A film that throws you back into a certain time presenting the causes of a person’s recent behavior is always genuinely interesting. It’s like getting to know someone by reading his mind. The indie film director/actor Wincy Aquino Ong gives us that power through flashbacks on his film “San Lazaro“.

Limuel and Sigfried, estranged childhood friends, journey to the remote town of San Lazaro to ask an infamous faith healer for help in saving the life of Limuel’s brother, who becomes possessed by a secret-eater spirit.

One may expect “San Lazaro” to be a horror film but that’s the genre Ong refused to focus on. It could have actually been a great supernatural ghost/exorcist story. The black man in tuxedo gives chills even without the cheap “jump-out” scare sound effect which is evident on the sequence where he walked behind Limuel (Ramon Bautista). Sorry for the spoiler! It’s like one of those awesome creepy tactics James Wan infuses on his atmospheric horror films (see: Insidious).

San Lazaro movie is basically a road film with dark elements. There’s a bit of black-humour, horror and a bizarre atmosphere that will make you think about where the film is going to take you – despite the obvious, San Lazaro. The film is referred to as a horror comedy but it’s baffling especially halfway through their journey because it will feel like a hodgepodge of genres. There’s supernatural horror, some psychological  aspects and dramedy. And it’s so hard to tell whether the film actually makes sense or not. At some point you couldn’t really tell what the protagonists’ personal problems have to do with delivering a possessed guy to a faith healer. The story is simple but is stirred with flashbacks which may or may not be necessary. However, the best thing about San Lazaro is that it stands out to be an original movie.

Ong did try to pull out his best in acting but there are few annoying moments when he indulges on what is now fondly called “elevator acting“. It’s like he was being possessed when he raises his voice. The one who got possessed though delivered an exquisite performance. Kudos Nicco Manalo! Not only for being ridiculously possessed but for his dramatic chops. Ramon Bautista is amusing and interesting all at the same time.

Editing is seamless so I guess all in all the movie is worth it. A road movie that drives you full speed into the realm where oddly interesting characters try to make you sit through a one and a half hour flick. It’s also one of those films where you just take in all the strange things being thrown at you. That was quite a twisty and epic way to resolve the conflict which made the film a two thumbs up for me!

Check out the trailer below: