Looking forward to 'Lucky 13'
Philip Cu-Unjieng (The Philippine Star) - December 25, 2010 - 12:00am

Film review: SRR 12

MANILA, Philippines – The MMFF and the Christmas holidays wouldn’t be complete without a new Shake, Rattle & Roll coming from Regal Entertainment, and novice mainstream director Jerrold Tarog can thank his lucky stars that 2010 is no different, and we have SRR 12 as one of this year’s entries. For along with Zoren Legaspi and Topel Lee, Tarog was tapped as one of the directors for the three stories that make up SRR 12, and while all the stories have their merits and shine, it is Tarog’s Punerarya that really held me spellbound, and admiring how he adapted his proven indie film storytelling prowess to the horror genre.

The film starts off with Zoren’s Mamanyika. The story revolves around a family beset by disaster. In a case of “cute” casting, Ricky Davao and Jackie Lou Blanco play parents to Shaina Magdayao and a younger sister. When a tragic road accident leaves the family motherless, and the father confined to a wheelchair, a sinister doll comes into the life of said younger sister — a doll who comes to life and claims to take the place of the departed mother. There’s a lot of Chucky and Child’s Play at the heart of this segment, and while the tension builds up adequately, the malevolence of the doll is at times, over the top in execution.

With Topel’s Isla, the obvious inspiration would be Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, creating a subterranean world where the dwellers make incursions into our world. When Andi Eigenmann’s character joins those of Regine Angeles and Kristel Moreno on an island for some all-girl getaway weekend; the history of the island, and how “housekeeper” Rayver Cruz had his girlfriend disappear when they visited the island years ago, comes to haunt them. Humor comes in the form of John Lapus playing it “straight” as the barkada of Rayver’s character. The slight problem I had with this episode was how comedy, horror, action and special effects seemed to be jostling with each other for preeminence throughout the story, leaving us unsure of what mood was really being established.

And then there’s Tarog’s Punerarya! After films like Confessional had me spellbound with his masterful storytelling, I had high expectations for this initial foray into mainstream filmmaking and am happy to report that he hasn’t disappointed. Sure, the real nature of the family who runs a funeral parlor and shuns daylight is as subtle as a Pacquiao haymaker, but we don’t really care because we are being entertained! Sid Lucero’s character hires Carla Abellana to be tutor to his two children who have an aversion to sunlight, and live with him in the family business. Scenes like that of the dogs eating raw meat are visceral and illuminating, wonderfully blending disgust and horror. And it’s the consistency of tone that sets this one apart, with Tarog in firm control of his ensemble cast, such that we even remember the supporting characters. And even the conclusion of the story is pitch perfect, proving that there’s still a lot of life in this franchise film — I am looking forward to next year’s Lucky 13!

CARLA ABELLANA DEL TORO JERROLD TAROG JOHN LAPUS PUNERARYA RAYVER CRUZ REGAL ENTERTAINMENT REGINE ANGELES AND KRISTEL MORENO RICKY DAVAO AND JACKIE LOU BLANCO TAROG
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