I mentioned before that I have my go-to site for movies in case I’m not interested in what Netflix has to offer. Since the release of Sunod (2019), a Filipino horror I wanted to watch during the Metro Manila Film Festival is now on Netflix, I decided to return.
Boy was I surprised by the number of new shows and movies. So, I created a list of the shows and films I wanted to watch. First is Banal, a 2019 Filipino psychological horror movie directed by Peter Abana. The film stars Bianca Umali, Miguel Tanfelix, Andrea Brillantes, Taki and Kim Last.
1h 40min | Horror
Director: Peter Abanna
When a group of friends makes the trek to a sacred mountain on their summer break, sinister forces await.
The trailer gave me a good impression. When I decided to hit play, the first sequence gave a promising start.
Set in an unknown forest, we see a teenage girl looking for her boyfriend. She didn’t look lost to me because it was obvious, she was being pranked. But that sequence did give off a terrifying vibe of being alone and lost. And just like I predicted, her boyfriend appears. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long as two found themselves in an irrevocable situation.
Now onto our main characters. It’s the typical situation friends getting together after finals week and ready to go on an adventure. Nothing wrong with that honestly. It’s not unique but it’s a true situation which anyone can relate to.
In terms of the story, I appreciate how they delivered and executed it. They used the forest and scares available well. But what I didn’t like is how horror movies work. Filipinos know that the lead actors Bianca Umali (Erika) and Miguel Tan Felix (Rich) are a loveteam.
Loveteams in the Philippines is essential and sacred. So, when they do a horror movie, you instantly know that they will both survive. Typical moves like that need to change. This is horror and you need to be bold.
Use all your characters well like Mac played by Kim Last, Thea played by Andrea Brillantes and Yel played by Taki Saito wisely. Build them well and make the audience love them so when they reach their end, they will be missed. Sadly, they were just disposed of.
Now, don’t let my words stop you from watching it. Banal (2019) or sacred in English is a good horror film. The plot and characters were just a little too thin but the terrifying story is within. IMDb 6/10