Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bahay ng Lagim (Celso Ad Castillo, Sineng Pambansa 2013)

Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival is an excellent showcase of the filmmaking skills of 12 acclaimed directors. I've seen eight films and majority of them are movies worth seeing again. Even the clunkers have their unique assets and possibly have their own legion of backers.

The sleeper hit of the festival is the special entry Bahay ng Lagim by horror master Celso Ad. Castillo. It is a super-duper chiller to the core. A young lady named Fatima (Karel Marquez) has recurring nightmares of a girl asking for help. But, when these pleas begin to bug her even during waking hours, she seeks the help of a healer, Sister Sophia (Bing Loyzaga).

The whole segment leading to the delicious, wonderful credits is high-level suspense. When the names of the cast appear onscreen, I had a gleeful smile while being at the same time shivering from the chills. There I am slinking in my seat with my head down because I had a feeling someone possessed will sneak up on unsuspecting people. The fear factor won't ebb down for another 45 minutes. 

Sister Sophia's fight with the beast is another highlight of the film. Who says you cannot teach old directors new tricks? The hideous monster magically comes alive via computer graphics.

I was wary when I learned that the horror film was being prepared for the fest without the guidance of Castillo. The late director was supposed to create a new film specifically for the festival but he died of heart attack in November 2012.

Followers of the late director decided to spruce up an unreleased film, Bahay ng Lagim. They did an amazing job. The film is a masterpiece of Castillo and a worthy inclusion to the All Masters Edition of Sineng Pambansa.


  1. Masterpiece? Let's face it this movie sucks. Story line,cinematography is crap. I've seen it after 20mins I got out of the cinema. Such a shitty movie.

  2. Hi, Miguel. I'm a fan of Pinoy horror films. I've seen most of Celso Ad. Castillo's well-known horror films. Yes, it is a masterpiece. The main reason why I think it was unreleased was the computer graphics for the beast was time-consuming. Cinematography isn't in high definition but the mood and sound effects are creepy and chills-inducing. I also loved the tongue-in-cheek credit segment. If there is a 'Castillo horror film' that is bad, then that must be the Cinemalaya 2013 film The Diplomat Hotel.

  3. This movie sucks, seriously.. WORST HORROR FILM EVER.

  4. Hmmmm. This film must really be onto something for it to induce extreme polar reactions.

    Bahay ng Lagim is one of about four local films that effectively spooked me. Included in the list is Celso Ad. Castillo's classic Patayin Mo Sa Sindak si Barbara. I desperately want to see both Castillo films again...