Yam Laranas’ Aurora, which stars Anne Curtis, Marco Gumabao and Phoebe Villamor, is visual storytelling. Not only does it highlight the talent of its director who presents a different kind of horror film, it also underlines the talent behind its photography with every frame in the film looking aesthetic and visually arousing.
From the dramatic aerial views to breathtaking wide shots, the film captures the charm of the remote island that serves as its setting.
Set on the coastline of Batanes, a passenger liner called Aurora collides into a rock formation situated right in front of a dilapidated guest house run by Leana (Curtis). Over a thousand passengers perish due to the mishap. Many of the dead bodies turn up along the shore of the tiny island near the shipwreck, but many are still missing, and their distressed families are in need of a place to stay in as the search continues.
Leana is asked to help look for the cadavers in exchange for a large amount of money. Although she is hesitant, her fear is overcome by her sympathy for the families and her sister’s (Villamor) encouragement.
Helping her in the search are her ex-boyfriend Ricky (Gumabao), and a boatman named Eddie, played by Alan Paule.
Curtis, who shared in an interview that they had to brave the physical elements of swimming underwater, as well as being transported to an isolated island far from the city while filming Aurora, is the second highlight of the film. She painted her character, a barrio lass who dons simple dresses, with bold emotions but in subtle hues. She delivers the big scenes without going overboard.
“It was actually a challenge when they told me that I am going to do horror but they will not make me scream,” Curtis told reporters during the red carpet premiere of the film.
“Yam Laranas took horror movie into a different level. It’s not the typical horror movie where the characters usually scream to scare the audience. It’s really about the experience and the use of your imagination,” she added.
She shared that it helped that they filmed in Batanes because they got to have a firsthand feel of the environment as it was a perfect way to figure out the emotional requirement of her character.
“For me, it’s hard to do horror but the way our director described the film—it’s a drama kind of suspense thriller. And our intention was not really to scare the audience, but to let them use their mind while experiencing the film that’s why I’m surprised that moviegoers scream numerous times while watching it,” she said.
Aurora is Curtis’ third movie this year, after the huge box office success of Sid & Aya (Not a Love Story) in May, followed by her staggering performance in the action thriller BuyBust in August.
The actress is once again praised for her dedication and determination to give all she’s got in portraying her role. Director Laranas reveals in an interview that Anne “ had to be underwater for 30 seconds to 1 minute to shoot her scenes” but she refused to use the double that’s provided for her.
Undoubtedly, Laranas and Curtis made a good combo in this film. The director’s talent and Curtis’ subtle performance made a bigger impact on the eyes of the moviegoers.
Aurora unspools today in cinemas nationwide as Viva Films’ official entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival 2018.
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