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Film Review: ‘Mystery of the Night’

Prolific Filipino helmer Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr.’s latest big-screen endeavor “Mystery of the Night” is a supernatural folktale so beautifully atmospheric that one can almost overlook its escalating problems — for a while, at least. But this saga of an allegorical rape of Mother Nature by Western civilization, avenged by her forest she-creatures, eventually grows too humorlessly turgid to be as impactful as intended.

In the end, it’s an old-school Philippines cinema exercise in women weeping for the sins visited upon them by men, even if here the horror trappings allow for some payback. Those genre elements, as well as the film’s visual beauty, will be its major lure to non-Tagalog-speaking viewers.

After a brief flash-forward to climactic events, and opening credits that, in shadow-play style (performed by El Gamma Penumbra) illustrate the mythology of vengeful forest spirits (aka Aswang of Filipino folklore), the story begins in a

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