Thursday, February 25, 2010

Derivative Slasher Flick in Logic-Challenged "Pilantik"

Argel Joseph used to do a lot of tv dramas back when I was a child, but with the untimely death of advice guru Helen Vela, Director Joseph took a protracted sabatical!

And it seems he must have overdosed on a lot of slasher flicks during his hibernation that eventually resulted in a derivative flick that's "Pilantik". I wanted to write a haiku about the pervading mediocrity that's become synonymous with Filipino Indie Films, but I realized I'd rather reserve that for when I get more inspiration. Because after all, this film deserves my rant for being horrible. This deserves the wrath of the demigoddesses for wasting my dad's hard-earned cash just so I can watch another trash disguised as an indie cinema.

Spoilers ahead!

Ysmael (Mon Confiado) is a transvestite who turns into an irresolute avenging marauder by night. He carries around an axe and hunts for copulating lovers, then bludgeons them to their death. He then chops off an arm and keeps them at his fridge! Flashbacks show him as a physically abused child whose effete demeanor provoked his stepdad (Pen Medina) and stepbrother to macerate his right fingers, thereby getting rid of his "pilantik" (light feminine flick of the fingers). Meanwhile, his emotionally inferior mother (Ma. Isabel Lopez) is shackled in her room. During a violent altercation, young Ysmael gets hold of the axe, killing his evil stepdad and evil stepbro!

Fast forward to the present! We see Ysmael cooking for his family, until we realize later that the people sitting at the dinner table are rotting corpses. Meanwhile, authorities are in a bind over a recent spate of serial killings. Is it the benz-driving Ysmael? Apparently, it is - coz we see him gallivanting in the night, hacking lovers in a state of pre-orgasm (first one to go is eye candy Jeff Luna).

From out of the blue, we get an entirely different string of characters introduced into Ysmael's life who, it seems is an upright member of the community. (He operates a beauty salon. We also see him comfort a perturbed friend Frida - Kuya Germ's counterpointer Shalala who was funny but misplaced in a dramatic action-thriller!)

While Ysmael and Frida were on their way out of a bar, they met Alfred (Kris Martinez) and his friends. They've apparently heard of Ysmael's riches. So they invite themselves for a rendezvous at Ysmael's crumbling home, setting themselves up for what would become the ultimate gorefest! Just about this time, I have already taken a 2 minute nap, regurgitated my lunch out of predictable tedium and dismay, and narrated to my friend Kyle (who loves his gay Galleria flicks) how the movie was going to end - right down to the letter!

Not only is the storyteller confused, he is also helplessly unimaginative - with scene after scene wallowing with predictability! Mon Confiado performs as though this were his very last movie project. He has to remember that less is more! Watching Confiado as Ysmael was painful. It always does when you see someone pretending to be gay! It reminds me of Jao Mapa in Joel Lamangan's "I Love Dreamguyz". Kyle and I were squirming in our seats.

And here is my uber-question - why was Ysmael targetting copulating lovers - unless its Joseph's homage to all those slasher flicks that irreverently kill off horny lovers everytime? You'd think they would illuminate on this salient point in one of their numerous flashbacks, but oh no, they conveniently forgot! I bet so they could show perky nipples flopping about. That's a valid reason, isn't it? ;->

At some point, I overheard a moviegoer ask, "So there are two serial killers?" Exactly, honey! In this film, there were 3 sets of dingbats running around with half a brain - Ysmael, the gay-baiting lotharios, and the filmmakers selling crap to gullible moviegoers who continuously patronize dregs such as this one!

Jao Mapa as Kevin becomes last victim. (Why he would forcefully sodomize a reluctant tranny before he robs off him is beyond me- unless he was really gay in the film, which he obviously wasn't?) Kris Martinez (right) as gay-baiting Alfred who eventually gets his lovely head dismembered!

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