Reel Peek: My Paranormal Romance

Fiona Patricia S. Escandor

A TALKING brassiere, a creepy landlady, and killer refrigerators— these are only a few of what you’ll be seeing in the proudly Cebuano indie film, My Paranormal Romance. A supernatural treat to the senses, My Paranormal Romance is one of this year’s entries to the highly-anticipated Cinema One Originals that will be held from November 9 to 15 in Manila.

The film, written by Diem Judilla and directed by Victor Villanueva, is a romantic comedy with a dash of adventure. It centers on a girl named Merry P. Pascual, who thinks her future is all set once she enrolls in her dream school, the Super Hard University. Unluckily for her, havoc ensues when her landlady gives her a ‘third-eye.’

Together with a so-called paranormal expert named Lucas, the two go on a spooky and comical quest around Cebu, as they try to evade the mystical mischief heading their way.

u201cWe want it to be an absurd and random comedy,” shared Victor. He then disclosed that the plot originally had a “high school flavor with a tinge of drama,” but as they developed it, it eventually became the “bulabog nga comedy” that he describes.

The kind of humor embedded in the film is “very Cebuano,” the director said, thus it is the main language used in the film. “I get criticism; they say ‘Why is it in Bisaya?’ They say that it should be in Tagalog. But for me, I don’t think language is a deterrent when making and watching a movie.”

My Paranormal Romance stars MagTV host Phoebe Kaye Fernandez, Pinoy Dream Academy finalist Van Roxas, and former Pinoy Big Brother housemate Paul Jake Castillo.

u201cPhoebe really stood out during the auditions,” Victor recalled, “because she can pull of deadpan sarcasm and angay siya sa character ni Merry nga bugoyon ug bugal-bugalon.”

Award-winning actor Publio Briones III then completes the cast by portraying a vital character called Edgar Porbida.

The film also features animation segments done by Sigmund Torre and music by local bands Rescue a Hero, Shuffled, and Missing Filemon.

My Paranormal Romance is Victor Villanueva’s first feature film. Victor is a graduate of the University of San Carlos with a degree in Fine Arts, Major in Advertising.

Although he dabbled in filmmaking in his course, Victor said that most of his film education was through to his involvement with several productions. He had been part of Confessional, Ang Damgo ni Elatoria, Kimmy Dora, Zombadings, and the recent local film, Saranghae, My Tutor.

u201cWhen we filmed it, lingaw ra man. Sige rag joke-joke,” he shared. “Everything was fun until our set was flooded. We had to stop shooting for almost a month because we had a lot of technical casualties.” Nevertheless, the optimistic director managed to kid, “Murag tanan tubig ato sa Cebu ni adto sa among set.”

The film is now in its final stages of post-production. It is scheduled to be released on November 9 at the Shang Cineplex in Manila. As for its Cebu screening, Victor is aiming to have it in February of next year.

Love story—check. Local style humor—check. Crazy characters—check. What else can you possibly look for? “There’s a dance sequence,” Victor quipped. Ah, there you go. You definitely won’t need a ‘third-eye’ to enjoy this bizarre, comedic thriller.

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