Quick Take: Da One That Ghost Away

Here’s the thing. I’ve seen Kim Chiu in much better roles. Ryan Bang is no slouch either, as evident in his breakout role in My Ex and Whys. Moi Bien dare I say was a contender for Best Supporting Actress for 2017’s Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha. So that leaves us a question: Why on earth were their talents wasted in this kind of film?

Carmel Monseratt (Kim Chiu) and her group of swindlers make a living out of pretending to drive away ghosts from haunted houses. In desperate need for money, she accepts an assignment that risks revealing her fraudulent ways.

While Carmel’s intentions are venerable, it does not excuse her one-upping her unsuspecting customers. But all throughout the story, her behavior is being tolerated and encouraged, even justified. It doesn’t help that Carmel’s best friend Jeje (Ryan Bang) is head over heels in love with her, giving in to her dicey request to accept the assignment. He joins the long list of weak leading men this year, from Felix and Gary in Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes to Noah of My Fairy Tale Love Story. What makes Jeje worse is that he has legitimate qualms about the whole situation but is silenced and deemed selfish.

Problematic themes aside, the movie doesn’t stand up as a horror-comedy, being devoid of any scares or actual danger. Humor bounces between being offensive and slapstick. How many times should you punch and slap Ryan Bang or make it a point that he’s way below Kim Chiu’s league to illicit some laughs? Take a look at Shake Rattle and Roll X’s Nieves episode for horror-comedy done right. Like Carmel, Nieves is a perky heroine placed in some ridiculous situations but whose heart is in the right place.

With no compelling story and missing some real hook, there are only two words to describe the entire film: senseless and soulless. I’m surprised this movie even reached our theaters in this state. It’s a shame as there’s potential in there somewhere — the history of the two lolas is quite interesting, for example. A few edits and tweaks here and there would have made it much better. Or perhaps I expected too much.

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