WE’RE not even sure if the global corona pandemic would be over by December but, nevertheless, the Metro Manila Filmfest Screening committee has already chosen four scripts that will be the first four official entries in the annual December festival. These are Regal Films’ “Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan” directed by Chito Rono, Christian Acuna’s “Magikland” (the last film of the late Peque Gallaga which is now in post-production), “Praybeyt Benjamin 3” (ABS-CBN Film Productions Inc./Viva Communications Inc.) starring Vice Ganda and “The Exorcism of My Siszums” (Tincan Productions), starring sisters Toni and Alex Gonzaga, directed by Fifth Solomon.
Among the four entries, the most promising is “Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan” and we’re happy for Mother Lily and Roselle Monteverde because last year, they failed to make it in the annual filmfest. This is a horror film and we can be sure it will give us a good scare as Director Chito Rono has a good track record in making effective horror flicks like “Feng Shui”, “Sukob” and “The Healing”.
“Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan” is based on the best selling mystery novel by hit maker Bob Ong whose previous works, “Aba Nakakabasa Na Pala Ako” and “Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin” were also filmed by Viva Films.
This is the biggest break of Joshua Garcia as he is going solo and this will prove if he could now stand on his own minus his usual ka-love team, Julia Barretto, who left him for “Between Maybes” with Gerald Anderson, and we all know what happened during its filming.
The book is written like the narrator’s diary. Joshua plays the narrator, Galo, an engineering student in Manila who goes home to their province to be with his sick grandma who raised him. This is Mama Susan, played by Angie Ferro (whose career was revived in the award-winning indie film "Lola Igna"), a member of a creepy religious group whose weird members have a weekly meeting in her house that’s full of statues of different saints.
His Lola eventually dies, but while he’s looking after her remains, she suddenly stands up and walks toward him. Supporting Joshua and Angie in the movie are Melissa Mendez and Ricardo Cepeda as his aunt and uncle in Manila, child star Rhed Bustamante, and Patrick Quiroz, Kelvin Miranda, MIko Gallardo and Henz Villaraiz as his barkada.