Biyernes Santo: Movie Review

"Biyernes Santo" typifies the biggest problem we always encounter with Filipino films nowadays - experiences that are beautiful to look at but experiences that lack substance or punch. In this case, the film has only its sharp and dark cinematography to offer audiences who will dare waste their precious time on it.
One year ago, Roy (Gardo Versoza) with his daughter Aurora (Via Ortega) and wife Lia (Andrea Del Rosario) were attacked by a seemingly evil entity (Mark Anthony Fernandez). A spiritualist, Lia finds a way to protect her husband and daughter but this also meant that she had to sacrifice herself in the process. Today or one year after that event, Roy has invited Grace (Ella Cruz) who is a young and talented spiritualist to help keep the entity at bay. But with each passing day during the Holy Week, the harrowing encounters not only increase but also get more dangerous. Can Grace find a way to stop the hauntings before its too late for her, Roy and Aurora?
There are those very rare film experiences that we certainly regret putting our hard-earned cash, effort, and time on and "Biyernes Santo" regrettably fits into that box oh-so-perfectly. We will just go straight to the point and tell you to not waste your time on it - even if you get it on a free trial on the streaming platform its currently on. The real crux is not why but why not because there's really no redeeming factor for this film to offer audiences. As a horror film, the scares were simply non-existent. Scenes typically didn't have any sense of tension or proper buildup to a scare. In fact, if you consider sudden loud noises, shouting, or characters with pure white eyes as scary, then this might work for you. But for us, we were simply bored from start to finish. Another thing that we noticed was its lazy writing. Story-wise, it was non-sensical overall and it didn't have good pacing revealing its secrets. Worse, most of its content was unveiled through so much exposition which only made this film even more boring than it already was. The Holy Week format (the film spans five days and five nights during the Holy Week) also felt forced and simply out of place. Acting-wise, it was disappointing as well. Gardo Versoza and Ella Cruz took the brunt of the running time but their performances didn't translate to anything substantially praise-worthy. Gardo's portrayal had a tendency to come off as painfully exaggerated making it laughably bad while Ella's performance was just okay and nothing special. Via Ortega unfortunately didn't really have much material or time to flex her acting skills. The only saving grace, in our honest opinion, was the film's cinematography which featured crisp visuals and unusual camera tricks and angles from Pedring Lopez. But really, with only visuals to offer audiences, why even bother?
Rating: Half reel

Why you should watch it:
- the cinematography was great from time to time but that's about it folks

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- literally has no scares to offer audiences - the story was not only a mess but pretty much nonsensical

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