Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles (2012)

First things first, I just want to say that GMA Films is a production that I often avoid. It's simply not my cup of tea and their stars often leave a bad impression on  me. After watching Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, I can now say that I finally have a movie from GMA Films that I genuinely like.

To put it simply, this film restored my faith in Philippine cinema. Tiktik proves that you don't really have to compromise quality while still maintaining mass appeal.

Yes, this film isn't perfect. The special effects needs a bit more refining but I'm willing to overlook all of that. I am too pleased and happy with this movie that I'll gladly glaze over the weaknesses.

I'll go ahead and say it: this movie exceeds expectation. I think anyone who saw the trailer and ended up liking it still had doubts whether the movie could be as good as the trailer. It seemed too pretty and too badass to really be a Filipino movie. And I'm just so glad that I am proven wrong.

The entire story takes places in less than a day. It's quite short if you think about it, but it's all for the better because it leaves no room for petty side stories, irrelevant dialogue, fillers, and everything else that makes a movie longer than necessary. The story moves fast and keeps you at the edge of your seat from the very first appearance of our dreaded aswangs. The conflict is established early on and more than half of the movie is devoted to the protagonists trying to win against the supernatural. It's pretty intense if you ask me.

Despite it's one-day setting, the characters are pretty fleshed out. I'm not sure if it's because they gave use familiar characters such as the talkative nagger as the mother, the timid husband, the breadwinner turned pregnant daughter, and the asshole of a boyfriend. We see different sides of the characters as they try to fight off the aswangs. Well, being faced with aswangs can really bring out the best and worst in a person. It's just that they're placed in a situation that will push them to do things that their normal selves won't do. But overall, I think they acted in a way their real-life counterparts would have acted.

Joey Marquez, Dingdong Dantes, Ramon Bautista,
Janice de Belen, Lovi Poe and Direk Erik Matti.
Kudos to whoever had the idea that having a jerk as hero can lead to a pretty good movie. Makoy, played by Dingdong Dantes, is the very definition of the guy you do not want to marry. He's hot-headed, jobless, rude, arrogant, and pretty much everything else you do not want in a husband. But through the course of the movie, he has a turn around and slowly becomes the kind of person that would be deserving to marry Sonya, played by Lovi Poe, and stand as the father of her baby. It's interesting how we do not have a protagonist that's the very definition of a hero. In fact, Makoy is pretty much the anti-thesis of a hero. But when he realized that the lives of his loved ones depend on his reliability, he steps it up and grows some balls.

I especially enjoyed Joey Marquez's portrayal of Sonia's father.. He succumbs under the stare of his wife, but when the situation calls for it, he knows how to take charge. He finds it difficult to argue with his wife, but when his family's life depends on it, he courageously faces off with monsters.  Also, Janice de Belen is awesome as the mother who talks 100mph. Amazing, really.

Ramon Bautista has completely won me over with his "Ta-ta-ta--supot! Supot!" And Lovie Poe is okay, too, I guess.

This film has the movie formula that I actually like. Filipino mythology applied to the modern setting with a touch of romance sprinkled with some comedy and badassery, and tada! It's safe to say that this movie falls under the horror-comedy genre. I almost said zombie-comedy (see: Shaun of the Dead) but we have aswangs instead of zombie so yeah.

I'm a sucker for anything that puts a modern spin on Filipino mythology. It's too bad that mainstream entertainment seems to be jumping on the vampire trend over the past few years that they lost sight of our own roots. Filipinos do not grow up hearing stories from their parents about vampires and werewolves. We grow up listening to stories about manananggal, tikbalang and aswang. I am all for Filipino filmmakers who bank on our own culture and tradition when it comes to crafting stories for mass consumption.

What I like about Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles is that it gives a fresh take on the myth that is the aswang. Here, we see them as a community that's just trying to lead  normal lives. But once they feel wronged, they band together to fight the common enemy, humans. It shows a human side to the greatly feared childhood nightmare.

If Filipinos can produce movies like this, why do we continuously churn out crap after crap every year? If Filipinos have this amount of talent, then why are we hiding it from the entire world? If Filipinos can create a fantastic story partnered with stunning cinematography, then maybe more Filipinos would flock to the theaters to see local films instead of foreign ones.

I'm all for supporting our own film industry, but in recent years, we've seen little reason to support the movies they're making us pay P180+ to see. Sure, I'll support the industry. But give me movies that would make me feel as if I got my money's worth.

With that said, I beg filmmakers and producers and actors and actresses to push more movies like Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles to make more appearance in our local scene.


  1. Imaginatively & digitally-creative! Congrats to Direk Erik Matti & to his casts & crew! Good job giys! Waiting for Book 2!

    1. There's a book 2? Then I'm in! :) I'm already excited for that!

  2. great commentary on Tiktik! Keep it up!

    1. I agree. The commentary is excellent. And I think it is because it also articulated my frustrations about the quality of Filipino films being churned out these days. Even the so-called Indie movies that produce homosexually-themed stories, why are they always slutty? Alem Bess

    2. Thank you!

      I agree, I sometimes think that Indie filmmakers believe that the only way they can make good movies is if they focus on poverty, sex, and homosexuality. Sure, do that, but at least put a different spin to it.

  3. Film was great! I'm so proud of it!

  4. I watched it in the theaters twice. Mas-enjoy ang reactions ng mga tao sa sinehan! Nabasa ko nga na mas-matagal pa raw ang post-production sa actual filming. Kitang-kita naman sa quality. Anyway, good review at sana nga marami pa ang gumawa ng high-quality movies tulad nito.

    I also can't help but sympathize sa mga aswang. Galing ni Roi Venson at lahat ng tropang aswang!

    1. I seriously want to watch it again! Medyo madilim kasi 'yung screen dun sa una kong pinanoodan kaya di ko masyadong na-feel yung habulan sa gubat. Haha. Pero ayun, nakita ko pa rin naman ang galing ng Pinoy sa movie. ^^

      Tama! Pinagmukha nilang ~cool~ mga aswang dito. :D


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