Everything we know about “Motel Acacia”, starring JC Santos

Everything we know about “Motel Acacia”, starring JC Santos

Bradley Liew’s “Motel Acacia” is a beastly-sized production. It enlists talents from all over Asia to make a film that’s “a projection of monsters—monsters from the Southeast Asian folklore and the monsters within us—humans.”

Per a Variety report, the film will start production at the end of November in the Philippines and Slovenia and is gunning for a 2019 release.

The film is set in a motel—duh!—where weird things happen

It’s both weird and interesting that the film goes into development in a post-”Bad Times at the El Royale” world. The story, which follows a young Filipino who’s groomed by his dogmatic Caucasian father to take over a voyeuristic sex motel, feels kinda sorta similar to the Drew Goddard modern classic, but hey, the more creepy motels that cinema has, the better, right?

The full synopsis reads:

In the cold west, Motel Acacia is tasked with exterminating immigrants by the government through a bed, haunted by the spirit of a Filipino tree demon, that eats men and impregnates women. A young Filipino man, JC, is groomed by his tyrannical caucasian Father to take over the business.

XYZ Films will bring it to the U.S. and Canada

XYZ Films—the U.S.-based film outfit responsible for the Stateside popularity of films like “On The Job”, and more recently, “Buybust”—has boarded Liew’s new film in their roster of delectable genre films.

When your film is all about a haunted bed that eats men and impregnates women, studios like XYZ Films will have a hard time saying no. True?

JC Santos and Angel Aquino are among the stellar cast

“Motel Acacia” boasts a mostly all-Asian cast, among them, are Filipino actor JC Santos (“Esprit De Corps”) and actress Angel Aquino (“Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis”). Santos plays the Filipino-American whose family owns the haunted, sadism-streaked motel.

Indonesian high-profile actor Nicholas Saputra (“What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love”), Belgian actor Jan Bijvoet (“Embrace of the Serpent, TV’s “Peaky Blinders”), Thailand’s Vithaya Pansringarm (“Only God Forgives”), Talia Zucker, and U.S./Australian Will Jaymes (“Beast”) round up the cast.

The crew is led by strong Asian off-screen talents

The talent off-screen is absolutely exciting as well, with Bianca Balbuena (“Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis”) taking helm as producer and co-screenwriter. Larry Manda, who lensed Lav Diaz’s “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan”, is taking DoP duties. Benjamin Tolentino (“Transit”) edits the film with Thailand’s Lee Chatametikool (“Manta Ray”). Carlo Tabije and Benjamin Padero (“Heneral Luna”) serve as production designers.

As for Bradley Liew, his debut feature “Singing in Graveyards” is one of the better films to have come out in 2016. It made a pretty successful festival run, touring thirty fests and bagged awards in Malaysia and Kolkata. He also co-produced Lav Diaz’s “Ang Panahon Ng Halimaw”. He directs and co-writes the screenplay Balbuena.

“Motel Acacia” will *fingers crossed* come to the Philippines late next year

The film is already slated for principal photography later this month. Assuming everything goes well, we might be able to catch “Motel Acacia” in a local premiere later in 2019. If not, early 2020.

I’m personally excited for this to come alive. I will update this article as details become available.