Movie Review: Dalaw

Kris Aquino’s latest Tweet reads: “Good morning! Dalaw January 5 (Day12). Total Gross to Date (12 days): P90,357,820.44. Thank you God! Thank you moviegoers! Still showing in more than 100 theaters!” The number of exclamation point is good news to one of the movie’s executive producer, Kristina Bernadette Aquino. Yes. Kris stars in a film she herself produced. (Click here to validate her box-office gross campaign. But then let us just take her word for it.) Starring in a couple horror blockbusters, it is a no-brainer that this is her genre of choice as a first-time producer. Tampering something the masses have been lapping up several times over is not a good idea. Fixing something that isn’t broken is bad business. This film looks like Feng Shui. Feels like Feng Shui. So it must be just as entertaining as Feng Shui. Not. It is entertaining but for an altogether different reason.

Need to ‘fess up something: I lost my peacock earrings last night from laughing too hard watching this supposed horror flick. The operative term is “supposed” because I kept thinking, “I thought this one is supposed to be scary.” Apologies are in order because I thought Shake Rattle Roll (SRR) will continue its this-is-a-comic-movie-and-not-the-horror-franchise-before. Regal should thank the third episode for saving from total disaster. Thus I bestow the recognition of Funniest Non-Comedic Movie of the Film Fest to Dalaw. (I love that earring but I still laughed even after I found out that I lost it.) No wonder this blogger said, “So if you’re planning to watch Dalaw, save your time and money and buy Andok’s instead.” In the age of Chooks to Go, she had to use Andok’s as a better alternative for the latest Kris Aquino opus.

For the just plan curious, the movie revolves around the disastrous marriage of Stella (Aquino) and Anton (Diether Ocampo and a just-his-back-cameo appearance of James Yap). Sowing fear and havoc in their lives is a ghost cover in mud (No sh*t.) Their misfortune began during their wedding when Anton’s mother Milagros (Susan Africa) had a stroke in the middle of the ceremonies. This prompted her to trade her spacious home for an old eerie one to take care of her mother-in-law. Helping her in the household chores is an eerier neighbor named Olga (Gina Pareno) who claims to see ghosts through her damaged eye. (Stay with me.) The creep factor swelled when the ghost keeps getting more violent. Stella thought it was her dead first husband who has a domestic abuse record that is doing all the paranormal crap. (You know I am nearing the drone-zone when I describe ghost attacks as paranormal crap. Here goes.) To cut the crap, a lot of people died; the not so twisted twist was revealed; and Stella and her nemesis ghost went mano-a-mano. The end or as Kris delivered her line (something to this effect), “Anton! Tapos na. Hindi na niya tayo guguluhin!” Thank goodness! The film has ended.

I am quite hard to scare but I appreciate horror movies. I think people need a good scare on a regular basis because it keeps them in on their toes (and it’s such a gas to see scared faces). However, this film does not fall under good scare. Good laughs or it’s-bad-it’s-good entertainment. Still, this did not deter me from getting bothered. One characteristic of a good or passable horror flick is if it bothers the audience. But like its entertainment value, Dalaw bothered me for (not wrong) different reasons.

1. I am bothered because the concept of dalaw is not utilized to its fullest potential. Instead, it hinged on a boring surprise. Aquino starred in Sukob, a good albeit a bit dragging movie that put a twist on our superstitious belief that sibling should not wed in the same year or something as bad as death happens. (Plus Maja Salvador is part of the cast. She uplifts a scenes and makes life better.) This Star Cinema-Cinemedia-MJM collaboration did not provide much details on the reason and resolution to unwanted ghostly visits. In hindsight, please tell me MJM is not a smart-a** invention to sound a lot like MGM.

2. I am bothered because this is another MMFF competing movie that tried to use the PSSSB formula. PSSSB stands for Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara, the classic movie that prompted Quark Henares to include it in his top ten Filipino horror films of all time even if has not seen it just because “readers will react violently if they don’t see this on the list!” The PSSSB drill is familiar: avenging ghosts returns from hell to deliver his brand of justice to people that mistreated his life. See the first episode of SRR XII. Haunted doll?! PSSSB is like been there, done that. In Dalaw, the ghost is a jealous lover. Jealous lover?! PSSSB is like been there, done that.

3. I am bothered because I do not understand the character of great Gina Pareno. Is she a comic relief? Is she some sort of a dalaw expert that holds the answers to all of Stella’s questions (She carries an old book that contains procedure for resolving that sort of problem.)? Is she such a professional actress that she delivered those lines with a straight face? Is she the local version of Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody character of the Harry Potter novels? Ms. Pareno should have been awarded with the heftiest paycheck after letting her go through such suffering. Still love her.

4. I am bothered because the character of Diether Ocampo reminds me so much of James Yap. Not the face but the characterization.  Is it just me or are those potshots against the basketball superstar? An almost spineless husband who is not proficient in English and earns less than her better-educated wife. The tabloids have been painting him as such ever since she married the Queen of All-media. All-media? Take that Oprah.

5. I am bothered because the contortions I mean emotions of Kris is so consistent. Consistent is good but not all the time. This is one of those times.

But I am not bothered that the audience reacted with laughters instead of scream. That I guess is the most appropriate feedback. Harsh but true.


