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Banal (Holy): Movie Review

Picture from Banal Trailer from APT Entertainment Inc. Youtube Channel
"Banal" feels like an all too familiar sight when it comes to local films in the horror genre nowadays. It is a little too heavy on flash but lacks any substance. What we get is an unnerving and tense-filled first half stifled by a directionless second half.


Picture from Banal Trailer from APT Entertainment Inc. Youtube Channel
A group of friends decide to go to a sacred mountain as a way to spend their summer break. The trip is mostly for fun but one of the youths, Erika (Bianca Umali), wants to go to the mountain's peak in the hope that it will heal her mother who's battling cancer.
Picture from Banal Trailer from APT Entertainment Inc. Youtube Channel
At its best, "Banal" felt like a mix of "Blair Witch Project" and "Midsommar". Two horror films that are decades apart but each shook the horror genre on its toes. Unfortunately, these moments were few and far between and mostly reserved in the film's first half. The feeling was actually one of regret. There was a lot of potential for the film to be truly great but it all went to waste with a second half that was obviously rushed. It was as if the writers just gave up and decided to end it where it needed to ramp things up further. If we could pick one thing that the film did outstandingly well then it would be its visuals. There's no fancy effects here but the film was able to create an atmosphere of unnerving dread the first time our group ends up in the middle of a cave or forest. One of the bigger issues for the film was the performance of its cast. The acting was sub par more akin to watching local television than big screen acting. Overall, "Banal" could have been a very different film with a stronger narrative and cast. As it is, it's unnerving but lack that horrific core to be anything but acceptable.
Picture from Banal Trailer from APT Entertainment Inc. Youtube Channel
Rating: 3 reels



Why you should watch it:
- the visuals and atmosphere in its first half were outstanding

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- minus a few real scares in the first half, the film falls flat in the terror department
- the narrative is all over the place

You can catch "Banal" right now via Netflix.

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