the best ‘shake’ so far

WE have a feeling ”Shake, Rattle & Roll X” has a good chance of making it as this year’s Metro filmfest topgrosser since  four comedies will be competing with each other: “Iskul Bukol” with Tito, Vic and Joey’ “Tanging Ina N’yong Lahat” with Ai Ai de las Alas, and the sexy comedies “Desperadas 2” and “One Night Only” that both have an all-star cast.

The advantage of the “Shake” movie is that it’s the only horror film among the entries and it’s a combination of both Kapuso and Kapamilya young stars. Add to that the fact that it’s the best “Shake” edition  yet . Before, there’s usually only one good episode and the other two are “patapon” (just like last year when “Christmas Tree” about a flesh-eating tree was the only good episode). This time, all the three episodes are   worth watching.

The first episode is “Emergency,” about a male nurse (JC de Vera) who takes an injured pregnant woman (Mylene Dizon) to their hospital not knowing she belongs to a tribe of vampire-zombies. When the baby she’s carrying dies, the woman’s husband (Wendell Ramos) calls on all their allies to attack the hospital and kill all the people in it. This results in   some good scares but the most frightening thing in it is that this hospital has only two doctors, a few nurses, and a hospital chief who’s such an asshole.

JC and his doctor girlfriend, Roxanne Guinoo, both give fairly acceptable performances along with Mylene, but it’s Wendell who’s truly convincing here in his terrifying portrayal of the top vampire. And to think he’s also similarly effective as the hilarious cross-dressing gay husband of Rufa Mae Quinto in “Desperadas 2.”

In the second episode, “Class Picture,” Gerald Anderson and Kim Chiu lead a group of students doing a project overnight in their old school when they awaken the ghost of murderous nun Sister Begonia (Jean Garcia) who was punished in 1898 for her three missing students. The nun now tries to replace the missing girls in their class picture with three of the female students in the present generation. Her first two victims are Nina Jose and Eda Nolan.

The third victim is meant to be Kim Chiu but since she’s the female lead who has Gerald as her protector, the nun faces a lot of resistance.  This episode by Topel Lee is the best for us as it’s a combination of a horror flick and a slasher movie, with the nun resorting to a sharp razor in getting rid of her victims. The cast is quite capable but no one really manages to stand out.

The last episode, “Nieves, the Encanto Slayer,”  is a horror comedy and it works mainly because of Marian’s adept comic performance in the title role of a woman who happens to be the nemesis of bad spirits like kapres, duwendes, aswangs and nuno sa punso. She’s head over heels in love with her inamorato called Adonis. For a while, you’d wonder who this guy could be. He must be so handsome that Marian professes undying for love for him. And he turns out to be comedian Mike “Pekto” Nacua.

When Adonis suddenly disappears, Nieves decides to retire from fighting encantos. But a spunky boy (Robert Villar, Marian’s sidekick in “Dyesebel”) manages to convince her to teach him how to fight encantos after his uncle (Mart Escudero) is put under a spell by a bad entity residing in a tree he cut down. Marian agrees to coach him and another apprentice, Jennica Garcia, but there’s a big twist in Jennica’s role that we feel has some good possibilities but was not exploited to the hilt.

Marian’s chief opponent turns out to be Acacia (Diana Zubiri), the bad queen of encantos who’s up against the group headed by Marco Alcaraz and Iwa Moto. The episode’s climax is the fiery showdown between Marian and Diana. This is the episode that makes the most use of a lot of special effects. Some of the CGI works are good, especially the trick with the leaves, but most of it is quite mediocre. But Mike Tuviera’s direction has definitely improved   compared to his previous “Shake” episodes and his boring full length film, “Txt.”  His storytelling is likewise much better now and even the pacing is less tedious.

mario bautista/journal online

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