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As the film begins, we see Owen (Rico Blanco) and Mariella (Angelica Panganiban) are fighting in a car by a lake. It appears that Owen has left his wife to be with Mariella, and is angry that Mariella is not willing to make the same sacrifice. The fight turns violent, and Owen has hit Mariella through the car window. Mariella tries to escape from the car, and the scene cuts to flashback.We see Mariella telling her husband, Ivan (Dingdong Dantes), that her best friend, Samantha needs company and she drives off into the night. Later that evening, their daughter Angel (Sofia Villarama) comes to Ivan looking for her mother, and Ivan tells Angel that her mother has gone away. There is a car that passes by in the area where a bloody Mariella is looking for help, in the middle of a rainstorm. The driver and his passenger are singing Christmas carols in the car, Mariella knows she is dead. Written by
Being a fan of Pinoy horror films, this was the film that I was most looking forward to seeing in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival. The fact that it earned an A rating from the Film Ratings Board was the added push I needed to clear up some time from the busy holiday schedule to go see it. Maybe because of all of this heightened sense of expectation, I came out of the movie house today terribly disappointed.
I am getting ahead of myself. "Segunda Mano" is about a sad antique- shop owner Mabel (Kris Aquino) who lives with her mother (Ms. Helen Gamboa) in a spooky old house. Both are still disturbed by the death of younger sister Marie in a freak beach accident twenty years ago. She meets Ivan (Dingdong Dantes), a wealthy architect who seemed to have it all on the surface. Why then does a spirit inhabiting the bag and dress of Ivan's estranged wife Marielle (Angelica Panganiban) seem to stop at nothing to scare Mabel away, as people around them get killed?
Everything else in this movie is a horror cliché -- computer-generated spirits appearing on and off screen, séance scenes, comfort room stalls scenes, jumpy "scare" music, swimming pool scenes, cats, blackouts, all the way up to very last "shock" ending! The acting of the actors already telegraphed how everything was going to end, so there was practically no surprises. Kris looked very much older than Dingdong, and hardly his type based on his lifestyle, so they lack any sort of chemistry. Bangs Garcia was funny, but her ditzy character's "friendship" with Kris' morose character was so unlikely and felt forced and unrealistic. Trying to meld the stories of the unrelated deaths of Marie and Marielle was unnecessary and confusing.
The main and probably the only good thing I can say about "Segunda Mano" is their idea that ghosts can inhabit used merchandise we may buy from a second-hand store. That idea is actually horror genius! However unfortunately, the originality begins and ends there. After a truly good Pinoy horror film like "The Road" earlier this month, I expected this film to also be that level. Unfortunately, this was such a letdown. "Segunda Mano" is so chock-full of previously-done scare tactics such that this entire film also feels "second-hand".
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