Directed by Chito Roño
Starring Maricel Soriano
Roño pulls a Shyamalan in the last installment of his horror trilogy. What T2 lacks in scare, it makes up for with 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.