A Different Kind of Belief
By: Cody Bundoc
As an avid horror movie watcher, Filipino movies in this genre do not usually come to one’s mind. If asked about it, people often respond with the long-lived “Shake, Rattle, and Roll”, or any movie with Kris Aquino shouting in it. Horror movies are meant to give thrill, excitement, and fear, but with Filipino horror movies, personally, it just makes me laugh. However, this changed when I stumbled upon Erik Matti’s Seklusyon.
The movie is set in 1947 and follows an aspiring priest named Miguel. For him to enter the priesthood, he must stay in a secluded convent for a week to separate from the evils of the world. Although during seclusion, his faith along with that of the other priest was tested when their fears began coming to life. The horrific events progressively worsen when a young girl appears to live with them. The priests question if she was sent by God or by the devil.
What I liked most about the film is the way they played with religion. Most horror movies, both locally and internationally, include religious aspects. Whether the protagonist hires an exorcist or performs rituals onscreen. This was the first time I have seen a movie where they mainly focus on the priests. Having this type of story being played in a religious country, knowing that some scenes may be considered as “sacrilegious”, is bold for the director to do. It may not be the scariest movie as compared to other international titles, but it does have a unique kind of “eerieness” to it.
Usually, in Filipino horror movies, directors like to solely use special effects for the monsters they create — which for me, cheapens the movie. However, with Erik Matti, he decided to use only human actors with makeup because he refused to work with special effects. He made the right decision since it feels more realistic and natural. I find this scarier because you can imagine it happening in real life.
Seklusyon was part of MMFF 2016 or the Metro Manila Film Festival. The horror movie was director Erik Matti’s third entry to the annual event and it received many awards including best director, supporting actress, cinematography, as well as best production design. Although this movie got its attention from film critics, it could have been known to the public more. The movie is unofficially streaming on YouTube and I encourage people to watch it because it gives a new outlook on how the horror genre is perceived in our country.