BANAL: The Fear that Lurks in the Mountains

BY:  Rohn Romulo

WHAT makes you cringe?  What makes you hude in fear?

The newest horror film Banal promises to bring out that spike of adrenaline as you watch the characters try to survive their horrifying experiences in the mountain.

If you’re still living under a rock, it’s high time you know that Banal is already the talk of the town as the movie is inspired by real-life experiences of mountaineers.  From the rumors that spread around the internet about the mystic and cursed mountains of the Philippines, bloggers and influencers have stated demystifying and investigating about the truth behind the unexplainable perils and stomach-churning experiences of hiking in these foggy terrains.  Truth be told, there are countless stories of mountaineers heading up these forests and getting lost, or worse, never being able to return.

Unlike Western horror films that feature monsters as threat to the life of the protagonists, Banal offers an otherworldly, yet very local flavor.  It is indeed something that can happen to anyone, anywhere, but the millieu of the film made it exquisite, and gave it an identity.

banal cast2

Instead of violating the laws of nature, it challenges the viewers to see nature in its truest but most cruel form.  Not surprisingly, given the ‘fight-or-flight’ human tendencies, the movie is definitely able to press the trigger button of fearing what is unknown.

The central characters of this film are all young adults, dealing with real-world issues, as difficult and heart-wrenching as it may seem.

Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix, both from GMA-7’s soap opera Sahaya, admitted that doing a horror movie while getting enveloped in the character’s drama is no joke at all because, “it exhausts you physically and emotionally.”

On television, the young love team does the usual tear jerkers and it’s been a way of life for them,  growing up in show business.  So it was on a certain level easier.

But making a film that required them to cry, scream, run and jump around in a dense forest is no easy feat.  And according to their co-star, Andrea Brillantes of ABS-CBN’s Kadenang Ginto, the drama mixed with physical mayhem is like a roller coaster ride that made all the difference in filming Banal.

Banal promises to stand out because it puts new twists on old tropes, thereby breaking the conventional rules of horror movies.   But it never sacrificed aesthetics and respect for the local culture.

And so whether you are a film enthusiast, or simply curious about what lurks behind those huge trees in the mountains, this movie is indeed a must-see.

Banal also stars Taki and Kim Last,  produced by APT Films, and now showing in theaters nationwide.

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