By Michelle Anne P. Soliman, Reporter
Directed by Joven M. Tan
A FOOLISH decision to submit to an oppressor defeats the purpose of proving one’s worth.
Fred (Buboy Villar) desperately wants to fit in with a group of cool kids at school — Allan (Jerome Ponce), Erwin (Vitto Marquez), Caloy (Danzel Fernandez), Dindo (Ricci Rivero), and Verna (Michelle Vito). The barkada, led by the arrogant Allan, decides to have Fred go through an initiation — staying in an abandoned orphanage overnight — to test if he is worthy to belong in their group.
The orphanage was shut down due to issues involving a priest (Pen Medina), now deceased, who headed its operations but who also molested the young orphans. Unable to escape from the priest, the young orphans committed suicide. The abandoned orphanage is rumored to be haunted by otlum (multo or ghost, spelled backward).
On the day of Fred’s initiation, he is terrified when the blue-gray soul of a little boy creepily interacts with him and is horrified by the jump scare appearance of the deceased priest’s ghost. The next morning, Fred is seen crying over what the group made him do and pledges to take his revenge.
When Fred goes missing for more than a day, the barkada return and search the orphanage; they find his body hanging from the ceiling with his belt around his neck.
Fred’s revenge takes effect through the ghost of the little boy who had terrified him. The ghost makes his presence known to the barkada through their gadgets such as headphones and a television, killing two of them.
Terrified, the remaining barkada members consult a paranormal expert (John Estrada) to help them put Fred’s soul to rest.
Fred’s desperation to belong is what makes his character relatable and is also his flaw. He may have yearned to have a group of friends, however, he let himself be continuously belittled and bullied by people who disrespect him. If he had not continued to pursue the group, he would not have cried and sought revenge.
As for the movie’s horror impact, I thought the story promising when I saw its trailer. After watching the film itself, I think that the jump scares and effects were well executed. Those who get paranoid after watching horror films may get uncomfortable visiting the bathroom — facing the mirror and fetching water from a large bucket — during the first evening post viewing. The same goes with sleeping alone in your room with the empty opposite side of the bed covered in a blanket. (You’ve been warned).
It was all doing well for me until the final scenes which felt rushed. Ending at about an hour and 20 minutes, I wished the movie could have prolonged the climatic fight sequence since it felt abrupt.
The final scene after a montage of the movie title and deceased characters suggests that souls with unfinished business continue to haunt the abandoned orphanage.
MTRCB Rating: PG