25 February 2014 | Bottleneck_R
Great movie, mind-blowing soundtrack
The first ten minutes are right away very intriguing, partly due to a fantastic soundtrack. Dark, electronic, slightly-dubstep and slightly-house music from Eyedress which drew me into the movie and literally every following sound effect is spot on. Although the music is unusual in this kind of movies, it fits perfectly for some reason, maybe because of the almost constant presence of a sound during the film which I would describe as a sound that crickets make, it's like a binding element between all scenes.
But enough about the soundtrack. The images are mainly gray and green, almost pale-colored, creating a rainy, ominous and oppressive atmosphere, from which - as the title implies - escaping seems hard. The viewer witnesses some fantasies of the girl but it's not hard to follow the story, though close attention is required to pick up some clues about the layers within the movie.
Those "hidden" meanings are very subjective of course and I have no idea what the intentions of the director are but the following is how I interpreted the movie. The story is about girl longing to get away from the gray and sad place where she lives, to escape from her strongly religious mother and alcoholic father. Based upon some kind of a folk story, her mother warns her that she would be punished for that by a mysterious old woman. To me it all seems like a delicate metaphor for abandoning or 'renouncing' certain cultural, historical and religious elements of the country (Philippines). For example at some point it contains a clear reference to the fact that the country is a former American colony.
Besides, I don't think it's just a coincidence that the pedantic and religious mother is the one who's suffering from some kind of disease, and there's a scene with her drunken father speaking to a rooster. Funny and seemingly meaningless at first sight but a subtle 'sneer' at religion (no offense intended, just in case that..)
Anyhow, the movie is a fascinating and conjuring trip on the big white screen. Fortunately not a kitschy and bright candy-colored horror film which I expected a little bit. On the contrary.
Actually I think it's more a drama/mystery film than horror (in the plain way we tend to consider horror to be). The desire to escape is not just an individual issue (the characters have no names...). It's far more a wider conception or opinion which swims against the big tide of traditional and ancient cultural characteristics, all represented and shaped by a single young girl who's struggling to leave those things behind.
And all supported by an outstanding score and soundtrack. There are a few small drawbacks (some scenes at the end take too much time) but I really enjoyed this movie and I'm glad I had the chance to watch it at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. I would recommend it to anyone who's interested in unique and symbolic drama/mystery/horror films.
8-9 out of 10