Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Segunda Mano


A quick indication of a failed horror movie is when it is marketed as such in the trailer but everyone in the audience is laughing come first day of screening. If Bulong was the peg then they should have made it clear from the very beginning. People do not like getting ripped off, and that is exactly how some people in the CR felt after the closing credits, unless you have another interpretation for, “Moneyback! Nagbayad ako para matakot, hindi para tumawa!”

So, where does Segunda Mano go wrong?

1. They reveal who the ghost is right away. No, you don’t have to guess. They show it to you right there and then, around five minutes through the opening credits. And then they toss in another ghost to confuse you, but it does not work.

2. The main twist is VERY obvious, leaving you with no more mystery to keep your attention once you guess it right. Give yourself around fifteen minutes max. The second twist is so unnecessary and will make a 90’s (heck, even an 80’s) telenovela blush in embarrassment. They went overboard with that one, perhaps a drastic attempt to tie loose ends.

3. The acting is underwhelming. The single acting ace they have is Angelica Panganiban, and she is so underutilized here that you would wish they just gave the role to someone else. It is such a shame to see her talents go to waste with a role where she does not do much. Kris Aquino is her usual self. Dingdong Dantes is convincing but somehow too camp. It is Bangs Garcia who surprisingly steals the show as the comic relief sidekick. At least the audience was laughing at her because the character is made to be intentionally funny. For the others, the mix of awkward dialogue, inappropriate acting, and bad storyline result in many scenes that are unintentionally hilarious.

What is even more surprising is that the director is actually Bb. Joyce Bernal. Seriously! We are talking about THE Joyce Bernal. The direction is all over the place. The movie does not know if it wants to be a horror film, a slasher flick, a made for TV drama, an experimental high school movie project, or an awkward wrestling match. You do not see Kris Aquino in a wrestling lift or Helen Gamboa tossed on the kitchen counter that often on TV. Well, you will here. Surprise! Thus, it makes one wonder. Does Joyce Bernal have a hidden grudge against Kris Aquino?

If you’ve seen last year’s Dalaw, you would know that it was not perfect, but it delivered well because of a combination of factors. The plot was well executed with just a few hiccups. There is a Gina Parreño for every Karylle made to look like an extra in an Aliens vs Predator movie. The CGI and sound effects are maximized to full effect. Segunda Mano neither has any of these advantages, nor its own strengths to turn it into a horror film worth seeing. I could guarantee you though; you would enjoy this movie, but for all the wrong reasons. Word of mouth would depend on how this would be framed: as a cult classic worshipped for its awfulness or as a trying hard horror movie that just fails. It would be good for business if it were the first scenario, but I am guessing it would be the second, specially with a Shake, Rattle, and Roll movie also in contention. If Dalaw faced an uphill climb to 100 million last year, then this one need not attempt the ascent. Unless people rush to see it for fun and for ridicule’s sake.

Kris Aquino, you said you have to protect your product. Suggestion: beg Chito Roño to do another horror movie with you. That way, maybe you could still salvage your reputation as the awkwardly hoarse screamer with a good box office draw.

Final verdict? Watch if you want a good laugh from a comedy movie masquerading as a horror flick. Do not watch if you want to get scared. You won’t.

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