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REVIEW: Seklusyon

 

 
Overview
 

Directed by: Erik Matti
 
Produced by: Reality Entertainment
 
Written By: Anton C. Santamaria
 
Starring: Ronnie Alonte, Phoebe Walker, Rhed Bustamante, Neil Ryan See, Dominic Roque
 
MTRCB Rating: PG-13
 
Genre: , ,
 
FG RATING
9.0
9/ 10


User Rating
2 total ratings

 

Raves


A unique take on the horror/thriller genre, a strong cast, utmost attention to production and detail.

Rants


It's relatively short, and the four deacons do not offer much in the acting area, but these are just nitpickings.


Moments prior to entering the cinema, I’ve had doubts concerning Seklusyon and its merits. I’ve had an utmost expectation of the project coming up short, granted its newbie cast and the stereotypical nature of RP’s thriller genre. I presumed that it’s just another dark, understated, and religious-themed horror film. Truth be told, I’ve had doubts […]

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Posted December 27, 2016 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

Moments prior to entering the cinema, I’ve had doubts concerning Seklusyon and its merits. I’ve had an utmost expectation of the project coming up short, granted its newbie cast and the stereotypical nature of RP’s thriller genre. I presumed that it’s just another dark, understated, and religious-themed horror film. Truth be told, I’ve had doubts circling my crazy head.

Turns out, I was proven wrong.

Minutes after I went out of the moviehouse, I was filled with a spine-tingling stir in my chest. This isn’t just your regular horror/thriller cup of tea. The film lies somewhere beyond that genre.

Not Your Usual Period Piece

Set in 1947, the movie centers around four deacons, as they undertake seklusyon (seclusion), an old, Catholic ritual which will see them secluded in a hidden and recluse manor to shield themselves from evil. The seven-day ritual will also place their faith and prudence to the test, in a bid to attain the right of priesthood. At the same time, a priest has been ordered to investigate the emergence of a young faith healer. The two paths intertwine in a spiral, which unmasks the real nature of the ritual, as well as a new facade of evil.

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Being a period piece, the movie makes good use of sepia-graded tones, old automobiles, sparse locales, and retrospective wardrobe to serve as visual cues. One can easily be mesmerized by the amount of varying detail the production team placed on the film, fulfilling the vintage feel necessitated by the story.

It is picturesque when the scene calls for it, but the atmosphere is sinister all throughout and the visuals are disturbing at their best — thanks to effective cinematography and musical scoring.

Furthermore, Seklusyon manages to hit direct parallels to our present time, as it questions beliefs, as well as the frailty of morality – which makes it more than just a period work. A mirror, practically, if we are to put it.

Good Vs Evil Ain’t Black Or White

If you are looking for your regular taste of a horror flick, you may want to back off. Seklusyon deviates itself from the stereotypes of local horror films, and defines itself in a manner unseen with all Pinoy projects. Inspired by The Omen and Internal Affairs, it discusses the confict between good and evil in a string of threads which manages to unweave the frail nature of humanity. It is also virtually unhinged in vilifying religious images and notions, all in its bid to tackle the irony of religion, as well as drawing the line between fanaticism and what’s being deemed as morally correct.

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In addition, Anton C. Santamaria’s clever writing manages to humanize the characters, as it deconstructs their individual reasons for joining the clergy. At the same time, the main antagonist is a terrifying persona in her own right, as she easily manipulates the desires of the cast and knots them to her own, demonic whim – which is surprisingly portrayed with bits of charm.

A Promising Cast

Most of my doubts concerning Seklusyon were attributed to its relatively newbie cast (with the exclusion of stalwarts Neil Ryan Sese and Lou Veloso). However, they each contribute evenly to the glimmer of the film, as they shine amicably on their own.

Moreso, much of the praise should go straight to the film’s antagonists: Rhedd Bustamante and Phoebe Walker. They are the heart and core of Seklusyon, serving relevance to their respective roles in the film. Bustamante’s Anghela Sta. Ana is a demonic force to reckon with. Her endearing, yet hypnotic portrayal of the devil succeeds to impress the viewer. On the other hand, Walker seems to have mastered the technique of using body language and subtle nuances to highlight her character. Despite the lack of dialogue, her movements are more than enough to provide cues to her character.

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Meanwhile, Sese’s Father Ricardo is very much a homage to Robert Langdon and Robert Thorn, both of which are characters known for their assertive aim in uncovering the truth. He easily portrays the role with the eloquence of a thespian, making him stand out amongst the four deacons.

A Helmer At His Prime

All of my fears for Seklusyon were thrown out of the window the moment the credits rolled. This isn’t just your typical horror/thriller. It serves as a mirror of humanity’s frail psyche, and how it corresponds to temptations of the flesh against the graying nature of morality. Like an apex predator stalking his prey, Erik Matti succeeds in attacking the norms of religion, as it questions its credo and relates it with the present time. Make no mistake about it: Matti is the consummate filmmaker of our generation, and his predator is out for more.


Yuri Mangahas

 
Yuri is magnanimously juggling between two managerial jobs: A technical manager position for an advertising/copy-writing company, and an associate editorial position for a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Nevertheless, he still finds time taking photos and seeking for geek nirvana.


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