With movie tickets being so expensive now, many film enthusiasts try to use as many resources as possible to determine what movies are worth spending their money on. Positive word of mouth from critics and film reviews are more likely to score a favorable turn out in the box-office. However, audiences get all the more curious to see a particular movie after a bad buzz.

One film entry to this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) that has a share of favorable writeups and a deleterious move by some quarters for a “demolition job” is Mallari with Piolo Pascual playing the titular role.

Produced by Mentorque Productions, Mallari will definitely exceed all expectations not only because of Piolo who is known as an actor par excellence but also several factors that make it more worthy of your time and hard-earned money.

To begin with, Mallari is part fictional and part true-to-life account inspired by the true story of Fr. Juan Severino Mallari, a parish priest in the 1800s who killed 57 people leading to his execution by hanging upon orders of the Spanish colonial government. He’s the first and only recorded Filipino serial killer, antedating Jack The Ripper by over 60 years.

Mentorque Productions president John Bryan Diamante said the film cost around P80 million to complete. It was shot in various historic locations in the country including a village built purposely for Mallari which took almost four years in the planning with three timelines that combine audiences’ love for retro horror with proximate relatability of current terrors.

Piolo is, no doubt, an actor par excellence. He skillfully breathes life to not just one but three characters related to the first documented serial killer in the Philippines. No wonder, the award-winning actor elicited oohs and aahs for his impressive acting performance during the film’s premiere held recently. Thankful for all the praise from the audience, Piolo also acknowledged the effort of the whole production team including director Derick Cabrido, writer Enrico Santos, and the entire cast, without forgetting to emphasize the collective effort of the whole team.

According to reports, Piolo has expressed his astonishment at the cinematic experience, acknowledging that it exceeded his expectations as he became a spectator, marveling at the impressive performances and considering it a showcase of talent.

“It was more than what I expected. I became a spectator. I just watched in awe of everyone’s performance. It was a showcase,” he said.

Moreover, Warner Bros. is in charge of Mallari’s theatrical distribution as announced by Rico Gonzales, director for Distribution of Warner Bros. Philippines, and John Bryan several weeks ago.

Mallari somehow ended Warner Bros.’ two-decade search to collaborate again with a film studio from the Philippines.

John Bryan expressed delight over the fact that they successfully met the requirements set by the Hollywood-based film company to become its distribution partner. Representatives from Warner Bros. also made a visit to set locations of the suspense horror film.

Despite the alleged “demolition job,” Piolo and the rest of the production team of Mallari have remained unfazed. They opted to focus on the positive aspects, including the good news that the number of cinemas for Mallari increased by 100 percent after presenting it to theater owners.

Mallari opens on December 25 in cinemas.

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