145 min., 2011
Directed by Chris Martinez, Richard Somes & Jerrold Tarog
A very serious attempt at frightening the audience.
* * *
It really pains me to come to the conclusion that the vast majority of Philippine cinema is just good enough. There is so much wasted potential flapping in the wind that I just want shake these people to their senses. This anthology is once again brimming with potential that somehow gets derailed.
We have a case of too many damn characters here. Bikbok (Bugoy Carino) and his blind mother Isay (Maricar Reyes) have moved to the countryside with Isay’s new husband Allan (Zanjoe Marudo). Allan discovers what he believes to be a crystal, not realizing (or caring) that it belongs to the supernatural tribe of Tamawo – creatures that heaven won’t accept and that earth has vomited up. With a rambling story about how Allan is a bastard and some pretty neat death scenes, we come to what should be a very tense final conflict. Except it is riddled with fake sympathy for a man we loathe and a seemingly endless goodbye scene. Carino impresses with his innocence, but barely has any worthwhile dialogue. Reyes is gorgeous and tries her best to be blind, but there are some moments where it is quite obvious the scenes were set up a bit too conveniently. At least the effects were pretty good. A rare instance where the CG didn’t bother me one bit. The Tamawos seemed at times to look like they belonged in a Marilyn Manson video, but it works. Director Richard Somes has a good eye, showcasing the beauty of the countryside while emphasizing the isolation. But with four writers credited, it isn’t too much of a wonder that the story itself falls apart after the middle. Half of the dialogue is a disaster, with people just repeating names and variations of one sentence. This gets 1 star.
Best friends Lucy (Kathryn Bernardo) and Shane (Louise delos Reyes) fall from a lighthouse during a school field trip. The are consequently followed around by their own respective ghost and their parents’ conflict with each other is starting to bleed into their own relationship. What could those ghosts possibly want? To relive their own rivalry. This is a pretty solid story, if not a bit ho-hum. The effects work, but at times tend to be a bit cheesy. There were a couple of scenes that were very reminiscent of Nightmare on Elm Street, and I’m still not sure if I consider it a rip-off or an homage. Director Jerrold Tong’s cinematography is a bit on the forgettable side. Ara Mina as Lucy’s mom underplays her role and saves the movie. This plague of overacting is starting to wear on me! It has a dark ending that I really do appreciate. This one will get 2 stars for the consistent story – with some minor pacing issues.
RAIN RAIN GO AWAY
Typhoons are a fact in the tropics. This story explores the aftermath of a particularly damaging typhoon. Water is the star of the show here – all deaths are water related. It was a bit predictable, but not irritatingly so. Cynthia (Eugene Domingo) and her husband Mar (Jay Manalo) seem to be haunted by water. Their family is starting to get picked off and they seem to be avoiding the knowledge that they may have done something to deserve it. Eugene Domingo is brilliant in her role. I don’t say that lightly. I know her more as a comedienne and I was shocked at how well she plays a serious character. It is a rare feat indeed for a Filipino actor to switch genres. I dare say I prefer her in this type of role. It took me only about a few minutes to get over ogling at her transformation before she won me over as Cynthia. This is probably my favorite of the anthology, delivering more tension than the other two combined. The deaths are interesting and almost tragic. Almost. The drowning in an elevator scene was ruined by dialogue befitting a kindergarten production. This one gets 3 stars for being the most consistent, and having a truly depressing ending.
This installment veers a bit off from the usual formula of funny→spooky→scary. It does away with formalities and attempts to grab you by the jugular right from the start. It succeeds at some points, especially with a much darker theme running throughout. The biggest disaster is in the cut away. There is not definitive cut in between segments and it feels very disjointed. After Parola ends it jumps right into the opening scene of Rain without so much as a pause. It might take the viewer a bit to realize that we are on to a new story before the title pops up. A really big nitpick I have though, which isn’t necessarily contained in just this film, is the tendency for too much chatter. Filipinos seem to have an aversion to silence. There is constant noise – scenes where there really is nothing to say would work far better with silence and a better score than having a character just repeat a name for like a million times. The lack of substance in dialogue is on display in all its glory throughout and is an irritating distraction. It is nice to see better acting talent finally come out, and even the effects have improved. I am actually encouraged by this and hope that there is only one way to go – up.Have You Read...?