Thank you HOOQ Hangouts for inviting me to the celebrity premiere of Direk Erik Matti’s SEKLUSYON, the only horror-drama entry for the 42nd Metro Manila Film Festival and this is my no-spoiler #5SecReview about the film.

Being the first and still the only #MMFF2016 entry that I’ve watched as of this moment, I am in no position to compare it with the other 7 full-length films. But  what I can do is recommend this movie as “worth watching” on the big screen!

As with other film projects of Direk Erik Matti, SEKLUSYON is something that is out of the ordinary. Yes, it is a horror movie but it is riddled with a lot of symbolism with most of them having to do with religious conflicts and issues that many would not tackle as a subject for an MMFF entry.

However, you’ll have to go deeper than usual and immerse on the experience of the whole film to understand the messages that the makers of the film wants to convey.

SEKLUSYON is a period horror film set in the 1940’s that follows the story a deacon named MIGUEL (Ronnie Alonte) along with three other deacons (Dominic Roque, John Vid De Guzman and JR Versales) who just started the practice of SEKLUSYON (seclusion), an old ritual done by the Catholic church where aspiring priests are sent in a secluded area on the last seven days of their training to test their wills and shield them also from the evils of the world.

It is said the Devil’s temptation is the greatest during the final days of the deaconate before one is ordained as a Priest. And this is actually the premise of the whole story as well as their uncanny connection with a young girl named ANGELA or NGAELA (Rhed Bustamante) who is said to have the power to heal and her mysterious nun guardian SR. CECILIA (Phoebe Walker).

with Angela and Sr. Cecilia

Another interesting fact you should know is that the word “deacon” or “deaconess” was only mentioned once in the bible at St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 16:1-2 and refers to a woman named PHOEBE who is a deacon in the church Cenchreae. Phoebe as in Phoebe Walker, and you’ll find out in the movie how Phoebe (as Sr. Cecilia) has performed the duties of a real deacon.

Anyway, SEKLUSYON as a horror movie did not really beat Direk Erik Matti’s 2004 film “PA-SIYAM” in the scare factor but it is one of the most original horror concept that I’ve seen in years.

I am a big fan of horror movies – both local and foreign. I still believe that William Friedkin’s THE EXORCIST is the best one there is in the whole world and PA-SIYAM is one of the local horror movie that scared the hell out of me.

As for SEKLUSYON, I only wished for more build-up on the characters of Angela, Sr. Cecilia and Miguel (that would have made this film really phenomenal). I also wished that the revelation of the real identity of ANGELA could have been made much later in the film (as in the last 5 or 10 minutes) since I have already become so attached with the character of Sr. Cecilia as the “you know who” in the story – that could’ve been very scary. The manner of revelation could have been more climactic as well.

However, the over-all production value of the film – from the musical score and cinematography – makes it one of the most thought-off local horror film since “Pa-Siyam” and Yam Laranas’ “The Road”.

The Cast of Seklusyon during the Celebrity Premiere

Neil Ryan Sese as a rebel priest is so awesome to watch! He’s like the Indiana Jones of the Catholic Church in this movie.

The film also stars Lou Veloso, Elora Espano, Jerry O’Hara and Teroy Guzman.

I will give the best actress award to Rhed Bustamante! I have to watch the other entries first but compared to the other actors in the film, she was really outstanding.

Yes, there were some flaws in the film, but compared to the other local horror flicks that I’ve watched – this one is something worth having as part of anyone’s movie library.

The Celebrity Premiere was held last Thursday at the SM Megamall with the pre-screening Presscon held at Sarsa Restaurant just across the Cinema area. We met the stars of the film along with other celebrity supporters like Vice Ganda and many others.

Here are the highlight’s of last Thursday’s premiere:

The SEKLUSYON Premiere event was brought by HOOQ, the leading video on demand service in the Philippines and the sole presenter of the 42nd Metro Manila Film Festival.

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SEKLUSYON | Horror with Lots of Socio-Religious Undertones #5SecReview
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2 thoughts on “SEKLUSYON | Horror with Lots of Socio-Religious Undertones #5SecReview

  • December 29, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Actually there are many references to deacons in the Bible. Not just one.

    Deacons were helpers to the apostles and the bishops. Their job was to assist in the distribution of food to the widows and orphans.

    • December 30, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      Hi Sheryl, thanks for reading and for the link. Yes, it’s true that there are a lot of references to deacons in the bible however, the word “deacon” was only mentioned once and that is in the book of Romans 16:1-2. 🙂


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