Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, directed by Erik Matti
1. We were expecting the old reliable manananggal model with the flying torso, leathery wings and big hair. Here the monsters look like groupies of a death metal band who failed the auditions for Mad Max 3 extras by day, and man-size emaciated hell dogs by night.
“Totoo na puede silang maging aso o baboy (Yes, they can take the form of pigs or dogs),” said Andresa, our expert on tiktik, wakwak, aswang, mangkukulam and other supernatural nasties. “Yung sa pelikula, kalahati totoo, kalahati pang-commercial purposes ba. Ay! Hunk si Roi Vinzon!”
2. Roi Vinzon is disturbingly hot for an action movie kontrabida of the 80s. For comparison, look at the action movie stars of the 80s and 90s (except Robin Padilla).
Roi Vinzon, masarap ang paksiw, Croque Madame, ostrich burgers, scallops at brick oven pizza ni Andresa, FYI.
P.S. from Andresa: “Ang bilis namang nawala ni Kirby, di ko man lang natingnan.”
3. The vaunted green screen shots make everything look hyper-real yet fake. Horror movies rely on atmosphere; it’s hard to feel scared when you know those critters lurking in those trees don’t exist. Often we felt like we were watching an expensive feature-length ad.
Tiktik is a scare-free horror movie but an enjoyable action-comedy.
4. First time in years that we’ve noticed a mainstream Filipino movie using Pinoy metal in the soundtrack. Is that Wolfgang singing Jeproks?
5. Joey Marquez is hilarious. The scene where he’s crazed with rage and terror takes the movie in a new direction. For 90 seconds, but that’s still something.
6. LJ Reyes playing one of the tiktik has a compelling screen presence—give her a starring role.
7. There are some great moments—the gravity-challenged tiktik, the pig who is not Babe, and a fight scene that reminds us of this sketch from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
8. There should be a limit on the amount of slow motion filmmakers can use in a single movie. Drawing out a scene with slowmo can ratchet up the intensity; too much and it looks like the filmmakers just ran out of ideas. What was supposed to be the most nerve-racking scene in the movie was so stretched out the guy behind us yawned, “Ang tagal naman mahulog niyan.”
We propose a 20 percent cap on slowmo usage (Slow motion should not constitute more than one-fifth of the total running time). If Tiktik had proceeded at normal speed it would be an hour long.
9. Noel’s favorite aswang movies:
# 4: Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles
# 3: That episode in Shake, Rattle and Roll by Peque Gallaga where Manilyn Reynes is invited to a fiesta by Ana Roces, not knowing she’s intended for the aswangs’ main course.
# 2: Aswang, also directed by Gallaga, in which Alma Moreno is the aswang who doesn’t say a word.
# 1: The Manananggal episode in the first Shake, Rattle and Roll by Gallaga, where Herbert Bautista is being chased by manananggal Irma Alegre. The pursuit is genuinely scary, but the really hair-raising scene was when the future Mayor Bistek was passing through the woods on Good Friday and he met some flagellants who told him to go home because evil was walking the earth. Aaaaaaaaaa.
10. Finally we see what the fans see in Dingdong Dantes. In Tiktik he plays an asshole forced by circumstance to become a hero, which he accomplishes without losing sight of the fact that he is an asshole. Good work, Dantes.
Heroes don’t have to be saints; it’s the protagonist’s most obnoxious qualities that make him capable of facing down the monsters. So Tiktik is a movie about confronting your true self. Nice work, Matti.