Thursday, October 18, 2012

Film: Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles

"Hay." (Sigh.) That was exactly what I had in mind when cracks in Tiktik were beginning to show as I was watching it. To be fair, I will run out of superlatives if I were to describe the positive things about the film: the post-production; the acting, particularly those of Dingdong Dantes and his biceps, Joey Marquez (who I strongly dislike in real life but who I found absolutely charming in his role), Janice de Belen, and Roy Vinzon; and the overall styling (love the clothes of the teenage aswangs, very street-style fashion!) and vision of the film. That's why I find it almost unacceptable that the film allowed itself to be scarred by a highly preventable problem in pre-production: inanities in the plot. I really thought it wasted an opportunity to make an outstanding contemporary Filipino horror film.

The script, written by Erik Matti (who also directed this movie) did have some golden moments especially when it creatively incorporated Pinoy pop culture: I loved, for example, the unexpected use of that candy and that nuts brand. I thought the final confrontation scene, when the group attempted to fool the alpha male aswang, was a subtle nod to noontime game shows. There were also the self-aware, hybrid of scary-funny scenes that sell like they did in Drag Me to Hell.

My major beef was when the actors, both normal people and monster chracters, seemed to compete for the title of stupidest persons in the planet. I could not understand why, if your house was being attacked by aswangs, you'd actually opt to give birth BESIDE the window, with your back FACING it. I don't know how you could outrun aswangs when a few minutes earlier, they were able to catch up to your jeep. I don't get why the aswangs, who have the upperhand, would take their sweet time before killing off their victims. And I absolutely have no idea how a whole barangay of aswangs was not able to overcome a poorly secure, two-storey house with enough windows to compete with the Manila Cathedral. I won't even question how a newly birthed woman was able to sashay out into the field, with her duster flapping in the wind—fine, I'll attribute that to adrenaline.

The plot really counts on its viewers to be that stupid to accept such questionable and unreasonable storylines. That many people and aswangs did not have to die. Yes, I'm standing up for aswang rights here, lol.

My minor issues in the post-production was that some of the scenes no longer looked Pinoy. In one, Tatin both and I looked at each other and exclaimed, "the African savannah?" There were also the very slow-mo scenes that obviously intended to highlight the special effects, but which seemed farcical when you consider the plot.

Also, the aswangs at one point looked like your generic Hollywood alien. The male alpha aswang was no longer recognizable, as far as Filipino folklore was concerned. It would have been nice if they looked original and organic, instead of obviously looking like CGI.

Judging by the title, "Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles" there's bound to be  sequels. I hope the script would then give its audience the credit it deserves. Again, sayang.

Rating: 6/10 overall; 10/10 for post-prod.

4 * :

Amor Villacarlos said...

You made a horror movie sound funny LOL! About the CGI, in time (I hope), Filipino moviemakers will get to master this to at least give the audience options other than local movies bearing English titles.

Jason D. said...

... English titles of American ballads, haha!

Yep, this is definitely a good start, though I can imagine some people arguing the style is very Frank Miller or Zack Snyder. But hopefully, it's a jump-off point for more originality.

Jerone Simon said...

Matthew M. Walker said...

Philippine aswang is really amusing. I've seen the trailer of this movie and it is interesting. I am glad there is a subtitle because I cannot understand their language.

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