Lawa is a Vivamax original thriller film directed by Phil Giordano and produced by Viva Films.
It stars Sean De Guzman, Cara Gonzales, Jela Cuenca, Josef Elizalde, Julia Victoria, Sheila Snow, Millen Gal, Thor Gomez, Ardy Raymundo, Massimo Scofield, Yuki Sakamoto, and Ivan Padilla. Lawa premiered on March 2, 2023, on Vivamax.
Peter (Sean de Guzman) worked as a videographer for weddings and events. However, he had a lot of free time and often visited a secluded and picturesque lakeside camping area where couples enjoyed their time together in the open air. In a disturbing turn of events, Peter started secretly filming their intimate moments and profiting by sharing the videos on an online adult website.
During one of his voyeuristic escapades, Peter targeted a young woman named Mia (Cara Gonzales) while she was taking a shower. Surprisingly, instead of reacting angrily, Mia approached him with friendliness. Unfortunately, Mia had a rough and menacing boyfriend named RJ (Josef Elizalde), who did not appreciate Peter’s presence around his girlfriend. As Peter continued to surreptitiously film Mia and RJ engaging in sexual acts, he witnessed Mia unexpectedly attacking RJ, slashing his neck.
One of the standout aspects of this film is the exceptional cinematography by Richmond Cadsawan, who beautifully captured the chosen location in San Marcelino, Zambales. The serene and calm surface of the lake, reminiscent of the enigmatic Lake Mapanuepe formed by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, combined with the majestic agoho trees dominating the shoreline, create a visually stunning backdrop.
Cinephiles familiar with the Cannes Film Festival may recognize that a significant part of the plot draws inspiration from the 2013 Un Certain Regard entry, “Stranger on the Lake,” directed by Alain Guiraudie, which won the Best Director award. While that film focused on a serial killer who targeted gay men at a nude beach, writer-director Phil Giordano takes this premise and adds his own twists to enhance the story, resulting in a provocative and gripping LGBT-themed erotic thriller.
Sean de Guzman delivers a noteworthy performance as Peter, skillfully portraying the disturbing and nuanced character of a perverted voyeur. However, Cara Gonzales’s portrayal of the seductive and knife-wielding Mia lacks consistency. Ivan Padilla’s casting as detective Jonell feels miscast and awkward. “Lake of Secrets” marks Giordano’s third film for Vivamax, following “Pusoy” and “Pabuya.” Despite its short runtime of 73 minutes, this film boasts the most coherent plot among the three.