Deleter: Movie Review

I was totally psyched to finally see Mikhail Red’s Deleter on Amazon Prime because I missed its regular theater run last December due to COVID. I must admit that I raised my expectations a bit because it dominated the Metro Manila Film Festival in 2022 and received rave reviews from critics. Moral lesson: I should have managed by expectations better.

Synopsis: Lyra (Nadine Lustre) works as a content moderator for a company operating clandestinely in a high rise in the city. When one of her co-workers jumps to her death, she is haunted by her ghost for unknown reasons.

Deleter sets out to invest in the build up to a major twist in the end. It takes its sweet time to leave breadcrumbs to a grand reveal in the finale. Unfortunately, the breadcrumbs lead to a dead end, and this is why its so frustrating.

Building the tension with an excellent performance from its lead stars Nadine Lustre and Louise delos Reyes, the movie successfully sets the tone at the beginning with an eerie musical score and close to perfect cinematography by Nikolas Red. Every scene is perfectly framed and despite the darkness, visually arresting.

The movie hinges everything on its lead star’s performance. The close ups were testaments to director Mikhail Red’s confidence in Nadine’s ability to deliver on the character of Lyra from her stoic acceptance of her work, to her cavalier response to being haunted. This was a woman who looked fear in the face and lives constantly in its shadow, and this was her story as much as her dead colleague Aileen’s.

However, apart from these strengths, the film seemingly grasps as straws with tons of fillers and flashbacks that did not really lead to a substantial connection.

Deleter was pretty humdrum at best. It was snail paced and deliberate but it didn’t really deliver on the promised payoff. As it turned out, the reveal was fairly predictable — nothing at all as what audiences were led to expect.

Deleter was pretty boring, honestly. It relied on periodic jump scares to keep the audiences awake and apart from a handful of professional actors, the supporting cast could all have been extras for the level of performance they delivered. Everybody either overacted or underacted save for the security guard Axel. It was that bad.

It would have been great if the story added another layer, just to connect the ending to the phrase Hindi ka na makakatakas dito (You can never escape), or Lyra’s backstory. As it stands, it simply recycled the premise of Shutter and delivered a sub par take on Lyra’s version of hell.

All in all, Deleter had some great moments but it was not enough to offset the frustration of a subpar story that relied on hype and not substance. The one good thing that came out of it though is that it seems that Nadine has finally found another niche. Horror suits her well, in particular, psychological thrillers. Her acting plum for her performance was well deserved, I should say.