Segunda Mano


A horror flick that gives emphasis to both elements of suspense and story, Segunda Mano is a remarkable tale that tells us what we should really fear in this life.

An antique shop owner, Mabelle (Aquino) buys a second-hand bag from her best friend’s store not knowing that the bag carries with it a part of the dead owner’s soul. As the ghost haunts her down, Mabelle finds herself searching back the past to protect the people she loves from the curse of death the bag brings. And as the ghost reveal its purpose Mabelle uncovers a crime, and secrets that made up her identity.

I won’t pretend to be a pro about this genre because I am beyond honest that I never watch horror movies. The Poltergeist and Child’s Play may have traumatized me a lot when I watched them in 1993. So if you’re doing the math, this is my first full-length horror movie in 17 long years. I’m a huge Kris Aquino fan but given that she’s the Horror Queen and almost all her movies of recent years are horror, I intentionally passed on to watch all of them. The closest I’ve come to see was the last 5 minutes of her 2004 hit, Feng Shui which I watched on Cinema One at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Now, thanks to Harper’s Island, True Blood, and THE WALKING DEAD, I feel brave enough to last 2hours of pure horror (not the asian horror films like The Ring though di ko talaga kakayanin!). What’s with Segunda Mano that made me change my mind? The trailer is blunt and not at all scary plus with the little that it showed to protect the twists and turns of the story, made me really curious. But beyond anything, I am the type who can tell if a movie’s worth watching from just its trailer. I knew that there’s more to this especially with its Grade A from the Cinema Evaluation Board.

For a first timer, Joyce Bernal did a pretty good job directing a horror/suspense movie. She is able to build up the element of suspense in all the right places. What’s nice about Segunda Mano is that it’s a movie that doesn’t only scare you but it has a good story that was narrated beautifully. In addition to this, there is a perfect balance of horror and comedy in this film to not make it so heavy for a Christmas Day play date. It’s awesome how polished they merged these two genres.

The only problem I have about this movie is the pacing. It feels like everything’s happening so fast you barely have time to relate and be captivated by the story as well as with the characters. Editing is also bad. I think in a genre such as this, a seamless editing is the key. Cinematography is good since the movie’s general feel is not hardcore, minute-by-minute horror. Special effects were lousy and the stunts were mediocre at its best. To me all the stunts Kris was so proud of were not believable at all especially that with its poor editing it’s so obvious the one doing the stunt was not her.

Acting wise—you know, the whole world knows that I adore Kris Aquino but never her acting. Her facial expression and general acting in this movie still sucked big time. Though, I must say that she’s improved a lot. This is still her best genre—horror. Put her in drama as what she’ll be embarking on next year, I’m not so sure. I hope she undergoes tremendous workshop first. Dingdong Dantes shined in this movie. For so long, and in his age, he’s still doing cutesy-cutesy role in his home network. It’s about time he take on a character like this to show the viewing public that with a little bit more workshop, he can go head to head with the likes of Piolo, Derek, and John Lloyd. But more than his acting which still needs improvement if it will be deemed worthy of an acting award; it is his good looks that are so noticeable in this movie. I think Dingdong Dantes is aging gracefully. Angelica Panganiban is one hell of a versatile actress! She only did a few lines but you can so feel her presence. She doesn’t need to say a dialogue but with mere facial expressions you can feel the pain and longing of her character, you can feel the depth of whatever she’s trying to convey. To me, this is the measure of a true blue versatile actress and I think among all the other actresses of this generation, she is the best! This review will not be complete if I don’t pay tribute to the biggest revelation of this movie which is Bangs Garcia! Segunda Mano is also a movie where she shined. She’s so natural and effective in a role that’s very cliché it feels exceptionally fresh. Bangs deserves a Best Supporting Actress trophy if only Eugene Domingo is not also nominated.  

All in all, what makes Segunda Mano worth watching is the new face of horror it showcased. It did not focus only on scaring the viewers but very important is how it paid attention to present a quality story that mind you is not new at all especially if you’re very well read and have already seen a lot, but the beautiful narration and Direk Joyce’s brilliant take on flashbacks makes the movie tolerable to sit through for almost 1 hour and 50 minutes. And what’s so awesome is how it showcased finely choreographed brutality and doesn’t demonize your mind. Finally, Segunda Mano is a horror movie which reiterates the fact that it is the living not the dead that we should be scared of. 

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