ASWANG bites. And it bites good.

Nov 4, 2011 by

I always prefer watching aswang movies over ghost-, ghoul-, leprechaun-, werewolf-, etc- based flicks if it’s horror-suspense we’re talking about. There’s more probability to the existence of aswang. Aswang is a mythical creature in Filipino folklore that describes a bloodsucking woman — at least most of the time — that cuts itself into half once it grows bat-like wings, fangs and the works. It preys on people especially during full moon for dramatic effects and can be driven away through:

a) Spraying of Salt and Vinegar (they hate marinades, I suppose)

b) Whipping of Petrified Stingray Tail

c) Wearing an amulet as unique as… garlic. Among others.

Anyway, interesting as all the hearsay facets about aswangs and whether or not they really exist (come on, you buying it?!), I went to the cinema to watch Regal Films’ Halloween offering, ASWANG. It stars my newly-favorited actress, Lovi Poe and the new-face of ABSCBN, Paulo Avelino. This is directed by Jerrold Tarog and written by Aloy Adlawan.

I have a certain amount of expectation from this movie because the trailers looked good. And after the first few minutes in the movie, I have decided that this movie HAS NOT FAILED ME.

The film is well-crafted. The intentions were clear. The weaving of the sub-plots to create a unified piece were done without struggle and the storytelling sailed through smoothly it didn’t feel like the movie ran for an hour and a half. It is one movie that I can call neat and unpretentious.

The cinematography is excellent. I wish to commend the DOP for a truly wonderful work. The framing  of shots and the mise en scenes (or “tuhog” — where a camera rolls continuously throughout a long take without cuts) were impeccable. I could breathe through the photographer’s eyes and the whole composition felt wonderfully fresh. I loved it. The location was a natural wonder that added soul to the film’s atmosphere: eerie, lurking danger everywhere, detachment. It spoke to me as if hey, we worked so hard to get where we are at this time! 

The director’s blocking was amazing. It was well-rehearsed — at least that’s how I felt. The ensemble acting was absolutely remarkable and every single bit was played with attention and clear intent. My only problem among the actors was Albie Casino. Though he looked good onscreen, he was a dead-flat plywood with emotions that ranged between inhaling and exhaling (because his character is supposed to have asthma). His limitations as an actor were further pronounced because of the really good leads and supporting cast that surround him.

Lovi Poe is a really promising actor. She has the right intensity, the right mix of mystery and the looks that fit the dangerous charm her character has required her to portray. Paulo Avelino has the material to make it big given he does not stop doing workshops and a bit of dynamic characterization. At some point, I just kept hoping Paulo would take his clothes off to compensate for some things the scene require that his face could not deliver. But rightfully so, Paulo is not all face (or chest or arms or …). He has focus as seen in his eyes and he is extremely masculine even in his most sleepy state. Marc Abaya on the other hand is a wonderful actor. He nailed his character as the antagonist with some comic relief provided to offset the heaviness of the plot.

All in all, I am highly recommending the film to my readers here on myiloilo.net. It’s worth your time and money and this movie is one of those that you just know was done with care and sincerity. I congratulate the cast and the production behind Aswang. I hope you go a long way in the box office — perhaps coming close to Avatar so you can truly enjoy that particular sequence in the wedding scene. Haha. But seriously, this movie is good. It bites good and it looks good.

I really would love to see more of Lovi Poe

Albie Casino (the guy) needs to work harder on his acting.

Congratulations to the cast and production staff of ASWANG!

All photos courtesy of http://dailykimchi.com

 

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2 Comments

  1. arden

    i will always be a fan of jerrold tarog. he has a fresh take on movies. although i appreciate the innovation, the story-telling isn’t fluid. andaming kanto. sayang ang concept. di maayos ang build up. it could’ve been pushed. plus albie and paolo still have to hone their craft.

    pero the movie, being an “anti-star cinema movie”, it works in general.

    • bobby

      Right on the nose, Arden. I missed mentioning the ‘kanto’ part which Kevin and I also felt while watching, but the film in general is good so ok na din. Pwede na. =)

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