“Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah dela Cruz” (The Possession of Leah dela Cruz)–from the title itself, it’s already a no-brainer that this is a demon possession type of horror movie and it’s quite inevitable to compare it with the Hollywood film “The Exorcist.” I know you already fixed your mind about the things we can expect from this film like the girl being possessed by demons, a priest who will struggle with the exorcism, an investigator who will look for practical clues in the supposedly supernatural situation, and other characters who will contribute to the “whys” of the mystery. But there’s more to it than the horror cliche.
The film revolves around the story of Leah dela Cruz (portrayed by young actress Shy Carlos), a seemingly disturbed young woman who one day jumps out of a balcony. Ruth (Sarah Lahbati), a recently-relieved police officer because of a mishap, witnessed what happened to Leah and bows to investigate the mysteries surrounding the girl in the provincial town of Dalisay. Gabriel (Julian Trono), Leah’s boyfriend, joins Ruth in searching for answers.
Leah’s parents Oscar and Marite are having friction in their relationship as Leah’s dark behavior worsens. They are blaming their long-time maid, the superstitious Rosario for influencing Leah; and the school guidance counselor, Sister Eloiza, who once belonged to a cult but became a confidant to Leah.
Father Lucas (Jim Paredes), the local parish priest, seems to hold a secret that could help unravel the mysteries but something is keeping him mum about it. As the investigation takes a darker turn, Ruth must connect the pieces of the puzzle in time or she must face the demon herself.
Director Katski Flores frames the film in such a way that the viewers will be more interested in the serious questions at hand rather than making “Pagsanib” a scarefest in the tradition of Mother Lily’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll.” But if your objective in watching this film is to get scared, “Pagsanib” can deliver because unlike other movies that tackle fictional monsters, this one magnifies the presence of demons and the fact that they are real will scare you even after watching this film.
A contrast in the performances of Sarah Lahbati and Shy Carlos is brilliant, it provides an eerie vision of darkness that pumps the viewer’s interest to the other characters as well. Supporting actors Julian Trono, Jim Paredes, Angelina Canapi, Michael Rivero and Olive Nieto each contributed to the suspense build-up of the story.
Technical-wise, the film’s subdued editing and dark-toned cinematography amplify the film’s sense of suspense and mystery. The sound editing and score are superb.
Graded B by the Cinema Evaluation Board and Rated R-13 without cuts by MTRCB, “Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz” is set open in cinemas nationwide on June 28, 2017.
Watch the film’s full trailer below: