‘Haunted Forest’: A different type of horror film

Precious del Valle
The cast, including the director Ian Loreños share what to expect in the only horror film in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival

HORROR FILM. The cast of 'Haunted Forest' with director Ian Lorenos and producers Mother Lily Monteverde and Roselle Monteverde. All photos from Rob Reyes/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Haunted Forest is the only horror movie in this year’s MMFF line-up. Lead stars Jane Oineza, Jameson Blake, Maris Racal, and Jon Lucas are confident that Regal Entertainment’s newest offering will not only be a box-office success but also snag a spot in the top 3.

“It’s really an achievement for us na makapasok ‘yung film sa MMFF and speaking of ‘yung mga kalaban namin, I’m confident na we’ll reach the top 3. Kasi you see every MMFF there’s always a horror movie that’s a hit,” Jameson said during the press conference for Haunted Forest on December 6.

(It’s really an achievement for us to be part of the MMFF and speaking of our competitors, I’m confident we will reach the top 3. Because you see, every MMFF, there’s a horror movie that’s a hit.)

HONOR. Jameson Blake says it's an honor for 'Haunted Forest' to be part of the MMFF.

Kami lang po ‘yung horror so siguro ‘yun na rin ‘yung niche namin….So I’m sure na maraming adventurous na mga tao so papanoorin nila ‘yun,” Maris added.

 (We’re the only horror movie so I guess that’s our niche…So I’m sure many adventurous people will watch it.)

Haunted Forest tells the story of Nica (Jane Oineza), a teenager forced to leave her life behind when her estranged policeman father Aris (Raymart Santiago) got reassigned to the province. The once peaceful town is now haunted by “sitsit,” a supernatural being who preys on women, eventually leaving the victim’s lifeless body in the middle of the forest. 

A number of horror movies rely on jump scares that fans of the genre usually end up expecting this lazy, uninspired trick. However, the director  promised that this time around, they would let the story take the spotlight.

We try to blend ‘yung style ko, with ‘yung usual style ng Regal na horror. We try to put more organic horror stuff sa pelikula. Hindi lang puro gulat. Hindi lang puro scare – may aral, may kuwento. Combination ng horror, family story, love story, palaging mixed all-in-one film pero hindi siya magmumukhang mishmash,” he said.

(We try to blend my style with the usual style of Regal’s horror. We try to put more organic horror stuff in the movie. Not just the element of surprise. Not just about scaring, it should have a lesson, a story. It’s a combination of horror, family story, love story, always a mixed all-in-one film but it won’t look like a mishmash.)

ORGANIC. Director Ian Lorenos says he incorporated his style and Regal's horror style in the film, making it more organic, instead of just screaming and surprising people.

Just like the lead stars, Ian is ready to face the competition head-on.

Confident po ako sa Regal sa kanilang ability to market and to make a successful film. Confident naman ako so far na nagawa namin ‘yung pelikula as expected so ‘di po pressured, more of excited,” he said.

 (I’m confident with Regal’s ability to market and to make a successful film. I’m confident so far that with the movie we did as expected so there’s no pressure, but more of excited.)

Echoing Ian’s statement, Jon believed that they had a movie worth seeing. The hashtag member pointed out that at the end of the day, having a good story is far more important than getting big names to headline a movie.

IMPORTANT FACTOR. Jon Lucas says while it's very important to have a big star in a movie, the story is what matters.

Naniniwala po ako na, respeto sa mga bigatin talagang stars kila Vice [Ganda], Vic Sotto, Coco [Martin], kung maganda naman po yung pelikula, tingin ko susuportahan ng tao. Ayun naman po siguro ‘yung paguusapan ng tao. Mahalaga din po ‘yung mga big stars pero ang pinakamahalaga siguro ‘yung story.”

(I believe with due respect to the big stars like Vice, Vic Sotto, Coco, if your movie is good, people will support it. I think that’s what people will talk about. The big stars are also important but I think the story is what matters most.) 

Hangga’t maaari, wala pong kompetensya pero naniniwala po kaming ‘yung pelikulang ginawa namin eh talagang pinaganda po. Mabuti ang director namin and pinaghirapan ng mga cast, staff….Lalaban po kami kahit mga top 3, basta naniniwala kami.

(As much as possible, there’s no competition but we believe the movie we made is really good. We have an excellent director and the staff and crew worked hard….We will fight to get into the top 3, we believe we can do it.)

Haunted Forest is Regal Entertainment Incorporated’s official entry to the MMFF 2017. It premieres nationwide on December 25. – Rappler.com