Words by Bea Lizarondo Soliman
Photos by Jury Salaya
FOX, home to internationally-acclaimed television series and films, is set to frighten the Philippines this May with its first locally-produced film, Maledicto.
Maledicto tells the story of Father Xavi (Tom Rodriguez), a former psychologist who becomes a skeptical exorcist following the tragic death of his sister, Mara (Inah de Belen). He meets Sister Barbie (Jasmine Curtis-Smith), a young nun who has the gift of charism. Together, they face the case of Agnes (Miles Ocampo), a seemingly perfect teenager who starts manifesting demonic behavior that rocks the foundations of the church.
Other cast members include Eric Quizon, Martin Escudero, Franco Laurel, Nonie Buencamino, Liza Lorena, and Menggie Cobarrubias.
This film is co-produced by Cignal Entertainment and Unitel. It is directed by the award-winning Mark Meily, who is known for his films such as Crying Ladies, El Presidente, and the horror film Elemento.
When questioned about what made Maledicto different from other local horror movies, Director Mark Meily said: “Sobra yung research dito. I have done horror films before. Very, very minimal yung research. This one, we really had to interview an actual exorcist.” From then, Meily continued to speak of the extensive research that was done in the making of the film. This research, as he mentioned, will all be revealed in the film itself.
With exorcism being a relatively over-used subject in numerous local horror films, this is what writer Jonathan Guillermo had to say when asked about how Maledicto differs from the long list of movies with the same theme: “With this concept, we’re dealing with exorcism, but the original pitch was that it was a horror procedural. It’s a crossroad between the supernatural and science. We tried to highlight the process, the procedure, the uniqueness of the fact that this is a 21st century institution that has procedures in place to discern if something supernatural is occurring.”
It was also mentioned how instead of creating the film to be more plot-driven as is the case with most horror films, with Maledicto, there was an effort to make it more character-based. “We tried to highlight the characters not just to make our film different but to give it life beyond what is called to do, to make it more expandable, to make people want to follow the stories of the characters as well,” Guillermo adds.
When asked about the film, Jude Turcuato, who serves as Senior Vice President and General Manager of FOX Networks Group Philippines, said: “Maledicto is a really big feat for FNG (Fox Networks Group), being the first ever film we’ve produced locally, with an all-Filipino cast at that. With Maledicto under our belt, we’re hoping to elevate Filipino cinema to one of a Hollywood pedigree.”
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Jane Basas, who serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Cignal Entertainment, mentioned: “With Maledicto, we hope to offer a different flavor of horror to Filipino viewers who deserve a better and more exciting offering from this genre.”
“Aside from its unique and thought-provoking story, the audience will also be on the edge of their seats with Maledicto’s Hollywood-level set production and special effects,” Basas further adds.
Maledicto premieres May 1 in cinemas nationwide. Watch the official trailer here:
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