"Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz" Graded B by the CEB

"Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz," is a Filipino horror film by the same creators of the blockbuster movie, "Seklusyon." Initial offering of Lamikaze Pictures, a joint venture project of VIVA Films and Reality Entertainment produced by no other than, award-winning director Erik Matti and directed by Katski Flores. This serves as her comeback film. Graded B by the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB) and rate R-13 by the MTRB.

So what does it mean if a particular movie was rated "A" or "B" by the CEB? I've done my research and Wikipilipinas.org says, "The Board reviews and grades the quality of films that are to be shown to the public. It also awards tax incentives to films graded “A” and “B” as a way of encouraging Filipino filmmakers to produce more quality films and increase the international marketability of Philippine cinema." 

I guess, this is a better way of encouraging Filipino filmmakers to really make an effort to produce and create such quality films that can pass international standards as well. Goan thinking! Well anyway, having received such "B" grade, this movie "Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz," is one horror film to watch. 

Now for my review, the setting was within a local province. 

Sarah Lahbati
Sarah Lahbati plays Ruth Liwanag, a police officer facing an entity darker than she’s ever encountered. This is her big screen comeback after seven years.  Her last film was also a horror film called “White House”.   

Sarah Lahbati as Ruth Liwanag

Shortly after moving into a new town and still grieving over the death of her brother, Ruth witnesses a young woman named Leah (Shy Carlos) jump out of a balcony. Joining the investigation, she must piece together the lies and secrets of the people close to Leah before the demon takes hold of her.

Sarah expressed her excitement over this project with an instagram post of her photo with Erik Matti and Katski Flores, whom she called “veteran director” and “genius director”, respectively.  She captioned it with, “seriously cannot wait for you to watch Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz.”  

Sarah with real life partner Richard Gutierrez during the movie's special screening in Galleria

Ruth, is a plain example of a woman inflicted with many pains of her past and is still suffering from it, she finds refuge by going back to their hometown. But the horrific scenes and situations that she has engaged into has haunted her even more also appearing in her dreams. This odd happenings has developed something inside her that would even create more conflicts and puzzle in her character and will still be evident until the ending. (without spoiling). 

I haven't watched Sarah's acting on big screen before, but I've watch few of her acting stints on tv, I must commend her for portraying a role that's exactly opposite of her real personality. She gave justice to her character and I can't seem to notice any trace of her being a "kikay," or "bubbly."  Playing Ruth, the police officer is something new to her and I thought she dig it and it was a rough and tough one. 

Shy Carlos
After her “Tasya Fantasya” series on TV5, Shy Carlos takes on another title role, but this time in a much darker fantasy story, “Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz”.   This is her second lead role in a horror movie following “Chain Mail” in 2015.  

Leah has a reputation of being simple and innocent, but this is brought into question when she begins to act in strange ways that cause harm to those around her.  She grows fearful and helpless as things  completely get out of hand.  Her hope lies in Ruth (Sarah Lahbati), a police officer investigating on her case, but the devil is out to get her as well.

Shy Carlos as Leah Dela Cruz

I've seen Shy as a young girl, she was one of the members of  Viva Records' all-girl group Pop Girls along with amother Viva artist, Nadine Lustre way back in 2009. Aside from possessing a great voice, she also feels comfortable in acting and I can also feel that on screen whenever I watch her. 

Pretty and friendly Shy Carlos during "Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz" special screening held at Robinsons Movie World in Galleria

Growing up, Shy's veratility has developed and for every project she makes, her performance is always recognizable. Aside from having joined some youth-oriented shows on tv like the "Bagets" aired on TV5 Manila, playing best friends to the lead characters in romcom movies like Viva Films' "Girlfriend for Hire," and some dramatic stints she has done in "MMK" (Maalaala Mo Kaya), Shy was also part of the horror film, "Chain Mail," shown in 2015. 

