Kuwaresma got to be the most terrible and lousiest movie I've seen lately.
To me it's like the dish 'chopsuey', poorly cooked and with the wrong ingredients...
My basis, if the movie is bad, is that I kept looking at my watch. Yes, inside the theater I kept looking at my watch. Why? Because it soooo boring. There are scenes that try to be scary but My Ghad--I've seen those scenes like a million times that they are like cliches already. It destroys the scare because you're already very familiar with them. That's when it becomes boring. There are some scenes (I can count with my left hand fingers) that are indeed spooky but the rest are just too lame.
Too lame because the story is just plain bad. The screenplay is the worst. It just reminds me of why Pinoy Movies are in dire situation for decades because of poor stories or lousy storytelling. There are few good local directors here but good screenwriters seems to be very limited. You can appreciate good stories in rom-coms or drama movies but for horror it's like drought or non-existent even.
Let me tell why it's bad: because Luis, the protagonist, has no clear and compelling objective. Information of why his twin sister's death is withdrawn. The screenplay tries to hide this information purposely so it won't preempt the ending. This is okay if presented in such a way that the protagonist must find a way to get that information somewhere. However, it is a poor taste if that information can be easily achieved by asking your own parents on why his sister died and yet they just dodge that question. The writer purposely withholds the information and just later reveal it in the third act--which to me is a bad taste. That actually could work with an effort by the protagonist but when that protagonist is just a passive character, who is just exposed to those not so scary scenes with his/her dead sister, then it becomes a lousy storytelling. He doesn't actively make an effort to get the information he wanted because the filmmakers put him in many scenes that don't move the story forward.
The characters are poorly conceived. Yes, they suck. Something happens to someone and that character doesn't even bother to tell it to the other character. For example, something 'scary' happens to Luis in his room but he doesn't tell that to his mother (and vice versa). WTF?!
Oh what else...? The demons looked very CGI--not scary enough that they looked like characters in a computer game. CGI fire in the end looked terrible.
The ending is terribly bad. Salve could have been a better written character but the filmmakers missed that opportunity. This got to be the worst third act I've seen in a movie. Salve, along with Luis and mother Rebecca, try to exorcise Arturo (Luis' father) from demonic possession. Everything is bad in this climactic scene because of the poor screenplay and lousy direction. This is also were the film's editor failed. The scene is too looooooonggg, too dragging. The characters don't have any idea what they are doing there. Salve just arrived at the house with the lousy intention of exorcising Arturo. It's an impromptu exorcism without any prior story setup. The funniest thing is that Rebecca suddenly grabs the exorcism book(?) and begins reading it it aloud in behalf of Salve who is getting attacked by Arturo's demon.
If there is something commendable in this movie it got to be John Arcilla's acting. Sharon Cuneta for me is a miscast (she made the third act like a drama). Kent Gonzales is... well... the filmmakers should have looked for a better actor.
When I came out of the cinema, my hair is in a mess. I was so bored and annoyed that I unknowingly pulled my hair is disgust. I wouldn't recommend this film to anybody. Just wait for this in Netflix if you're curious. Save you money for a better movie. I heard that "Between Maybes" is good (or watch John Wick instead) if you don't like romantic films.
To Erik Matti: Please, please, stop making movies. Just produce instead. For the screenwriter: Laos. Read more books/watch good films and learn better storytelling.
Update 5-20-2019 4:16pm
I'm updating this movie comment today. I forgot to mention other things.
Guila Alvarez in this film is quite good. She looked familiar; a younger version/or s sister of Chanda Romero. I would love to see her in more movies (like Charo Santos). This is the first movie I've seen Guila and she is quite refreshing to see. Too bad her character is poorly written in the screenplay.
Sharon Cuneta doesn't fit her Rebecca character. We know Ate Shawi plays strong characters in her movies but for Kuwaresma, I think she is an over-qualified choice. She can swallow John Arcilla's screen presence and I know from the start that she will overcome him eventually in the end. I'm thinking Cherry Pie Picache or Gina Alejar (made younger). Cherry Pie fits that role although Sharon has more 'star power' that can attract fans.
For Kent Gonzales, I think it's the director's and the writer's fault. His character was poorly written in a way which is boring. It could have been better if Luis' was told to act like an effeminate character. I remember Nathan Lopez of 'Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros'-- acting something like that but not giving away the twist in his character in the end. It's not convincing for me that he acted like a real male character. Also, why I think the story is bad because, aside from Luis being a passive character and doesn't make an effort to get the information he needs and he has no clear objective, he seems impervious to the attacks of Manuela. It's like 'normal' to him and keeps it to himself.
