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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.

Oct 31, 2011

ASWANG Movie Review

THERE’S ONLY one word we can use to describe “Aswang”: kakaiba. It’s really different from any other local horror film we’ve seen before. Director Jerrold Tarog has created an original creature called the “abwak” or taong bayawak. The title “Aswang” actually doesn’t have anything to do with the film. The abwak doesn’t just drink the blood of their victims. They’re more like cannibals as they cook and eat their victims, piece by piece. We can’t reveal much of the narrative as it’ll be a spoiler.

Suffice it to say that it’s well acted by the major characters, especially by the two leads. Lovi Poe as the mysterious Hasmin, the reluctant abwak, is so effective because her acting is understated. She never goes into hysterics, even in the most emotional parts. And yet when she’s finally shown transforming into a fierce abwak who attacks her own kind to protect the man she loves, she becomes truly scary.

The same goes for Paulo Avelino, the hitman with an involving back story. Paulo’s transformation in the climax is helped by CGI but he’s nothing less than impressive. Marc Abaya steals all his scenes as the head hitman, throwing away his lines nonchalantly but with much impact. The acting alone is already worth the price of admission. Technical credits are also good, from the cinematography and production design to the musical score and special effects. There are definitely some questions about the ploting but as a whole, it's fairly effective in giving a good scare and making us cringe.