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"ANI (The Harvest)" Movie Review - Flawed but Admirable

A kid had to face the world in his own animated version and conquer life's biggest monster.

It's as if a child's imagination is a safe haven, a place where the world is a playground for all the possibilities the mind could think of. And even the tight and humble space called home, situated on a busy Metro could not hinder the inquisitive headspace of a young Mithi (played by Zyren Dela Cruz), a boy who accomplishes the day by playing with his colorful toy robots that perform a vital role in his imaginary narrative. With a loving father and a mother that sings him a self-assuring lullaby, Mithi is blissfully unaware of the harsh reality. But life decided to toy with his fate, and Mithi's perfect little world is now showing its cracks, putting his vulnerability to the test and slowly depriving him of his happiness he thought would last forever. And through his eyes, the world suddenly transforms itself into a menacing monster. 
Set in a lush and remote farmland in Bicol…

"Clarita" Movie Review - Great Acting, Bad Movie

Set in the 1950s, Clarita Villanueva is said to be possessed by demons which led to her arrest by the authorities. With the aid of priests who specializes in exorcism, they are hoping to release Clarita from the clutches of her demons. 

- Photo from Black Sheep

Derick Cabrido directs this first horror entry from Black Sheep productions, starring Jodi Sta. Maria as the titular role together with an ensemble of actors including Ricky Davao, Romnick Sarmienta, Aron Villaflor, and Almira Muhlach. The story was inspired by true events (or at least the film wants us to believe) and was set on a post-World War era and was said to be the first recorded possession in the Philippines. 

Let me get this out of the gate, the acting in this film was prime perfection. Jodi Sta. Maria outdid herself with her acting performance, proving that she's not only good at drama but also as a character actress and thus, leaving a memorable impact on the film. From her nuanced facial acting to her more aggressive body language as a crazed victim of possession, Sta. Maria carried the film from start to finish. 

The premise of the film is simple. Demonic possession, followed by series of investigations which will be resolved by the end with a successful exorcism. It's as if the writer has watched a couple of films from the Exorcist franchise and poof, Clarita. 

What bothers me the most is the clunky execution and the confusing message about what the film was actually about. 

Yes, the movie teaches the audience that to free yourself from past mistakes, you have to face your inner demons first. Sounds about right except for the context of the scenes, it seems that the movie leaned on too much on the literal side of it, alienating its audience that every bad thing that has happened in the film is caused by the literal manifestation of demonic entities rather than the psychological embodiment of them.

The film has literally two important scenes, the exorcism scene and the one where Ricky Davao and Aron Villaflor's character is talking about their motivations that makes them somewhat important to solve this case. We jumped back and forth with these two scenes for at least three times which is funny because if you clip these scenes out and rearrange them in any order and the flow of the film (as rough as it is) will be just the same as what were presented. 

And by the way, such a pointless thing to put Romnick Sarmienta as one of the characters only for him to contribute nothing, absolute nothing in the story. He is just there. At least Almira Muhlach was given a backstory, even though it still didn't add much to the plot for whatever lazy writing reason. 

Let's Be Reel

Thanks to great acting, the film was at least watchable. However, by the end of the day, Clarita is just a better Maledicto and that's not saying much. Such a shame that the film is a huge misfire when it comes to delivering a great story. 

Watch the film for the performance, but don't expect much from its rather goofy horrors and predictable plot. 

Reel Points



    1. Agree, pinabida na naman mga pari na wala namang nagawa nung time na yan! Disappointing!

  2. Clarita Villanueva is a real person and she was 18 when she was possessed in the 1950s, and the Pastor was the one who cast out the demon on Clarita, not a priest! The Roman Catholic at that time even refuses to pray for the poor girl, how come the movie gave credit to the priests?? BS!
    Anyway, here's the full and accurate story of what had happened to Clarita, written by the Rev. himself who performed deliverance to Clarita that time:


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