THE ASWANG CHRONICLES | DVD REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

OK – I need to see THE ASWANG CHRONICLES (aka TIKTIK: THE ASWANG CHRONICLES), it is pure visuals and it just looks spectacular. Ever since reading Kernel Mitch’s review I have been trying to track it down around the world on Blu Ray, I gave Mitch a review copy on DVD. You may call me a total film snob, but I no longer do DVD – I just can’t when there is a better format to view such things, and a film that adopts a “300” styled action, blue (green in this case) screen overly stylised method of filming needs to be seen the best way possible and that requires Blu Ray. This is a 2012 Filipino Action Horror Comedy film that has finally made its way to Australia and has been released on DVD with thanks to GRYPHON ENTERTAINMENT. You will be happy to know I am waiting on a reply from German Amazon who sell it in Blu Ray but do not list if they have it with English subs – fingers crossed – and if you are interested – I have written to GRYPHON ENTERTAINMENT while editing this review and they just wrote back on a Saturday night (you rock Bill) – they have offered us 5x copies on DVD for giveaway 🙂 Find out how to win after the article. THE ASWANG CHRONICLES is out now on DVD in Australia from all good DVD vendors. It is rated MA15+ and runs for 98mins. Enjoy Kernel Mitch’s amazeballs horror film review………….all the best……………..JK. And a totally immature and possibly inappropriate observation – the film is called The Aswang (pronounce it asswang) Chronicles and the lead actor is seriously named Dingdong (this is his name!!) – hahahahahaha – OK I am 12 again and just starting high school :). Bad JK, Bad JK.

 

THE ASWANG CHRONICLES MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE ASWANG CHRONICLES | SALTY POPCORN HORROR REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY MITCH LEWIS

According to Listverse’s Top 10 countdown of the scariest Filipino Monsters (where would I be if such a list did not exist), finding itself drenched in the blood of the unborn in the “billing isa lugar” (that’s “number one spot” for our NON-Filipino speaking peasants) is the Manananggal, a special breed of the Aswangs. Sometimes referred to as a “Tik-Tik” because of the sound that it makes with it’s dragon like wings, the Aswang (pronounced uh-swung not ass-wang as my initially uneducated Western brain previously thought [JK note: LOLS – I am still giggling]) is a shape-shifting werewolf type creature who, in sunlight assume the characteristics of a human but once night falls, transform into an animal to be consumed by a human who will in turn, be infected with the virus thus changing into an aswang. Aswang have a particular fondness for foetuses or according to the 2012 Filipino action/horror/comedy “The Aswang Chronicles”, specifically newborn foetuses. You know, the real fresh produce.

Released in Australia as “The Aswang Chronicles” but titled elsewhere as “Tik-Tik” or “Tik-Tik: Aswang Chronicles”, this Erik Matti directed blockbuster from the Phillipines is nowhere near as bad as the cartoony DVD cover would have you believe. In fact, despite the obvious differences in language and cultural behaviour, I found myself very entertained.

 

THE ASWANG CHRONICLES MOVIE IMAGE
THE ASWANG CHRONICLES | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | MACKOY (DINGDONG DANTE) AND NESTOR (JOEY MARQUEZ)

 

Produced on a 80 million PHP (Philippine Peso) budget, which roughly works out to be $1.9 million Australian dollars, this visually impressive blockbuster brilliantly balances humour, horror and violent action as the first ever full-length Filipino film shot entirely on green screen a la Zack Snyders “300”.

The story sees Makoy (Filipino heartthrob Dingdong Dantes) return to the village of his stunning (seriously hottest little nugget) girlfriend Sonia, played by Lovi Poe in order to win her back after knocking her up. Sonia’s fiery and unimpressed mother Fely (Janice de Belen) does her best to keep Makoy away but father Nestor (Joey Marquez) has a soft spot for Makoy and together with his shady but dumb work assistant Bart (Ramon Bautista) insists on helping Makoy win her back.

