"Pagpag: Nine Lives": Soulless Entertainment

“Pagpag: Nine Lives,” now streaming on Netflix, is a stylish 2013 Filipino horror flick focusing on what not to do at funerals.

For example, after attending a wake, don’t go straight home or you risk the spirit of the deceased following you back to your house. Also don’t wear red to a funeral, or allow your tears to fall on the dead.

In the movie, a group of young people violate the taboos. Predictably, they are terrorized by a vengeful spirit who looks like charred meat because he died in a fire. In a plot twist, it turns out the man died while he was on a killing spree to resurrect his dead son. To reach his quota of nine lives, he stalks and murders the teenagers one by one.

Photo: Netflix.com
It was interesting to learn about the Philippines’ culture and traditions regarding funerals, and the movie did have its creepy moments. Regrettably, however, I didn’t find it one of the more memorable examples of Southeast Asian horror.

I’m a big fan of the region’s supernatural offerings. Thai horror movies—including “Shutter,” “Ladda Land” and “The Promise”—are in a class of their own, being well-made, creative and truly terrifying. I’ve also enjoyed Indonesian film producer Rocky Soraya’s “Doll” and “3rd Eye” series. Pagpag didn’t rise to those levels.

That being said, it still was entertaining, with hip stars who are easy on the eye.

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