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Home of popular international hit shows and movies, it was bound for Fox network to finally produced their first local film, “Maledicto.”

Starring Kapuso artists Tom Rodriguez and Jasmine Curtis-Smith, “Maledicto” is a horror movie that depicts the supernatural story of exorcism in a religious country.

But what inspired this international network giant to invest in the local cinema? “It’s not like we haven’t produced things before. So the next step was to do something scripted. Which is a lot more difficult, a lot more expensive,” Jude Turcuato, senior vice president and general manager of FOX Networks Group Philippines told MB Life. 

The cast of “Maledicto” with director Mark Meily.

“It’s just a matter of harnessing Philippine talent. And that’s what we wanted to make sure, because of localization, we want it all Philippine talent, from the director to the actors to the writers to everybody. But hopefully, with international quality,” he continued. 

With this international names backing them up, the cast together with Director Mark Meily admitted that the pressure of elevating the Filipino experience on watching a local horror film through “Maledicto” is strong. 

“It’s the first project of Fox in the Philippines, s’yempre ang laki nung pressure dahil kailangan it should appeal at least to audience within the region,” Meily said. 

The award-winning director even shared that prior to taking on the project, the whole team went through tedious briefing to comply to the international standards of movie production. 

Sobra yung research dito. I’ve done horror films before, very minimal yung research and it’s always kung ano na yung meron. This one, we really have to interview an actual exorcism, we really had to find out ano yung hierarchy, yung process, yung principle.”

The “Maledicto”’s difference 

Written by Palanca award-winning writer Jonathan Guillermo, “Maledicto” set the bar higher by acknowledging the fact that there are already numerous exorcism films that was produced before, and they have to be different.

“It’s not just the premise for jump scares. It’s the crossroad between the supernatural and science. So we tried to highlight the process, the procedure, the uniqueness of the fact that this is a 21st institution that has procedures in place,” Guillermo said. 

“And we tried to make it more character based, not just to make our film different but to give it life beyond what installed, to make it expandable, to make people follow not just the story but the character.”

Derived from Latin words, the movie title means “to speak evil or to curse somebody or something,” Meily added. The director also said that even though other countries have produced movies of the same genre, the Philippines should own this type of film.

“You’ll be surprised that among the Asian countries, pinakamalakas ang concept ng demonic possession sa Philippines. To think that we are the only predominantly Christian country in the whole Asia…we are the country filled with spirits panahon pa lang ni [Ferdinand] Magellan. So if there’s anybody whose in fact own that genre, it should be the Philippines.” 

Other cast members of “Maledicto” include Inah de Belen, Miles Ocampo, Nonie Buencamino, and Eric Quizon. 

With all of these promising concepts revealed, it’s a wait-and-see game if this movie will hold true to its promise of elevating the local horror movie scene. “Maledicto” hits the cinemas this May 1. 

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