2012 has given us a lot of horror films in the local scene that it’s hard to keep up with all that has been shown and those that are still next in line. With that said, one film that stood out early on is director Erik Matti’s Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles. Most of the buzz surrounding it is because of the green-screen filmmaking that the director used as the approach while shooting the whole film. This definitely makes my list as one of the must-sees of the year.
Carefree and borderline arrogant Makoy (Dingdong Dantes) goes to the province to fetch pregnant girlfriend Sonia (Lovi Poe). However, Sonia’s mother Fely (Janice de Belen) is vocally against it. Makoy approached the father(joey Marquez) instead and helped him to provide a celebration for Makoy and Sonia’s forthcoming baby. Unbeknownst to them, this includes a trip to a barrio of aswangs and inform them that Sonia is pregnant and piqued interest from them.
For all the press release that mentioned the green screen approach, the effects certainly was polished and delivered. While there were some that were not totally polished, they’re pretty much forgivable as the whole work was engaging and passable enough to nitpick. It also worked in the context of the film, as it really introduced you to their own environment. So in that aspect, I must say that it definitely worked. It’s also really flattering to see that we’re improving on the CGI aspects of our films, though the movie can’t help but be more over the top with its effects; clearly, someone is enjoying their time in the editing room of the film.
The music was commendable as well, as it is compatible with the building of the atmosphere of a barrio far away and plays a large role especially in the different parts of the movie. Matti’s approach with the different boxes is also a good play especially for an over the top movie like this one. He seems particularly fond of the material and knows where the strengths lie and which parts need some cover up.
However, all the focus on the effects clearly can’t hide the lack of storytelling. While the movie only runs an hour and forty minutes (credits included), the movie already stretched out its very thin story that already has run its course after the first hour. The remaining minutes were overdone and overwrought already, and it’s up to the actors and the effects on how to sell the remaining hour to its audience.
Acting wise, the cast was definitely engaging, and the audience ate it up. Dingdong Dantes was more than serviceable in the lead role combining his good looks and machismo in a role that requires him to do so. I can’t imagine any other actor who can provide the same impact to the said role. Janice de Belen always hits a stride, and Lovi Poe wasn’t given much to do. Joey Marquez seems to be the crowd favorite, and he certainly is one of the strongest factors of the movie especially during the third act. I won’t be surprised if he gets notice from mainstream award giving bodies next year.
It’s easy to see why the movie banked on the green screen effect, as it clearly showed some laziness on the storytelling, but it is indeed every inch entertaining. I’m also kinder to films that introduce unique approaches, and Tiktik: Aswang Chronicles certainly fits the bill.