Monday, May 14, 2018

I Felt Like Screaming, Too. Out of Frustration: Sumigaw Ka Hanggang Gusto Mo

Sumigaw Ka Hanggang Gusto Mo (Philippines, 1999)
Rating: *
Starring: Bernadette Allyson, Bobby Andrews, Onemig Bondoc

Honestly, I didn't know my home country tried to cash in with the success of Wes Craven's Scream (1996) back at the late 90s until I read about Sumigaw at a Filipino site somewhere and, after seeing said cash-in, I think it was for the best that I didn't knew then.

Sumigaw Ka Hanggang Gusto Mo! is sometimes described as Philippine's answer to Scream (probably because when translated, the title literally meant Scream All You Want. How original) but the only thing it shares with Scream is that it tries to be a whodunit. (Emphasis on the word "tries") It follows the survivor of an opening backwoods massacre as he gets questioned by cops for any information he could remember regarding the attacker. Unfortunately, the trauma blocked most of the kid's memories of the event, which meant our dutiful investigators have to find another way to get their answers, thus leaving our traumatized teen out to defend himself not only against accusing schoolmates but also a killer who's out to finish what they started.

Looking into it, Scream works as a mystery as it not only builds itself around some very likable characters but it also paced itself to set everything in place, distracting us with red herrings and nasty murders whenever it is possible to keep the reveal and the finale as fresh and exciting as it can be. Sumigaw, however, felt and look more like a rushed mess wherein the mystery, though present, stands on a very rickety structure where one wrong move can topple it down, breaking itself into obscurity. 

Sadly, this film made a lot of wrong moves.

Since this film was released around the late 90s, youth-oriented TV shows were the rave in the Philippines then so it's no surprise that the entire casting of the film consists of talents from the then-hit series T.G.I.S., along with other artists from one of the country's leading television channel GMA. Probably sounded like a great idea in paper and, to be frank, it might as well could have worked, but with a large amount of uneven cheese, too many focused characters roaming around (and little of them dying) and loads of offcamera killings, it's like the movie's afraid to get its hands dirty and tries to make up for it by showering us with a lot of star power doing random crap onscreen disguised as either an attempt to solve the whodunit or build the story to go, well, somewhere. Any drop of blood were done in the aftermath of an offcamera slaying (that is if we ever get to see the aftermath) and the mystery of who killed them dull kids in the beginning, after all the supposed workaround, simply just solved itself by throwing in the most random reveal with an overused motive to boot. (And add the fact that it also rushed in a second yet still unworkable twist simply shows how desperate the people behind this movie were)

The resulting product is neither scary or thrilling, hardly passable as a slasher horror or thriller with barely any redeeming qualities. The characters are stupidly boring, the mystery is a joke, and the lackluster production from editing to direction simply felt forced to blindly throw itself to the then-hype of star-powered teen slashers. Sumigaw Ka Hanggang Gusto Mo! is a real low of a movie that only caters to the fans of its stars and nothing else, which kinda shows just how hardly innovative or exploitative Filipino horror can be at times but, suffice to say, at least I have the likes of 1984's Basag Ang Pula and 2012's The Healing to sate my hunger for good Filipino slasher flicks.

What else is there to say but skip this film and forget it ever existed. You have better things to do in life...

1 male kicked off a cliff, falls to his death
1 female murdered offcamera
1 male and 1 female murdered offcamera with garden shears
1 female murdered offcamera with a machete
1 male seen killed, method unknown
1 female found knifed on the chest
1 female found hacked on the chest inside a tool shed
1 male stabbed on the chest
1 female killed offscreen
1 female set ablaze (flashback)
1 female caught inside a chimney, either burned or smoked to death
1 female drowned inside a tub
1 male shot
1 male shot
Total: 15

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