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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 17, 2017

Director Ian Lorenos Thankful That Regal Gave Him Freedom To Do The Kind Of Horror Flick He Wants To Achieve In The Metro Filmfest Entry, 'Haunted Forest'

DIRECTOR IAN LORENOS had an entry in the Metro Manila Filmfest last year, the family drama “Mano Po VII: Chinoy”, but it didn’t make it to the list of 8 finalists. He is much luckier this time with the horror flick, “Haunted Forest”, which a lot of people are predicting will hit it big at the box office as it’s the only horror entry this year. Is this his first horror film? “No, I did a horror film for Cinemalaya, ‘The Leaving’, in 2010 about ghosts in a haunted building, for which LJ Reyes won a best supporting actress award,” he says. “Pero ibang-iba itong ‘Haunted Forest’ in terms of scope and production vales. Mother Lily and Roselle Monteverde of Regal gave me freedom and didn’t leave any stone unturned to make sure this will succeed in scaring the audience. I think we achieved naman our purpose of presenting visual horror without resorting to cheap jump scares. We offer something that will last in the memory of the viewers even after they’ve watched the movie.”

He says the movie is not only about frightening the audience but also about giving them an involving story. “It’s about family relationships din. Raymart Santiago plays a cop who’s assigned to the province at sinama niya roon ang anak niyang si Jane Oineza as Nica. They have a big gap as father and daughter and this worsens when a mysterious and unexplainable force takes over Nica when she goes to the forest, which she doesn’t know is haunted by a monstrous elemental creature called Sitsit. I got the idea from a mythical island in Samar na during the day, it’s all forest, gubat lang talaga. But at night, it looks so well lighted up like a big city. I enjoyed shooting the movie in Mt. Makiling and in a farm in Tanay, Rizal.”

What can he say about his cast? “Aside from Raymart, we have Joey Marquez as the town’s chief of police and they’re both veterans who know what they’re doing and make my work easier. Aside from Jane, the other young stars are Maris Racal, Jameson Blake and Jon Lucas. They’re like typical young people na magulo, naglalaro sa set, but when it’s time to act for the camera, they can all easily turn serious and you can see they have a passion for their craft as actors. They all deliver well and we’re confident that viewers will enjoy having a good scare with ‘Haunted Forest’.”