CHILD’S PLAY (Lars Klevberg, 2019)

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I dunno it seemed to me that Chucky just wanted to serve some vigilante justice so he could play with his best friend.

He’s gone totally soft and officially dropped down my list of favorite horror movie villains.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

DOTGA: DA ONE THAT GHOST AWAY (Tony Reyes, 2018)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on DOTGA: Da One That Ghost Away:

1. I was surprised that Vhong Navarro wasn’t included in the cast given that he headlined the last two horror-comedy films of Star Cinema (please note that I didn’t consider the unintentionally comedic horror films of Kris Aquino, like Segunda Mano where she pissed her pants in terror for buying a secondhand Prada bag).

In terms of comparison, this one was less like Bulong (actually a guilty pleasure) and more of Da Possessed (which had the gall to make fun of Vhong’s rape case). I already expected tons of corny jokes and lame slapstick humor, but even with my IQ lowered and in full babaw mode, I could only muster one giggle in all 100 minutes (again, I only counted the intentional one because I spent the entire movie hysterically laughing at Enzo Pineda’s acting that he equated with wide eyes and flaring nostrils).

2. Carmel (Kim Chiu) and Jerald (Ryan Bang) were ghost hunters slash con artists that brought along their team dressed as horror film characters (Ghost Bride, Chucky, Tiyanak, etc.) to terrorize and pretend exorcise haunted houses. She used a magical triangle (yes, the musical instrument in the percussion family) and shouted nonsensical chants (“Mother Ignacia! Sergeant Esguerra! Papuntang Abra!”) as part of her ritual. I was surprised that there were people who actually fell for this kind of silliness (although their first victim was a Krizzy impersonator and we all knew how gullible she could get).

3. This movie was rated PG because the MTRCB thought that parents could easily explain what Carmel meant when she said “Sabi na di ako nagpi-pinger eh” after using a dating app called PinGer. Or why she kept emphasizing the name of Enzo as JACK COLmenares (just in case it still wasn’t obvious enough, his name was written exactly like that on a white board). Should we expect the Colmenares sisters to be named Jaja, Nadia, and Gina? Seriously, this type of Pinoy green humor hadn’t been funny since my high school days circa ‘90s.

4. Terrible, terrible editing. In one scene, Serrah (Maymay Entrata) was looking at her compact mirror and asking “What is that ghost I see?” and then it abruptly cut to her and Chire (Edward Barber) walking to school. What was that about?

(Also, as a huge #MayWard fan, please give them a good film that they actually deserved! Sayang talaga sila!)

5. Oh, Jerald also worked as a language teacher in a school called Fil-Eng-The-Blanks. Wala na bang ikaka-corny pa ang pelikulang ito?

6. The only funny scene that I mentioned earlier was a brief gag where Carmel hugged a sweaty Jack, then wiped the wet part of her cheek with her left hand, and smelled it like she was endorsing the newest Downy fabric conditioner. It was a testament to Kim’s charm and sharp comic timing that a throwaway moment like that would actually work.

7. If Enzo acted like his life (or career?) depended on it, on the other end of the spectrum was Ronnie Alonte who didn’t even feel the need to act at all (was it because it was just a cameo role?).

8. Tabako vs Sadako? Bearable. Valak vs Halak? Meh. Black Panty vs Black Panther? Wala na maisip??

9. I felt bad for the extras in the scene where they pretended to freeze as part of a spell (think Mannequin Challenge only without music). Carmel had this really lengthy monologue (“Oo nasaktan na ako lola. Shinota niya ang best friend mo!!”) and you could actually see some of them in the background starting to shake (as in nanginginig na sa sobrang ngalay). I could have subbed for any of them because I had always been a master Statue Dancer.

10. Carmel: “Ikaw pa rin ang DOTGA ko!”

Jerald: “Da One That Ghost Away?”

Carmel: “Da One That Gusto Ako Pero Baka Maging Gusto Ko Rin!!”

Huh? Isn’t that DOTGAPBMGKR?!

Kimmy, pinapainit mo ang anit sa ibabaw ng ulo ko!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

THE BOY (William Brent Bell, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Boy:

1. The great Joey Albert said it best when she sang “I remember the boy, but I don’t remember the feeling anymore.” (Obviously my sense of humor goes AWOL whenever I don’t like something.) Even with an interesting premise (old couple hires a babysitter for their “son”, a porcelain doll), this movie was almost devoid of any genuine scares. It had the audacity to have multiple dream sequences (to justify a couple of fake-out boo moments) and prevent the audience from falling asleep. In the end though, you would still leave the theater feeling empty and cheated.

2. Creepy dolls (like clowns) seem to be a staple in horror movies of late ever since Chucky spawned his own franchise. Brahms, the boy doll in this movie, would be the perfect boyfriend of Annabelle since they were both non-menacing and even oddly cute. I probably would be more scared if I saw Chaka Doll sitting on my bed and cackling hysterically while going over my wardrobe (“Tank top, sa taba mong yan??”).

3. Checklist of annoying horror movie tropes present here:

• Inspection of a grand old house that looked haunted as soon as one entered

• Requisite shower scene for our heroine

• Never turning on the lights when inspecting a weird, scary noise in another room

• Staring closely at a portrait or placing an ear near a mirror when you know that a hand will reach out from behind

• Discovery of secrets through a photographs montage

• Running up the stairs when you should be running out of the house

• Coming back for revenge even if you have already escaped

• Stale twist straight out of a bad M. Night Shyamalan movie

4. Speaking of shower scenes, could someone teach me how to keep these towels perfectly tied around the body even when the characters run or jump from an assailant? I really needed to know to prevent further trauma on Madam Rose.

5. In one scene, the said babysitter was tormented by the doll but had a change of heart after being offered a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Hunger could really drive one to madness so never ever say no to that extra cup of rice.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