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T500FC, 453rd: Affliction [Yanggaw] (Richard Somes, 2008)

March.9.2011

I first heard of this film in the Cinephiles group in Facebook. People mentioned this film alongside with the other Cinema One Originals. And even if I am completely unaware of what this film is about, I had to take a chance and grab the nearest copy in the nearest video shop that I could find. Maybe, it has certain euphoria of onomatopoeia. And when I was able to get a copy on my hands, I definitely wanted to see it already. It looked grim on the outside and I have to verify it is invitingly good.

Yanggaw means infection in Ilonggo, a Philippine dialect. And the film starts off with the daughter of countryside family coming home from one of the urban areas sick and they don’t know how they would treat it. When the infection blooms into something extensively scary and supernatural, the family starts to self-destruct and the barrio starts to experience something that is unexplainable.

This film garnered a lot of nominations and wins in the 2009 Gawad Urian and Star Awards for Movies, which was highly understandable. With its stellar cast, Ronnie Lazaro, Tetchie Agbayani, and Joel Torre, one can see the effectiveness of these veteran actors and probably supported a lot of new actors and actresses in the film. And among all the newbies in the cast, Aleera Montalla, the infected, effectively showed her wares in almost all of the scenes she’s in. She was definitely scary in the film and I am also assuming that Richard Somes, the director, had a hand in it.

This film almost took me back to the eighties with how everything was portrayed. The noir feel alongside the scenes with the infected victim, and basically everything that relates to the rural life. This was the lingering experience I had when I watched the first Shake, Rattle, and Roll the first time I saw it; I think that was around two decades ago. This kind of specific genre died when the nineties came. I think it has to do with the bombardment of the same type of scares that the production companies had to remove from their line-up. I mean, obviously, bubblegum pop films had the staying power nowadays.

I liked the different take on the situation. It was definitely apt that the setting was made in the rural areas. People have more heart, in terms of closely knit family values, in the province so to say. Despite the film’s small sense of predictability, I still enjoyed how the film brought me up until the climactic scene. The dad’s choice definitely died once reality kicked in, effective build-up of the situation.

This movie is a definite must for the horror geeks. It tried to shy away from the recent comedy-horror genre that was quite of refreshing in a sense. And who cares if we have another re-telling of one of our favorite characters in the horror cinema, it never gets old.

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