After scoring three consecutive box office hits with You Changed My Life, Tenement 2, and BFF, Star Cinema, the country’s most successful film outfit today, is obviously risking its previous feats with its upcoming horror movie “Villa Estrella’’ to open on July 1, 2009.
Horror flicks which previously opened this year made a considerably good performance in the tills, (T2 of Star Cinema and Sundo of GMA Films) which could give hope to the makers and cast of Villa Estrella. However, the movie lacks an appealing plot, a trustworthy lead actor and director which might give avid moviegoers second thoughts of spending P100 and their more or less two hours for this film.
Villa Estrella narrates a story of Ana (Shaina Magdayao) who has always been bothered with nightmares about death and the likes. Event has gone worse when her ex-boyfriend (Jake Cuenca) brought her to Villa Estrella where she gets to encounter a girl (Maja Salvador) who seems to have a significant role in her past.
There’s nothing new about the story. A haunted place, a weird little girl, and rest of the elements in the story have always been present in typical horror films in the Philippines.
I’m expecting a twist at the end and a corn popping “gulat factor” which T2 and Sundo lacked.
Rico Ilarde, son of former radio and tv broadcaster, Eddie Ilarde, led the helming of this movie. Though the only film of his we heard of is Altar (2007) which stars Zanjoe Marudo and a Cinema One Originals Digital Film Fest entry, he started filming way back in late ‘80’s. In 1999 through Mother Lily and her Golden Harvest Films he was able to break in the mainstream movie world with “Dugo ng Birhen” a horror sexy film which stars Monsour del Rosario and Klaudia Koronel and the following year with Babeng Putik which still stars Koronel. Yes, he is not a newbie as what we thought him to be. So experience is no more a question. Ilarde is yet to prove that he can be at par with Chito Roño and Topel Lee when it comes to box-office hits.
Among the four lead cast, only Maja Salvador and Geoff Eigenman have played lead roles via My Kuya’s Wedding in 2007 and Bcuz of U in 2004 respectively, which are not really big hits. Shaina Magdayao never had the chance to prove her lead actress potential and has always been cast in playing supporting roles, (Bahay Kubo, Katas ng Saudi, Ang Tanging Ina) and so with Jake Cuenca(For the First Time).
However these young stars have their faces shown on TV everyday. Maja has a nationwide top rater May Bukas Pa, Jake has another top rater Tayong Dalawa, Shaina in an afternoon teleserye Kambal sa Uma and Geoff Eigenman via Ganti ng Puso in GMA 7. Will this compensate for their lesser presence in the big screen?
Star Cinema still has three weeks to promote and advertise the movie. Well, ABS-CBN’s always good at it, overdosing Kapamilya viewers with trailers and teasers. Who wasn’t fed up of BFF trailer lately?
The trailer is thrilling, the actors are promising and the director is well-experienced. I hope these are enough reasons in bringing Villa Estrella towards commercial success.