Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Amorosa: The Revenge


1992. A young woman (Empress) falls victim to rape and murder in an old house somewhere in Tagaytay. Fast forward to the present, Amorosa (Angel Aquino) is left without a husband after a road accident. Hounded by financial woes, she takes her sons Rommel (Enrique Gil) and Amiel (Martin del Rosario) to live in her aunt’s pension house in Tagaytay, where she would serve as manager and earn some much needed cash to support the family. Soon after they move in, the ghost starts to haunt her, drawing similarities from their situation regarding some difficult choices made in the past that have led to life-changing results.

Very good acting from Angel Aquino, particularly in that scene where she had to choose which son to save. She is one of the reasons why I almost wanted to give this movie four clovers out of five. It is a good thing that Enrique Gil does not get left behind. This kid can act, and it is nice to see two able actors sharing one screen. At least, not one gets to outshine the other. Lilia Cuntapay is also here, and uses her hair once again to provide some good old fashioned scare. It works every time!

Perhaps the problem with this movie is how everything accumulates towards the end. There is just a pile up of everything, as in every single plot twist that the director could have thought of, and then add the supernatural aspects and toss in one too many Deus-ex-Machina, and you end up leaving the cinema confused as to what really happened in there. It is somehow disappointing because underneath all the scare tactics, there is a simmering family drama waiting to be exploited to its full potential. Sadly, the momentum derived from this is lost just like that.

Another possible factor is how this film seems to have some sort of identity crisis. We understand that thrillers usually just fall within three sub genres, namely: psycho, ghost, and slasher flick. The first and third usually combine to form a good thriller. In this movie, the director opts to skewer all three, in that everything begins as a psycho drama, dabbles in ghost territory once in a while, and ultimately ends up as a slasher flick. For some people, that is one hell of a thrill ride. Unfortunately, for most, it is simply confusing and most often seen as a sign of laziness in the storyteller’s part by eventually turning to the convenience of routine and formula. Efforts in terms of cohesion is evident though, but comes short in connecting everything convincingly.

In the end, this is just a simple family drama that could have been poignant if they got rid of the ghost story and the slasher flick angle. Come to think of it, those two are just there to provide resolution for the main conflict of the story, which is that of mother and son. In real life, people usually just engage in a shouting match, slap each other (hair-pulling optional), kiss and make up, and move on. Here, the ghost had to intervene, and a killer had to chase Angel Aquino in the haunted house, as if life has not put her through too much already. Like, make up your mind and give her a break?

They could have taken some pointers from Next to Normal, given the similarities in terms of storyline. That one did not have ghosts in it, but it made a lot of people cry. It could have been the same case here, especially with Aquino’s plausible acting. Oh well, we Filipinos just love our ghosts too much, do we not? I thought so too.

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