Salt Supremacy

Pssst... Your hair.
Chito Roño’s T2 (Tenement 2) has the right qualities of a horror story that is uniquely Filipino. It’s script written by Aloy Adlawan derived the story from local myths and folklores. I remember in my Sundo review that our culture itself could ignite inspiration for a good horror story and this is what T2 is all about. This film is neither an all-out gore fest film treat nor does it aim for the usual creepy eerie plot. The film elevates and defines how fright was derived and combines it with supernatural phenomena that are still prevalent in our belief-conscious society.

T2 was able to articulate the film’s story wherein other factors of fear could be felt. In the story, Claire (Maricel Soriano) is forced to deal with a trial separation prepared by her husband Jeremy (Derek Ramsey). She is distraught and maddened by the completion of all the legal papers concerning that matter and decided to replace a fellow volunteer at Save an Orphan Foundation by bringing a young boy to Samar. On her way back to Manila, mysterious events occur when they get to stay at a nearby orphanage. Claire meets Angeli (Mica dela Cruz) a young girl who exhibits strange aspects surrounding her behavior. She has this mannerism to look someone straight in the eyes. In that way, she will know if someone is either good or bad.

T2 is about the Engkantos. We might not be aware but in the film, it was depicted that we live side by side with them unnoticed. There are also local beliefs that are used within the film which for me are interesting. There are a couple of scenes that hit the eye of reality scare. First, the stairways scene works for mechanical reasons. Secondly, the unknown traps and accidents which occurred in the film leads to an assumption that it was the Engkantos who caused it. I could not complain for some artificial computer-based effects on the film. What matters is that the effort is there and the story they are telling is an interesting story.

Claire may have negligible beliefs concerning the world of Engkantos. And if she might have given some curiosity to it, she would still end up dumbfounded. It’s interesting to notice that there she is currently experiencing an emotional dilemma on the present status of her marriage with Jeremy. The tension between the couple boils even more since she constantly rejects all forms of communication. The fear Claire shows has a base to make it believable for someone who has no interest with myths and the unknown.

The film is also well supported by characters that make the story more credible, such as details that some writers miss. Elias played by Eric Fructuoso engages with his comic relief antics while the urban enchantress Rita played by Tetchi Agbayani has brief moments of thrill and importance. Dela Cruz as Angeli gives out a good portrayal as a child haunted with a mysterious past. Soriano of course is a fine actress. She’s able to portray a woman who’s confronting her panic of a failed relationship and the fear of the unknown mystery she’s forced to face with.

Scares build up along the way and even the trifling events are well placed and it tries to make you feel more emotionally distressed. This film mixes reality with the lives of Engkantos. And these Engkantos tries to contrive our lives through their power. It is really incredible since a horror story is not only layering drama but actually stressing real emotions and distress to people. It is an interesting mix and it gives credibility to a story that might exist through our imagination and create the fear of something we could not perceive.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

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