Director: Erik Matti
Writer: Katski Flores
Cast: Sharon Cuneta, John Arcilla, Kent Gonzales, Pam Gonzales, Guila Alvarez, Coohleene Cabasag, Deo Dela Cruz
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 23.9.2019
Luis (Ken Gonzales) comes back home after the surprising death of his twin sister Manuela (Pam Gonzales). His parents – Rebecca (Sharon Cuneta) and Arturo (John Arcilla) – are evasive about what happened to her, but Luis knows that something is up and not just because a psychic, Salve (Guila Alvarez) warned him at the funeral. Because Manuela haunts him every night. He tries to figure out more, but this is easier said than done.
Kuwaresma does great in the beginning but then starts to fall apart once the story actually gets going. I missed a bit of it because I fell asleep, but I can’t say that I regret it.
The film has a really strong beginning: Luis coming home, the ensuing haunting that is both effective in itself as well as a way to raise the tension quite considerably. After the introductory scenes, I was ready for a great horror film. But it never came.
Once things get going, the entire film crumbles and is all over the place and it just couldn’t hold my attention anymore. I fell asleep and missed the big twist, but of course, there are a few things I could gather from context and from seeing the results of the twist. And what I conferred didn’t leave me very impressed either.
I do appreciate that Matti tried to connect to feminist themes with the film and even included a trans angle, but really, it doesn’t feel very well thought through. It seems mostly boil down to “haHA I bet you didn’t see that one coming!” That’s not how you tell a meaningful story. Of course, it is possible that I’m judging too harshly and that I missed some essential moments of depth during my nap, but somehow I doubt it.
Ultimately, Kuwaresma is a bit of a disappointment, although Matti proves in the first part of the film how well he could make a horror film. It’s a pity that the rest of the film couldn’t keep the promise of its beginning.
Summarizing: a letdown after a strong beginning.