Saturday, October 23, 2010

White House (2010)

By Reymundo Salao

In White House, a Reality TV Show challenges its 6 contestants to stay in the White House for five days, but it looks like all of them may not even survive a single night on it, when they are being killed by the entity that haunts the place. On their side is a spiritual psychic who seeks to interpret the hauntings and hopes to save not only the contestants, but the soul of her daughter as well.

At the beginning of the movie, there are documentary-style interviews shown about the hauntings in this White House in Baguio, implying that what is about to be portrayed in the movie is based on actual accounts or well-researched facts. Yet when you finally get into the meat of the storyline, it all ends up being suspiciously nothing more than Hollywood rip-off fictionalization. To create a cartoonish fantasy about real places and real people (a badly-made fantasy at that) is just plain disrespectful.

Topel Lee's White House reeks of clich├ęs, filled with cardboard stereotype characters. Predictable, one-dimensional and childishly-conceived. You could tell that the characters are lifeless because they are put into the movie's dramatic situation and they never really act out like they were in there, except for what is programmed by its poorly-conceived script.

Nobody acts realistically conscious about being inside a Big Brother-type "haunted house", nobody kids around about the fact that they are supposed to be scared by this contest, nobody questions if that kid (the kid character who is the brother of the probinsyana) is qualified for the reality TV contest, nobody gives a reference if there are actual rules, precautions, and objectives of the supposed Reality Show. Basic little details are absent to make the movie coherent and sensible.

Common Sense is also absent. If it's supposed to be about a reality show on a haunted house, it is obvious that they should have more than one back-up camera around. Likewise, there should be numerous security personnel and first aid medic teams ready to burst in at the slightest instance of real danger also. That is the problem with mainstream film-makers; they assume their common folk audience to be ignorant. When in fact, their common folk audience is way smarter than that.

Topel Lee has no sense of creativity in this film; everything in this movie feels like it is ripping off old overused lousy techniques in horror. He likes to rely on visual effects and jump scares. Jump-scares are always cheap. And in mainstream tagalog horror flicks, this is extremely overused, to the point that its nauseating.

The direction here has no sense of timing. It was too eager to scare you before it could even create a build-up. It is too desperate to show some neat camera tricks; sure some of the visual work may be impressive; but it is nothing if it does not come with a good build-up or a good storyline and directing.

All in all, WHITE HOUSE is nothing more than the same garbage that makes mainstream Tagalog horror films extremely embarrassing. Another movie that adds more stink to the reputation of local mainstream cinema.


GreatKeyser said...

(Posted on Click the City)

I liked Sarah's portrayal of her character, and Iza's of hers. I also liked the bit of flesh Lovi showed, and Maricar...period. Other than these, I agree 99% with Reymundo Salao's review. I said 99% because it lacked all the expletives necessary to show my disgust.

I bleeping hated that Gabby is portraying an 'ispiritista' role while dressed and looking like an Amboy you could meet in Duty Free. He's supposed to exorcise the house because he believes it imposes danger to the reality show contestants. So did he? Pretty bleeping much, without exerting serious effort to make the contestants leave first. He intended to confront the spirits, and confront them he bleeping will even if it meant meddling in a reality show. (Hi, Ma! I'm on TV!)

Angel is Gabby's wife--wife of an 'ispiritista'--who simply happens to 'not get it' when told to bleeping stay outside the house. She's married to an ispiritista, what part of 'Haunted house do not enter' did she not understand?

Megan's character development started in a car. It also ended there. I actually feel bleeping stupid for trying to compose a detailed review about a movie as bad as this one.

In the end, Mo Twister got possessed by the demon/evil spirit. Now ain't that redundancy?!?

The biggest, gravest, stupidest, most destructive yet most often mistake Pinoy moviemakers make is they always dumb down their audience...always! Second to it is they simply can't limit their 'fx' to one or at least a few. Their movies are always a product catalogue of CGI effects. Why???

I bleeping loathe these filmmakers. They're just so bad they should be stoned to death.

Reymundo said...

hehehehe yeah, it does need the expletives :)
thanks for the comment :)