Christine (Eva Green) designs clothing for children and one day, at work, she has a breakdown after receiving a phone call. Then, a ghostly dog appears and shakes ticks and fleas all over her with one lodging at the nape of her neck. Her life is destroyed, her work suffers and she must take multiple drugs and sleep with a mask on just to keep some semblance of health. That’s when her new caregiver Diana (Chai Fonacier) — who she doesn’t remember hiring — comes to save her. Then again, as we’re in the realm of folk horror, much less Filipino folk horror and more specifically Bisaya/Cebuano folk horror, a lot can and will happen.

Her husband Felix (Mark Strong) distrusts Diane yet she’s able to return the spirit and health that Christine lost while being able to find a way to bond with Bobs (Billie Gadsdon), their unreachable daughter. Of course, that’s because she’s an ongo, a sorcerer of sorts who was given her powers when she watched an old woman die and her powers — in the form of a bird — flew into her mouth. While her power allowed her to heal the people around her, they also feared her and stayed away.

Felix finds Christine’s drugs, which have been hidden away, as well as an altar in Diane’s room. They make her leave the house but by then, the spell has been cast. The illness inside Christine is directly related to her destroying — man, spoilers on, obviously — Diane’s life when she demanded that the sweatshop that makes her clothes — the same place Diane made her living — increase production and be locked so that people can’t leave with her product. A fire soon destroys everything and because the door was locked, everyone dies, including Diane’s daughter while she watches helplessly outside, clutching the coconut water that her daughter had asked for.

Sadly, that tragedy in the factory is based on reality. The film’s credits have the Filipino song “Pugon” by The General Strike, a song all about the 2015 Kentex slipper factory fire that killed 74 people. The lyrics state:

They died at work This box caught fire Imprisoned and buried They were burned there In the factory that became a furnace

The credits feature the words “Justice for all Kentex fire victims.”

Sadly, it will have to be in this movie.

Directed by Lorcan Finnegan and written by Garret Shanley, the surprises may be easy to see, but to see capitalism destroyed in such a final way by someone that has been forgotten makes this a film worth watching.

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