Sunod - Filipino hit horror at Far East Film Festival Udine

A treat for fans of Asian horror at FEFF 22!

The fireworks of Asian film in Udine are coming to an end. To remind, a total of 46 films will be screened, from June 26 to July 4, 2020. We wrote about the opening of the festival and the Korean blockbuster Ashfall on an opening day. The festival may have been launched at the beginning by a group of enthusiasts who were fans of martial arts and other genre film production, but the festival has outgrown this state a long time ago. 


The cross-section of Asian cinema is comprehensive. From small art films to mega-blockbusters. The same rule applies to genres, from love melodramas to horror. We just watched the horror that marked the genre in Philippine cinema last year and this year. It is a film Sunod directed by Carlos Ledesma. The film is one of the best Filipino horror achievements of all time and has already won some awards at festivals. Primarily on home soil - Metro Manila Film Festival 2019.


Asian horror movies are no stranger to Western fans of the genre. Some postulates of horror are already well known around the world among viewers. Thus, the Japanese vision of horror is related to the depiction of a girl, barefoot in a white dress, with her long hair pulled over her face and dragging herself relentlessly towards the victims - Ring, Ju-On. We have been following Turkey's oriental horror vision for a long time through the Siccin horror franchise. A curse that carries the victim through the hell of demons, most often planted by evil women and love rivals. What scares Filipinos?


Judging by the movie Soul, then these are classic demonic depictions, more precisely - evil spirits. This is exactly the biggest advantage and the biggest disadvantage of film Sunod. Excellently made, by the standards of the Western film industry, the film is only criticized for its lack of colour and territorial exclusivity. But Ledesma approached the film technocratically and made no mistake. Sunod is one of the best horrors we’ve had a chance to watch this year. So what is the film about?


What to do to a single mother whose child, a 13-year-old daughter, is awaiting expensive heart surgery so she can live?


Olivia - starring Carmina Villaroel lives for her daughter Anelle - starring Krystal Brimner. To pay for hospital expenses, she was hired on a night shift as a telephone operator for a financial branch in Manila. The old building in which he works in the centre of Manila has a refined elegance. But it also hides sinister secrets, ghosts that have their roots in the building's past. The unfortunate Olivia becomes a reluctant witness to the obsession. If she wants her daughter to survive, she has no choice, she has to endure indescribable horrors and risk her own life.


Director Ledesma has decided on a story that has been seen several hundred times, that is true. But that is the only weak point of this film. Visually flawless horror fills holes with little things, such as the vulgar capitalist exploitation of workers. He then brings into play the sexual connotations common in the domination of bosses at work, who abuse someone's difficult position. Aside from Ledesma who sovereignly leads the film from the initial slow burn position to the frenetic last third of the film, the film gives a strong stamp to Mycko David. The famous young Filipino cameraman (Birdshot) gives the film a strong stamp of persuasiveness. No sign of low-budget boring displays. From start to finish, the film is so make-up-free that I don’t see why, say, The Curse of La Llorona would be a superior Hollywood blockbuster? Scenes in the basement of the building could compete for the best horror scenes of the year. Shadows interrupted by such a sudden sound beat that your heart skips a few beats a couple of times.


When the only representative of the horror genre at the Film Festival is nominated for awards in all categories, it is respectable!


As the only horror film at the MMFF (Metro Manila Film Festival) 2019, Sunod was nominated in almost all categories, acting and film. The two lead actresses, film mother and daughter Olivia (Carmina Villaroel) and Anelle (Krystal Brimner), have fully earned their nominations in the categories of Best Actress and Best Child Actress. I would especially highlight the nomination for best sound - Mark Locsin (Live Sound) and John Michael Perez, Mikko Quizon, Wapak Studio (Sound Design). When superior sound effects combine with a visually appealing look, you get a great horror!


To summarize at the end of the review? Excellent director - Carlos Ledesma, top cinematographer - Mycko David, who won the award for best cinematography at the MMFF 2019. Two excellent lead actresses, Carmina Villarroel and Krystal Brimner. Excellent casting, nominated for Best Supporting Actors - Rhed Bustamante, JC Santos, Mylene Dizon. Ten 17, Globe Studios nomination for best film and best original theme song "Inay" from Sunod - Written by Mariah Moriones, Performed by Krystal Brimner! A horror film that can satisfy even the most demanding fans of the genre.


Horror is a highly underrated genre. Too often, we are victims of low-budget nonsense, so somehow we have a bias towards it genre. ut there are well-made films in every possible film genre if they are made by someone who loves the genre. And Carlos Ledesma loves horror. After all, let the author himself tell you that, in his own words in an interview for the Manila Times on the occasion of the success of the film Sunod at MMFF 2019.


… ”Am I weird when I think horror is fun? Because for me, it truly is. I would much rather be scared out of my wits in the safety of a dark theatre than to be confronted by all the current s ** t that is happening in the real world. Aside from horror being fun, I also think horror is important… ”

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