The Spider's Lair
PRODS Josabeth Alonso, Ferdinand Lapuz, Minda Ponce Rodriguez
SCR Jason Paul Laxamana
CAM Topel Lee
ED Carlo Manatad
PROD DES Lars Magbanua
MUS Lucien Lataba, Joseph Lansang
PROD CO Quantum Films / Kamaru Productions / Cinemalaya Foundation
Bam Bonifacio is a dream hunk on an Internet dating site, with both female and male admirers. He often takes trips to remote areas of the countryside and finds himself stuck without cash, and so needs to call his admirers to ask them for emergency funds. Mostly they pay up… Behind ‘Bam’ is the less prepossessing Greg, a bit-player in movies and TV shows, who works the scams under the guidance of the overweight gay Marney on behalf of beer-hall owner Lisa. Their operation is finely honed. Sim cards are regularly switched, web profiles are carefully updated, lines of patter are workshopped in advance. Everything is going swimmingly until the day ‘Bam’ strikes up an online friendship with the rich and generous Daisy… and Greg finds himself touched by her warmth and kindness.
Jason Paul Laxamana has been a crew-member for Brillante Mendoza and Jeffrey Jeturian, amongst others, but The Spider’s Lair stands a little apart from other recent Filipino indie features. First, it’s bang up-to-date in its understanding of how Internet protocols and scams work. Second, it has a clear grasp of the space between fantasy and reality, even when its characters don’t. Third, it never loses sight of the economic and psychological factors—in short, the social structure—which creates both the perps and the victims in these scams. Altogether impressive.
— Tony Rayns