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The first full-length Filipino film to be shot using green screens is an exploitation movie with a style that Quentin Tarantino would probably adore.

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Cocky and lazy Makoy travels from Manila to the remote province of Pulupandan, to reconcile with his pregnant girlfriend, Sonia. Fely, her mother however, is fed up with him and does not want her daughter to end up with an unemployed playboy, a sentiment that eventually Sonia also adopts. On the other hand, Sonia’s father, Nestor, and their helper, Bart, are not so hard on him and even invite him to spend the night after the three of them go to the market to buy a pig to prepare for dinner, as is Sonia’s birthday.

They end up buying a pig from some strange kids in another village, which after a while, turns out to be an aswang, a shapeshifting monster with traits of vampire and werewolf. After its transformation, it attacks Sonia and a little later, a whole pack of Aswangs surround the house, with the inhabitants having to fight for their lives.

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Erik Mati directs a genuine exploitation film, which takes full advantage of the use of green screens to present a visually impressive outcome, which also retains comic aesthetics in terms of presentation and characters. In that aspect, the whole design and depiction of the aswangs is great, also including the permeating hyperbole that defines the genre.

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“Tiktik” starts a little slow; however, after a point, the action is non-stop and the film becomes something very close to a splatter, with constant bloodbaths and impressive fights. I enjoyed the fact that Mati managed to include moments of (extreme) humor inside all that violence, as is the case with the scene when Makoy forks an Aswang. Most of the action takes place inside a house, a tactic that along with the fact that Sonya is on labor, gives the film a claustrophobic feel, which strengthens the horror and thriller elements. The music, which moves in heavy metal paths, also matches the general feeling of the movie, even intensifying it at moments.

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In terms of acting, the genre does not usually offer chance for great performances, as is the case here, with Dingdong Dantes as Makoy and Lovi Poe as Sonya, roaming their great looks rather than actually acting. Particularly the latter has the roles of “eye-candy” and “Scream Queen,” since she wears a dress with abysmal décolleté and constantly yells for help for all of the film’s duration. Personally, I do not complain at all.

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The best performance of the film comes from Joey Marquez as Nestor, whose transformation from a timid, coward individual to a despaired man set on revenge with any cost, is one of the films biggest assets.

The Monster Chronicles: Tiktik is an impressive film, whose violence and general exploitation atmosphere will surely satisfy the fans of the genre.

Terracota Distribution has released the uncut version of the film in the UK in a dvd-format

 

 

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