Saturday, December 27, 2014

MMFF 2104: Review of SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL XV: Horror in a Mall, a Kitchen and a Plane

December 26, 2014

I am a fan of Pinoy horror films, but I honestly have not seen ANY of the past 14 incarnations of the "Shake, Rattle & Roll" film series since it started in 1984. This year, I was not really planning to do so as well. However, due to various conflicts in screening schedules, this was the available film my son chose to watch. So at long last, I finally get to watch an SRR trilogy -- its fifteenth!

1. AHAS (Director: Dondon Santos)

This segment brings to life a popular urban myth about a rich mall owner who had twin daughters, one of whom was a snake. She was kept in the bowels of the mall, and fed on hapless customers trying on clothes in the fitting room.

Erich Gonzales rose to the challenge of playing the twin girls, the normal Sandra and the snake lady Sarah. You have to admire her commitment for having to endure the meticulous body makeup to make her torso look reptilian to fit the long serpentine body suit, a process that reportedly took five hours. JC de Vera lacked screen charisma as Troy, the man whom Sarah was attracted to. Ariel Rivera is his reliable competent self playing Mr. Alegria, the father whose desire for wealth made him dabble in the occult, resulting in the curse that plagues one of his daughters. John Lapuz played an events organizer, flamboyant as ever.

Of course, there was effective suspense and dread at the beginning, because of the camera angles and musical score chosen. But after the whole snake body of Sarah had already been revealed, it was not really scary anymore. When the snake creature loses her human face to become totally CGI, the effect was not better (even if the giant mechanical snake there reportedly cost Regal a fortune). Though probably good enough for local standards, the quality of the special visual effects were not really too impressive. Towards the end, it became more of a dramatic film already, rather than horror. 5/10

2. ULAM (Director: Jerrold Tarog)

After his grandmother's death, Henry brought his wife Aimee and young daughter Julie back to live in their family's old ancestral house. Starting Day 1, it was obvious someone did not want them there as the couple are terrorized by dreams of turning into monsters.

This episode worked because of the effective acting of the two lead actors playing the embattled couple, Dennis Trillo (as Henry) and Carla Abellana (as Aimee). The little girl who played their daughter Julie, Kryshee Grengia, was also very good in projecting fear without overacting. Chanda Romero effortlessly emanates mystery as Aling Lina, the house caretaker and cook who maybe serving them more than just sumptuous meals. Cris Villonco only had a few minutes of screen time as the young Ama Choleng, but she was very memorable with that cameo. John Lapuz makes an appearance again as Aimee's friend.

This segment is the creepiest of the three episodes. The feeling of suspense was relentless up to the very end as the boundaries between reality and fantasy are continually blurred.  The makeup effects were quite good, especially the reptilian and lycan transformations. There was very little reliance on special effects, so the dread was created by an effective play of lights, music and editing. Now that makes an excellent horror film. 8/10.

3. FLIGHT 666 (Director: Percival M. Intalan)

A local flight bound for Zamboanga was hijacked by a disgruntled employee (Bernard Palanca). On top of that, a pregnant passenger (Ria Garcia) gives birth to a devil baby that would terrorize everyone on board, killing them one by one. With dead pilots and a bomb on board, the fate of the wacky passengers all hang on the line.

The cast of this episode is the veritable smorgasbord of actors which Regal Films is very much known for. In the main roles were Matteo Guidicelli who played Dr. Dave and his estranged girlfriend, stewardess Karen. Khalil Ramos played a pop artist, with Kiray Celis as his lascivious stalker fan. Models Daniel Matsunaga and John Spainhour and comedians Arlene Muhlach, Bentong and Joy Viado were also in the mix. Kim Atienza stood out playing basically his know-it-all trivia-spouting self to great comic effect. We also see John Lapuz again as a passenger who slept through the flight.

I believe that in horror films, the best scares are those not seen. When we do not actually see what was attacking the passengers, there was excitement. But when the monster baby is already seen repeatedly jumping on people, there is really not much thrill anymore after the first attack. Ultimately, we are just staying to the end to see who makes it out of the plane alive. We also want to know what happens to John Lapuz's character Iggy after being attacked by three monsters in all three films. 4/10.


1 comment:

  1. I stopped watching Shake, Rattle & Roll. I can't remember what part I have watched.