‘Resureksyon’ Review: Offbeat scares
Borgy Torre’s Resureksyon opens already pregnant with possibilities.
Set in a sleepy rural town where a lot of the houses have retained an old world look amidst modernity, the film is about Aida (Jasmine Curtis-Smith), a young woman who’s left to fend for herself and her nephew after being orphaned at a young age, and Mara (Isabelle Daza), Aida’s sister, who's arrived home from working abroad inside a coffin only to be resurrected as a vicious vampire.
The film makes most of what it has. Torre drapes the town with a peculiar atmosphere, one that removes it from the realm of reality and into one where the fantastic turn of events fit seamlessly. He populates it with men and women who play the stereotype card with endearing gusto, making the predictability of their roles within the story’s scope tolerable.
The film embraces the strangeness of its narrative. It begins as a creepy chamber drama with family members finding themselves living with a monster and later on evolves into an indulgently comic romp, where everybody becomes fodder to a horde of vampires of scant motivation.
It would have been a more engaging film had the story concentrated on the family that is suddenly placed in a delicate position of choosing between blood bonds and the safety of community. However, that would have been a totally different film, one that is akin to Richard Somes’ Yanggaw (2008), where a family’s peace is disturbed by the arrival of a daughter who is slowly turning into an aswang.
Resureksyon, the story of which was also conceived by Somes, is less ambitious. Its advertised discourse, about overseas Filipino workers who come back to the country not as modern-day heroes but as strangers, is shallow. There is really nothing more to it than to provide a stage for the mythology that the film’s horror relies upon.
Resurekyson is as simple as it gets. It is a horror film that does not overreach by tackling things that are beyond its scope. Instead, Torre concentrates on ensuring that the bits and pieces of the film that are meant to astound do astound, in a way that is not distracting to the meager claims of the film.
Resureksyon is paced deliberately. The film is never in a hurry. Torre, with the help of his cinematographer Neil Bion, has created images that aptly disconcert, lending to the premise a much-needed breath of off-tangent charm. The film indulges in those images, resulting in a mood that is difficult to define and predict but adequately complement the film’s bizarre events.
Francis de Veyra’s score is particularly effective. In one key scene where Mara rises from death amidst people who are fervently praying for the repose of her soul, the monotonous sound of memorized prayers is quickly drowned out by a shrill shriek. That slowly gives way to a haunting melody that meets the offbeat occurrence with an unearthly melody. Torre is disciplined with the use of music, and values silence in the creation of an unsteady mood to make the shocks and thrills work.
There are points in the film where it appears Torre feels a little bit overwhelmed by the task of being consistent with the mood and atmosphere he employs in the beginning. The film awkwardly shifts tone, pushing its comic elements too far, risking suspense and horror for momentary laughs and chuckles.
Near the end, Resureksyon becomes too many things at once. It ends as a mess, but the road going there is a fun ride worth all the disappointments brought upon by its great potential. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema. Profile photo by Fatcat Studios