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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Dec 28, 2010

A review of Dalaw: Bordering on the Ridiculous

‘Dalaw’ is Kris Aquino’s third horror flick after “Feng Shui”, a superior tale of the supernatural that really succeeds in scaring the viewer, and “Sukob”, a much inferior work bordering on nonsense. Both films are directed by Chito Rono. “Dalaw” is something in between, with a narrative that’s fairly involving but with scenes marred by the ridiculous. But for his first horror film, this is quite above average for Director Dondon Santos, whose previous work, “Noy”, has as many holes as a wicker basket.

Kris is a widow with a young son who finds a new husband in Diether Ocampo, her first boyfriend who she failed to marry because her parents preferred her first one (Richard Quan, who appears only in fotos), an abusive partner who dies in a car crash while they’re fighting. Upon marrying Diether, ghostly apparitions start to haunt her, making her suspect it’s her dead husband who is spooking her. Things get violent, resulting in the death of her best friend (Ina Feleo), househelp (Gina Pareno) and Diet’s mom (Susan Africa). But there’s a twist in the story that you should see coming if you’re perceptive enough.

Five people are credited for the story and three names are listed as screenwriters, but they failed to foresee how some parts will appear preposterous on the big screen. The most ludicrous one shows Kris struggling with the ghost in burning some fotos like it’s a corporeal thing and not a malevolent spirit capable of doing more powerful things. But the ghost turns out to have the power of bilocation as it’s also trying to punish Diet while battling it out with Kris. And you’d wonder why the ghost is so slow in actions when all it wants is to get back at the people it thinks did it wrong. You’d wish it went straight to Kris and Diet and no longer involved so many innocent people.

Most of the actors are dead serious in the interpretation of their respective roles and only Alessandra de Rossi comes out unscathed with her trenchant performance as Kris’ tactless and cynical friend. The ghost probably got scared of her so it didn’t touch her at all. Kris was better in “Feng Shui”. Here, she has a perpetually “nagugulumihanan” look all throughout the movie that makes her performance so unconvincing. You’d really wish the ghost got her first.