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‘Seklusyon’ Blurs the Line Between Faith and Disbelief

It is said that the last seven days before ordination is the most dangerous for deacons. The devil will haunt and tempt these young men out of priesthood. So in the old days, the church would send them into a house of seclusion where they will be kept safe and far from temptation. But when a little girl reputed to be a “messenger of God” enters the same seclusion house, the rules of the house are broken one by one as each deacon must ultimately face their own demons in a battle between good and evil.

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Erik Matti’s latest horror thriller Seklusyon, blurs the line between faith and agnosticism. The Bible says that God comes in many forms; but so does the devil so what you see may not always be what it seems.

Set in 1947, Seklusyon introduces us to a world where the four deacons (played by promising young actors Ronnie Alonte, Dominic Roque and newcomers JohnVic De Guzman and J.R. Versales) sent to the seclusion house are haunted by their own personal demons.

Further wreaking havoc in their already disturbing situation is the mysterious Madre Cecilia (Phoebe Walker) and a young girl with miraculous healing powers (Rhed Bustamante). Both nun and orphan are sent by the church to the same seclusion house where the deacons are stationed after the young girl’s parents are found dead.

Although identified with several other genres, Matti is no stranger to the horror genre, having directed the TV series, Kagat ng Dilim and the critically-acclaimed Pa-Siyam which began a trend of superstitious-themed thrillers and remains regarded by critics as one of the best horror films of the new millennium.

The acclaimed director of riveting crime dramas On The Job and Honor Thy Father have also helmed the equally well-received horror fantasy, Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles and its sequel, Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2.

In Seklusyon penned by screenwriter Anton Santamaria and inspired by Matti’s 2012 short film, Vesuvius, the faith of the four deacons are tested to its limits. To what extent will the devil play with their resolve? What if the deacons could not resist the devil?

And what about the young Anghela who is being investigated by another priest (Neil Ryan Sese)? Is she really safe under the care of her seemingly controlling guardian Madre Cecilia?

The fact that most of Seklusyon takes place inside the claustrophobic confines of an isolated house in a remote location amplifies the terror tenfold. A setting where there is virtually no escape offers plenty of terrifying possibilities.

Also starring are veteran actors Lou Veloso, Elora Españo, Jerry O’ Hara, and Teroy Guzman, “Seklusyon” is the official entry of Reality Entertainment in the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival that opens on Christmas Day, December 25. It is the only horror film entry in this year’s festival and is produced by the tandem of Erik Matti and Dondon Monteverde.

The film recently held its world premiere at the non-competition Hidden Dragons section of the 1st International Film Festival & Awards Macau (IFFAM) last December 11 as the lone Philippine entry.

Check out highlights from the film’s premiere night below:

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