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‘Scaredy cat’ in a timely chiller

/ 12:01 AM December 16, 2019

Carmina Villaroel in scenes (above ) from Ten17P and Globe Studios’ first collaboration, “Sunod”‍

Carmina Villaroel is a self-confessed “scaredy cat.” But for the love of her craft, she gamely did the horror flick, “Sunod,” a chilling masterpiece that combines the thrill of technology and the mystery of tradition. The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry is Ten17P and Globe Studios’ first partnership.

The actress plays a single mother, Olivia, who accepts a high-paying but demanding job at a call center so she could pay for her sick daughter’s medical expenses. As Olivia tries to adjust to the strange environment, she experiences a series of spooky events.

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When pressure mounts and affects her daughter’s behavior, she is forced to uncover the mystery behind the office walls. More than a scream fest, “Sunod” also explores the mental state of call center operators.

Carmina nailed it. From start to finish, you can feel her anguish.

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Time for some “howl-iday” chills and thrills. Here’s my chat with Carmina:How did you pull off doing a horror movie even if you’re a “scaredy cat”?

Mind over matter. I kept telling myself that it’s only a movie, and I prayed hard.

What was the scariest experience you had?

During our shoot, it was 12 midnight, and the bulbs suddenly burst and some parts of the ceiling fell off. We were shooting in an old hospital. Our assistant director who has a third eye said, “Direk, pack up na tayo kasi nagagalit na sila.”

What made you accept the offer to do “Sunod”?

The story. It’s about the relationship of a mother and daughter. I wanted to do something different and challenging. This is horror and drama. Plus, it’s by Ten17P (one of the producers)—we all know that they make quality movies.

What is your and Zoren Legaspi’s formula for a happy marriage, and how do you resolve misunderstandings?

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Aside from love, there should be respect and trust. Open communication is the key, and putting God in the center of our relationship. If we have misunderstandings, we set aside pride and say sorry.

How do you discipline and pamper Mavy and Cassy?

Zoren is more of the disciplinarian and spoiler at the same time. We have rules in the house and if they break them, there are consequences, like no gadgets—we confiscate their phones—and they’re not allowed to go out.

We make sure that we talk to them and explain things so they’ll understand why we got mad. Thank God they’re good kids and they understand us. We pamper them by eating out or allowing them to hang out with friends.

What makes your friendship with Aiko Melendez, Candy Pangilinan and Gelli de Belen work?

We accept each other’s imperfections. No pressure. When one of us has a problem, we won’t force that person to open up. We just wait. And we let that person know that we are just here. Gelli is level-headed. If I want an honest opinion, I ask her. Aiko is a defender. If I ask help from her, she will do everything to help me out. She’s crazy in a good and fun way. Candy is chill and calm.

What’s your message to your ex, BB Gandanghari (formerly Rustom Padilla), as he embarks on his career in the US?

Good luck. Happy holidays.

How do you feel that your film replaced the movie of Kris Aquino in the MMFF?

Mixed emotions. Sad because her movie didn’t push through, but happy and excited at the same time. She messaged me and said she hoped we’d get her slot, and we did. While shooting “Sunod,” our producers were hoping that we get to be part of the MMFF. Thank you, Lord, for hearing our prayers and for Your early Christmas present.

If your love story with Zoren would be made into a movie, what will the title be?

“Arf-Arf,” which is a rom-com—that’s how we say “I love you” to each other. INQ

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