Directing a horror flick, Jason Paul Laxamana-style
For award-winning director Jason Paul Laxamana, the challenge of doing the horror flick, “Pwera Usog,” was to effectively introduce an old concept like usog to the present generation.
Jason Paul is known for his independently produced screen dramas, “Babagwa” (2013) and “Magkakabaung” (2014). He also helmed the comedy flick, “The Third Party,” for Star Cinema.
The Regal Films project, starring Sofia Andres and Joseph Marco, is his first horror movie. “Urban millennials don’t know much about usog. We attempted to introduce the concept to them through this movie. To keep them interested, we used, through the film’s characters, technology and social media as tools,” explained Jason Paul.
The director said he “married the two concepts so as not to alienate the film’s young audience.”
Usog is a Filipino superstition wherein an illness, which usually affects a child, is attributed to a greeting by a stranger.
“The direction has to be more precise here,” explained Jason Paul when asked how different it was to work on horror compared to drama. “Everything has to be well-timed. You need to have a certain buildup that will lead to the horrific twist or the moment of surprise. If you are not able to execute this because of poor timing, all your efforts will be ineffective.”
In this film, there are no monsters, which are typical of most scary movies.
He pointed out: “We also used a different treatment. We’re used to Asian horror films that often employ shock and surprise tactics. In this film, there are more action scenes. You will be surprised, yes, but afterwards you’ll laugh at yourself for your reaction.”
Jason Paul warned: “We also have a number of disgusting scenes. As a child, I liked scaring my family and friends by describing to them scenarios or incidents that will gross them out or make them feel uncomfortable. I channeled that side of me in this film.”
Lead star Joseph Marco is all praise for the director. “He is different because he simplifies things for his actors. He also works fast.”
This is Joseph’s first horror film, too. “I learned from Direk that when you’re doing horror, your energy has to be more intense than usual. You should be able to show fear in your eyes, and as in other acting projects, you have to be believable,” the actor said.
“Pwera Usog,” which will be shown in theaters nationwide starting March 8, also features Devon Seron, Albie Casiño, Kiko Estrada, Cherise Castro, Aiko Melendez and Eula Valdes.
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