Director: Erik Matti
Screenplay: Erik Matti
Starring: Dingdong Dantes, Joey Marquez, Lovi Poe
Duration: 102 min
BBFC Certification: 15
I must admit I’ve never seen a Filipino film before and, as such, went into The Monster Chronicles: Tik Tik with pretty low expectations. I was expecting an ultra low budget, poorly acted and directed film with shoddy sfx, but instead, while no masterpiece, got a great little movie that was a lot of fun.
Makoy (the splendidly named Dingdong Dantes) arrives in a small village to win back the heart of his pregnant girlfriend Sonia (Lovi Poe). On arrival he is immediately rebuffed by Sonia and her mother Fely (Janice de Belen). Sonia’s father, Nestor (played by Joey Marquez), convinces Makoy to stay and the two plan a birthday meal for Sonia. Deciding on succulent roast pig, the duo head off to a village in the mountains to procure said animal. Makoy’s cocky and arrogant manner upsets a family of pig farmers who are all Aswangs. For those of you uninitiated in Filipino folklore, Aswang are vampire-like witch ghouls which live as regular townspeople and transform into creatures, such as cats, birds or dogs. They enjoy eating unborn foetuses and small children, so the younger members of the family hatch a plan to eat Sonia’s unborn child. As night falls, Makoy and Sonia’s family are all trapped in their house, beseiged by the Aswangs.
The Monster Chronicles: Tik Tik is the first Filipino film to be shot using green screen and the scenery is great, feeling like Tim Burton’s take on a spaghetti western vista. As tantalising to the eye the scenery is, shooting on green screen does make the film feel very studio bound. Director Erik Matti (ABCs Of Death 2) is obviously trying to make the film look and feel like a comic book (he occasionally uses split screen shots to enhance this effect), but to my eyes it looks more like a sitcom set. Saying that, it does suit the tone of the film, which is a horror comedy in the vein of Evil Dead 2 and Peter Jackson’s classic Braindead. Nestor along with family friend Bart provide the comic relief and Makoy is this film’s answer to Ash.
The score by Von de Guzman is a mix of hard rock and homage to Morricone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly which works surprisingly well.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a fun film, although one with plenty of gore, you could do much worse than The Monster Chronicles: Tik Tik. And if you enjoy it, the good news is that Matti is currently working on the sequel, Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles.
Terra Cotta are distributing The Monster Chronicles: Tik Tik on DVD. The set of extras on the disc include:
Trailers of forthcoming Terra Cotta releases