December 29, 2011
Being a fan of Pinoy horror films, this was the film that I was most looking forward to seeing in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival. The fact that it was rated A by the Film Ratings Board was the added push I needed to clear up some time from the busy holiday schedule to go see it. Maybe because of all of this heightened expectation, I came out of the movie house today terribly disappointed.
I am getting ahead of myself. "Segunda Mano" is about a sad antique- shop owner Mabel (Kris Aquino) who lives with her mother (Ms. Helen Gamboa) in a spooky old house. Both are still disturbed by the death of younger sister Marie in a freak beach accident twenty years ago. Her life is invigorated when she meets and falls in love with Ivan (Dingdong Dantes), a wealthy architect who seemed to have it all on the surface. Why then does a spirit inhabiting the bag and dress of Ivan's estranged wife Marielle (Angelica Panganiban) seem to stop at nothing to scare Mabel away as people around the couple get killed?
EVERYTHING in this movie is a horror movie cliché -- computer-generated spirits appearing on and off screen, seance scenes, comfort room stalls scenes, jumpy "scare" music, swimming pool scenes, cats, blackouts, all the way up to very last stupid "shock" scene at the end! The acting of the actors already telegraphed how everything was going to end, so there was practically no surprises. Kris looked very much older than Dingdong, and hardly his type based on his lifestyle, so they lack any sort of chemistry. Bangs Garcia was funny, but her "kikay" character's "friendship" with Kris' morose character was so unlikely and felt forced and unrealistic. Trying to meld the Marie and the Marielle stories was so confusingly unnecessary.
The main and probably the only good thing I can say about "Segunda Mano" is their idea that ghosts can inhabit second-hand or used merchandise. That idea is actually horror genius! However unfortunately, the originality begins and ends there. After watching a very good Pinoy horror film like "The Road" earlier this month, I expected this film to also be at that level. Unfortunately, this movie was such a letdown. "Segunda Mano" is so chockful of previously-done scare tactics such that the entire film also feels "second-hand".