A for Afraid

t2I live in an old building that's probably rife with ghosts. My bedroom window looks out to the poolside of an abandoned hotel. I hung out with a busty psychic from Michigan and I never heard the end of her supernatural prattle. I worked on a horror film a few years ago and so I know that no matter how scary it is it's still all movie making. Call me manhid, but it takes a lot to scare me. But there's one thing that really freaks me out: creepy children. Chito Roño's latest horror movie T2 has a creepy kid. Maricel Soriano plays an overwrought and childless woman who volunteers to chaperone an orphan only to find out there's something strange about the little girl with her unblinking gaze and bad dreams. As it turns out, the kid is the child of a human (the ubiquitous John Lloyd Cruz) and a hot-to-trot engkantada (Carmen Soo). The mother wants to claim Angeli and spirit her away into the engkanto world, but the miserable Maricel, the accidental guardian, won't allow it. It's a bit of a convoluted plot, but that's okay because Mica dela Cruz as Angeli is both super cute and creepy–and holds her own with Maricel Soriano who is quite the formidable actress. Too bad Derek Ramsey and his smoldering hotness (he plays Maricel's husband) felt a bit out of place in this film. But honestly, who cares, a little eye candy is always welcome in between the ghostly sightings. Generally, T2 is well-paced and effectively frightening. The old tenement (or Tenement 2, hence the title) is an amazing location, a huge concrete monster of a building with old trees and shadowy corners. Truth be told, I was more scared of the building than the Filipiniana-clad, gold shimmer encrusted engkantos who haunted it. The whole fantasy engkanto kingdom was a bit ludicrous and therefore unbelievable. It was the dark stairwells and nightmarish orphans that truly creeped me out. There's a scene involving rats (lots of it) that made my skin crawl. It's always the psychological scares that work best. Chito Roño, director of horror box office hits like Sukob and Feng Shui is a master at turning common beliefs into sources of fear, showing us that even the familiar has a dark side, which is the scariest trick of all. Watch out for those creepy kids.
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