Review: "Kuwaresma" shows fascinating delivery of atmospheric horror

May 20, 2019
kuwaresma movie erik matti

At this point, it is clear Erik Matti has become a master of his craft. Here is a filmmaker who continues to be resourceful and slowly erase the notion that Philippine cinema cannot stand with the international juggernauts technical-wise.

In his latest “Kuwaresma,” Matti has shown a fascinating delivery of atmospheric horror, in a way that feels new and overtly reminiscent of ‘80s Filipino horror fare such as “Itim.”

Set in 1985, we follow Luis, who returns to his home after learning his sister died. His return will have him reunite with forgotten mysteries of his childhood, as well as unexplainable evil surrounding their house’s history.

The movie wants to tell a lot from this evil presence, all of it rooting from a demonic spirit. At the same time, this is a call-out to abusive patriarchy. Dealing with two separate concepts of immorality, “Kuwaresma” wants to gel these things together. However, it just doesn’t work that much.

The story’s big reveal wants to give you a meaningful sense of the events that preceded it. I thought the movie could work better without it. 

I’m impressed by its historical context that can be linked with the country’s submission to patriarchal rule. And again, the horror blends well with its expertly-produced atmosphere.

kuwaresma movie erik matti

“Kuwaresma” brings more than expected, if not, too much. I just wish we get something more streamlined with its themes. 

"Kuwaresma" is now showing in cinemas nationwide from Reality Entertainment.


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