According to the very talented artist, her preparations for her title-roler film, "Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz," was, they all did a workshop to immerse themselves into their respective characters. In this movie, we should not expect scenes like those of other Hollywood exorcism flicks like "The Exorcist," wherein the lead role played by Linda Blair, being possessed by a demon, was tied on her bed throwing up unpleasant entities from her mouth, bad-mouthing the priest while the priest has to go thru a lot of struggles and demonic battle and perform exorcism. Here in "Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz," the writer did away from that. 

Leah's possessed character has to jump from the balcony of their house and go through the woods poorly lit in the middle of the night and climb up a tree. These scenes you really have to look forward to, because according to Shy, she did all the stunts here (brave girl) and that's one thing I admire about her. The shifts in her characters and facial expressions was very crucial but she did it and I know she also did her best. I commend her for that, since most of the weight of the story really rely on her character, I thought she nailed it. 

Shy in one of her horrifying complex scenes in the movie

Julian Trono 
Prince of the Dance Floor Julian Trono won’t be able to dance his way out of terror in the movie         “Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz."

Julian plays Gabriel, a young man who likes bringing good vibes to people.  He is childhood friends with Leah (Shy Carlos) and has deep affections for her.  When Leah begins to act strange, to the extent of jumping from a balcony, he begs a police officer (Sarah Lahbati) to investigate.  But what he’ll find out about Leah might break his heart.

Julian Trono plays Gabriel 

I've known Julian since his GMA Artist days, I first encountered him during the "Niño," blogcon aired on GMA Network in the year 2014 and he was seventeen years old that time. Being such an eloquent dancer, he was more inclined and was trained to perform in a Korean Pop (K-Pop) system. His first love is dancing actually according to him but Julian has also a distinct singing voice that's why Viva Records has signed him up via his debut single "Balang Araw." 

Julian Trono during the movie's special screening in UP Cine Adarna 

Julian's character as Gabriel is an innocent looking and very friendly young man who sees life very lightly and that he feels positive in everything that's happening around him. But the dark side of his character was, he isn't ready for the ugly truth, for the real world, for the real battle of life. Being Leah's childhood friend and love interest, he's full of hope that someday, they'll be together in a "relationship." 

Julian and Shy together at the special screening held at UP Cine Adarna

Sarah Lahbati and Julian Trono in one of their scenes in the movie

One question that was brought up during their meet and greet/ Q&A portion right after the movie's special screening at UP Cine Adarna was, "Is there any relevance to Gabriel's character the way he always gives Ruth (Sarah) a hug everytime they were together in a scene?" Actually those acts of Gabriel was a breath of fresh air, just like an ice-breaker, a relief in the movie. Maybe the writer of the director has intended to include that for the purpose of not to drag the scenes. It was quite effective, to tell you honestly we really find it yes, a bit annoying if you pertain to his character but it was entertaining though. You can hear the different reactions from the audience and it has created an impact huh?! So, better take note of those "hug" scenes. :))

Gabriel's character is a proof that, no matter how saintly or innocent you are, there's always a triggering factor that could unleash our dark sides. So goes the phrase, "There's a demon in all of us." But I am only talking about the story and its characters okay, I am not reiterating that it could also happen to all of us. Of course, we all have our God, our beliefs and if we just hold on to our faith and love God above all, I am pretty sure nothing could ever go wrong. Just lead the straight and right path. However, we are all "Anak ng Diyos," (Children of God). Take note of that! 

One last thing, I just wanna comment on Marite's character (Leah's Mom), maybe if they have gotten another actress that could be more fitting to the very her delicate role, it could add to the glory of the whole film but it's my opinion anyway, we are all entitled to it, right?! 

Overall, this movie will give you the thrills, the terrifying screams are there and the horrific and breath-taking scenes will keep you hanging (in a good scary way)  and will go through your heads thinking ... how could this movie end? 

Do watch it with your family, loved ones and friends, because it's good to be screaming back there and teasing each other while being scared all at the same time! 

Congrats guys! You did it!!! 

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Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz" opens on June 28, 2017 in cinemas nationwide! 

Direk Katski Flores, Shy , Sarah Lahbati and Julian Trono during #AngPagsanibKayLeahDelaCruz special screening at Robinsons Movie World in Galleria

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