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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Disappointing Entry Among Kris Aquino's Horror Movies

Author: 3xHCCH from Quezon City, Philippines
28 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Being a fan of Pinoy horror films, particularly those starring Ms. Kris Aquino (like "Feng Shui" and "Sukob"), of course I was not about to miss "Dalaw." It was just strange how this was the only film which did not receive any nomination from the Metro Manila Film Fest 2010 judges. That did not weaken my resolve to watch this film.

"Dalaw" is the story of Stella (Kris Aquino), a widow of four years whose violent husband died in a car accident while they were quarreling. She is now set to marry her high school sweetheart Anton (Diether Ocampo) with whom she has recently reconnected. From then however, Stella's life becomes a living hell when a mud-coated ghost haunts her dreams. After their wedding, the torment escalates as actual deaths began to occur among the people around her. Stella, with the help of a spooky neighbor with a "third eye" Aling Olga (Ms. Gina Pareno), needs to discover how to stop the malevolent terror from destroying her life.

Kris Aquino just had her signature pained look plastered throughout the whole movie. She has not really progressed in her facial expressions through all these horror films she had. The way she shouts her son's name Paolo and her anguished harsh screams were so over-the-top. A very big problem of the film was that Kris and Diether had absolutely NO chemistry. Their whole relationship as high school sweethearts was not believable at all. Their kissing scenes were very awkward-looking. This made the central premise of the story very shaky indeed. Come to think of it, Kris looked ill at ease with all the other actors as well. But hey, Kris is fun to watch, so there! Haha!

A lot of the scary scenes were derivative. Some of the death scenes have already been done in previous films of the same genre, like the one in the sauna. The supporting character of Gina Pareno was written and executed in a comic horror style. Her Aling Olga looked like Mrs. Ganush of "Drag Me To Hell." She likes quoting classic lines from Filipino movies when she makes her ominous pronouncements, which can be funny, but some of the humor is forced. Her exit was also very poorly written and realized. Among the other supporting actors, only Karylle made any kind of impact.

The movie was shot in very poor light. It seemed like most of the movie happened during the twilight to evening hours, which made a lot of scenes very hard to see. It was very strange that no one seemed to need to turn on the house lights at night! The director Dondon Santos depended heavily on typical horror effects like sudden camera shifts, dreary funereal music and too much darkness to achieve his scares. The final resolution had a corny feel to it because Kris was obviously fighting a solid "ghost". Overall this movie was a disappointment in the list of Kris Aquino horror films.

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Failed to scare

Author: Sirfaro11 from Philippines
21 December 2013

This is the story of Stella (Kris Aquino) haunted by a ghost, after she re marries Anton (Diether Ocampo). The "scary" scenes that followed are predictable, if not laughable. And the acting especially of Kris is laughable, if not horrible.

In fact, her voice and facial expression almost did not change throughout the whole movie. I almost felt like rooting for the muddy ghost towards the end, I really didn't care about her character. The story tried to build up the tension at the beginning, but it lost its grip towards the end. The whole premise did not feel scary at all. If you think this was bad enough that they will stop hiring Kris, then you are mistaken. The following year, they did Segunda Mano. Watch this only if you are a Kris fan.

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Mud ghost haunts re-married woman.

Author: Boloxxxi from United States
20 February 2011

**This is a "NON-SPOILER" alert!! I feel I have no choice but to give this alert since spoiler alerts were placed in at least 3 of my reviews at IMDb's discretion even though there were no spoilers in them. I doubt if they even saw the movie or they would know. I complained (nicely) once and one of them was changed but I can't be bothered any more.

Okay. To business. This movie is about a woman who was in an abusive relationship which came to an end when her husband dies in a car accident due to an argument the two of them were having in the car at the time. The woman was now free of her husband in terms of his actual physical presence in her life. However, for a time, she was haunted by him --or thought that she was-- because she "saw things".

A friend reintroduces her to her first love whose heart she broke when she entered into a marriage of convenience with an abusive man. At this point, the "haunting" she experienced after his death have ceased and it now seems she was completely free to start a new relationship. Eventually they get married --but not uneventfully, since something happens. Later she and her child (a boy) move into her new husband's home where he lives with his mother (something her new mother-in-law had insisted on). Things begin to happen, starting with the woman's son, who is seeing and experiencing things. It shortly becomes clear that the haunting has restarted; a fact the woman assumes to be the result of her deceased former husband's displeasure with her new marriage.

The best thing about this movie is that it has a interesting story with a nice plot twist about the haunting. Unfortunately the whole thing gets blown to hell --I think-- at the end (the last 10-12 mins, or so). I guess they wanted to end with a big bang but I believe they misfired since the result was an over-the-top, non-scary cliché (things flying all over the place and an ineffectual priest) and a ghost that appeared as just a deranged person and not "ghostly creepy" at all. So a nice story ruined by the ending like a gymnast who does some nice twists and turns in the air but then lands on their face. Too bad. Love, Boloxxxi.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Predictable and far from scary...

Author: Paul Magne Haakonsen from Denmark
18 February 2011

Having only seen a single Pinoy horror movies prior to this, I don't really have much to compare it with. But in comparison to Hong Kong, Korean and Japanese horror movies, then this was a weak bowl of broth. It was fairly far away from being scary (from a Westerner's point of view), but I am sure that it must be semi-scary to Asian viewers.

What wondered me about the movie, was why nearly all of it was shot in the dark or in dim lighting. The lack of illumination really brought down the movie enjoyment, because most of the time it was hard to make out what was going on in the scenes.

