Film review: Basement A horror movie for Valentine’s Day
Mario E. Bautista (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Director Topel Lee has finally finished Basement, the horror-suspense thriller he has helmed for Springboard Films and Coffee House Productions, a partnership between GMA Films’ Joey Abacan and Dondon Monteverde of Reality Entertainment.

“This is one year in the making because of the CG (computer graphics) requirements,” he says. “There’s a supernatural creature kasi in the story and the special effects took time to perfect. We wanted to make sure it would all look seamless on screen. Another problem is that we have such a big cast of GMA stars and most of them are taping for their regular soaps, so it’s difficult to schedule all of them together in key scenes for the shooting.”  

The story is set inside the basement parking of a mall at the height of a typhoon when streets get flooded. People were stranded inside the parking area and they start to die one by one because of the presence of a malevolent creature that preys on them.

“Our concept is to set the story inside a place that can really be scary,” says Topel. “Di ba deserted parking areas can be very eerie, especially when you’re walking back to your car and there’s no one else around? In the movie, several people become the victims of this mysterious entity. First is Enzo Pineda and his girlfriend, Sarah Lahbati, who has finished all her scenes before she had a falling out with GMA. Then there’s the barkada nina Louise de los Reyes, Kristoffer Martin, Teejay Marquez and RJ Padilla. They’re members of a band who also get stranded in the basement parking. Then there’s a crippled grandmother, played by Pilita Corrales, who’s with her gay nurse, Jan Manual. Tapos may pregnant woman who has just been abandoned by her husband, Chynna Ortaleza, with her two kids. And there’s Kevin Santos, a truck driver, and his assistant, Betong Sumaya. There are two security guards, Aljur Abrenica in a special participation and Dion Ignacio. Also in the cast are Alvin Aragon, Dex Quindoza and Mona Louise Rey. They will all be terrorized by the creature.”

Topel is best known for his horror movies. He has done segments for no less than four Shake Rattle & Roll flicks. Other scary movies he has done are Dilim, Ouija, Sundo, White House, Tumbok and Amorosa. Does he think having a horror thriller shown on a Valentine’s season would be effective?

“In my case, I don’t really watch love stories during the Valentine season. And I think ganun din yung ibang mga lalaki, kasi kapag love story, masisira lang ang diskarte nila sa chick na ka-date nila. When it’s a horror movie, pwedeng matakot yung babae at yayakap pa sa lalaki.”

Kristoffer agrees with direk Topel. “Corny na yung romantic movies lalo na’t romantic na nga kayo. For a change, mas magandang manood ng alternative entertainment fare, like Basement which you can watch while clinging to each other.”

How did he like his role in Basement? “All I can say is that kakaiba ang twist sa ending ng pelikulang ito, it’s a very big surprise. When the storm is finally over, the police come to investigate the crimes that happened in the basement. Mangingilabot kayo in the final scene for Mona Louise who plays Chynna’s daughter.”

Chynna, on the other hand, says viewers will be able to relate and sympathize with her character in Basement. “My childbirth scene is really demanding and we used an actual baby to make it all look real,” she says.

Basement opens today in theaters nationwide.

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