Saturday, October 21, 2017

Shake, Rattle & Roll XV – review

Director: Perci M. Intalan (segment)

Release date: 2014

Contains spoilers

The 15th iteration of the long running Filipino horror anthology series and like all the films in the series consists of three standalone films – ish, as in this the character Iggy (John Lapus, Shake, rattle & Roll X & Shake, Rattle and Roll 12) appears in all three segments – in the last segment (the one we are concerned with) bearing a dressing over the neck, the injury which was picked up in the second segment.

The first two segments are Ahas, about a snakewoman, and Ulam, where a young family are fed foods that turn them into monsters. Flight 666 concerns the tiyanak, or the monster in baby form, though the lore is a little different to that we saw in the film Tiyanak.

John Lapus as recurring character Iggy
The flight 666 (no subtlety there) is an additional flight put on for people bumped from a previous overbooked flight. The first passenger we meet is Dave (Matteo Guidicelli) who is on the phone to his attorney. We hear one side of the story and it seems that another party doesn’t want to settle, putting two and two together – as Dave is a Doctor – it seems he acted as an angel of mercy and something went wrong. The next passenger is a raffle winner who thinks the flight is to London – it is to Zamboanga. There are two members of a band, and their stalker fans, and a grandmother (Lui Manansala, Aswang (2011) Shake, Rattle & Roll 2K5) and her pregnant granddaughter Jane (Ria Garcia) amongst others.

Ria Garcia as jane
One of the stewardesses, Karen (Lovi Poe, also Aswang (2011) & TikTik: the Aswang Chronicles), is Dave’s ex – it becomes apparent that she asked him to leave after she lost their baby. One of the passengers, Carlos (Bernard Palanca), seems very nervous. The Grandmother tells Jane to tell people that a foreigner knocked her up. She has a memory of being in the forest and a monster finding her. Suddenly she sees the monster outside the plane, through the window, but was it really there? There’s no time to think as she goes into labour as Carlos (who is in cahoots with Pamela (Nathalie Hart), the other stewardess) hijacks the plane (having got a gun and a bomb on board).

the tiyanak
Dave has to deliver the baby, which seems stillborn, and Jane dies immediately after giving birth. The plane hits very rough turbulence and the body of the baby is lost. People are scratched and then suddenly the transformed baby is doing a wrecking course through the passenger manifest. It is a school teacher who recognises the tiyanak and likens it, amongst other things, to the toyol. Now, in the film Tiyanak we did not know the baby’s origin. In this we know it is the child of a demon (and a maligno in its own right). This fits with Bane’s description: “This vampiric demon from the Philippines is the offspring between a woman and a demon, but it can also come into being when a child dies without having been baptized.” Interestingly the tiyanak is also referred to as a “Child of Janice”. This references a movie but I couldn’t pin down if it was Tiyanak, the main character in that is not called Janice in that but the actress who plays her is. There is also a 1991 Filipino movie entitled Anak ni Janice (Child of Janice), which she was also in.

Where this differs in lore from the previous film is that the still attached umbilicus cord can be manipulated and acts as a garrotte but, more importantly, the baby is not transforming at will. In this the baby is in human form when the moon is behind clouds and in monster form when the moonlight is visible. It is mentioned that this is like a werewolf. Other than this it claws and bites, certainly goes for the jugular but does not seem to be drinking blood.

the tiyanak's daddy
This is a madcap and fast paced segment with loads stuffed in, unlike the previous segment, which dragged a tad. Together with the first segment this cements the film as a strong entry in the Shake, Rattle & Roll series. Ok, the effects are somewhat hokey but we accept that in these films. John Lapus’ appearance is cameo in this segment (his part in the first segment is much more central than the other two) but is great fun. 5.5 out of 10 for the Flight 666 segment.

The imdb page is here.

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