MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Silong’ shelters a sickening secret
“SILONG” or shelter may be a very comforting word for a film title but not before you discover the surprising secret behind its use.
This seems to be the ultimate intention of singer-turned-director Jeffrey Hidalgo and writer-director Roy Sevilla Ho as they helmed together the appalling story of Miguel and Valarie, which premiered at Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival this year as the closing film.
In the film, actor Piolo Pascual plays the role of Doctor Miguel Cascarro who bumps into Valerie as he drives one night on his way home.
The mysterious woman, in the person of actress Rhian Ramos, was badly wounded, her body besmirched with blood.
Her unexpected arrival was quite a perfect distraction for Miguel who still mourns the passing of his wife Caroline (Angel Jacob) and worries how to save his ancestral house from its creditor.
But it turns out, the angelic face of Valerie doesn’t size up to Miguel’s lofty expectations.
Calm before the storm
The film opens with Miguel’s cello wafting a soothing sound of music to the viewers’ ears. His home was established, giving an early peek to his solitary life, while showing a montage of Valerie, hobbling on her way amid the bushes and desperate for rescue.
Then comes the scene wherein Gilbert (Guji Lorenzana) urges Miguel, his brother-in-law, to leave the house, move to the city and get on with his life.
Silong’s undertaking of the story’s exposition is a lulling calm before the storm.
It manages to make its audience hang loose along its laid-back beginning, with the promise of the imminent romantic connection between its main characters.
Miguel welcoming a sexy visitor to his home, nursing her back to health and trusting her to the point of ravishing her on top of a dining table—all provide a good leverage so the film could execute its mighty ploy.
The film is off for a clean start, putting much patience on the story’s pace, while slowly and surely taking advantage of the characters’ projected innocence and vulnerability, before its twists smack people in the gut with impaling force.
Hidalgo and Ho laudably bank on Miguel and Valerie’s tangible chemistry to set forth veiled clues that later unspools itself to complete the narrative.
It would be apt to say that Piolo Pascual’s performance couldn’t be found wanting. His measured portrayal of a languid but composed doctor contributes much to his cryptic personality.
The truth Miguel hides blends well to that of Valerie’s. It’s a classic bittersweet case where both keep a secret from each other for caution while giving in to their earthly desires.
Rhian Ramos, likewise, has tellingly grown to become a versatile actress. She charms big time, not only on screen but on her delivery of the major scenes. She is quite effective in developing Valerie’s character, using all of her valuable assets to double cross Miguel—her eyes, her smiles, her voice, her body language.
With the film’s slick buildup, from the moment Miguel takes care of Valerie until both get tangled in the maelstrom of surprises, the story no longer needs other players to accomplish its real point.
The way Hidalgo and Ho handle the subtleties laced on Miguel and Valerie’s personas is enough to bring the film to a rip-roaring ascent down to its horrid conclusion.
“Silong” is definitely a refreshing take on Filipino romantic-thrillers that are not seen much on movie screens these days.
It looks like Hidalgo and Ho succeed on breaking through the clutter and lodging themselves at a secure spot in the country’s movie industry.
The revelations the film hold will not fail to send the viewers in utter shock at any point, with the help of its neat screenplay and cinematography.
And so the next time you invite a stranger into your home, let “Silong” be your early warning.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.