First of all, to those who claim that this is not a horror movie, it is. It is not your usual slasher or creature thriller, though. To be honest, this kind of movie is scarier than the usual frightful flicks because it draws inspiration from real life events. The film tackles issues about religion and religiosity but also battling your personal demons.
Director Erik Matti’s visual storytelling is masterful especially when it came to the temptation of the deacons. His shots were also amazing. I really loved the camerawork in this. It’s not a surprise that he won Best Director at the Metro Manila Film Festival Awards Night.
However, the biggest surprise is Rhed Bustamante as Anghela. Her performance as the child messiah who can heal the sick clearly outshines her more experienced co-actors which include veterans such as Neil Ryan Sese (Padre Ricardo) and Lou Veloso (Sandoval). In other words, she scared me the most. Newcomer Phoebe Walker also made an impression as Madre Cecilia, the nun who takes care of Anghela. Ronnie Alonte’s Miguel is central to the story and he performed his part as one of the deacons undergoing seclusion excellently.
The story follows Miguel as he goes through ‘Seklusyon’, the final rite to becoming a priest. At first, it seems that he would be able pass the test without fail but it’s not as easy as it looks. Meanwhile, Padre Ricardo is tasked by the Catholic Church to investigate the emergence of a miracle healer in the form of a young girl and whether it is right for them to ordain her as a saint. Things escalate quickly as Anghela’s parents are murdered and she, along with Madre Cecilia, seek refuge at the convent where Miguel and three other deacons’ seclusion is taking place.
Unlike most horror films nowadays, this movie does not rely on CGI effects to terrify its audiences. The musical score contributes a lot to the suspense but the fright also comes from the questions that will pop into your head about the difference between religion and true faith. I will probably skip re-watching this film. But if you haven’t seen it, I recommend it for its cinematic brilliance and provocative themes.