From left: McCoy de Leon, Jane Oineza and JC Santos in a scene from the series: Suspenseful, if not, revealing psycho-thriller.
In the realm of the wayward mind
Pablo A. Tariman (The Philippine Star) - February 19, 2019 - 12:00am

Film review: Project Feb. 14

MANILA, Philippines — Jason Paul Laxamana’s new project for Dreamscape Digital offers an interesting look into various state of the mind.

Aptly called Project Feb. 14 which refers to a reckless game plan of young people unable to cope with family problems, the series traces the possible roots of mental imbalance and how they resulted into a hapless lifestyle too worrisome to contemplate.

They result in characters unable to confront the roots of their inner restlessness and resorting to experiments in the hope they would offer an easy way out of their individual predicaments.

Direk Jason made a highly-charged psycho-thriller out of various signs of mental disorders. As the series winds up to its highly-suspenseful conclusion, you see how the problems came about as you see parents paying attention to one child at the expense of the other and how parents often overlook childhood traumas brought about by helpers supposed to take care of their young wards.

(This reminds me of a friend whose young son was seduced by the household help and has no choice but to accept the grandchild with unlikely “daughter-in-law.”) At best, doing Project 14 is a difficult task for a filmmaker who has to write a script that will incorporate private mental woes into a coherent story and then hire actors who can go beyond their wholesome image to portray characters that have evolved from innocence to the wayward state of the mind.

The series had such pulse-stopping suspense the viewers are likely to be numbed and by turns enlightened how such mental cases came about.

The six-part series is about Brix (McCoy de Leon) and Annie (Jane Oineza) planning something daring on Valentine’s Day. As if the plan was not scary enough, they also agree to have it documented through an ambitious filmmaker (JC Santos) who needed a good project for media recognition that eluded him.

As the precarious day of the Feb. 14 game plan nears, the film goes into well-designed flashbacks into the backgrounders of the characters and their family lives.

To be sure, the series is high cinematic achievement as it succeeds in getting the viewers undivided attention to the very end.

After the screening, one told the cast and director of Project 14 that filmmaking goes far and wide when the writer-director is given the freedom to explore his imagination without restricting guidelines all over his head.

For one, the actors reached the peak of their acting capabilities and succeeded in portraying the characters living the life of the unspeakable.

One associates McCoy for teenybopper roles but as Brix in Project Feb. 14, he has wrapped up a role that will leave everyone convinced he is a highly-promising actor of consequence.

One has not heard early enough of Jane in the film circuit but as the wayward Annie in the well-made series, she proved equal to her equally brilliant co-stars.

JC is the ultimate actor in the series. He peeled off every layer of the character with fine, if, grisly, details and at the same time projecting a personality that seemed normal to the common eye.

It was an eye-opener that Dr. Randy Dellosa was in the post-screening open forum. He was able to pinpoint various personality disorders among the characters in the series. That was enough to confirm that these mental problems do exist and that something must be done about it.

Other films come to mind after the screening.

Remember One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, A Beautiful Mind and Polanski’s The Tenant?

At the outset, one would say this is the best one has seen of direk Jason’s works since his award-winning CineMalaya film, Babagwa.

The series is now streaming on ABS-CBN’s iWant.

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