By Raymond Rinoza




SILONG (Shelter) is now showing in theaters nationwide. I had the chance to watch the premiere night screening at the CCP Main Theater. It was the closing film of Cinemalaya Festival last month. Piolo Pascual and Rhian Ramos deliver sterling performances here, under the direction of Jeffrey Hidalgo and Roy Sevilla Ho (who also wrote the screenplay).

Piolo is Dr. Miguel Cascarro, living solitary in his grand dwelling after an accident claims the life of his wife. He bumps (literally, almost) into Valerie (Rhian), whom he discovers bloodied on the road, apparently escaping a murderous assailant. Miguel `shelters’ Valerie (hence the movie title) in his abode while she recovers from her wounds, physical and psychological. Inevitably, the two of them `shelter’ their feelings for one another (there’s that word again). Until one day, unexpected visitors leave the audience raising questions about dubious intentions. Could somebody be `sheltering’ a secret?


The movie, from then on, becomes increasingly tension-filled, with the outcome being anybody’s guess. But even if it’s anybody’s guess, nothing will prepare them for the shocking coup de grace. It comes in like a wrecking ball, shattering whatever expectations one may have.

Needless to say, SILONG is a brilliantly-written psychological thriller, a genre craved by a now more discerning movie audience.

The audience response during the premiere screening were nothing short of frenzied delirium. Aside from the anticipated shrieks of pioloholics (the partial butt-baring shower scene was well-received), much of the screaming were reactions to the twists and surprising revelations as the story unfolded. Then followed by the suspenseful what-happens-next sequences, leading to the mouth-gaping conclusion.

SILONG ups the ante in suspense-thriller filmmaking. Hopefully, this will pave the way for more improved films in this category, previously populated with mostly predictable, over-used storylines.



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