Awaiting the completion of their new beach house, a family decides to stay in an abandoned mansion that is rumored to be the home of the terrifying 'Aswang.' The Philippines has several legends, but this by far is the scariest.
A young, unwed, pregnant girl is made an offer she can't refuse. Marry a rich young man with a wealthy estate to please his dying mother, and she'll be well taken care of. What she doesn't ... See full summary »
Tina Ona Paukstelis,
Seeking a brighter future in megacity Manila, Oscar Ramirez and his family flee their impoverished life in the rice fields of the northern Philippines. But the sweltering capital's bustling... See full summary »
Alma Moreno plays the aswang attacking residents of a remote barrio. Catlyn (Aiza Seguerra) and her yaya Veron,played by Manilyn Reynes are accompanied in the countryside by Dudoy, the ... See full summary »
'ASWANG' several shades better than previous Regal thrillers
ASWANG gave me the surprise for November. I usually leave the theater after watching Regal Films horror schlockers disappointed and derisive of their dismal, derivative styles. But Jerrold Taurog has a distinctive style that leaves one riveted, even startled. (SPOILERS!) For starters, Lovi Poe gives an indelible performance here, notches away from her usual vampy airheads (see TEMPTATION ISLAND). While the backstory about the 'aswang' lore is hazy, we immediately sympathize with Poe's dilemma, of refusing to give in to her beastly nature and eat people. Paulo Avelino, again with no acting muscles stretched, gives a mostly anemic performance as a guilt-ridden gunman who falls for Poe's shapeshifting barrio lass. Amidst all the carnage and panicky townsfolk, Marc Abaya chews the scenery as a trigger-happy and sardonic hit-man who's waiting for his chance to kill a traitorous Avelino. Albie Casiño struggles but gives a wooden performance, while cutesy Jillian Ward is yet again hammy and too pushbutton-cute for the role of a little girl whose parents have been massacred and who has to flee from the gunmen with her kuya (Casiño). Precious Lara Quigaman (as Poe's older sister) and Nonie Buencamino give solid support, but the rest of the 'aswang' extras boggle the mind with their entire get-up and characterizations. Taurog sets up most of the attack scenes without knowing how to stage them convincingly and appropriately shockingly, but overcomes this with the layered storytelling (co-written with Adloy Adlawan) and the moody production sets (Ericson Navarro) and a mature performance from his lead actress. My basic quibble: the lead monster (to whom Poe is betrothed) is not as horrible and scary as he should have been (Fu-Manchu beard, scaly back and claws notwithstanding). When I looked at the credits, I was surprised to see Bembol Roco's name as the monster. Unrecognizable, but not enough to frighten you out of your wits -- just disgust you. ASWANG has a different feel from all those previous Regal horror-films, and a parameter has been set by Taurog. Alas, if only the other horror-film directors wouldn't fall back on their outdated styles!
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