Dementia is an awesome mixture of drama and horror! For a directorial debut, TV5 executive producer/writer Direk Percival ‘Perci’ Intalan has really made an impressive first-time attempt that brought both chills and other spine-tingling sensations to majority of the people who have watched it during the special screening held last Wednesday (September 10) at the Greenhills Theater Mall Cinema.
Dementia, produced by October Train Films and The IdeaFirst Company Inc., is based on a story by Direk Jun Robles Lana and written for film by Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature awardee Renei Dimla. It will be shown nationwide starting September 24, 2014 under Regal Films.
The movie is about a woman named Mara Fabre (played by Nora Aunor) who is diagnosed with Dementia, a chronic disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or an injury, marked by memory loss, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. With the hope of helping Mara to improve her memory and over-all condition, devoted relative Elaine (played by Bing Loyzaga) together with her husband Rommel (Yul Servo) and daughter Rachel (Jasmine Curtis-Smith) brought Mara to the province of Batanes, where she grew up.
But as the movie’s tagline suggests ‘Hindi lahat ng alaala gusto mong magbalik’ (not all memories are worth recalling)!
The film did not touch so much on the illness, but it does provide a creative approach in letting audiences feel a first-person experience on what it is to have such an illness by muting sequences during episodes of momentary loss experienced by Mara (Nora). I think that it was a very intelligent use of sound technique that contributes to setting-up an eerie feel.
The movie is set on a landscape that is beautiful and at the same time secluded and melancholic.
Cinematography and editing was awesome. They didn’t skimp on camera usage – it was a serious, scary, thrill-ride from the beginning. The shots were a bit too dark, but during the interview, Direk Perci explained that he did want it to look that way. He wanted it darker (more black than gray, green or blue) to make it appear more natural.
They used old-school make-up, prosthetics and special effects rather than CGIs. A classic horror movie that build-up from suspense and scary musical scoring. Although it is of different theme, I think I can compare it to the 2004 Erik Matti horror movie “Pa-Siyam”, which is one of the few Pinoy-made horror films that didn’t turn out to be a ‘comedy.’ I love that film and Dementia would be right up on that alley.
Chynna Ortaleza (Olivia) who wears the most gore in the movie will definitely change the way ladies look at a wedding dress. Nora Aunor (Mara) did not talk much in the movie but her acting will remind viewers why she’s the SUPERSTAR! Also in the film are Althea Vega, Jeric Gonzales, Lou Veloso and Lui Manansala. All of them were exceptional. I just thought that Jeric Gonzales’ character in the movie as local boy ‘Vincent’ is interesting enough and should have been given more part in the story than just mysteriously appearing right on time during the last few minutes of the story to cradle a bewildered Jasmine Curtis-Smith and then disappear again in the last part.
The only thing I found a bit lacking in the film is a continuous build-up of suspense and horror – the kind that buries you to your seat for about 10 to 15 minutes of the whole film, enough to give you a heart attack or a stroke (whichever comes first). I know that it’s a lot to ask for a first-time director but I think Direk Perci has the creative juice to make that happen in future projects.
I am a big fan of horror films and I have seen a lot – majority just disgust you with a lot of violence and gore without really working on a real story but there are some that really delivers. I still believe that William Friedkin’s 1973 film adaptation of Sir William Peter Blatty’s ‘The Exorcist’ is the best horror film ever. Newer films ‘Sinister’ (Scott Derrickson) and ‘The Conjuring’ (James Wan) would also be included in my top horror films list.
Over-all the film is something that movie-goers and local horror film lovers should not miss! It’s an awesome display of creativity and spooks on top of a very emotional family story that will leave you breathless. Actually, there is another medical condition shown in the film and I think that takes centerstage more than dementia itself – you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see the film on September 24!
Here is Direk Perci inviting everyone to watch dementia:
Check out also RainCHECK’s video Interview with dementia Director Perci Intalan:
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