The Film Development Council of the Philippines, in partnership with SM Cinemas, exhibited four horror films in time for Halloween Season, from October 29 to November 4, 2014. Helmed by seasoned directors, the films are said to mix traditional horror with Pinoy folklore, traditions, and beliefs, as well as other genres.
As an avid horror fan, I was looking forward to this festival. The posters looked interesting. The synopses were intriguing. The casting choices seemed promising.
But my God how this festival went way, way, way below my expectations. Three of the four movies are a complete waste of money and time. How these are supported by FDCP is beyond me.
I ended up watching all four films alone. I was supposed to watch it with some of my ka-tribos in UrbanTribe, but you know what, they are lucky to be spared from the agony of sitting through the movies.
The first one I saw was Edgardo Vinarao’s Bacao.
Bacao is a love story between Mayet (Michelle Madrigal) and Abel (Arnold Reyes) who have been struggling to conceive a child for the past six years. Left with no other options, Mayet visits a faith healer Indo (Leo Martinez), whose questionable practices place a strain in the couple’s relationship.
Intertwined with their tale is that of their neighbors battered wife Tere (Marife Necesito) and chauvinistic Loloy (Alvin Anson), who, in contrast, have had four children in six years.
Bacao is a native term for corn, the source of livelihood for the couple and an obvious metaphor for them bearing fruit and being fertile. Set in Isabela, the movie makes full use of its rural setting – lush cornfields, quaint scenery, and cozy interiors. Sound is overall fine, just some glitches here and there. Music can get overwhelming at times though. For these aspects, Bacao generally succeeds.
But let’s get one thing straight. Is this a horror film? At the very least, is this even a suspense film? No, it isn’t. So I have no idea why this was included in the line-up of a horror film festival in the first place. Just because there is a faith healer doesn’t make it a horror film. It’s just too much of a stretch. I would have preferred Joey Reyes’ Dilim in lieu of this for the festival.
It is a melodrama. I’d even dare to call it a bomba. To be honest, it’s trying way too much to be insightful and dramatic, but really, it’s just a sex movie.
We get it. The young couple is in love. They want to have children. They enjoy trying to make children. But the amount of sex scenes is excessive and downright unnecessary.
There is one sequence where Indo advises them not to have sex for 10 days. That’s just 10 days! But the film devotes more than 10 minutes depicting their struggle – complete with a counter from Day 1 to Day X. Why is this significant to the overall plot? Why can’t they compress and shorten this?
I really feel bad because I like Michelle Madrigal and Arnold Reyes as actors. Madrigal even bared her breasts for this! But I don’t think this is the deserving material for her to do that. You can see that both actors are giving their all, especially Madrigal. Some sex scenes between them though appear awkward – maybe due to their kissing choreography, facial expressions, or body movements; the two actors don’t seem to always sync.
Let me reiterate: This is not a horror film. It has no place in a film festival that celebrates horror. So if you’re watching this to feel scared, you’re sorely misguided. Even if taken as it is, it’s still not a very good melodrama or bomba. Please do yourself a favor and skip this one at all costs.
Stray observations (SPOILER ALERT! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!)
- OMG Papyrus font for the opening credits and movie poster!
- Mayet’s dream is to have a large family, but she didn’t have to mention this time and time again. We already know, girl!
- Loloy’s dream sequence of him and Mayet making out is obviously shot in a swimming pool. Saw the tiles in one shot.
- Indo always says “Mahusay.” It started off fine but became more and more annoying.
- The whole subplot about Abel’s mother (Irma Adlawan) and her extramarital affair doesn’t really mesh with the rest of the story. What is its purpose? How does it tie up with the main plot?
- I still can’t believe they can’t last 10 days without having sex. For the sake of having kids, they should have endured it. Aren’t they desperate already?
- Indo, after several visits from Mayet, finally says “Ito ang pinakamabisang gamot ko.” Why only give the best medicine now?
- Mayet’s raped twice in one day. Pretty much like Sabel in the ABS-CBN teleserye of the same name who gets frequently raped. It’s unfortunate, really.
- Itak swordfight!!! Lol!
- Why is Abel’s mother (Irma Adlawan) angry at Mayet at her son’s burial? It wasn’t her fault she was raped twice. It wasn’t her fault Abel chased Loloy.
- The physics of Mayet’s pregnant belly in the last scene is all wrong! It’s bouncing all wrong!
- Michelle Madrigal cries beautifully. Kudos!
Director: Edgardo Vinarao
With: Michelle Madrigal, Arnold Reyes, Alvin Anson, Marife Necesito, Leo Martinez, Irma Adlawan