The bad bold movie, makes extensive use of recycled dressing or more appropriately, undressing in Hubo Sa Dilim (FLT Film Productions International And Rare Breed Ltd.). This much touted, so called adult movie might have initially tickled our hopes for some semblance of maturity in the way our filmmakers explore the realm of sexuality but unfortunately, it could only manage to just as quickly dash off all remaining hopes for Philippine cinema's much awaited rebirth. Hubo is bold, naked and empty, a triple disappointment for diehard optimists. An ostensibly low budget, one and a half hour incursion into the domain of psychological trauma, Hubo offers meager psychology and no thrills, a terrible fate for its makers. The director, Tata Esteban might have had the best intentions in coming up with an honest to goodness adult film, as he once did with his feature film debut the 1984 Metro Manila Film Festival entry Alapaap which not withstanding its shortcomings, succeeded in many counts, particularly in exploring the horrors of a ghost consumed by revenge. Hubo is beset with many pitfalls. The material itself is old hat, though not necessarily itself a shortcoming if it had been retold with a good measure of insight, novelty or ingenuity, qualities that are sadly lacking in the finished product. Michael de Mesa plays Dinkee, a young man obsessed with Carmina (Maria Isabel Lopez), a call girl introduced by his cousin Andrew (Lito Gruet). Dinkee's absurdist temper presents the almost psychotic lengths he went through as a child growing up with his adulterous mother Christina (Chanda Romero), arguing that domestic violence breeds dementia.
Hubo, while making a bid for the viewer's attention via the bold genre, rehashes a tried and tired plot that has been used countless times before. I have no idea why a material as threadbare as this qualified to serve the filmmakers' purposes. The film miserably fails to probe into the lives of its characters, much less the motivations for their actions. Thus, in the case of Dinkee, we only get an idea of his slow descent into insanity through a scene which shows him having flashbacks of his traumatic childhood. The most overexposed yet most underdeveloped character in the film is Carmina, who after being beaten to a pulp still turns to Dinkee for sexual release. Hubo in the final analysis, merely capitalized on sex as a come on. Here it is shown in bits and pieces of nudity, simulated intercourse and coitus interuptus and the blame goes to the director and screenwriter for having exploited such a cheap device for a psychodrama. This is nothing by way of insight, observation or exploration that this film offers nothing but the hollowness of its intentions. Hubo's semiotics borders on the inane and the vulgar. Characters are utterly uninteresting, throughly boring and therefore, not deseving of a single penny's worth of compassion. There's also no worthwhile conflict that unfolds. Come to think of it, Hubo is completely bereft of dramatic potential. The performances are not even impressive although Michael de Mesa admittedly has some good moments as in that scene which shows him brooding in bed. Maria Isabel Lopez's character is mostly a caricature, calculated to lure the male moviegoers. Her performance rests on a shaky notion, and like the rest of the movie, naked and empty.
Directed By: Tata Esteban
Screenplay: Rei Nicandro
Director Of Photography: Ver Dauz
Music: Blitz Padua
Editing: Pat Ramos
Production Design: Steve Paolo
Produced By: FLT Film Productions International And Rare Breed Ltd.
Release Date: August 23, 1985