Former-matinee idol returns to horror genre with award-winning cast in ‘Ilawod’
Viewers are swooning over Ian Veneracion what with his “ideal man” roles in dramas and romantic comedies as of late.
The former matinee idol turned action star found himself catapulted to fame once more when he played the successful politician Eduardo Buenavista who fell in love with the simpleton turned powerful woman Amor Powers (portrayed by Jodi Sta. Maria) in ABS-CBN’s 2015 drama series Pangako Sa ‘Yo.
The new team up was later taken to the big screen, with Richard Yap in addition, via Star Cinema’s The Achy Breaky Hearts.
Into this new year, Veneracion is very much visible on the small screen via ABS-CBN’s first new soap for 2017, A Love to Last, where he plays engineer Antonio Noble IV opposite Bea Alonzo.
As if the dashing actor weren’t blessed with enough projects already, January 2017 further marks his return to the horror genre as Ilawod opens today in cinemas nationwide.
Return to horror
Ilawod revolves around the story of a family unaware they are slowly being haunted by the ilawod, the spirit of the downstream.
It all begins when Veneracion’s character, Dennis Carandang a reporter assigned to over bizarre news, is assigned to investigate and write about a lady possessed by a water elemental in the rural area.
Dennis thought it was just one of his usual assignments—strange but true stories. Little did he know, the water elemental called ilawod follows him home. Taking various forms that reflect its victims’ deep-seated desires and frustrations, the ilawod is on a mission to claim Dennis and his family.
While Veneracion’s fans in this new generation may be surprised to see him in a horror movie, the actor is in fact not new in this territory.
One of his first few movies is of the genre having appeared in Hiwaga sa Balete Drive (1988) when he was just 13-years old. A year later, he landed the lead role in yet another horror, Anak ng Demonyo where, as the title suggests, he plays the spawn of the Evil One.
The ‘90s eventually saw Veneracion starring in one action film after another the popularity of such movies slowly faded, soon shifted gears and went back to doing a mix of comedies and dramas.
With Veneracion set to draw screams from his audience anew, albeit not in a romantic way, he is happy to benefit from the help of an award-winning cast in Ilawod.
Playing his wife is multi-awarded actress and host Iza Calzado who earned a name in horror genre when she starred in Yam Laranas’ Sigaw (2004). As Kathy, Calzado is kind and hardworking, trying to be the best mother and wife possible for her family. The ilawod affects her, however, in the form of heat—both in the physical and sensual sense—revealing a side of her she had to temper in the past become the woman she is today.
Joining Veneracion and Calzado as their children are Harvey Bautista and Xyriel Manabat. The young Bautista, who happens to be Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista’s son and part of the kiddie gag show Goin’ Bulilit, plays Ben, the eldest Carandang child. A smart, introverted boy interested in photography, the ilawod is especially taken with Ben, appearing to him as Isla (Teri Malvar) who becomes the focus of his prepubescent angst.
Meanwhile, Manabat—an MMFF, FAMAS and PMPC awardee, among others for her TV portrayals—is Bea, the youngest child, to whom the ilawod appears as a terrifying monster.
Malvar—the 38th Moscow International Film Festival Best Actress awardee for the movie Hamog—plays Isla, the human alter ego of the ilawod.
Rounding up the cast is MMFF Best Supporting Actor Epy Quizon who gives life to Carlo, a photographer and Dennis’ best friend at work.
Finally, Veneracion’s co-worker behind the scenes are also award-winners. Its writer is Yvette Tan is a recipient of the country’s highest literary while its director Dan Villegas is a certified box-office director what with his string of hits.
‘Ilawod’ is produced by Quantum Films, and is box-office director Dan Villegas’ first foray into horror following such hits as English Only, Please (2014), Walang Forever (2015) and How To Be Yours (2016). The story is written by Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature recipient.