Violator (2014)

Five men find themselves stranded inside a police station during a typhoon. And with them is a prisoner who may o may not be the devil. Violator seems to be about ‘beliefs’, preconceived notions, about life, death, religion, among other things. About how one’s belief is confronted — usually by horrifying experience (e.g., a dead student with pig’s head in a classroom, witnessing a cop casually murder a captured drug pusher), or how others confront their beliefs by doing horrifying things (e.g., committing suicide, shooting at the statues of the Sto. Niňo). Not a big fan of the “flashing light” effects. Find it more annoying than scary/disorienting/whatever it was intended for. But of the last three esoteric/mind fuck/horror movies I’ve seen, this one I liked the most. Violator (2014), In the Earth (2021), Midnight in the Perfect World (2021) (set in a future where smartphones don’t have LED flashlights?) — in that order, if I have to rank them. In the Earth has the most fully realized psychedelic nightmare, the annoying strobe lights notwithstanding. But Violator has the better story — stories — about ghosts, demonic possessions, religious cults, the inner workings of the police organization. The movie doesn’t seem to have a plot, at least not until the second half, when the puzzle pieces start falling into place. Even then, the pacing doesn’t necessarily pick up. There’s a sense of constant dread, that something isn’t right, but it never quite builds up. The devil may not be in the details, but the devil is the movie’s most interesting creation. And leaves you a hanging question: If you believe in the devil, does it mean you also believe in God?

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