Film Review: DEMENTIA
By STEWIE GRIBBIN
A rarity in horror genre, ‘Dementia’ stays away from blood and hysterics, instead, it capitalizes on the gothic setting and tension. Nora Aunor blows us away with her mesmerizing non-verbal performances, that we pardon the average plot—something that the usual nitpicking critic will tear apart if it wasn't for Aunor's superb acting and Perci Intalan's impressive direction.
Its subtlety and calmness create the eerie mood, and the contrasts of the setting -- a paradise with its own dark secrets. As the imagery and score wed with the powerful performances of Nora Aunor and the cast ensemble, DEMENTIA brings you to the world of isolation, mystery, and forgotten memories that (will) haunt you.
As for Nora Aunor, there is no question about her Mara Fabre. Given the small space to prove her case, Nora Aunor reminds everyone that when it comes to delivering intensity of character, she remains without peer. On the way up the hill that ends in a cliff, Nora Aunor as Mara falls on her knees as the past unfolds before her. You could count up to 20 shades of lucidity, realization, and sorrow on that wondrous face and be shaken by an actor that, despite the refinement of her craft through the decades, can still go back to rawness and wound all with her gift. That scene must be one difficult scene for future impersonators. The words are gone; only that face and the world that went away. At the cliff, Nora Aunor embodies the liberation that the mind offers in madness or in rationality. The calmness that overcomes Mara’s many years of forgetting and the smile that rekindles resignation to memory is once more proof that Nora is still the greatest film actor this small republic of ours has ever produced. In fact, it is this greatness that is the problem of any young filmmaker who considers working with Nora Aunor at this stage of her career. Perci Intalan need not grieve. The director will be blamed; the scriptwriter will be blamed; the cinematographer will be vilified; and the soundman will be accused of dementia. But no one can blame this great actress Nora Aunor. - TITO GENOVA VALIENTE Urian Film Critic reviews.
But what truly makes this film stand out is Nora Aunor. It's so rare nowadays for a horror film to rely on the actual emotions or mood because we all have gotten used to being served blood & guts, lots of screaming & hysteria that I get surprised if I see a really well-made horror movie (Roden's Kasambahay is also a good example). That's the beauty of Dementia. Director Perci Intalan maximizes his lead's greatest strength - that is her ability to relay a story without opening her mouth. The most memorable scene for me involves Nora Aunor's staring at the camera, so many emotions in a span of seconds or minutes, and hitting me like a laser gun straight to the heart. I shed tears.
Truth be told, I am so picky when it comes to books and movies, but this Nora Aunor ‘Dementia’ blew me away to regions I have yet to discover. While commonplace actors speak to tell a story to be understood, Aunor simply tells the story by looking at us from the depths of her heart… Those eyes could bring you to a roller coaster ride of emotions… I spent the whole time not breathing so as not to miss a scene…What a treasure!
“Dementia” is that rare Filipino horror drama that packs a solid emotional wallop. You won’t forget it soon after leaving the theater.
Nora Aunor totally matches the swirling forces of nature on display throughout the movie with a dervish of a performance that involves very little spoken dialogue.
It’s mostly ferociously internal until the devastating climax where, still wordless, her face erupts into a panorama of heartbreak, anguish, sorrow, guilt, regret, terror, and, finally, resignation and surrender. It’s unforgettable. Congratulations for the Box-office success of Dementia.
Dementia is Graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board!