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Deleter:  A techno-horror treat 

by Izel Abanilla

Yes, the film deserves the accolade. 

After horror-flick “Deleter” swept big wins at the recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festival 2022 Gabi ng Parangal, more and more people got curious what the film had to offer to bag this year’s Best Picture including Best Actress for lead star Nadine Lustre and Best Director for Mikhail Red. 

True enough, the movie, Lustre and Red did not disappoint. 

Lustre plays Lyra, a content moderator tasked to delete graphic, violent and exploitative videos before they lead to social media. 

With the deluge of disturbing content she filters everyday, people question why she seems unfazed. But little do they know that, that is because of her mysterious boss Sir Simon (Jeffrey Hidalgo) who supplies her “calming pills” to get her through each day. 

However, things take a turn when she witnesses the death of one of her colleagues named Aileen (Louise delos Reyes) but thereafter deletes her suicide video as part of her job. From here, real horror sets in as Aileen’s death reveals discoveries about their job, Lyra, and their boss. 

Even if Lyra seems otherwise desensitized, she is, in fact, troubled because her own traumatic past serves her horror just as her colleague’s haunting vengeful presence. 

Her friend, Jace (McCoy de Leon) provides just a little bit of distraction to Lyra. 

Sound, Color, Feel

A modern horror depicting creepy office settings, the movie’s dark aesthetics delivers the fright punch to any corporate individual. Anyone who lives his day and night in the office and sees the film probably would not take an all-night stay ever again. 

Red is no stranger to heart-thumping horror following the 2019 box-office hit “Eerie” powerfully set and cinematized in a grim all-girls Catholic school. Red also likes to trap his characters in dark corners to capture organic fear and induce tension that skips a heart’s beat. 

The sound design too indeed successfully channeled the characters’ emotion against the physical phenomena taking place. In Lyra’s case, her fear, doubts, anxieties and anger are all accentuated by the background music that eventually signals to the audience that something frightful is coming up. 

Story

Every corporate worker is no stranger to office horrors. Mostly because of history, office hauntings aren’t exactly new. True enough, “Deleter” did not disappoint in bringing the techno horror into life. 

Observing people’s reactions in cinemas, the film indeed delivered the terror. Shrieks and screams were abundant. 

In a way, since the story touches technology, the film showcases the horrors of the corporate world in the digital age. “Deleter” is able to depict the grim truth of workplace abuse and just how low people can get just to remain and protect their connection to power. 

The act of deleting Aileen’s suicide video, as commanded by Sir Simon, is a clear depiction of succumbing to injustice which happens in most if not all corporate settings almost all the time. 

Nadine’s acting

The film’s lead star has been at the forefront of headlines just before the year ended because of her Best Actress win at the Metro Manila Festival 2022 Gabi ng Parangal. 

Does she deserve it? Yes. 

Lustre offered a reserved, subdued, no-acting acting that looked very natural. Her approach as the cool, calm and collected Lyra who is in fact, hiding her troubled self was done without much theatricals but the emotions she’s transcending are clearly defined. 

Is “Deleter” a must-see this MMFF season? Verdict is YES. 

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