Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shake Rattle & Roll 13

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

TAMAWO: A family of four relocates to the province. Isay (Maricar Reyes) is blind but takes good care of the baby and her family. Her husband Allan (Zanjoe Marudo) is short-tempered, directing all his frustrations to his illegitimate son Bikbok (Bugoy Cariño). Their simple everyday dilemma becomes complicated as their paths cross with the Tamawo, supernatural creatures inhabiting the nearby waterfall/cave, who accuse them of stealing something that belongs to them.

It must be pretty exhausting for Maricar to be hysterical and yelling ad nauseam all throughout the shooting. That is all she ever does here, because her character is blind. Not that it is annoying or anything, you could understand her helplessness, but as mentioned, it must have been physically and emotionally draining for her. Bugoy is good and gets rid of some unnecessary nuances this time. This kid has a bright future in acting. Zanjoe is okay, some moments of brilliance here and there but not always. Celia Rodriguez temporarily leaves behind her socialite “kontrabida” image by playing the role of the barrio’s “manghihilot” and plays good support without hogging the spotlight from the lead players.

The CGI is plausible although not really plenty. They mostly used it for the special effects on the floating cogon. The costume and make-up of the Tamawo look tacky at first glance but you get to appreciate them once you see them in their natural habitat. There is one scene where they are standing as a group at the river, and their whiteness just blends so well with the running water and the greenery. This is more of a thriller episode rather than horror. It is good that the producers tapped our culture’s rich mythology relating to supernatural creatures. However, there is something about them that prevents the story from being creepy. Maybe because you know they exist on the same plane and thus you believe there might be a scientific explanation for them, getting rid of the mystery that would otherwise make them freaky and horrifying, otherwise? Still, the episode serves as a good thriller that would not necessarily give you a heart attack, but would make you laud the effort of the cast and crew.

PAROLA: Best friends Lucy (Kathryn Bernardo) and Shane (Louise delos Reyes) decide to break the rules as they enter a prohibited area and climb the lighthouse as the rest of their classmates remain in their tents after a long day of a camping/class excursion. Unbeknownst to them, the said “parola” is actually inhabited by the ghosts of two rival witches who lead two souls to damnation every year by reliving their last supernatural encounter before they eventually died.

This Jerrold Tarog guy is very good at directing stories of the supernatural fantasy genre. He also seems to be gifted when it comes to manipulating special effects, in that they do not look too fake. You know that it is CGI but you are willing to believe that it is not because of the smoothness of the rendition. Cool. As for the story, it is both creepy and awesome at the same time. Creepy because Dimples Romana and Julia Clarete are both effective in their portrayal of two rival witches who just would not end their annual rematch, victimizing poor pairs of souls in the process. Either they hate each other that much or they just played too much Tekken when they were alive. The fight scene is awesome without trying too hard, and there is just something about apparitions of decomposing women donning traditional baro’t saya that gives one the creeps. If the “fantaserye” we see on TV are of this calibre, then I would not mind watching them over and over again.

RAIN RAIN GO AWAY: Cynthia (Eugene Domingo) and husband Mar (Jay Manalo) survive Ondoy but lose their unborn child in the process. They move house and now live in a condominium high above ground to make sure that the tragic incident does not happen again. She has developed an irrational phobia of water since the incident, fearing everything from the smallest drop from a leaky faucet up to the frequent rain showers that could not be avoided. Soon after, relatives start to die from “drowning” despite the absence of water in the scene. Are they just hallucinating or are they being haunted by a secret that would not stop until they are all dead?

This one reminds me of Biutiful because of the similarity in terms of the tragic incident that has drastic effects on the lives of the “protagonists”. This one is creepy, not just because there are ghosts in it, but because you get to realize how exploitative we human beings could be to one another. And that is scary, scarier than vengeful ghosts. It also makes you realize that nothing could haunt you more than a guilty conscience. In the end everything supernatural in this episode could be dismissed as hallucinations, but the intentional human errors resulting in great tragedy would never be forgotten. And it is great storytelling  that way. Affective. Eugene Domingo gives you a sample of her “as-is-where-is” acting, and you will love her for it. This woman is an actress, after all.

Overall this is one decent Shake, Rattle & Roll set. None of the three installments is annoying enough for you to hate. If it would be like this every year then this festival would be worth the Hollywood abstention. Perhaps it is because of the fresh approach used by the directors who participated here. More from them, please!

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