I can’t compare the film to the other QCinema Film Festival Finalists since I haven’t watched the other movies yet, but what I can tell you right now is that ANG MANANANGGAL SA UNIT 23B is worth watching.
The IdeaFirst Company produced film that stars GMA Artist Center talents RYZA CENON as Jewel and MARTIN DEL ROSARIO as Nico is a dark romance monster-type of movie that strangely contains more “kilig” romance than fright.
From the title, you can already deduce that Jewel (Ryza) here is the “Manananggal” – and just like what Nico (Martin) said in the movie, she is probably the most beautiful Manananggal of all.
However, beauty is not her curse in the film but her monstrous hunger for human entrails, particularly heart. Here’s the full trailer:
I loved how direk Prime Cruz and writer Jen Chuaunsu did not push for a backstory or an origin story to explain how Jewel came to be. The focus of the film stayed on the two main characters until the end – or beginning, depending on one’s interpretation.
For me, its a beginning. I believe that this movie is a great pilot for a wonderful TV series or a trilogy, because while it has already provided the audience with a satisfying conclusion to the story, there are still a lot of stones in the story that was left unturned and I can already think of several scenarios to answer those hanging questions.
What will happen to Nico and Jewel? And the most important question of all, who’s going take care of Edward and Dumbledore?
In terms of acting, Martin is as always, spot-on with his character. Ryza is at her finest in this film as well. There were a lot of scenes in the movie that engages the two in heart-to-heart dialogues. My favorite was that beef mami karenderia scene.
It was not as daring or revealing as I have envisioned it to be, but I guess it was for Ryza, who, in this film has accepted to do her first butt-naked love-making and a self-pleasuring scene. The film was pushing for a bit of eroticism which is suggestive of the nature of the creature’s transformation. However, maybe it’s because of the lighting (which is a bit too dark) or the angle of the camera during the sensitive scenes, but the idea of creating an erotic or titillating scene was almost diluted.
The masturbation scene though was saved because the lighting was okay.
But you know, take the erotic part away from this film, it really won’t change the movie at all – you still have a wonderful love story unfolding every moment in the film.
To conclude, and before I SPLIT, let me just say that Jewel (Ryza) is one of the kindest and most lovable Manananggal I’ve ever met. There’s also a 50/50 chance that this movie could get a really cool action-packed sequel.
You can catch ANG MANANANGGAL SA UNIT 23B until October 21 (Friday), here are the screening schedules: