Wayward spirits
Dennis Trillo and Alyssa Muhlach as a picture of a happy family in the movie

Wayward spirits

Pablo A. Tariman (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2019 - 12:00am

Film review: Hellcome Home

MANILA, Philippines – When you have watched more than a thousand horror movies, it is so hard to get scared and indeed to react spontaneously.

By this time, one knows the tricks of the trade, especially making moments scary with instant horrific images or eerie sounds that jolt the moviegoers.

Through the years, you yearn for horror output that is way above the ordinary and sending message beyond scaring the wits out of you.

True, it takes a lot of imagination to do this.

Sometimes you doubt the film instinct of young filmmakers but in such output as Eerie by Mikhail Red, you know there was a good amount of effort to make the movie more than just your ordinary horror film. It truly scares, the performances more than impress and it sends message of what it was living in a repressed surrounding. The horror is in the story and how it was told.

In Hellcome Home, a hardworking breadwinner (Dennis Trillo) looks forward to living in an old house by the countryside. By the looks of it, the location is idyllic and the good husband looks forward to peaceful living with gracious wife (Alyssa Muhlach) and children.

Meanwhile, Dennis has a hard time coping with her mother-in-law who feels the bad vibes of the old house. Talk of horrors of a son-in-law.

They settle peacefully until some strange things start to happen. Images of wayward spirits make their presence felt and the pictures of the old occupants hanging by wall seem to tell them something.

Recurring vexations from the mother-in-law compounded by strange sounds and images of restless spirits result in what amounts to a bad hair day for the man of the house.

Worse, spirits of young occupants start to bother the kids.

Film goes to another stage when they reveal life of old occupants with husband-and-wife team of Raymond Bagatsing and Beauty Gonzalez.

It is a strange family from what we see. There is no trace of mental stability in the patriarch (Raymond) and the seemingly caring wife (Beauty) is herself possessed by restless spirits. She coos to her kids until she starts sounding like evil incarnate.

Meanwhile, a son (TJ Marquez) is inclined to see good-looking schoolmates (like Kokoy de Santos, who is fair game to his carnal bidding).

Between previous and present occupants of the old house, there is a hideous face of the past epitomized by an ogre-looking Teroy de Guzman, who seems to know more about the secret of the house. 

After more than an hour of watching restless spirits haunt the present and past occupants, you begin to wonder what brand of horror the young filmmaker (Bobby Bonifacio Jr.) is trying to peddle.

But to be fair, some performances do impress like the beleaguered character of Dennis and the mysterious mien of Raymond. Beauty and Alyssa are the epitome of good wives and mothers. But they were not meant to lead happy and normal lives — in that house.

As the film winds up, the character of Teroy begins to look like a lost rebel from Les Miz and one begins to wonder what to make of the “sacrificial” occupants of the haunted house.

True, in trying to yearn for a peaceful life in a newly-acquired property, the house turned out to be the opposite of home.

Talk of horror on earth.

But if your idea of All Souls’ Day is reliving life of wayward spirits, go and watch Hellcome Home.

It could be that this film is for millennial horror fans.

Could this be the reason the horror menu eluded the horror appetite of this sexagenarian?

Go and find out yourself.

One man’s opinion is nothing compared to the moviegoers’ over-all verdict.

Hellcome Home opens today in cinemas.

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