Amorosa doesn’t even seem to really try to make sense. All it offers audience is an illusion: a collection of elements that one has come to expect from a horror movie. But it refuses to do the work to give those pieces any weight. Solid production masks those deficiencies for a little while, but it isn’t long before the cracks begin to show. Amorosa often looks very good, but it falls apart almost as soon as you start thinking about it.
Years ago, Amorosa (Angel Aquino), her husband, and her two boys Amiel and Rommel (Martin del Rosario and Enrique Gil) got into a car accident. Her husband died in the accident, leaving her alone to take care of her boys. In the present, she decides to move her family to a remote pension house. But once there, she discovers that the house is home to an angry spirit seeking revenge for sins committed years ago. And as she deals with the fear of this spirit popping up everywhere, she struggles to reconnect with Rommel, who hasn’t been the same since the accident.
Amorosa is the kind of horror movie that has its main character standing in a doorway, inches from the safety of the outdoors, and then has her inexplicably running upstairs, trapping herself inside the house with the threat. It is the kind of horror movie that has a vengeful ghost that can seemingly kill anyone at anytime, but only has her pop up when it’s most convenient. Though the ghost supposedly has a purpose, she seems to spend most of her time popping up behind the main character, even though that doesn’t serve her purpose in any way at all.
In concept, the film offers a couple of interesting threads. The relationship between Rommel and Amorosa offers a complex dynamic that could have been mined for all sorts of strange, psychological drama. But in practice, the movie loses itself in the nuts and bolts of the narrative. It falls apart as it pursues silly twists and allows its characters to act irrationally. Strange comedic beats dilute the film’s effect as well. To its credit, the movie manages to look good as it navigates its narrative mire. The ghosts are a little indistinct, but the movie gets a lot out of the scenery. It’s not nearly enough to make up for the overall clunkiness of material, however.
Angel Aquino puts up a fair performance. She’s able to make something out of her character’s instability, but it doesn’t quite pan out in the end. Her character makes too many dubious choices, and the actress doesn’t seem to know exactly how to react. Enrique Gil ably plays the angst of his character, but struggles in the more tender moments. He plays it too large, losing the nuance that he fields when playing up the anger. The supporting cast is given to playing things cartoony, their presence taking the film farther and farther away from reality.
The more you think about Amorosa, the worse it gets. The material just can’t stand up to any scrutiny, the most basic components of the story falling apart at the slightest hint of reason. As a whole, the film just feels like the façade of a horror movie. It presents a compelling face, made up of all the easy touchstones associated with the genre: a remote setting, vengeful ghosts, familial connections, and themes of guilt and redemption. But go any deeper, and there’s just nothing there.