Before Seklusyon is shown to audiences in the Philippines, this horror film will have its world premiere in Macau on December 11, 2016.
Topbilled by Ronnie Alonte, Dominic Roque, and other stars, this movie directed by Erik Matti is the only horror entry in the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival.
It took Reality Entertainment two and a half years to develop the script of this movie that shows what happens when deacons battle with demons prior to their ordination as full-fledged priests.
Seklusyon is the lone Philippine entry to the non-competition Hidden Dragons section of the International Film Festival and Awards Macao (IFFAM).
The Hidden Dragons section is comprised of "six films representing the latest trends in contemporary Asian genre cinema," as described by The Hollywood Reporter.
Who are the Seklusyon stars who will join the world premiere in Macau?
"We're bringing Neil Ryan Sese, Dominic Roque, and Phoebe Walker," revealed Direk Erik during his solo press con at the Reality Entertainment office last December 5.
The filmmaker also explained his other reason for attending the film fest in Macau:
"Aside from that, we are presenting another project wherein we are looking for financing, which involves two big stars sa Pilipinas as co-producer.
"We're looking for additional money because it's an expensive movie. We will be doing the film mid-year [in 2017]."
NUDITY IN INTERNATIONAL VERSION. It was disclosed that there will be two versions of this MMFF 2016 entry: the Philippine version and international version.
When asked for the differences between the two, Direk Erik pointed out: "The international cut is a lot more...a lot stronger.
"Mas matapang siya, mas matapang ang dugo, mas matapang ang kalaswaan."
Is it true that there will be frontal nudity in the international version?
Direk Erik laughed heartily before answering, "Yung movie...the local cut is PG [Parental Guidance]. We’re going for PG. We have MTRCB in the next few days so hanggang dun na lang."
He was referring to the fact that their movie will be submitted to the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board so that it can be given its rating.
When asked again if the movie will feature nudity, Direk Erik confirmed, "Meron, pero nasa international cut yun kasi dito, baka hindi rin pumasa, e."
However, he did not disclose who among the stars had nude scenes.
PARANORMAL EVENTS WHILE FILMING. When the cast and crew shot this horror film in Pililla, Rizal, they had otherworldy experiences that could not be explained.
"It’s an empty house, tinayo siya ng may-ari. Almost buo na agad, kumpleto na lahat, may pintuan," said Direk Erik about the film's location.
"Except that right before they completed the house, they realized walang pagkukuhanan ng tubig doon sa lugar. Isolated, e, sobrang lawak ng lupa.
"They abandoned the house and they left it."
As part of their set design, they filled the house with huge statues of saints.
"We had to fill up the place with full-sized na mga santo. And our art department who’s practically sleeping there every day...they would always see people either grabbing the hand, may mga naputol na kamay ng santo tapos nakikita nila nawawala yung kamay, tas binalik na.
Aside from this, they also had experiences with doppelgangers (German for “double-walker”), which are paranormal duplicates of a real person.
The director narrated: "Yung anak ko na sumasama sama siya [sa set]. Estudyante pa lang yung anak ko so sumasama sama siya sa shoot.
"There were times people saw her going downstairs pero nandun talaga siya sa may standby area."
He also said that there's no electricity in the house, which is why the are was pitch-black.
"The one that lights the whole place is a generator na dala-dala namin.
"Everyone’s trying to stay together each time na may magpapalit ng cable. Ayaw nila lumingon kasi baka mamaya, pag tingin mo wala na katabi mo or pagtingin mo iba na pala katabi mo. Because when it's dark, it’s really dark, yung bahay."
Seklusyon will be shown from December 25, 2016 to January 7, 2017. The awards night of 42nd edition of the MMFF is set on December 29, 2016.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM SEKLUSYON. It is said that the last seven days before ordination is the most dangerous for deacons. The devil will haunt and tempt them out of priesthood so the church sends them into a strict house of seclusion where they will be kept safe and far from wordly desires.
When a little girl reputed to be a "messenger of God" and a nun, serving as her guardian enters, rules of the house are broken one by one as each deacon faces their demons in a battle to guard their faith.
Erik Matti's latest horror thriller, Seklusyon, blurs the line between faith and agnosticism. The Bible said that God comes in many forms. So does the devil. What you see may not always be what it seems.
Set in 1947, Seklusyon revolves around four deacons (played by Dominic Roque, John Vic de Guzman, J.R. Versales, and Ronnie Alonte) who are sent to a seclusion house where they are haunted by their own personal demons.
Further wrecking havoc in their already disturbing situation is a mysterious nun (Phoebe Walker) and a young girl with miraculous healing powers (Rhed Bustamante) who soon joined them in their seclusion.
The faith of the four deacons are tested to its limits. To what extent will the devil play with their resolve? What if the deacons cannot resist the devil?
What will happen to Anghela who is investigated by another priest (Neil Ryan Sese) for possible canonization? Is she really safe under the care of her seemingly controlling guardian Sister Cecilia?
Also starring Lou Veloso, Elora Espano, Jerry O'Hara, and Teroy Guzman, Seklusyon is penned by screenwriter Anton Santamira.
Seklusyon draws some inspiration from classic demonic possession movies such as The Omen and The Exorcist but its biggest influence is Vesuvius, Direk Erik's 2012 short film about a man who saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary that went on to instruct him to do unspeakable, criminal acts.
(To stay updated about the latest news about the MMFF, visit http://www.pep.ph/guide/mmff)