Filipinos are so big on tradition! It comes with the territory of being family-oriented or having close family ties – a trait distinctive with the culture, something that we should be proud of.

This love for tradition is extended not only within family activities but also in other aspects such as in movie-making and viewing. For example, a Metro Manila Film Festival every December will not be complete without a scary movie from Regal Entertainment.

And as far as 2017 is concern, they did not disappoint.

Under the creative team of writer Jeps Gallon and award-winning director Ian Lorenos, Regal Entertainment’s entry “Haunted Forest” was one of the eight films selected for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival.

The list of films this year is described as 80% “Pang Masa” compared to last year’s more braver and indie-driven line up.

Last Wednesday, I was able to meet three of the four lead stars in HAUNTED FOREST – Jane Oineza, Jameson Blake and Jon Lucas together with writer Jeps Gallon.

What’s so interesting about this film is that they are actually introducing a new kind of creature concept, something that we haven’t had for years. They’re calling it the “SITSIT” a personification of the old provincial town legends of mysterious and often perilous calls heard in the dark forests of Luzon.

Writer Jeps Gallon said that he hopes that after its release on the 25th, the “SitSit” would find its way to the creature hall of fame of Philippine cinema alongside the Aswang, Manananggal, Pridyider, Halimaw Sa Banga and the Undin.

During the interview, actors Jameson, Jane and Jon said that making the film HAUNTED FOREST was physically challenging for all of them – most of the scenes were shot on location and outside the comforts of a four wall. For example, Jane Oineza who plays the role of Nica, had to go through and roll over dirt and mud in some of the scenes.

Meanwhile Raymart Santiago who will play the role of Nica’s father Aris almost lost a finger while shooting the film when a window drops down accidentally on his hands.

Jameson and Jon who will play the roles of RJ and Andre respectively will be Nica’s friends. Also part of the lead cast is Maris Racal who will play the role of Mich, another one of Nica’s friends. The four of them will be the one to deal with the dreaded SITSIT.

According to Jeps Gallon, there’s more to HAUNTED FOREST than the SitSit and the scary scenes – the narrative is deeper and more engaging than viewers could ever imagine and that is what we all are going to find out when it shows on December 25.

Aside from the millennial lead stars and Raymart Santiago, HAUNTED FOREST will also feature Chong Joey Marquez as Nardo, Beverly Salviejo as Tiya Merly, Betong Sumaya Jr., Jerald Napoles, Fiona Yang, Kelvin Miranda with a special participation of Myrtle Sarrosa and Miho Nishida.

CATCH the HAUNTED FOREST on December 25 and in theaters nationwide during the Metro Manila Film Festival 2017. Rated PG by the MTRCB.


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Writer, Wanderer, Child of God


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