"Eerie" is a Refreshing Take on Filipino Horror Flicks
Eerie is a refreshing take on Philippine horror flicks because it does away with the usual elements we've seen in Filipino horror movies—cursed items, cursed places, superstitions—it bears none of these clichés. Instead, it builds on something many of us have been subconsciously afraid of: old Catholic schools.
There is a general eeriness about old Catholic schools that make them mysterious: old-fashioned halls, dimly lit chapels, life-size statues of its patrons, and the reverent atmosphere that must always be observed within its grounds. If you attended one, you'd probably heard a rumor that a nun was buried in the school grounds or that your school was built on top of a graveyard.
Director Mikhail Red exploits our fear and lets it work itself into the movie. No expensive special effects and no overly elaborate production were needed. Set in 1995, Eerie achieves two things: It is relatable because it occurs in recent memory (especially for Millennials, whose childhood years were the ‘90s), and it is uncomfortable because of the decade’s lack of technology (no Internet, no cellphones).
Red’s storytelling comes alive with two towering figures in the Philippine entertainment industry: Bea Alonzo and Charo Santos-Concio. Alonzo plays Pat, a guidance counselor, while Santos-Concio plays Sor Alice, the mother superior at the school. Both are very strong characters whose different values are a source of tension throughout the film.
While Eerie has a suitable setting, cast, and story, it slightly overuses the scare tactics employed by horror flicks that despair to scare audiences: “If you can’t scare them with the story, surprise them.” The issue with scare tactics such as using mirrors, darkness, and sudden loud sounds is that they’re predictable and allow the audience to anticipate the surprise. There is a lot of scare-teasing in the film using mirrors and dark rooms.
When it comes to eerie movies, Eerie certainly fits the bill. Eerie is a turning point in mainstream horror flicks in the Philippines because it is realistic and not too fantastical. The characters are well developed and the plot is engaging. There is a correctness in Eerie’s storytelling that you know comes from something personal that doesn't need inventing (hence the absence of Filipino horror film clichés.)
Applause is in order.