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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Review: Eerie

Director: Mikhail Red
Screenplay: Mariah Reodica, Rae Red, and Mikhail Red
Year: 2019

Synopsis: A terrible event rattles the foundation of an all-girls Catholic academy. The death of one of the students unravels the horrors of this place. The ghosts that inhabit the academy are only one of the secrets of this place.

"Eerie" is the most recent title in horror cinema to join the long list of movies that use the Christian Catholic religion to lay the foundation for its plot. So far this year, this page has reviewed titles in this topic such as “St. Agatha”, “The Church”, and “The Convent”, and we would have to add those that have not been reviewed here and those released prior to this year. No doubts, this is an exploited topic in which is hard to think much more can be done.

“Eerie” takes place inside an all-girls Catholic academy where a fatal event has taken place than unveil the horrors of this place. Based on the Philippines, “Eerie” feels like a fresh product, and at the same time has a certain familiarity with Asian horror cinema. The use of young gloomy women with long dark hair resembles popular titles in Japanese horror cinema, like “Ringu” or “Ju-On”, and why not, their North American versions. Another similarity with this movie is its dark visual style, where cold colors and a sinister ambiance dominate.

I can’t tell if it was a problem of how the screenplay was crafted by writers Mariah Reodica, Rae Red ("Birdshot"), and Mikhail Red ("Rekorder"), who also directs this movie, or its inability to get my attention, but it was hard for me to follow the plot of this movie. In some parts I felt the plot didn’t make much sense, especially the reason that promotes all of what happens, exposed almost at the end of the movie. The effort to create an intriguing plot and interesting characters is hindered by the constant attempts to stay inside the canons imposed by successful movies in contemporary horror cinema.

In the beginning, it presents a novel idea in the horror genre, where we have   Pat, interpreted by Bea Alonzo ("First Love"), interested in knowing the cause of the death of one of the students and her constant encounters with a ghost are shown. The plot takes Pat and the viewer to be interested and to sympathize with the ghost Eri, interpreted by Gillian Vicencio, but later the plot is propelled by the need to add jump scare after jump scare and derails it from what it could have been it the original idea were to be exploited.

The worst part is that many of these jump scares are not as effective as they intend. They use the overused and banal strategy of suppressing the music and ambient sound right before a jump scare and later right at the jump scare use a disproportionately loud sound that makes it almost impossible not to jump on your seat, but this doesn't mean at all that what is presented is effective. On top of that, much of these jump scare scenes are added with only this purpose and have little to do with the plot. 

“Eerie” pretended to bring something innovative to Asian horror, but it fell prisoner of it own insecurities to outstand and preferred to be another of the many movies that don’t break above being mildly entertaining. It could have made the most out of its premise to develop the plot and where it decides to do so, as including well-used social and religious metaphors, it is already too late. If you like jump scares this movie has plenty to offer, but, if like who writes this review you value an eerie ambient (pun intended) developed hand in hand with the plot, there not much to look for here.

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