First Released: 2006
Whilst we have seen depictions of aswang before, we should note that aswang is also used as an umbrella term for a variety of spirits, witches and vampire like creatures. In the case of this film aswang refers to a manananggal. As the film (which is a joint Philippine/Canadian production and primarily in English) deals with several creatures from Philippine folklore it gives us handy dandy references. I’ll breeze over kapre – a giant that lives n trees – and duwende – imp like creatures who live in small mounds of earth – but quote the manananggal descriptor fully:
“Sometimes referred to as aswang. An elemental creature described as a beautiful woman by day, capable of severing its torso from its legs to fly into the night of the full moon with huge bat wings to prey on pregnant women. The word originates from the malay word tanggal, which means “to remove”.
|Caroline Mangosing as Lola Nena|
|a hand appears|
The witch-woman had been in the film earlier. As the grandchildren explored the local market a woman (Lani Tapia) walks past Ana, waving her hand across her belly. Ana stops at an orchid shop and the witch-woman, who runs the shop – tries to foist a bottle of liquid on her. Vanessa later explains that it is an abortion tonic. Yes, Ana is pregnant and the woman was the manananggal.
|sensing the ghost|
|salting the lower half|
|coming to get you|
Does it get there…? You’ll have to watch the film which isn’t a bad little movie except… It really does throw the kitchen sink in with kapre, manananggal, duwende, ghosts and witch women. There seems to be a bit too much going on and it makes the film feel crowded. Candido does his best to draw characters up through the family skeletons but a narrower focus would have helped.
Yet this is still a fair watch and the soundtrack carries some nice mellow numbers by Candido himself. All told 6 out of 10.
The imdb page is here.