The dead will find their way home
Yam Laranas’ Aurora follows Leana (Anne Curtis) as she struggles to make ends meet not only for herself but for her younger sister Rita
(Phoebe Villamor). Their only income—an inn situated on the shore of a secluded island.
The film begins by showing beautiful underwater visuals of the Aegean blue sea and slowly shifts to an aerial shot of the mysterious island where Leana is shown standing, frustratedly looking at a wrecked ship, Aurora– half of it submerged in water surrounded by enormous rocks not so far away from the shore. Indeed, the first few minutes of the film was promising and actually made me very curious as to how the plot would thicken.
It continues by showing the financial struggles Leana had to face given that not so many tourists are interested in checking in a lodge just in front of a tragic shipwreck that could be clearly seen through the windows. As soon as the coast guards stop their search, parents of a missing victim convince Leana to continue the inn’s operation and willingly pay her 50 thousand pesos for every missing body she finds. Desperate for cash, Leana asks help from a local (Allan Paule) to assist her with her search.
Indeed, the bluish- gray color scheme and the setting’s atmosphere gave an overall vibe and was very fitting for a thriller film. As someone who loves horror films, I never got the suspense that is expected from a horror slash thriller genre. The story, however, was quite unique and had potential if only it was executed well. Instead, viewers are puzzled with unanswered questions due to the lacking and messy plot. The film was problematic—like how every film should be, but it had too many issues that some weren’t even solved and instead, were overshadowed by poor computer-generated imagery and bizarre supernatural beings. In fact, the intentions of the ghostly beings were never revealed and questions about the strange ship were never answered. I won’t lie, some of the scenes almost kept me on the edge of my seat but could be compared to a cliff hanger—the suspense intensifies but never really reaches the climax.
Most of the scenes were dragging and unnecessary. The nonessential clips only added to the slow pace and progression of the film rather than actually strengthening its growth. Just like the film’s unorganized story, sequences were disordered and had really bizarre cuts. However, bagging “Best Cinematography” and “Best Sound Design”, the film’s original scoring and visuals did not disappoint. Indeed, the cinematography was superb showing different shades of blue, picturesque sights and odd camera angles that surprisingly worked paired with intense music composed by Oscar Fogelström. Overall, It could have been flawless if it weren’t for the cringey CGIs—except for the ship, that was actually beautifully done.
Other than Aurora’s cinematography, Curtis and her character saved the film. Good thing viewers had somebody to focus on and feel for. It’s disappointing since this film could have been better, given the distinct story, setting and vibe. If only they worked better on the script rather than focusing on unnecessary graphics that weren’t even carried out well. Because of this, the gist of the film was unclear and not fully explained. Well, it’s not all bad, just needed improvements.