By NEIL RAMOS
It’s that time of the year once again.
Talking about the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), which happens every Christmas.
Just like MMFF’s of yore, a horror film has made it to this year’s line up: “Huwag Kang Lalabas.”
If the title seems familiar, it is because it’s derived from Kim Chiu’s viral statement in support of her home network ABS-CBN, this, after Congress denied request to renew its franchise.
From being a viral meme, song, and TV series, it is now a film.
Not bad for a confusing, if altogether hilarious off-the-cuff speech.
No, the film is not about the horrors that emerged in the wake of ABS-CBN losing its franchise.
Far from it.
Obra Cinema knitted three stories encompassing various eras in the country’s history to create the film.
“Kumbento” is about nuns dealing with the horrors of the Japanese occupation; “Bahay” is about a far-flung community held captive by a serial killer on the loose circa the Martial Law era; “Hotel” allows a peek into the lives of four OFW’s trapped in a decrepit hotel amid the ongoing pandemic.
Familiar names headline the film.
Beauty Gonzalez is the curious nun in “Kumbento.” She will eventually discover the hidden secret given to the place.
Aiko Melendez plays caring mom to Joaquin Domagoso’s wayward teen in “Bahay.”
Kim herself banners “Hotel” as an OFW haunted by a creepy Japanese dude.
The stories are tied together by the Japanese wind chime, Furin.
Don’t ask us why.
There’s more to it probably, but we’d rather not speculate.
In any case, “Huwag Kang Lalabas” allows for a good number of suspenseful moments culminating more often than not in the requisite jump scare.
Film director Adolf Alix Jr. is more than happy with the film.
“Viewers should be ready for the twists in every story,” he was quoted as saying in a release.
He is proud of the performances of his stars, particularly Beauty, Aiko and Kim.
He said: “You’ll see a new Beauty Gonzalez in the film. It’s good to see Aiko back in a genre she excels in. Kim also excels in horror. Her episode is something to watch out for.”
“Huwag Kang Lalabas” opens in cinemas Dec. 25.