Thursday, August 13, 2009

In short: Tiyanaks (2007)

A bunch (A horde? A busfull? What is the right terminology here?) of college students are on their way to an Easter retreat.

Of course their bus breaks down in the middle of the jungle, at least half a day from civilization and far from their initial destination.

At least there's a house nearby to spend the night in, even if the religious nut and her little son living there aren't all that enthusiastic about their new guests. The lady of the house has good reasons to not want strangers in her vicinity, though, because the jungle around her house is infested with tiyanaks.

Tiyanaks in general are the dead bodies of unchristened babies come back to life to do evil. These special group has grown up a bit since then and is now living the wild killer child lifestyle, unless they need to transform into their elemental rubber suit and CGI forms to do a little flying or climbing.

As you can probably imagine, monsters and college students meet and develop a certain amount of dislike for each other.

Now this is an awful bunch of silly fun. Tiyanaks isn't something for the more thoughtful moments in life - allright, it's rather dumb - but as a modern variation on the 80s monster movie style this is perfectly entertaining, full of genre-mandatory ultra generic characters yet also full of scenes that mix the extremely generic with the local and very specific (did you, my non-Catholic friends, know that monsters are more dangerous around Easter on account of that God guy being dead then?) to fine effect and enough small details that show that director Mark A. Reyes put an effort into thinking his small, cheap horror romp through.

I'm an easy mark, I know, but make a film about a monster that can be killed by baptizing it, and you'll find my atheist soul cackling with glee and delight. Give the female lead a background in archery just to set up a singly, gloriously silly scene with her bow, a bottle of holy water and a monster, and I'll sing your praises.

As much as I love me some ghosts, it's also just nice to see a contemporary Filipino horror movie that is not about the usual assortment of long-haired female and blue-skinned child ghosts and milks other folk beliefs with as much enthusiasm as this one does.

 

2 comments:

Tower Farm said...

I'd say a "gaggle" of students...but that's just cuz I like the sound of the word.

"Give the female lead an background in archery just to set up a singly, gloriously silly scene with her bow, a bottle of holy water and a monster, and I'll sing your praises."

A-men to that!

-Billy

houseinrlyeh said...

I'd go for a "cabinful" of students - but there's no cabin in the film.