13 April 2009 | Jay_Exiomo
"Hindi kita maintindihan (I can't understand you)!" screams Maricel Soriano at child co-star Mika Dela Cruz when the latter starts acting weird. Such sentiment may be had of audiences of "T2" (for "Tenement 2"), a limp horror film about "engkantos" (environmental spirits) from the otherwise dependable Chito Roño ("Sukob", "Feng Shui") that never finds the right bearing at the onset and devolves into a lumbering CGI-fest in the end.
On the verge of separation from her husband Jeremy (Derek Ramsey) mainly due to her inability to conceive and unwillingness to adopt a child, Claire (Soriano), who volunteers part-time for an organization that helps orphans find foster homes, agrees to go to Samar to accompany an orphan to his family. On the way home she is forced to bring with her Angeli (Dela Cruz), a child weirdo babbling something about "them" and doing sleepwalks where she claims to be seeing butterflies. It turns out that the real problem starts when they reach Tenement 2, the building where Angeli's aunt - and supposedly adoptive mother - is supposed to live, a place where people act weird, and Angeli's supposed room looks a bit too polished and eerily out of place with the rest of the dilapidated building.
Capped by the ludicrous and ineffective climax that feels more in common with later titles in R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps" series, Roño's Samar hometown-inspired spookfest proves to be more baffling than frightening, without any consistent propulsion towards genuine dread, and only the unnerving quality of the building and Soriano's strong presence to keep things barely afloat. When hampered by an uncharacteristically slapdash direction and an overall feeling of sluggishness, stoic-looking actors in heavy make-up and hundreds of computer-generated rats don't seem as frightening, making one wonder if everyone behind the project has been in some otherworldly trance.