MMFF 2015: ‘Haunted Mansion’ Movie Review

DESPITE SOME WEAK points, Haunted Mansion is a breath of fresh air to Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) as it takes the audience to various shocking surprises in the course of around two hours.

It can be faulted for the slow establishment of its foundation at the beginning but the film easily managed to engage the audience as it starts to scare, and give worth to what we pay for.

Aside from the fact that there’s a hollywood movie of the same title released in 2003, the plot is nothing new here as well. The film is about a group of high school students who spend the night in an old mansion for a retreat. Upon learning that it is haunted, they set to look out for ghosts just for fun, but they find out soon enough that the urban legends are real.

With the weak story line comes the aid of one of the Philippines’ finest directors, Jun Lana, who managed to save the film from the fate of other Regal Films-produced MMFF entries in the past, particularly the ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll‘ series.

But some of the lead actors’ weak performances can’t be saved. Marlo Mortel, who plays the role of a love triangle between the characters of lead stars Janella Salvador, and suitor Jerome Ponce, failed to act convincingly. Most of the time, Mortel is emotionless, if not losing the connection of his character. Ponce on the other hand is saved by his pretty face but not in most scenes as his performance is as well, weak. From among the lead, it is Salvador who gave justice to her role as Ella, and provided us with a lot of fantastic scenes with great acting. Some of the film’s highlights also highlighted the acting prowess of this rising star. It is also important to note the good performance of Sharlene San Pedro who plays the role of Janella’s bestfriend, and that of Ingrid dela Paz, Ella’s nemesis.

Veteran actors Janice De Belen, Dominic Ochoa, Sue Prado, Vangie Labalan, and Archie Adamos are the film’s saving grace. True to their roles, they kept the kids’ scenes intact as the audience are being ushered to the best scenes toward the end.

Janella Salvador and Lj Reyes in Haunted Mansion
Janella Salvador and Lj Reyes in Haunted Mansion

Iza Calzado, Lj Reyes, and Joem Bascon‘s roles are of great importance not just in the story but in the whole movie experience in general. It is their acting and scenes that are superb, aside from the fact that their scenes are the most beautiful frames the film provides. From its color and composition to cinematography, make-up, and effects, they are the highlights of Haunted Mansion.

The surprises are well-presented, and offered in a way that the moviegoers will both appreciate and think about as they go out of the theater. The ending is fantastic. Definitely a must-watch!

Verdict: Recommended
Rating: 7/10

Watch Haunted Mansion trailer here.

[READ: 8 Metro Manila Film Festival Competing Films: Trailers, Producers, Actors]

NOTE: We aim to watch all the entries in this year’s MMFF, and write here our reviews. Our opinion is our own. Should you find ours not matching yours, feel free to write a comment below. Just no below the belt bashing.

MMFF 2015 Haunted Mansion Review
LJ Reyes plays a good role in MMFF 2015 horror film entry, Haunted Mansion.
Haunted Mansion with Joem Bascon
A scene in Haunted Mansion
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