20 July 2010 | 3xHCCH
Okay when you are in the mood for a scare (and a laugh)
This is a collection of five Filipino horror short films by five different upcoming directors, Frasco Mortiz, Enrico C. Santos, Ato Bautista, Nick Olanka and Cathy Garcia-Molina (I'm not sure which one directs which episode though). We are told to watch from the very beginning or else we would miss the common connection. Truth to tell, I only saw a connection between the first and the last segments. But the three in the middle had nothing in relation to the others (I did not see any if there was), except for the theme, which is ghostly revenge.
The first segment is called "Braso" ("Arm") It features young stars Sam Concepcion, Robbie Domingo and another guy, only dressed in their underwear. They play fraternity pledges in their final initiation challenge. They just needed to spend 3 hours in a morgue, but only to be scared silly by a haunted severed arm. This episode is the weakest of the five, since it had absolutely no substantial back story to it. This is pure shock and scare, with some laughs in there.
The second segment is called "Paa" ("Foot"). This stars Jodi Sta. Maria as a young mother terrorized by the ghost of a small girl who lost a foot when she was killed in a car accident. This one had a touching dramatic story behind it, and the actors were good. The scary scenes were quite tense and the film editing was interesting, but it went on a bit too long and repetitively.
The third segment is called "Mata" ("Eye"). This stars Rayver Cruz as a hothead boyfriend to a docile Maja Salvador. A traffic altercation in a one-way road leads to a "Rolito Go" situation which will haunt Maja in a "Groundhog Day"-type scenario. This could have been good, but the repetitions were not presented neatly or logically, so as to make the ending of the segment stick.
The fourth segment is called "Mukha" ("Face"). Mariel Rodriguez was very convincing as a terror boss who fires a hapless janitor for giving her unclear copies of documents. Before he goes, she runs copies of his face on the copying machine. Of course, the janitor dies unexpectedly later, and boss Mariel is persecuted no end by his ghost. There is also a nice twist in the story, which made this the best episode for me. Ms. Rodriguez went beyond my expectations. She was compelling in her performance here.
The fifth segment is called "Puso" ("Heart"). Pokwang stars as an ugly woman who worked as a "ghost" in the haunted house attraction of a traveling carnival. She has a crush on her co-worker Zanjoe Marudo, which, expectedly, was unrequited. Her fortune-teller godmother tries to help her win his love, but with unexpected complications. This episode mixes black magic and zombies, but the scare factor was less than the comedy.
Overall, "Cinco" felt more like an uneven vehicle for the second tier talents of Star Cinema. Some worked, some did not. The five directors basically used typical local scare tactics, like jumpy music and sudden camera cuts. However, it was still okay for a lazy afternoon when you are in the mood for a scare (and a laugh).