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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Eerie’ (2019)

Does Eerie actually live up to all the hype? Time to find out. Here’s my review of Mikhail Red’s ‘Eerie’

Eerie tackles the story of the tragic deaths of the some of the students of the fictional Sta. Lucia Academy for Girls. Pat (Bea Alonzo) is the school’s guidance counselor who also happens to see hear, and actually communicate with the spirits of those who died in their campus. As she learns more about these troubled spirits, she then delves deeper into their cases to see what really happened to these students under the strict, watchful eye of the school’s principal, Sor. Alice (Charo Santos), while trying to find out if there is a malevolent force behind these tragedies, all at the same time.

I’m putting this out here right away: I guess I expected too much, in the aspect of it being “scary”. Being a fan of Mikhail Red’s body of work, along with all the rave reviews online from both critics and casual viewers, it made me set the bar too high, that I ended up feeling a bit disappointed with how “scary” the film was. In the context of Asian horror, Eerie’s scares don’t really hold up to a lot of its peers, especially the classics. Don’t get me wrong, this is a well-made film, and it’s quite good, but it just really isn’t that “scary”, for me, at least. It’s not bad at all, it’s just good.

The best thing about this film is how good it looks. Everything is well thought of, and the attention to even the smallest of details is impressive. The setting, the scoring, and the flawless cinematography work hand in hand to successfully deliver an “eerie” look and feel to the film. It borrows some cues from fellow Asian horror films, in terms of both story and style, you’ll see what I mean if you watch the film. There’s also a lot of imagery that sticks to the mind after watching, and that’s very important for horror films like this. The thing is, it feels like they focused more on style rather than substance.

Sure, Eerie tackles much more than your typical horror flick. It deals with mental health issues, bullying and discrimination, familial issues, corporal punishments, and the underlying issues of the exclusive catholic school for girls featured in the film. It gets more and more complex as each moment passes by, but one can’t help but feel like the story is lacking in depth. Just because you have a good message in your story, it doesn’t automatically mean you have a good story.

I’m not saying that Eerie’s story is bad, it just felt underdeveloped. There’s a lot of meat in the story that the film could’ve fleshed out more, and they could’ve given us more of the characters’ stories and backgrounds to make us actually root for them, to make us feel for them even more, and not just be mere instruments for the story to move forward.

I guess it was also in how the film was edited. Everything felt rushed, and the audience isn’t really given any time to process the things happening on screen. Everything just suddenly passes by, and little do you know, you’re already at the climax of the film. Even the third act felt rushed, and I feel that there’s definitely more of the story to tell here, but they’re never fully realized.

Don’t get me wrong though, this is still a good watch, especially with the amazing performances from everyone in the cast. Bea Alonzo does horror for the first time, and she nails it. Her eyes do the acting in this film, and she shone even more in her most quiet moments in the film. It’s also refreshing to see Charo Santos on the big screen again, and she’s terrifying as Sor. Alice, but sadly she isn’t given that much screen time in here. The school girls are great as well, but again, we’ll be circling back to what I said earlier: the characters aren’t developed enough, we never really get to see much of them, and they’re just used to move the story forward.

There’s a twist at the very end, which isn’t really that shocking, and is almost too predictable, to be honest. Again, it all goes back to my main point, the story and characters are underdeveloped. There isn’t just enough build-up to everything that’s happening in the film, which makes everything feel less effective. I’ve repeated this quite a few times, and it basically sums up what I felt after watching the movie.

Eerie gets a lot of things right, but it also messes up in a few ways. The look and feel of the film is top-notch, it’s well-made, and there are some scenes and imagery that stick to the mind long after watching, along with the brilliant performances from Bea Alonzo and Charo Santos. But at the same time, the story suffers from being a bit underdeveloped, and it gets predictable after some time. As a whole though, it’s a step up from your usual Pinoy horror flick, and I’m really excited to see where it all goes from here.

My Rating: 8/10

Here’s the full trailer for ‘Eerie’:

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