Tuesday, April 28

Review: Pssst...T.2. (2009)

Directed by Chito Roño
Starring Maricel Soriano

Rating: 2.5

Roño pulls a Shyamalan in the last installment of his horror trilogy. What T2 lacks in scare, it makes up for with ambition.

I'm rarely surprised by commercial Filipino movies mostly because of its penchant to play it safe. T.2. stands out from the rest of the recent releases mainly because it took a huge risk with its portrayal of two worlds colliding---our reality and one more fantastic---and though it stumbles in the end, the movie does represent something of importance and that which is sorely lacking in commercial cinema: ambition.

T2 opens grandly. A boy is out in the field looking for his pet goat when all of a sudden an aircraft appears from above and the field dissolves into a runway as the distant mountains transform into a majestic city, something similar to the cityscape in Fritz Lang's Metropolis. The movie then follows determined Save an Orphan volunteer Claire, played by the invincible Maricel Soriano, protect a child who appears to be chased by a group of engkanto (elementals). The showdown takes place in T.2., a dilapidated tenement whose center is the gateway to the world of the elementals.

Chito Roño is at his best setting up genuinely creepy scenes in the superstitious-heavy air of the countryside, more effectively displayed in his previous effort, Sukob. Without the glaring lights and noises of the city, the elementals felt more menacing. I was also hoping that T.2. would dwell more on the intriguing occurrences that took place when the elementals' world overlapped with ours; a shipping liner (?) cruising down a tiny river is one of the movie's visual coup.

But even before the screams are delivered, T.2. reveals its secret: the child Claire is protecting is a half-breed (half-faerie, half-human) and the elementals are rallying their (stoic, rotting green) troops to help convince the child to choose to live in the Elemental City. I felt duped that I was misled to believe that this was a horror movie; it's the Shyamalan syndrome, when the dénouement makes everything less spectacular, like turning on the fluorescent lamp in a dark room, all the shadows disappear and the phantom you suspected standing in the corner was just a play of light.

Still, I admire Roño for going where no other local horror movie has gone before and for going against the expectations set by his previous movies. Hopefully, his ambitions will lead to better reveals in the future.


Theo Martin said...

I think Sukob is still the best from his horror trilogy. But when you factor ambition in, it makes sense that this really is a fitting end his foray in horror filmmaking.

Though it's kinda weird to hear this depicted as his horror trilogy when he had already directed some scary films in the past notably, Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara, and that Film Center flick starring his wards, the STreetboys.:)Spirits ba yun?

Andy Briones said...

Haven't seen this one yet, although I saw Roño's old flick, Laro sa Baga, back when I was still a hickie in U.P., ehehe. Galing ni Carlos Morales dun.

Excited pa nga ako nun while lining up for its premiere. I was like, "Wow, I'm finally going to see Monique Wilson act." I wasn't able to see her in Miss Saigon, so I settled for Laro sa Baga.

I wasn't wowed by her acting though, ehehe.

Thor Bee said...

Theo, FENG SHUI was pop horror, SUKOB was rooted in local superstition, and T2 aimed to deliver both. He should've just built upon Sukob; the idea of engkantos itself is scary enough. But still well directed. The sloppy effects kinda ruined the movie's climax too. Sayang.

Andy, I still consider Rono to be one of the better directors we have as seen in PRIVATE SHOW, LA VIDA ROSA, ANG BABAE SA BINTANA among others. Ok din yang LARO SA BAGA thouigh theater acting pa rin si Monique Wilson, medyo OA tuloy. Hehe.

Theo Martin said...

I just felt that Sukob is more than just being rooted to local superstition. In fact, may social message siya about the dad (Ronaldo Valdez) having an affair, at ang kanyang mga anak ang nagsusuffer because of that. It used local superstition as a tool to unmask the evil effects of committing adultery. Kaya magaling siya sa akin. parang tinakot niya ako on the surface level, at natakot rin ako na magloko sa asawa ko (if ever, hehe!)

As for T2, ok lang, about engkantos yeah. pero maybe kasi after watching sukob, gusto ko ng meatier and sensible na palabas, not just another typical horror movie. hehehe. Yeah! tama ka sa effects, medyo eww nga...hahaha:)