It was in October last year when I first encountered the indie film-making tandem of Director Prime Cruz and writer Jen Chuaunsu. At that time the dynamic duo were on full blast promotion for their QCinema entry “Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B” which stars Ryza Cenon and Martin Del Rosario.
The film was produced by The Idea First Company of Directors Jun Lana and Perci Intalan. It got two awards including Best Director (Prime Cruz) and Best Supporting Actress (Vangie Labalan).
For those who were not able to watch the film last year, Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B will be shown again from August 16 to 22 in around 790 theaters nationwide as it was chosen as one of the 12 feature films in this year’s Pista Ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), a project of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) headed by Ms. Liza Dino-Seguerra.
The story of the film is centered on a young woman named Jewel (Ryza Cenon) who lives in solitude in the city and carries a dark secret about her true identity as a deadly creature of the night. Her sexual urges turns her into an uncontrollable beast that preys on human hearts – liiterally.
The other main character in the movie is Nico (Martin Del Rosario) a heart-broken amateur fighter who will find affinity in Jewel, sharing the same loneliness and misfortunes brought to them by the world.
In the course of the story, Jewel will be torn between loving Nico and saving him from herself.
In a recent pocket presscon for the film, Direk Prime Cruz said that they have tweaked the 2016 film to come up with a more fast-paced version. They have also added a couple of scenes while the CGI and color-grading has also improved tremendously.
Also during presscon, actress Ryza Cenon admitted to having suicidal tendencies and that the film “Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B” in a way, has saved her from total depression and self-harm by opening a lot of doors of opportunities with regards to work, career and relationships.
She is now currently portraying the role of Giorgia in the hit afternoon GMA drama “Ika-6 Na Utos”
Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B also stars Vangie Labalan and Cholo Barreto.
A light spoiler, the film has a conclusion that is suggestive of a sequel. When asked if there’s going to be a part two – Direk Prime Cruz said that it will all depend on the viewing public’s reception of the film.