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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Dec 24, 2015

Buy Now Die Later' Is Based On A Clever Concept About The Devil Exploiting People Through Our Five Senses

‘BUY NOW DIE LATER’ is based on a fairly clever idea: what if our five senses are exploited by the devil for his own evil purposes? The movie is divided into five stories anchored on our senses: “Masid” for seeing, “Sarap” for tasting, “Dinig” for hearing, “Halimuyak” for smelling and “Kanti” for touching.

“Masid” is the story of Odie (Vhong Navarro), a photo journalist; “Sarap” is about Ato (Rayver Cruz), a restaurant owner; “Dinig” is about Chloe (Alex Gonzaga), a would be singer; “Halimuyak” is about Pippa (John Lapus), a gay who wants to attract more men; and “Kanti” is about Maita (Lotlot de Leon), who wants to recapture her youth. All of them get what they want through the mysterious antique shop owner, Santi (TJ Trinidad), but they do not know that they have a price to pay for everything, as Santi is actually more trouble than he is worth.

The movie is meant to be a horror-comedy, which is a hard thing to achieve. The concept is original and has a lot of promise, but it’s quite elaborate and we really wish it’s better realized on the big screen. Young director Randolph Longjas was quite successful in eliciting laughs in his full length film debut, “Ang Turkey Man ay Pabo Rin”.

But it’s really quite difficult to do the kind of movie that “Buy Now” is, what with so many characters and with so many things happening to everyone. Alas, Longjas is no Tim Burton (who can pull off this kind of material convincingly) and his script is not that polished and tight enough. What happens is that the movie becomes a hit and miss in the execution of so many scenes that seem to run longer than necessary. As such, expect a lot of “laylay” factor in the storytelling, which can be remedied by a good editor who’d know which scenes to trim to make the pacing a bit faster.

In all fairness to the actors, they try they best to be persuasive in their respective roles, especially Vhong, Rayver and Lotlot. Alex and John may be appealing to some viewers, but others may find their portrayals quite off putting. Janine Gutierrez makes quite an impression in her first movie role.

But the one who really makes the most of his role is TJ Trinidad, channeling in Robert de Niro’s interpretation of the same kind of role in Alan Parker’s dark and atmosphere-laden 1987 thriller, “Angel Heart”, including the long finger nails. There’s a series of scenes in that movie that are also repeated in “Buy Now”, involving Mickey Rourke in a series of murders which Vhong replicates. The movie also deserves to be commended for its production design. The antique shop, for instance, is a gem. The cinematography and music also help make on screen proceedings a bit more tolerable.