Director – Chito S. Rono
Cast – Kris Aquino, Jay Manalo, Lotlot De Leon, Ilonah Jean, John Manalo, Julianne Gomez, Ernesto Sto. Tomas, Cherry Pie Picache, Noni Buencamino, Jenny Miller
Release Year – 2004
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I had never seen a horror film from the Philippines before this watch, which came to my attention while reading about great Asian horror flicks. Its name, based on the ancient Chinese term, stood out to me, and I decided to give this lesser-known Asian watch a go, and was pleased with what I was given. We are given the usual antics of Asian horror cinema, but with great execution and a storyline that I had yet to see Feng Shui gives us a positive effort of supernatural horror.
When Joy Ramirez accidentally comes across a mirror used to bring good fortune to those who possess it, she thinks nothing of it when she brings it into her new home. Immediately after this her and her family become to come across good fortune in a variety of ways, which unknown to Joy will soon come with terrible consequences for those around her. She has unknowingly welcomed a “bagwa” curse upon her, and as those around her begin to suffer terrible tragedies she races to rid herself of a fortunate life that most would only dream of living.
I did not know what to expect going into this Filipino horror effort, and while it came with a slightly quirky at times with the execution of some elements I was impressed with this little-known low-budget watch. The storyline was an interesting one in that it gave me that usual curse element used in Asian horror, but came with a detailed story focusing on the cost/benefit complex of good fortune. I had yet to see this idea employed in the genre so I found it refreshing, and for the most part it was engaging as well. The film runs a bit long at 107 minutes for the material that its story provides, but a good number of scare scenes and a horrific conclusion made this runtime bearable.
Director Chito S. Rono did a good job with the film’s direction, and made the most out of the numerous and well-executed scare scenes that we are given. His atmosphere is positive, and he makes the most out of the nighttime scenes with positive sets that while simple still manage to provide a creepy presence thanks to that all too important “good execution”. The acting performances are a bit cheesy and so is the look of the ghosts in the film, but I must say that since they are not the usual cliché long-haired ghosts I will not fault Rono for doing the best with what little he had.
Overall, Feng Shui is a positive Filipino horror film that not only comes with a unique plot but comes with plenty of good quality scares to go around. The low-budget feel can come off a bit cheezy at times, but the talented Chito S. Rono does much with little and gave me a good first impression of the horror the Philippines can deliver.