MOVIE REVIEW: ANG BABAE SA SEPTIC TANK (Marlon Rivera, 2011)

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I’m surprised by all the hate and backlash that this movie received after winning the top plum in last year’s Cinemalaya.

Former admirers started complaining that it didn’t hold up well in repeat viewings. Staunch critics further lambasted the film for being shallow and reductive. Regular moviegoers either didn’t get the jokes or found it repetitive and boring.

All these made me love the movie even more. It may not be perfect but it was a brutal, fearless, and brilliant take on the current indie filmmaking scene.

Eugene Domingo was in top form (why the local award-giving bodies failed to recognize this performance remains a mystery).

Everything related to Pinoy indie poverty porn did not go unscathed. It’s simply one of the best movies of 2011.

Rating: 5/5

MOVIE REVIEW: SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL 8 (2006)

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13TH FLOOR (Rahyan Carlos) – The hokey back story couldn’t support this more (unintentionally) comical, less scary episode of the 8th installment. It was the kind of movie that was able to drag down veteran theater actors like Robert Sena and Isay Alvarez into Roxanne Guinoo’s level of acting. The scares happened really early and yet the Scooby Doo gang continued to stay in that haunted condo. If I see flying hotdogs on a cabbage or spirits of dead children, my first instinct would be to run as far away as possible. I guess these people really just wanted to be scared to death.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

YAYA (Topel Lee) – The biggest hurdle of this trilogy has always been the runtime for each episode. Forty minutes is just too short to tell a good horror tale and if you focus on atmosphere and special effects, you end up rushing the story. Iza Calzado makes a great manananggal but the material doesn’t give her much to do. Sheryl Cruz’s awfulness definitely doesn’t help. I had more fun watching Kris Aquino get terrorized by THE Lilia Cuntapay in the far superior Yaya episode of the 3rd installment.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

LRT (Michael Tuviera) – This episode offered the most scares among the three although it seemed to be in such a hurry to kill off its big cast (among them, the usually noteworthy Eugene Domingo and SRR staple Manilyn Reynes). We weren’t given enough time to care for these characters and since some were completely unlikable, I ended up waiting for them to be killed. The killer’s look came straight out of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village that I’m surprised he didn’t sue. Can we ask for more originality next time, please?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