I started having doubts about Guni Guni (Hallucinations) when I first saw the trailer on the cinema (it showed almost every important scene in the movie already). More so when I checked out the badly edited poster of the film, which was later revealed to be patterned after a 2009 horror Alone. Still, to support the local industry, I gave it the benefit of the doubt. I should’ve listened to my instincts instead.
Mylene Castro (Lovi Poe) is a struggling medicine student who lives in a boarding house owned by Tatay Nanding (Jaime Fabregas), an old man who has the strange habit of burying fresh meat in a certain portion on his lawn, and talking to his dead son. Mylene sees the world in black and white, with practicality winning out over emotions at any given opportunity. Aside from her troubles with money, she is embittered when her boyfriend of one year turns out to be an a**hole and her mother goes crazy, yammering about her “sister” whom nobody knows about. When dopplegangers begin to haunt the boarding house, causing deaths to its occupants, Mylene’s best friend Joanna (Empress Schuck) and her ex boyfriend Paolo (Benjamin Alves) try to figure out the mystery surrounding the supernatural events at the house.
Whatever potential that Guni Guni had faded from the first few moments with the wooden acting of its lead star Lovi Poe. The lengthy opening should have been an indication that the entire thing was going to be long and boring, but still, there was no going back. In order to give a fair review, I had the finish the entire thing. But mind you, the agony does not stop there as one begins to realize as the story progresses that not only was the poster concept copied but the rest of the movie as well.
The script was basically a composite of the Thai film Alone (where the poster was copied) and The Unborn, except that individually, the two films made sense. Guni Guni copied the concept of the dopplegangers’ eyes, as well as the idea of the dybbuk (malevolent spirit with no form) from the Unborn except it did not even bother to explain why the eyes were pale (worse, the prosthetics seemed like foil wrappers found on cigarette packaging) or bother to do decent CGI when warranted.
The movie also patterned the concept of the conjoined twins from Alone, which just made the entire thing worse. Its too bad that the posters were eerily similar but the story too? Its just ridiculous.
I could try to understand that that the concept was pattered after other movies. Ideas can be recycled after all, but I guess it is only permissible when there is something to be added to the original idea. But there was no attempt to go the extra mile. There was no intent to go beyond what the audiences have seen before. Compounding this sin is that the execution was inferior to the original material from which it was derived. As a result, the movie was like a rusty old roof that needed patching. The questions continue to leak through the haphazard storytelling, and the filmmakers simply assumed that the audiences will fill the gaps themselves. It was also riddled with cliches from start to finish making me want to gag half the time. It was so bad it was not even entertaining.
Guni Guni was a nightmare from start to finish. It was a challenge to stay awake for its duration. While it was not the worst movie that I’ve seen, it comes pretty close to the bottom of the barrel. Its such a shame, because a few tweaks in the movie would have made it great, just a few details that the filmmakers were too busy to pay attention to and in the end, the movie suffered entirely. And this smacks of utter disrespect to the moviegoing public. Tsk tsk.