<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Dec 28, 2011

Segunda Mano - Movie Review

WARNING: This review has spoilers so if you intend to watch the movie, just read it after watching it.

VIEWERS love getting a good scare and this explains why horror flicks are a staple all throughout the year. We were glad when we learned “Segund Mano” got an A rating from the Cinema Evaluation Board. It should be as effective as our favorite local scary film, “Feng Shui”. But our initial reaction after watching “Segunda Mano” is: how did this get an A? We don’t really mind that its two main plotlines were copied from two Michelle Pfeiffer movies.

The story about a mom pining for a lost child is from “The Deep End of the Ocean” (1999) that was just used by Star Cinema in “Way Back Home”. The story about a woman who didn’t know she married a husband from hell is from “What Lies Beneath” (2000), a far more superior supernatural thriller with Harrison Ford as the murderous husband keeping a secret from wife Michelle who’s haunted by his dead girlfriend, Amber Valetta. Its basic plot was already used by Kris Aquino in her Metro filmfest entry last year, “Dalaw”, with Diether Ocampo as her second husband (she’s a real “segunda mano” in that flick) who turns out to have killed Karylle who later on haunts them.

This time, she’s not a second hand wife but a plain old maid who finds romance in the obviously much younger Dingdong Dantes whose first wife, Angelica Panganiban, is mysteriously missing and soon starts haunting Kris. It won’t take very long for you to realize what really happened to Angelica. And Kris is so dumb not to have suspected anything after Dingdong started acting like a real psycho to her in their scene in the swimming pool. Even the most moronic viewer can easily predict what’s happening after this scene.

The ending of “What Lies Beneath” where the ghost of Amber holds down Harrison Ford underwater to drown him is copied entirely by “Segunda Mano”, but Kris’ movie adds a final epilogue sequence showing a disfigured Dingdong giving one final scare, which is such an embarrassingly cheap way of concluding the whole stupid proceedings. We’re afraid this is not a horrifying movie but just a horrible one.

Even the idea of a second hand item being haunted is also not new, as this has already been used by Director Joey Reyes in “Matakot Ka sa Karma” where all the items in the stories in this trilogy all turn out to be haunted. Here, Kris starts seeing the apparition of Angelica Panganiban after acquiring her bag and dress. She thinks Angelica’s mad at her for falling for Dingdong but it turns out she only wants to warn her about him. Obviously, ghosts are so idiotic that’s why they can’t use a simpler way of transmitting their message of caution. They go about a circuitous way and still can’t be understood. In one scene, Kris even consults a medium (Mosang) to communicate with the restless spirit. Angelica’s ghost becomes so aggressive and even holds hand with her, but she still wasn’t able to convey her message to Kris successfully, not even to the medium. Maybe ghosts are not really that articulate? But the biggest dumbfounding plot twist is the revelation that Angelica is actually Kris’ younger sister who went missing during a beach outing 20 years ago.

In fairness to Kris, she gives a more fairly controlled performance in this movie compared to “Dalaw”. There’s no scene where she’s required to scream like a Banshee. This works well especially when she’s in the company of Bangs Garcia as her best friend. Bangs is just too over the top in her atrociously hysterical portrayal of the supposedly a free-spirited “kikay” girl. You’d wish whoever the killer is should have killed her first. We also can’t understand how they can be the best of friends since they don’t belong to the same age bracket and they’re poles apart in so many other things. Another thing we can’t comprehend is how a “sosi” girl who derides her best friend for looking dowdy can have a simple security guard in a mall (Jhong Hilario) as her boyfriend (turns out he’s just collateral damage in the movie.)

Angelica is underutilized as the ghost. This role could have been assigned to a lesser actress since it’d be an injustice for someone with Angelica’s stature as a high profile ABS-CBN property to play it. Maybe it’s her punishment for being so funny in making fun of Kris in “Banana Split”?

As for Dingdong, he’s quite good in romantic dramas like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Endless Love”, but he’s still not that well equipped and it’s not within his range to deliver a role as complex as the psychologically damaged construction executive with a deep dark secret in this movie. Kris was apparently just trying to flatter him when she said this is his movie and he should win best actor for his performance here because, the truth is, this is still Kris’ movie. This is Joyce Bernal’s first horror flick and she should not have chosen an overly contrived script that, aside from two “boo!” moments involving a cat, is not really that capable of scaring us much by way of jolting surprise or white knuckle tension even in a potentially diabolical dream sequence.

But who cares? The movie is making lots of money and that's the only thing that counts.