MMFF review: Nadine Lustre proves mettle as an actress in 'Deleter'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Dec 26 2022 06:21 PM

Nadine Lustre portrays a content moderator in Mikhail Red's 'Deleter.' Screenshot/Viva Films
Nadine Lustre portrays a content moderator in Mikhail Red's 'Deleter.' Screenshot/Viva Films

Under their boss Simon (Jeffrey Hidalgo), Lyra (Nadine Lustre) worked with a team of so-called content moderators in a mysterious office on the 22nd floor of a building. They are people whose job is to decide which videos posted on social media should stay online or be deleted. Because of this, they get to witness all sorts of violence and perversity people post everyday, and all these disturbing images invade their nightmares.

One day, one of Lyra's co-workers Aileen (Louise delos Reyes) broke down at work, screaming uncontrollably. Soon after, Aileen shocked everyone when she jumped off the rooftop of their building to her death. Lyra was one of those bystanders who saw Aileen's bloody corpse on the ground, and from then on, her dead co-worker began to haunt her. Lyra's usually cool and collected demeanor began to break down.

Director Mikhail Red has dabbled in ghostly horror before with films like "Eerie" (2019), which was set in an old school for girls run by nuns. This time around, Red set his urban supernatural thriller in the dark realm of the internet technology. Focusing on videos in particular, Red populated this film with a collection of cruel, ghastly and disgusting material, thereby multiplying its unsettling effect for his audience. 

Nadine Lustre again proved her mettle as a serious actress here. As Lyra, she projected an insouciance expected of a jaded veteran in her psychologically traumatizing job. She may be the epitome of icy cool when she would spend her break time vaping on the rooftop. However, when the spirit's haunting became relentless in targeting her specifically, her tough facade eventually crumbled into fear.

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Delos Reyes was pitiful as the weak Aileen who could not stand the heat demanded of her job. Hidalgo played a creepy boss who was supportive and encouraging on one side, but was a willing supplier of "calming" pills to his employees. McCoy de Leon projected a natural confidence as the curious I.T. technician who befriended Lyra despite her aloofness.

Red was able to create a totally eerie atmosphere in that building with all the dim lights, red lights, flickering lights, cramped quarters, dark corridors, and shadows behind frosted glass door and windows. This is probably unlike any real office building we've seen, but for the purposes of this film, it works, especially with the frenetic film editing, accompanied by the dissonant chords at work in the eerie musical score.

My main problem with this film came at the end when the real reason for the hauntings was revealed. It turn out to be an offense commonly used in movies as the motive of avenging spirits. It's rather disappointing that while the ghost used videos to scare Lyra, these shocking clips did not actually have anything to do with why the ghost was doing what it was doing. 7/10.

This review was originally published in the author's blog, “Fred Said.”

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