Eerie brings life to the Catholic school horror urban legends that once haunted us in our sleep.
Known for his beautifully crafted films like ‘Birdshot’ and ‘Neomanila’, Mikhail Red traverses into horror this time. Starring Bea Alonzo and Charo Santos, ‘Eerie’ takes us back to our childhood with all the scare. And with their evocative acting, people are still lining up to see the film for its charismatic approach.
Set in all-girls Catholic school, guidance counselor Patricia Consolacion (Bea Alonzo) attempts to solve the mysterious death of a student. But in her search for the truth, Mother Alice (Charo Santos) warns her to back off. Because apparently for the school, there are secrets that should stay buried in the past. And as one thing led to another, Pat learns about Erika and how she threatens the school.
Storywise, it’s an overused trope in horror films in the country. However, having a team of talented writers, Mikhail Red was able to incorporate themes such as mental health, attack on conventions of religious institutions and corporal punishment. No doubt, the message they were trying to send out to the public was relevant. But it wasn’t enough.
Lost in translation
Despite the riveting cinematography of the film, it failed to deliver its message across. Indeed, Eerie’s desaturated and dull colors added to the spook and fright in intends to bring. The build-up of the tension and climax of the story emphasized the impending heavy atmosphere. And of course, it has a lot of beautiful shots all throughout.
But the thing is, ‘Eerie’ withheld a lot of information vital to the story progression. Yes, we do love the mystery. But it was too much that it damaged the film at some point. The lack of character development kept the story a bit vague to the senses. And because of it, Eerie’s characters ended up being nothing but cliche’s. From the good ghost, the detached and cruel mother Superior and everything in between. It ended up creating confusion. Though they did try to save it through the flashbacks later on. But it seemed a little too late to make an impact on the audience.
On a side note, the jump scares were good. It kept the people on the edge of their feet.
A step towards better horror films
‘Eerie’ shows that there’ potential in improving local horror films. An intriguing yet insightful film. It might have tried too hard to push through both in the technicalities of craft and in the creative narrative. The film is full of themes that are relevant to social issues at hand. And it’s not an easy feat to just inject themes of LGBT oppression, the stigma on mental health and the management system in religious institutions in a horror film. Not to mention that ‘Eerie’ subtly implies how we ourselves enable victimization that leads to depression on a daily basis. Even through the smallest decisions we make in our everyday lives.
Despite the struggles of ‘Eerie’ to give a remarkable impression as a whole, it did not fail to give us quite a scare. It tried to go beyond the normal horror film conventions we know. A long shot to the moon, you might say. But it showed that there are potential and development to the films and stories we love.