Written by Mikhail Red, Rae Red and Mariah Reodica and directed by Mikhail Red Eerie is a 2018 horror / crime-drama that has been getting a lot of buzz as of late due to it recently being released on Netflix and some people claiming to require the need of night-lights upon its viewing.
I’ve seen a lot of horror movies…a lot of horror movies. Enough to know that truly scary ones are a rare breed. When people claim that a new horror flick is ‘super scary’ I take it with a truckload of salt. With Eerie for a few moments I actually thought we might have the genuine article on our hands…then the first ‘scary scene’ manifested and the silly jump scares began. I resigned myself to the idea that this may not be one of the greats but that perhaps it would at least be enjoyable.
The film takes place at a “Premiere” all-girls Catholic school called St. Lucia. A trouble student named Erika Sayco apparently hung herself in the bathroom (thanks Erika, that was very thoughtful of you) leaving an atmosphere where some of the girls are terrified to even go to the bathroom by themselves. With good reason, such an endeavor can lead to an untimely death it seems and this has put the institution in a state of increased tension.
Bea Alonzo (One More Chance, 2007) plays the school’s guidance counselor, Pat Consolacion (Yes, she’s a guidance counselor whose last name is consolation). I’m not sure where the trope of the hip, I know what your going through, let me hold your hair back while you vomit, so relatable counselor bit came from but it is used to full effect here.
‘Miss Pat’ keeps all the deep, dark secrets nice and safe and will even hold onto your drugs so you can pass inspections safely. Pat does have a few added twists to her character that make her stand out, a little, she has a slight case of OCD and oh yes, she sees dead people. Pat is so good (or perhaps bad) at her job that students who no longer draw breath (or possess a circulatory system) drop by for tete-a-tetes quite frequently.
We follow Pat as she uses her position and special skills to investigate what is going on. Dead girls appear before Pat in unnecessarily dramatic ways, weeping and behaving erratically. Pat wants to know who is killing them but of course if these spirits spoke up immediately they would end the film prematurely so they are spectacularly obtuse and uncooperative for the sake of the script.
When the time is right one of these ghosts finally spills the beans on what is going on and why it is happening. The reasoning behind all this will likely cause some to roll their eyes in familiarity, I certainly rolled mine. There was nothing original in the reveal but I will give them credit for using an antagonist mechanism we don’t often see, even if the execution was fairly lackluster.
The movie ends on an even more eye-rolling trope as we are uncomfortably reminded that the people behind this film have seen all the horror movies we have and imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I suppose.
Eerie attempts to tap into disturbing imagery like we’ve seen in films like The Ring and The Grudge often they come off as exactly as they were, pale imitations. Oddly enough, what works best in the film are the in-betweens. The establishing shots where we see the girls migrating to and fro before solemn religious iconography. Their blank stares as they engage in their perfunctory repertoire is more disturbing that any of the apparitions the film haphazardly hurls our way.
It’s a shame, as the atmosphere is adequately set for truly terrifying moments but for one reason or another Red (Mikhail Red) never seems capable of maintaining these high points when delivering the punchlines, which generally miss, often spectacularly. Red’s visual scare techniques are finite, so once you know what they are they become as predictable as the sunrise. This is one of the reasons why jump scares are ultimately cheap and disposable horror elements. They lack staying power, unlike those used in say, movies like Rosemary’s Baby or The Shining, whose horror elements are eternal.
Still, you get the feeling that if the director could manage to land the visual crescendos with moments of genuine terror and not camp they’d have themselves a real classic on their hands. Reel it in Red, there are other, better ways to scare people.
Ultimately Eerie is a hodgepodge of more competent, scarier films resulting in a less impressive, though not terrible offering.
Special mention must also go to the folks who created the subtitles for the film. Some blame definitely must be shuttered your way. Bad dialogue can kill the mood of a scene like any other film component and I’m pretty sure “I’ll be forced to suspended you” isn’t an accurate translation…in any language. C’mon guys, do better.
I’m not sure where the hype for this film emanated but after seeing the movie myself it certainly smells manufactured. This is an ‘okay’ horror-drama with more misses than hits. As for being so scary one has to sleep with the lights on…I see no reason what-so-ever to spend more money on your electric bill this month.
Feel free to turn off the lights.
3 out of 5 stars
Eerie Propaganda Rating
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised given that this is Netflix that, for one of the characters in this tale, growth meant a weakening of their religious principles. I’m only surprised that the film didn’t introduce gay or lesbian scenarios as well. Oh wait, what’s this? One of the characters is framed into performing a ‘gay act’ but it is also brief and there is no nudity.
Fairly low in propaganda…safe to consume!
Eerie starring Bea Alonzo, Charo Santos-Concio, Jake Cuenca, Maxene Magalona, Mary Joy Apostol, Gabby Padilla and Gillian Vicencio is currently streaming on Netflix