The three men travel to a nearby gypsy village to choose a pig to roast for a birthday celebration but Makoy’s arrogance ends up pissing off a lot of the villagers who trick the men into taking an aswang disguised as a pig. When the villagers, who are also aswang, learn of Sonias pregnancy, they descend on the house and terrorise the family in the hunt for Sonia’s foetus.

 

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THE ASWANG CHRONICLES | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | MILEY CYRUS AFTER A BENDER

 

From the opening title sequence to the background sets to a lot of the visuals, the green screen and CGI effects in this movie are not something you would ever expect to see in a micro-budgeted Filipino movie let alone done so well and in such abundance. Mothership, the visual FX crew behind this movie deserve some serious credit because… damn! Considering the Filipino industry and the budget, it’s a seriously fantastic looking film. For an interview with Mothership Studios CEO David Yu and a further behind-the-scenes look at making of The Aswang Chronicles, checkout this cool link here:http://www.rappler.com/entertainment/14052-behind-the-fang-inside-the-visual-fx-of-tiktik,-the-aswang-chronicles

The Aswang Chronicles is a fast-paced, action-packed horror comedy wrapped in Hollywood visuals and dipped in entertainment, dripping with good acting and commendable execution.

In the first half of the movie, Dingdong’s Makoy is frustratingly unlikable and needs a decent crack to the jaw but as the story progresses and he works to protect his girlfriend and baby, he becomes the roughed up, beat-up, bloodied action hero everyone loves to cheer for. The remaining three leads deliver strong performances as the fiercely protective mother Fely, the means-well-but-is-clumsy-as-all-hell father Nestor and the stunning (STUN-NING) girlfriend Sonia who doesn’t do much really, but seriously, doesn’t have to. It’s gets a bit muddled up when it comes to the Bart character. The constant disappearing and reappearing to make him seem suspicious fails and just becomes messy and the “cousin” references between him and the lead aswang makes you wonder if they’re cousins by blood or if he really is an aswang or both with no explanation.

 

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THE ASWANG CHRONICLES | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | CRAZY LADY FLIES

 

The movie unfortunately loses it’s outstanding special effects medal when the villagers make the full transformation from fanged humans into the 8 foot tall animal beasts towards the end because holy shit… the effects are abysmal. I don’t like to say it because for the rest of the film, the FX team hit the nail on the head but how they screwed up so bad with these creatures at the end of the film only leads me to believe that they ran out of time or just used up all of their budget or computer memory. The creatures are beyond cartoony. They’re glitchy and very obviously absent from the scenes as the actors just swing their weapons relentlessly and the FX crew just paste these creatures in wherever the weapons happen to strike. It just completely loses in my opinion and comes off horrible but luckily not enough to derail the whole project because the rest of the film is still an enjoyable thrillfest.

There is a photo of Dingdong Dante and the director Erik Matti circulating the internet on the set of “Kubot: Aswang Chronicles 2” so we all have that sequel to look forward to next year but for now, if you see this movie in your DVD stores and are up for a good-looking foreign action/horror/comedy… seriously, give this one a try. The team behind The Aswang Chronicles deserve a round of applause because I thought it was surprisingly fun.

 

4 Pops

 

With special thanks to GRYPHON ENTERTAINMENT to win one of the 5x DVDs of THE ASWANG CHRONICLES you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to answer the following question. Be sure to stipulate which format you would prefer with your answer.

Firstly, just an FYI on how to increase chances of winning a salty comp; commenting on the review generally holds you in better stead of winning as opposed to just comp sexing :)

WHAT IS THE BEST ASIAN HORROR FILM OF ALL TIME AND WHY? For me RINGU wins this one – it scared the shit out of me!

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then you can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jkdigitaldesigns@gmail.com telling me you don’t have social media 

Prizes will be awarded based on skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels, more likely ME.

The prizes will be sent in the next week or two. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.