Pridyider: A Review

I’m always excited to see Filipino horror movies. My brother and I always take time to see them in the cinema during its first week of screening to support the industry and see how they fare against Hollywood and Asian features. When we learned that Regal Films was going to develop a continuation of Pridyider, which was originally an episode in the first installment of the Shake Rattle and Roll (SRR) franchise, we did not waste time in hunting down the original in order to get the full experience in watching the 2012 sequel.

Basically, the original Pridyider, released in 1984, starred Janice de Belen as Virgie, a teenager who moves into a new house with her mother (Charito Solis). Things start to get hairy when their maid and her boyfriend both die and the evidence points to the refrigerator as the culprit. As it turns out, the previous owner of the house was a serial killer who used the fridge to store the bodies of his victims and when he died, his spirit remained with the appliance. In the 2012 version, Tina (Andi Eigenmann) returns to her abandoned family home after 20 years in the US to find her roots. She wants to start fresh in the Philippines and learn what truly happened to her parents, an issue in which she has been kept in the dark by her aunt since she was a kid. When she starts to hallucinate (much like Charito Solis’s character in the first movie) about deaths caused by the refrigerator (and learns what truly went down with her parents), she calls her childhood friend and love interest Jimboy (JM de Guzman), as well as her nosy neighbors Celine (Venus Raj) and her gay maid (Bekimon) for help.

I think Priyider was a decent horror movie. Starting off, it already had a solid following with the Shake Rattle and Roll franchise and in a brilliant move, got Janice de Belen (who was cast in the original version) to take on the role of Tina’s mother, a novelty in itself. Joel Torre, who also appeared in a separate episode of the 1st SRR took on the role of Tina’s father.

Technically, the effects were good — not yet Hollywood level but heads and shoulders ahead of its contemporaries. Filmmakers also incorporated details from the original and added a few updates such as slug-like tentacles as part of the ref’s arsenal. They also added a few details to the refrigerator to make it look older and more menacing. I for one, appreciated the severed heads and the assorted body parts placed inside the ref for good measure. My only comment would have to be the need to be more creative with the designs of the monsters because again, it looked quite similar to creatures earlier released by Hollywood (Tremors, The Feast, The Descent).

There were also some inconsistencies like how come the interior of the house seemed well maintained and modern despite the long period of time that the house was closed down, as well as some minor hiccups with the lighting. But these do not impact the movie overall so its really no big deal.

Acting wise, the casting for this movie was a mixed bag. Andi as a lead actress was able to carry her role well enough, and the supporting cast, mainly Janice de Belen and Joel Torre were great in their respective roles. JM de Guzman was also a good addition to this movie. This guy has smolder down to a science, and provided most of the kilig moments of the film. He delivered his lines effortlessly and casually, seeming to balance his boy next door character with the general sense of urgency in the movie. Venus Raj, being a newcomer in the acting game needs a lot more work in the delivery of her lines. While most of her dialogue was intended to be light, she seemed a bit uptight and conscious of herself all the time, defeating the humor that her dialogue was supposed to bring to the table. Good thing Bekimon, who played her maid was very funny.

Actually, what I felt was missing from the film was the concrete connection with the first movie. The 2012 version never mentioned the first name of Janice de Belen’s character and referred to her only as Mrs. Benitez. Was she supposed to be the same person she was in the original movie? If so, did the events in the first movie affect her actions in the second one? If the 2012 Pridyider was intended to be a continuation, then there should have been a connection, some mention or reference to the original but as it stands, this version and the SRR episode in 1984 could have been standalones save for the fact that de Belen both starred in them. Such a shame because I was looking forward to the link between the two movies. It would have been cool to have a sequel done 18 years after the original.

Pridyider is the type of movie that needs to be seen with a tub of popcorn, a  large softdrink, and a posse of friends. It is not the type of pretentious horror that masquerades as a psychological thriller with endless twists and turns. It simply aims to scare and creep out its audience with monsters and demons, prosthetics and CGI and it manages to do that to a certain degree. All in all, an entertaining watch.