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21 Responses to “Movie Review: Dalaw”

  1. 1 maria
    01/06/2011 at 12:18 pm

    just shut up
    you speak nothing good about the movie
    you are one sided a typical Filipino negative quality
    crab mentality

    • 01/07/2011 at 3:45 am

      Thanks for the comment. I will not shut up. There are a lot of good movies out there. Metanoia is one. The 3rd episode of Shake Rattle and Roll 12 is another. But Dalaw is not one of them. I intend to see all the entries for this year’s MMFF. Does that make me and I quote despite the need for better grammar “you are one sided a typical Filipino negative quality crab mentality.” Try to read my other movie reviews both for foreign and local films and you’ll notice that I can write positive or negative for both sides.

      And seriously, have you seen Dalaw? Does it not mean anything to you that this film did not win anything in the last film fest? That is the biggest hint out there.

      • 3 dalaw
        01/12/2011 at 1:26 pm

        Dalaw is one kind of a film that needs intelligence dear…as I see you don’t have one…you agree with the MMFF result? Are you dumb enough to get a hint that MMFF sucks in choosing the winners? Get a life dear, you don’t know how to write good reviews. All that you’ve written here is crap.

      • 01/13/2011 at 2:57 am

        I wonder what kind of intelligence. I think I just used at least 3% of my brain cells and saw the twist in the early 20 minutes. You should have seen the audience. They were laughing AT the film. AT not WITH.

  2. 5 dalaw
    01/13/2011 at 12:08 pm

    the kind of intelligence that WE, HUMANS, have. don’t be ridiculous, of course you would be able to notice it because the humors have already spread that there is a twist in the movie before you have watched it. so don’t feel that just because of that you have a great mind, ’cause I’m telling you right now, in the way you write, you don’t have a single hint of intelligence nor decency in your body. And of course, its pretty obvious that you watched the film in a movie house where the viewers are of your same kind, bird-brains and know nothing about films. poor you honey, not because you already know how to use a computer means your already human…tsk…tsk…

    • 6 dalaw
      01/13/2011 at 12:13 pm

      *rumors i mean. sorry because we HUMANS also commit mistakes. you won’t be able to understand that because you are not one.

  3. 7 dalaw
    01/13/2011 at 12:12 pm

    *rumors i mean, sorry sometimes we human also commit mistake…of course you won’t be able to understand because you are not one.

  4. 8 dalaw
    01/13/2011 at 1:05 pm

    and just for the record…if i would summarize your review of Dalaw, it would be as simple as “Sorry, I didn’t like the film because I didn’t understand it”. Haha!

  5. 9 dalaw
    01/13/2011 at 1:32 pm

    and oh i would like to note your post “I used 3% of my brain cells…blah blah shit.” Is it really what you just used, or it’s all you’ve got? just 3% of a normal human brain? haha

    • 01/14/2011 at 3:33 am

      Hahaha! You’re funny. I’m not only one saying or writing how bad this film is. You might want to meet Philbert Ortiz Dy of clickthecity.com that gave Dalaw a 1 out 5 stars: http://www.clickthecity.com/movies/?p=9999

      Or popular blogger Chuvaness http://chuvaness.livejournal.com/1016059.html who wrote, “Never mind. Honestly, the movie’s so bad it doesn’t deserve to be reviewed.”

      I guess am not that credible enough for you so these two bloggers will suffice. One’s a respected critic and the other is an award-winning blogger. I do hope that you drop some trash on their blogs.

    • 01/14/2011 at 3:36 am

      Please remove the “blah blah shit” inside the quoted part because people might think that my vocabulary is a failure to use such words in replying to blog readers. Copy-pasting my replies will do.

  6. 12 dalaw
    01/14/2011 at 10:49 am

    so since two of YOUR most respected bloggers/critic think that the film isn’t good means that you should think the same? poor you!!! you don’t have your own stand…haha! i don’t care who they are ’cause they suck like you…haha!!! being an award-winning blogger doesn’t mean that what they say is true…a good critic doesn’t just say they hate the film no matter how much they don’t like it. the three of you should learn how to write a review WITHOUT being influenced…

    • 01/14/2011 at 10:53 am

      Oh. Hi there. I think you miss the point just like you’ve been missing the point ever since you commented on my posts. I posted their links just to tell you that I am not the only who thinks this movie is terrible. I posted this article before I read their blogs. And you should learn to appreciate movies better. You want to know something, we’re being kind here because if other critics review this blog especially foreign critics (Mind you that Star Cinema films are also shown abroad.), they’ll not mince their words.

  7. 14 dalaw
    01/15/2011 at 7:40 am

    just my comments on your trash about Skyline to answer some of your replies here.

    also, at least other critics, especially foreign, have their own opinions and they stand by it differently so you don’t have to be like them. at least if they have honest opinions, not like you who just get opinions from others, and put some personal attacks on the actors, then put some ill words that only “bakla” would use, and think it is a very good review already. you don’t know anything, you can’t even think of a better story that could match Dalaw, much more to do a much greater film, so just shut up if you have nothing good to say, because im sure that your bird-brain can’t think anything anyway.

    and oh!!! the movie has already reached 110 million!!! so i think you and your RESPECTED crtics weren’t so succesful in trying to put a good film down!!! i pity you…your trashes deserved to be trashed.

  8. 16 dalaw
    01/15/2011 at 7:44 am

    and since i wont be trying to visit your trashes anymore, i won’t be able to read your replies anymore (well maybe i would some other time after you cry ’cause of my messages), i would just like to give you parting words: YOU SUCK!!!

  9. 04/17/2013 at 7:38 am

    I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This paragraph posted
    at this site is actually pleasant.

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