This Week in Cinemas — January 18, 2017

Two local horror movies, new twists from M. Night Shyamalan, and Vin Diesel pretending it’s 2002

by Philbert Dy

Two local horror movies, new twists from M. Night Shyamalan, and Vin Diesel pretending it’s 2002

TWIC - 01-18

It’s a packed week of movies, with eight new releases in commercial cinemas, plus all the stuff in our alternative spaces. This is a completely unacceptable number of movies for any normal human being. Embrace the absurdity. Here is what’s coming.

Local Releases:


Director Dan Villegas has built his career on romantic comedies, so obviously the next logical step would be to director a horror movie written by a celebrated local horror writer. Written by Yvette Tan, there is little indication that Ilawod, which follows a family terrorized by a water spirit, will at any point feature Jennylyn Mercado getting into an embarrassing situation.


From the director of Nilalang comes…a found footage horror movie. A group of young people go into a creepy old house armed with more equipment than most professional film crews. They then proceed to have a very nice time documenting the vintage fixtures of this classically built house. And I don’t know, there’s probably a ghost or something.

Curiosity, Adventure, & Love

This documentary that tracks the life of Cuban-born Filipino American philatrophist Jessie Lichauco opens exclusively this week at the Power Plant Cinemas. It won a jury prize at the World Premieres Film Festival, but don’t hold that against it.

Foreign Releases:


Split is the new film from M. Night Shyamalan. The twist is that it’s pretty good. James McAvoy puts on a masterful bit of hamminess playing a man with 23 distinct personalities, the two most ruthless of which abduct three teenage girls. It’s delicious B-movie nonsense. We won’t say much more than that, except for everything else that’s on the review at our sister site The Neighborhood.

Live By Night

Current Batman Ben Affleck continues to be cast in movies directed by the Academy Award winning director Ben Affleck. This time, he adapts a Dennis Lehane novel about prohibition era gangsters.

XXX: The Return of Xander Cage

Vin Diesel time travels back to 2002, reprising the role of Mountain Dew action hero Xander Cage in a new chapter of a movie franchise that we all thought had already died. Rogue One favorite Donnie Yen shows up presumably to kick people in ways that were never intended by nature.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax

You might have seen the local poster around, which bafflingly touts a negative pull quote from New York Post critic Kyle Smith. Alexandre Aja, best known for his horror work, directs an adaptation of the 2006 Liz Jensen novel about a doctor unraveling the mysteries of a young boy who had a near-fatal accident.


This animated feature comes to us from France, and it tells the story of an orphan girl who travels to Paris and assumes the identity of another person in her pursuit of her dream of becoming a ballerina. It probably only sounds creepy, and presumably doesn’t actually involve this orphan girl abducting another aspiring ballerina in order to take her place.

At Cinema ’76:

Cinema ’76 continues to deny children of laughs and happiness by showing films from the most recent Metro Manila Film Festival. Check out their full schedule on their Facebook page.

At the UP Film Center:

Cinema One Originals is making their annual stop at the State University. We particularly recommend Keith Deligero’s Lily, which is a delightfully off-kilter film that is sort of about a wrong wife seeking revenge against her delinquent husband. Sort of. Their full schedule is on their website.