Overall, Kuwaresma is like an art-house film to me... or like a theater play adapted into a movie without changing the script's dialogue. Lots of dialogues between characters doesn't seem to make sense to me. Like Arturo asking Rebecca again for his coffee but tells her to sleep first because she's tired--? Another was between Arturo and Luis on the stairs. Arturo tell his son that Manuela is already in hell--then offers Luis a beer? Oh boy...
Finally, in every good story, there has to be something 'At Stake'. If the protagonist fail in his quest the consequences is devastating. In Kuwaresma there is none--Luis survival is not emphasized here. He just wander in the house and gets spooked (as instructed by the story and the director of course).
How can this movie's story be fixed and made better if allowed? Here are some of the things I thought about:
- -Make Luis an active character buy pursuing a clearly defined objective. If his parents won't tell him why his sister died then Salve is a great help to him.
--Rebecca should have died. She killed her daughter and she should pay the consequences.
--Make the story's structure solid. This is very technical in a way for the screenwriter. Katski Flores had done many writing projects I'm not very famliar about. This is the first time I heard of her--maybe because of the hype involved but I find her screenwriting not good. Kuwaresma could have been better if she made the dialogues logical. However if the story came from the Erik Matti then I pity her. Maybe it's not entirely her fault. Screenwriting is difficult. This is the reason why pinoy movies suffer loses in the box office because of poor storytelling. Monsters and demons doesn't add any value to the story to make it scary. I remember the 'The Shining' as I watched Kuwaresma last night-- Kastki should've watched this many times and learn about how to write better characters and scenes.
--There should be something at stake in the story. If Luis doesn't succeed then the consequences could be devastating. This could be the primary reason why this movie is so boring. We kept following Luis and yet we are not invested in his character. He intentionally made himself stay at the house for what? Just to accompany his mother? He kept going places inside the house and achieved nothing. The answer is outside the house. It's better if Arturo locked Luis and his mother there and they need to get out and Salve saves them. Like Wendy and her son Danny in The Shining. They can't go out because of the freezing snow. Yes this could be a bent pinoy version of The Shining set in Baguio in the 80s. Lose the monsters and the demons. A crazy father with an ax is scary enough for me. Like Arturo made those coffins both for Rebecca and Luis and he tries to put them inside those coffins when they are asleep.
I need to stop this, haha! this is already getting long enough for an update.
the movie is for those who is intelligent enough to understand and appreciate such story and twist. outstanding cast. cinematography at its finest!! superb acting!!
If you liked Pasiyam, then this is a must watch..nice soundtrack nakakatayo ng balahibo. only comment is yung after ng torture scene na parang d man lang nanghina yung actor nung nakabalik na sa room eh sa real life baka nga bedridden na yun.
Before anything else, I had watched the R-16 Uncut Version of the film. Set in the early 70’s and late 90’s and in the picturesque city of Baguio, Kuwaresma deserves all the hype that it gets from socmed and with critics highly recommend this horror flick, it would seem unusual for a Filipino horror film to be termed that way but this is an exception and it deserves to be recognized internationally for its mind blowing and puzzling UNEXPECTED plot twists. Yes, twists because it has multiple twists. If you thought that the movie does not offer something
new, better think twice. It might not be suit for a horror movie fan especially those who are interested in jump scares but this is a different form of horror. A horror movie that is realistic in a way because we are held liable for our actions or fictional since it also exaggerated what the human psyche thinks and how it highlighted historical facts and offered something new in the Philippine horror movie industry. The film’s sound effects especially in the latter part felt like that of the recent talk of the town psycho-thriller “Us” by Jordan Peele. 5 minutes since the movie started, I couldn’t help it but to unsee some scenes prolly because it already showed gory scenes and some heart pounding taunting scenes with its simple scares but you should all look forward to that scene of Luis and his patient and the white cloth.. Despite its imperfections and questions left unanswered upon the 2 hour duration of the film, it is forgivable because it offered a quality film. It’s location is really dark, mysterious and has this sort of eeriness primarily because of its color grade and cinematography. I’m still in awe with the way the writer played with the story. Heartfelt yet heart pounding.
Either you will enjoy it nor hate it
Pero dun ako sa nag enjoy, since d best yung effects, scoring, cinematogrphy at picture as in! Mind boggling film
The only good thing about this is that Erik Matti (as always) manages to make local settings look foreign and exotic. The aesthetic is really great and appropriate for a horror movie, but the story is lacking and inconsistent. It just aimed to shock you with one pointless reveal after another. The movie tries too hard to be edgy and sensational but it falls flat.
A must watched Movie....The best Pinoy horror movie at all time...this will be my new standard for Pinoy Horror film...The best acting of Sharon Cuneta and John Arcilla....Don't miss this movie...creeeeeeepy