Corazon Ang Unang Aswang is about a couple namely Corazon and Daniel who has been trying desperately to have a child for a very long time and are settled in the quiet place of Magdalena. Corazon finally was able to bore a child but became berserk when the child died upon its birth. It is from there that Corazon turned into a monstrous Aswang that terrorized the village.
The film was set in 1946 and is nowhere near the usual scary Aswang film as a regular viewer may perceive upon reading its title. It is somewhat a story that tackles the Filipino myth about “Aswang.” To begin with, there is no mention of Aswang over the whole duration of the film. Superstitions has it that Aswang eats human and animal flesh and in this film, Corazon did all of these.
I thought Erich Gonzales who played Corazon did a fantastic job as a barrio lass being ridiculed by the village people for her inability to bear a child. It was too cliché a scene but she really does look the part! Her innocent charm paired with the very charismatic Derek Ramsay who played Daniel, his loving husband may probably be the main factor that saved the film from its rather draggy feel about it.
Another commendable performance are from Mon Confiado and Mark Gil who delivered the goods as usual but Jeffrey Quizon who somehow played Daniel’s bestfriend and narrated the film in some parts gave the best performance. I will give him an A+ for believability. I thought Tetchie Agbayani’s character was unnecessary if not to build up the parallelism of what happened to her in the past and what will happen to Corazon. The characterization was a total giveaway and just predictable.
I was actually eyeing some loopholes because there seemed to be many but I cannot put my fingers on them because the film’s vibe is sucking me in that I could predict what “will / may” happen next. Clearly, Corazon acquired no superpowers but if she feeds on a dead human flesh – won’t she die or atleast get poisoned and eventually die? I guess I’m being condescending about that fact or maybe, she really did acquire some supernatural attributes that was not mentioned in the film. Also, the shots of Corazon being her evil self are reminiscent of the “monsters” in other Asian horror films such as The Ring and The Grudge. It was all good though as it intensify each scene even more.
On a more positive note, I thought the film’s cinematography is genius! I love how each frame were captured in a very consistent way and kudos to the accompanying score for it gave the maximum feel of the most important scenes – I particularly love the scene when Corazon went to the hill to pray for two weeks. It was just creepy!
Overall, there isn’t much to munch on the film’s plot as it narrowly gives the audience a dramatization of the supposed first “Aswang,” a monster created by the town’s people that eventually evolved to be part of the Filipino folklore. The good thing though is that it was a subtle employment of our still existing folklore that younger viewers may or may not appreciate at all. I am hoping it is the former.
Director: Richard Somes
Main Cast: Erich Gonzales, Derek Ramsay, Mark Gil, Jeffrey Quizon, Mon Confiado, Tetchie Agbayani
Distributor: Skylights Films /Star Cinema
Special Screening at Shangrila Cineplex 4 on March 14, 2012 Officiated by the Ericholics
This film review was first posted at Pinoy Exchange. Read all my film reviews at Pinoy Exchange Official PEx Movie Reviews.