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Segunda Mano: Movie Review

Like it or not, it seems that Kris Aquino has actually become the unofficial face of Philippine horror as throughout the past half decade, she has been cast countless times to be the lead on various horror films. Most of them did gain critical acclaim so she actually has a good track record. As for her latest outing in the horror genre, "Segunda Mano" is certainly the weakest by a mile. Now, it's not all bad mind you as "Segunda Mano" actually dared to mold one genre into another and along the way it was able to create a story more unique and deeper than the usual. It was a tease for sure but just like everyone else's mistake in the horror genre, one thing is sorely missing in "Segunada Mano" - it being scary even for one bit. What's a horror film without the scares? The ensuing result just leaves us dumbfounded until now.

Mabel Domingo (Kris Aquino) owns an antique shop to support her mother. Her mother is still obssessed over her sister Mari who died of drowning twenty years ago on her seventh birthday. Ivan Galvez (Dingdong Dantes) was left by his wife for another man and left him with their daughter. As fate would have it, Ivan and Mabel meet each other and instantly falls in love. As Ivan proposes to Mabel and his daughter starting to accept Mabel as possibly her new mother, strange things start to happen to Mabel. It seems that a ghostly presence is haunting her. Things take a turn for the worse when people close to her and Ivan begin to end up dead one by one.

"Segunda Mano" has a lot of positive things working for it. It just so happened that it falters badly on areas that are obviously key to a horror film and that significantly affects how we felt about it overall. One of those key areas is it being scary. It's ironic that by being daring with its story and its genre-combining decision, the story is forced to deal with a rather friendly ghost. A ghost that "kills" just would not make sense with the overall story arc. Simply put, having a ghost appear from time to time does not make something scary or a horror film. But that shouldn't be an excuse really - we're pretty sure there are other methods to make the film scream-filled than the usual suspenseful music or fake surprises. They should have just made this into a suspense-thriller if they couldn't deal with the horror aspect properly. Beyond the half-ass implementation in the horror side of things, the film had a good story. Definitely better than usual fare but it still ended up rather predictable. It leads the audience to the "twist" midway or a third of the way and at times, like Mabel's sister, things get a little forced, uncomfortable and unbelievable. The acting was spectacular for some specifically Dingdong Dantes and Bangs Garcia. Dingdong was highly-versatile making a believable good boyfriend and an even better psychotic, possessive killer. Bangs on the other hand brought much needed humor and life to a rather dull feel for the film. This is in part due to Kris Aquino being a huge letdown. She played her character without any semblance of emotion and naturality. She just felt dead all throughout the movie. The visual effects were consistent but not the best we have seen.

In summary, "Segunda Mano" wastes all the good it has by forgetting to make it creepy. They should have just forgone with the horror aspect and they could have made a better, bigger, more daring film by concentrating a hundred percent on suspense alone. This is simply a suspense film masked in a veil of a horror film and who would want to watch a fake?

Rating: 2 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- the genre-combining story was pretty good though predictable
- Dingdong and Bangs performed very well in this movie

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- Kris Aquino is just a huge failure overall
- another "horror" film that forgets to be scary. What's happening to our local horror films?

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