revealed for what they are.

One specially likes the use of stillness and the equally arresting film scoring that blended well with the setting.

Add to that a highly taut cinematography that brought out the best in this horror genre.

As it is, the film is a product of good writing and equally good direction. It is even more amazing to find out that the director is only 27 years old and already showing signs of a future master.

But then again, the performances of the lead actors took the cake.

Bea Alonzo as Patricia the inquisitive guidance counsellor finally finds the role of a lifetime that made her look a complete natural in the horror genre.

Charo Santos Concio’s Sor Alice packs both piety and malevolence and more. She was the school administrator nun to avoid after the screening. She was so convincing you hesitated to greet her after the screening lest one hears the voice of the Queen of Corporal Punishment admonishing you to pray and with a warning that you should be out of the school premises after five in the afternoon.

Even the young actors who played the suicide prone Joyce and Erica were at their finest.

After a long, long time, you see a film that truly scares the wits out of you.

With a stroke of good writing, Red found a way to connect contemporary world with a rare but equally scary dialogue with restless ghosts.

The presence of cassette tape recorders brought the film into that era without internet and cell phones and where a school administrator’s word sends shivers into the pupils’ psyche.

With more good reviews pouring in with the horror film on the road to making box office history, it is safe to say that with his latest output, Red is turning out to be the new enfant terrible of Philippine cinema.

The young filmmaker has his own unique style which he says is just a matter of finding new ways of telling a story away from the established and all too predictable pattern.

Graded B by the Cinema Evaluation Board, Mikhail Red’s Eerie stars Bea Alonzo, Charo Santos Concio and Jake Cuenca, among others.

It is still showing in cinemas.


Bea Alonzo and Charo Santos Concio in Eerie. Triumph in the horror genre
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