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Pssst... Pssst... The Engkantofication of a Malaysian Superstar

T2. What an odd name for a local horror movie. At first I thought It's Terminator 2. I even confused it with the motor oil 2T. It was only days before Holy Week when the trailers and plugs started referring to it as Tenement 2. When we watched it last weekend, we wondered where's Tenement 2, or if there's even a real housing project with that name Maybe there is, because we always see Tenement on bus signboards going south. Haha.

We watched this movie on Black Saturday. Mika dela Cruz, Angelika's Goin' Bulilit sister who's the movie's Angeli the eye-staring girl was there in SM North Edsa Cinema 5 with us to watch. Well she's not "with us" like "Hey Mika care for some popcorn?" but she was with us like "Hey isn't that Mika the T2 girl entering the theater. Come on let's have our picture taken!"

The opening scene, which I admittedly didn't get, is about a goat and a goathered. But since it's completely irrelevant (at least to me), let's just forget it happened. Maricel Soriano is a travel agent who's also a volunteer for a foundation looking for homes who'll take in orphans. Her marriage to Derek Ramsay is on the rocks, and it drove her batshit crazy, scaring one orphan to tears with her crazy mood shifts. Good thing 1/3 Gwapings/Maria's driver Eric Fructuoso is there to slap her back to reality. "You do not face Derek Ramsay with that miserable weepy...face," he wisely tells Maria. And that shut her up and Derek bought Unlimited Call load from the tindahan so he can call Maria 24/7.

The engkantos, because they want to use Maria to bring Mika/ANgeli to T2 aka Engkanto kingdom, mislead Maria with series of unfortuante events that eventually lead her to the orphanage of Luka, the Okay Ka Fairy Ko super villainess, who's a nun in this movie. More unfortunate and erratic events lead Maria and the gang to T2, to cut the story short, with Maria in full use of her Nokia N73 with the robotic voice caller ID function (Beep! Jeremy! Beep! Jeremy!) And at T2, this is when all the engkanto incidents blow up in Maria's face.

The biggest surprise of this movie is the silent casting of John Lloyd as Angeli's father and Malaysian superstar Carmen Soo as the superstar Engkanto mom. Actually, there is quite a lot of surprise casting in this movie like Say Alonzo and her high skirt slits, Isay Alvarez and her magnificent acting, the whole RORO crew, and who could miss them... Evangeline Pascual's lips. K Brosas can make you roll in laughter by simply saying "Happy Birthday!" Camile Prats will amke you feel uncomfortable with her questionnable pleasantness. And JUlianna Palermo and Ynez Veneracion's prized guy is back here to be another scary dude in make-up just like his security guard character in Feng Shui. And also, our hats off to our favorite Playboy Bunny Tetchie Agbayani for being the requisite seemingly-insane-old-person-who-expalins-it-all. And clearly, ABS-CBN/Star Cinema has come a long way in terms of computer graphics and special effects since they launched the Sarimanok station ID and Hiraya Manawari from years back. Very believable! Although I got a little disappointed in the Engkanto world (Enkantadia?)'s very fantaserye/costume party look and feel.

Fright scenes and heart pounding moments considered, Feng Shui is still Chito Rono's master thesis but let's applaud him and the group for always tapping in the wealth of Filipino mythology and folklore for his scary movies (Spirit Warriors, Sukob, etc.). T2 is a brilliant mix of old beliefs and contemporary living, making the movie effective, relevant and interesting. Maricel Soriano, also, is still very real and reliable, delivering an acting masterclass without overpowering her screen partners. (Uy sumi-serious!) But yeah, if there's an award category for best on-screen tandem, Maria (Ate Claire) and Angeli should be nominated. Hahaha.