Sunday, September 19, 2004

Feng Shui
Starring: Kris Aquino, Jay Manalo, Ilonah Jean, Lotlot de Leon, Joonie Gamboa
Directed By: Chito Roño
Star Cinema

You must have been dragged along by the recent wave of Asian horror films -- The Ring, The Grudge, The Eye, Acacia, Tale of Two Sisters, etc. If you've seen the lot of them, chances are you'll find what happens in Feng Shui very familiar. The Kris Aquino-starrer is far different from the Shake Rattle and Roll's of old in terms of treatment, and the freak-out factor is actually there. It's premise is very Asian, thus laudable.

Kris Aquino plays an ordinary working mother who's driven by the need to prove to her mother-in-law that she can help her husband (Jay Manalo) provide the two kids a comfortable future. One night, she brings home an old bagua (or pa kua), that octagonal Chinese good luck charm, left by some guy in a bus. Sure enough, the luck comes pouring in, but the party's spoiled by violent deaths. Aquino attempts to find the link between the good luck and the bad as the spooky stuff comes out of the woodwork.

I like the Chinese elements thrown in, but I wish there was more feng shui in Feng Shui. Chinese geomancy involves the placement of physical structures to influence the flow of energy, a great concept to put to use in a horror film, yet there was none of that in the film. It's not perfect, as a lot of popcorn movies go, and it's not wise to put the smug cap on and make predictions every ten minutes or so. But Kris Aquino carries this film well enough that you forget her kolehiyala persona, a lot of moments are genuinely freky, and the histrionics aren't overwhelming.

Sadly, you get the feeling that Star Cinema wants to ride the wave and prove that the company can make a darn good horror film. Why didn't they make something like this sooner? (Hmm.... Because they wouldn't have thought of it?)

My Rating: 7.5 of 10 stars
Image from Fast Feng Shui website

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