Sigaw is an Asian ghost movie, that I’m sure all zombie games lovers will enjoy. I know what you’re possibly thinking: Not another one! — but this one isn’t from Japan, Korea or Thailand, it’s a Filipino film. The story revolves around an old apartment building that exists both in the present and the past.
When Marvin moves into his first home away from home, he does his best to fix the grim little place up with the help of his buxom girlfriend, Pinky. At first, things look to be going well despite the strange noises and the even stranger neighbors also residing on the 7th floor.
At night he hears his drunken neighbor, Bert, physically and verbally abusing his wife Anna, and their young daughter Lara, but Marvin doesn’t want to get involved — not only is Bert very violent, but he’s a cop. However, Marvin can’t help but get involved when one evening Anna begs him to look after her daughter for a few hours, just until Bert cools down. The fact that Lara has dark, long hair ought to be clue enough. But what really sends Marvin to flip-out is how she keeps disappearing and then reappearing in the strangest places. A limp rag doll is her constant companion.
Marvin shares his concerns with Pinky, who convinces him to move out. But this is the first place he owned, one that he bought with his own money working at a nearby restaurant, and he isn’t about to be so easily convinced to just pick up and leave. Pretty soon, Pinky starts having her own nightmarish experiences in the building too. Both can’t deny that something is terribly wrong when the bloody apparitions of Anna and Lara show up in places other than Marvin’s apartment; the couple’s everyday life seems to fade in and out of reality and they vow to set things right.
Sigaw, despite its oppressive use of dreary sepia browns and drab olive greens, is a beautifully shot film with some clever use of negative space and truly interesting camera angles. The moody musical score adds to the feelings of impending danger, and the ambience of crying, knocking and clanking are cunningly woven in to create a creepy cloak of sound. Each of the actors delivers a believable job of conveying a real sense of dread. While some questions are left hanging and the solving of the mystery comes as no surprise, the writer and director does a nice job of making the audience care on what could possibly happen to the characters anyway.
Slowly drowning in a netherworld of loneliness and torment, Sigaw is definitely not a feel-good horror movie. It’s not even exceptionally scary or thought-provoking, but there is something inexplicably compelling about it. While it spends too much time on the build-up and not enough on the resolution, Sigaw is undeniably worth seeing.