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Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles—Gruesome, Sexy Fun!

A horror movie we can really sink our teeth into
by Gelo Gonzales | Oct 16, 2012
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Ang Pelikulang May Puso, Atay, Bituka, at Iba Pang Lamang Loob...” goes the tagline of direk Erik Matti’s new horror action comedy Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles. And just like it’s catchy tagline, the film promises all that and more, without having to take itself too seriously. The first Filipino film to be totally shot with green screen technology–meaning everything was shot in a warehouse studio with green screens and the backgrounds were filled in post–it is an ultra-modern step in the right direction for local mainstream cinema.

Macoy (Ding Dong Dantes) is a stubborn Manileño who goes to the province in order to win back his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sonia (Lovi Poe). While there, he pisses off a band of local gypsies that turn out to be a den of fetus-hungry aswangs. Together with Sonia’s parents, Nestor (Joey Marquez) and Fely (Janice de Belen), and their trusty katiwala, Bart (Ramon Bautista), they must survive the night by protecting themselves and the unborn child from the ravenous tiktiks, led by Roy Vinzon, with stunning former FHM cover girl LJ Reyes (who is looking mighty fine) at his evil side.

                                           Vampire hunting: 100 times cooler with shades on

The secret to the film’s success lies in the fact that it allows the audience to laugh with it instead of at it. Aswangs being a part of Filipino folklore has made the creature a veritable subject matter to explore and exploit in movies. Many have tried their hand at it; and the ones who’ve angled their stories for a more serious, oft-love-theme-centric tone got most of the laughs for all the wrong reasons.

But Direk Matti together with partner Dondon Monteverde and outfits such as Reality Entertainment, Mothership, and PostManila were triumphant at seamlessly juxtaposing the plot’s old-school sensibilities with contemporary tricks and treats. Audiences are already familiar with the concept of salt, garlic, and the infamous buntot pagi for warding off winged wicked creatures of the night because these are all recognizable from childhood tales annoying titas or creepy yayas have dispensed during the formative years. And with the help of multiple split-screens to add tension and lush CG landscapes, Matti paints a simultaneously picturesque and grotesque action flick that doesn’t shy away from the gore. Because let’s face it, the abundance of blood and guts are just as salacious even if you aren’t some roof-hopping aswang.

                                    Above: why you should never talk when your mouth's full.

In the spirit of films such as the original Fright Night and director Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn, Tiktik is infused with that campy element horror/action fans look for; severed limbs and longganisa-like intestines being served up as both a gross-out and a reason for giggles. Or having blindingly beautiful women that can literally eat your fucking heart out.

                                                                 Uy, pang-cover!

Marquez and de Belen play the part of the bumbling, annoying parents with tenacity, showing their much younger cast mates the benefits of experience. Dantes is effective as the unfailing protagonist; you’ll root for him because no one else in the film is worth rooting for. FHM cover girl Lovi Poe does her best not-so-distressed damsel with great dusky appeal. While LJ Reyes portrays a spine-chilling baby-grubber that belies her sweet exterior–but we'd like to say that we wouldn’t mind being ravaged by her character Hilda.

If you’re expecting a conventional horror movie that will scare you by altering mood or copping out by taking the all-too-predictable gulat sequence, this isn’t it. Tiktik is fun and fresh, adapting more Grindhouse methods, like excessive violence, to boost the level of entertainment. And if you aren’t laughing your way out of the cinema, or touched by its awareness of the Pinoy penchant for emotion, you’ll probably be raging to maim, mutilate, and whip some aswang ass. Oh, just so you know, if you find yourself wanting to kill off some monsters, we're selling our buntot pagi for P500!        

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