Pridyider is an enigma. It offers an interesting story, strong lead actors, and amazing set pieces but there are some elements that might test the viewer's patience.
Pridyider is the re-imagining of Ishmael Bernal's classic episode of the same name, included in the first Shake, Rattle & Roll movie.
The only link between the two is a haunted refrigerator since the stories are widely different.
The 1984 version has this plot: a haunted refrigerator is attracted to a young girl named Virgie (Janice de Belen), and the bulky appliance ends up gobbling Virgie and some of her friends.
The 2012 spin-off tells the story of Tina (Andi Eigenmann), a balikbayan from the U.S. who goes home to the Philippines to open a restaurant. Tina lives in an empty house formerly owned by her parents who mysteriously disappeared while she was growing up. The house contains an antique refrigerator that seems to lust for blood. Tina must solve the mystery of the refrigerator before she gets eaten.
While the original Pridyider segment has sexual undertones, this new movie dabbles in pure evil. This change leads to a more marketable theme that's easier to direct and put to film. Focusing on evil helps director Rico Ilarde show his monsters in full fashion, helping him ramp up the scare-meter even more.
The film makes use of excellent CGI (computer generated imagery) to create the monsters: there are tentacles, animated decapitated heads, walking appendages, and more. It also helps to set up memorable sets, like a wall of talking heads in the film's climax.
Production chose a great actress to play the nemesis. This time, Janice de Belen returns as a woman who makes a pact with the devil. Janice is very believable, and her mere presence evokes fear. Even a picture of her in an old album is enough to give you chills.
Lead actress Andi Eigenmann gives a complex-yet-subdued performance, with equal parts vulnerability, toughness, and seduction. She carries the movie afloat, even in its dull moments.
JM de Guzman does fairly well as Andi's love interest. Still, you'd wish he has more to do than just stand around waiting to save the girl in trouble.
Through this movie, Joel Torre and Ronnie Lazaro show why they are considered some of the most reliable actors in the industry. Joel gives a restrained performance while Ronnie is a scene-stealer as a one-eyed police inspector.
Sadly, good acting does not trickle down to most of the supporting actors, particularly Venus Raj and Bekimon, who both portray Tina's neighbors. Their goofy antics do nothing but distract from the film's dark tone.
While the film's elements are generally remarkable, the storytelling could use some help. It started strong when it revealed the secret of the refrigerator at the start of the film, but several inconsistencies halfway into the film might distract moviegoers. The patience of the attentive viewer may be tested by these inconsistencies.
For one, it is questionable why Tina just junked a new refrigerator that stopped working instead of calling the shop for service warranty. For another thing, some characters ignore the danger posed by the refrigerator. When Venus and Bekimon's characters witness the refrigerator's evil up close, they continue to stay in the area, even watching a movie and eating popcorn across the house where the evil appliance is located.
Yet these blunders do not detract from the goal of Pridyider: it wants to scare its viewers, and it does that successfully numerous times. You have to see it on the big screen.
Produced by Regal Films, Pridyider is is directed by Rico Ilarde. It is now showing nationwide.