May 10, 2020

Watch: The Trailer For Motel Acacia, A Filipino Horror Movie Starring JC Santos And Agot Isidro

Fans of the indie horror genre will have something to look forward to in the upcoming release of Motel Acacia, a horror/suspense film by the Philippines-based Malaysian director and producer Bradley Liew. Written by Liew with Bianca Balbuena as co-writer, the movie takes inspiration from a popular Filipino myth of demons living in acacia trees. The project is a five-country collaboration between the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Slovenia, and Taiwan.

Motel Acacia stars an ensemble of international actors including JC Santos, Agot Isidro, Jan Bijvoet, Nicholas Saputra, Vithaya Pansringarm, Bront Palarae, Talia Zucker, Will Jaymes, Perry Dizon, and Brian Sy. You can watch the trailer for the movie here.

Motel Acacia has already been shown last year in several international film festivals. These include the Tokyo International Film Festival, the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, and the Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival.

Exclusive behind the scenes features from the film can be found here.

In a review for Variety, Peter Debruge wrote, "Though it delivers on the suspense level, “Motel Acacia” really ought to have spent a bit more time figuring out what it was trying to say about America — that dimension remains a bit too abstract, ultimately failing to explain why a Filipino demon is doing the country’s dirty work. Still, the execution is slick enough to make it a hit in Asian markets, while the crazy tree monster packs enough cult potential to merit a waiver of inadmissibility at the U.S. border."

Allan Hunter has this to say in his review for Screen Daily: "The film is ambitious enough on paper as it tackles colonialism, racism, climate change and much more. It still can’t help succumbing to very familiar genre conventions, though, as characters run for their lives along gloomy corridors and do battle with rubbery looking beasties clinging to their limbs. Flashbacks provide a little history of the tree demon and there is mention of a sinister “Town Council” who seem to have some responsibility for what happens at the motel. Characterisation is sketchy and we never know enough about any individual to really care whether they live or die. The editing creates a jumpy rhythm in which it often feels as if some key information is missing."