Tuesday, December 30, 2014

MMFF 2014: Review of FENG SHUI 2: Creepy Chinoiserie

December 30, 2014

"Feng Shui" was a most memorable Filipino horror movie which was released ten years ago. That film reenergized the horror genre back then with its original story and innovative scare tactics. It also began Kris Aquino's run as Horror Queen as she followed this film up with "Sukob", "Dalaw" and "Segunda Mano". Her oddly distinct scream is worth millions as these films were all box-office hits.

The original "Feng Shui" is about Joy Ramirez, who found a "bagua", an octagonal Chinese charm with a mirror in the center, which apparently brought extreme luck to its owner.  Joy would soon discover though that its drawback is that people around her who look into its mirror would soon die of a bizarre death associated with the Chinese horoscope animal symbolizing the year he was born in. The most memorable of these deaths was that of the character played by Lotlot de Leon born in the year of the Horse. She fell out of the window and landed to her death on cases of beer -- Red Horse beer!

At the end of that first film, Joy thought she had already broken the "bagua" and the curse. But instead, she (and all of us in the audience) were shocked by a twist no one saw coming. That ending sealed "Feng Shui" as one of the best Filipino horror films of all time.

We see that memorable ending again in the beginning of this sequel. The cursed "bagua" is in the possession of a woman who jumped to her death after seeing her whole family killed. Petty thief Lester Anonuevo (Coco Martin) steals it for a Chinese lady who sought to fight its curse. However, the "bagua" still finds its way to hang above the front door of Lester's house in the slums, where he lived with his drunkard mother (Carmi Martin). From that time on, Lester began to have incredible luck and fortune. However, as we already knew from the last film, people around him also began dying.

It was actually already after the first victim died when we first saw Joy again as the real estate agent who sold Lester's father (Rez Cortez) the townhouse where the first death took place. She saw the "bagua" and again she began seeing the ghosts again and threatens her relationship with new boyfriend Doug (Ian Veneracion). The "bagua" is noted to now be more powerful as two victims at a time are dying. 

Together with Tao temple consultant Hsiu Liao (Joonee Gamboa), Joy needs to join forces with all living former owners of the "bagua", Lester and the greedy rich matron Lilly (Cherrie Pie Picache), to try and destroy the curse all over again together.

Director Chito Rono still succeeds to make us jump or scream quite a number of times as ghostly images suddenly pop out at the most unexpected times. The actors were all competent. Kris Aquino is really in her element in horror films. The chills and thrills with the ghostly Lotus Feet still work. The Chinese rituals and the lines delivered in impeccable Mandarin add to the mysterious exotic appeal. The dark humor, inadvertent or intentional, add to the entertainment value.

Being a sequel though, the originality that made the first "Feng Shui" so different is no longer here. The tried and true formula was just upgraded to dual kills, but there was nothing entirely new anymore. I liked the open ending. Stay tuned for an additional scene in the middle of the end credits that seems to promise another sequel, but of a different dimension. I wonder if they wait another 10 years for that one to materialize? 6/10.

No comments:

Post a Comment