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After the ruckus from last year’s festival, acclaimed director Erik Matti is back in the new-and-improved Metro Manila Film Festival with the only horror film among the group: Seklusyon. Set in 1947, four deacons enter a secluded holy fortress one week before they are ordained as priests in order to avoid temptation from the devil.

It sounds like a straightforward horror movie, until you learn about the BTS. We list down five things you probably didn’t know about one of the top-grossing MMFF entries on the first day of this year’s festival.

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1. Ronnie Alonte has always dreamed of working with Erik Matti. In an exclusive interview with MB Life, Ronnie Alonte says that working with Erik Matti has always been one of his career goals after seeing On The Job. “Sa totoo lang, wala talaga akong kilalang mga direktor nung nag-simula akong mag-artista pero yung Erik Matti, tumatak talaga sakin yun noong napanood ko yung OTJ.” Alonte says that receiving the news that he would be working with Erik Matti for his first film was one of the most pleasant surprises in his life.

2. There were 15-20 kids who auditioned for the role of Anghela Sta. Ana/Ngahela. At Seklusyon’s press conference, Director Erik Matti told the story of how they found the perfect child actress to play Anghela Santa Ana. “We looked at maybe around 15 to 20 kids and ang hirap salain, because a lot of them are really good,” says Matti. He recalls that Rhed was one of the last few who auditioned, and was reminded of The Exorcist’s Linda Blair: “Nung cinast nila sa Exorcist si Linda Blair, kailangan nila ng medyo adult mag-isip. Si Rhed ganun siya. She can really think like an adult so madali kong na-explain sa kanya.” Matti even went as far as saying that Rhed Bustamante will give Nora Aunor of Kabisera and Eugene Domingo of Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2 “a run for their money.” Exciting!

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3. They weren’t really planning to submit Seklusyon to MMFF. During the presscon, Matti revealed that they really weren’t planning to join the MMFF until they saw the whole thing. “Iba talaga dapat yung playdate, but when we saw it, we decided to join the MMFF.”

4. It had an estimated budget of P18 million. Seklusyon was produced independently by Reality Entertainment—the same guys from Matti’s 2015 MMFF entry Honor Thy Father. According to Matti, Seklusyon isn’t the kind of horror film filled with CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) “Hindi ito yung uso na dapat bawat galaw, may papatayin. It’s not like that, it’s more psychological. Parang horror na puro creepy at tayo balahibo,” shares Matti.

5. Seklusyon premiered at Macau International Festival and drew praises from Hollywood magazine. Before MMFF, Seklusyon had already been shown at the first ever Macau International Festival and was given rave reviews by the Hollywood magazine. “Set mostly within the confines of a rickety house in the middle of nowhere, the film provides chilling bursts of outright shock and sepia-tinged, creepy atmospherics,” movie reviewer Clarence Tsui wrote. “Infusing the widescreen imagery with grainy textures reminiscent of the scary movies from the celluloid era, the director — in partnership with cinematographer Neil Derrick Bion and production designer Ericson Navarro — manages to establish a sufficiently eerie ambience for the evil spirits to wreak havoc in.” Tsui added.

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