The story told in "Dalaw" was actually good and interesting enough, making you want to sit and see what happens next. They managed to build up a lot of suspense in the movie, and that was a good thing. The movie did turn out to be as predictable as I had anticipated. The actual story, quickly summarized, goes something like this: Stella gets married to Anton, and move in together in a new home, together with her son Paolo. But something stirs and is wrong, there is some dark presence in the family. And the caretaker Olga have the ability to see "visitors". So what is it that is haunting the family...?

As for the cast in "Dalaw", then I am not familiar with any of the actors or actresses here. But the movie was carried by Kris Aquino (who played Stella) and Gina Pareño (playing Olga). The rest of the cast was mediocre and didn't really stand out.

I didn't find the ghost scary at all. And once you see it, you will immediately figure out the plot of the story. Trust me. I will not reveal it here, but it is quite predictable.

Being a big fan of Asian movies and Asian horror in general, I found this movie rather weak and far from scary. But all together, this isn't a bad movie at all. There were some really nice aspects to the movie, and a really good story. It could just have used more scare moments. And the effects used in the movie, though fairly simple, actually worked quite well. I especially liked the scene with the furniture moving about in the living room.

I suppose this movie is for die hard Pinoy fans. I however, wasn't overly impressed with it...

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Dalaw flaws and believability

Author: tonzi8901 from Iligan, Philippines
8 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Filipinos love horror movies which is why Dalaw (ghost visit), an another of Kris Aquino's list of horror and thriller movies, is made especially in time for the Manila Film Festival 2010. Although I find the movie so scary most of the time, I could there are lots of flaws in it. The sound and visual effects were great because as I watched the movie it was well timed and both arrived at the same time.

"Stella's relationship with her first hubby" One major flaw in the movie was that they story line didn't establish how truly Stella's husband (Richard Kwan) loved her and seemingly wanted so much that he wanted to haunt her to death. Though it was Lorna's (Karylle) ghost who's the main culprit of the haunting, since they established the defunct husband's ghost as a suspect, they should have shown first how he really loved Stella and how such a death of his may become a nightmare in haunting Stella. Why such implication? It is because the movie tries to put suspecting insinuations and tries to inflict mystery from whom the haunting is involved with. Therefore, it wasn't really that believable of such thinking to suspect Stella's first husband although that's what the movie is trying to do: move the audiences' suspecting thought away from Lorna. If they had only established Kwan's character at the start of the movie, then, the thriller would have been much higher.

"Stella and Anton's relationship" Stella and Anton's portrayal as a couple in the movie not only lacked chemistry not only because of the age gap of Kris and Diether but also on the part of how their intimacy moved back into marriage. I mean, they may be exes of each other, but in fairness to intimacy to remarry as former lovers, there should have been retrospection on their part on how "love is sweeter the second time around" is really true. A thought on "just because of a son not being able to see a father figure when he grows up" can not just be a reason why Stella chose Anton and not other men to marry. Stella kept on insinuating of Diether's former relationships, if he has another woman or not. He came home late on their engagement party and Stella receives a phone call from Anton's phone and hears that it was another woman. Anton's character is okay since sometimes he feels scary at some parts of the movie because he knew how Lorna died and just kept it in silence.

"Anton's financial woes" Anton keeps on saying thank you or sorry to Stella because of money and state of living in his mother's house. I didn't see much on how rich really is Stella on the movie. When they sold their mortgaged house, Stella told her friend that they are still continuing to pay for the house and just gave it up since Anton was alone in paying for his mom's hospitalization. They left the house because his mom wants them to be with her at the house (this was before Anton's mom got victimized by the ghost haunting). Anton works as a car dealer and just lives up to some commission for extra income. The mortgaged house isn't also told if it was mortgaged with Stella and her ex-husband or with Anton. To think of this situation, if the mortgaged house was there because of the former husband, then, the thought is to stop living in the house because the payee is already dead, or, if it was during Anton's relationship that the mortgage was made, then, they shouldn't have gotten the house in the first place because his income cannot suffice for it's price. If you look at the ancestral house of Anton and his mother, one cannot say that they are of good family standing in terms of income. Much more, if one would look at the mortgaged house, it was so spacious and elegant that I thought it would cost around 8 to 12 million pesos. For someone who works as a car dealer, he can never afford that kind of abode if they would start a family. Or if not, Stella's financial background can suffice to it. Although it didn't need further explanation in the movie, Anton's woes was so annoying at times as their hardship isn't so defined in it.

"The mud laden ghost character" I was surprised to see a ghost full of sticky mud. In the culture of ghost appearances in the Philippines or if not the world, this was the first time I saw such a ghost in a movie. It was almost so "concrete" and too alive that it can really hold or push somebody. Also, to think of supernatural beings associated with mud or soil in the Philippine culture, we may think of such kind as "nature based supernatural beings" and not as ghosts. Portrayal of ghosts in the Philippine belief is something that is whitish-grayish look with slightly dark or set eyes and they can never push or hold somebody. On one part of the movie where Stella was attacked by the ghost, the latter even had a "struggling look" to pull back Stella with her belly as she was pregnant.

Overall, I would say the movie is okay as far as scaring through sound and visual effects is concerned. But on the part of the storyline and conflict plus some portrayals of almost all characters, there is so much to improve on. To me, they needed at least 12 more scenes on some parts to portray further some details. It was a relatively short movie that needs at most 30-40 minutes more for it to be such a believable one. But, kudos to those who paid hard work in making this movie because it really made my hair rise! Hehehe…

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