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MOVIE REVIEW: “Abomination” has Intriguing Mystery with Stale Twist

  • ABOMINATION starts off pretty interesting, with a shocking and intriguing mystery to propel the story.
  • Unfortunately, once it reveals the twist behind it all, you’d end up asking yourself “Is that it?”

I’m a sucker for mysteries with some great plot twists. From M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense to Wes Craven’s Scream movies, I always longed for a jaw-dropping twist in films. I also love Yam Laranas’ previous film efforts like Sigaw, it’s American remake The Echo and The Road.

So when I first heard about Yam Laranas’ new project three years ago, a psychological mystery/ thriller entitled ABOMINATION, I couldn’t be more excited. But after the announcement of the film, I’ve never heard any other news about it since then.

That is until the film was directly dropped on iTunes on 2016. After that, the film was picked up for distribution by North American company Raven Banner last 2017. After three years, the film finally got it’s long overdue release here in Philippine cinemas as one of the five official entries of Sinag Maynila 2018.

Based on a story by Yam Laranas and Gin De Mesa, and a screenplay by Paolo Vacirca and Oscar Fogelstrom, ABOMINATION stars singer actress Tippy Dos Santos who plays a young woman found unconscious in a city street claims to be another person who was brutally murdered two months earlier. She escapes from the psychiatric hospital in which she’s confined to prove her identity and find out the truth about her life, death, and murderer.

The film also stars Toni Moynihan, Justine Peña, Paul Holmes, Lukas Magallano, Alexia Fernandez, Lexi Schulze, David Bianco, Leigh Halliwell and Emma Brennan.

The film’s identity crisis premise will really pique your interest from the very beginning. We follow Rachel (Tippy Dos Santos) as she goes around, trying to prove her identity. We all rely on the facts presented to us through flashbacks as the story switch from the past to the present.

Though these transitions break the story’s smooth flow, they’re still helpful in moving the story forward and building up the mystery of the film. Yam Laranas got the job right when it comes to building up the puzzle behind Rachel’s identity.

As we get more of her backstory, we can’t help but conjure our own conclusions on what really is going on. We start suspecting characters who may not what they seem to be. This makes the film’s central mystery effective and compelling.

Tippy Dos Santos did a pretty good job as Rachel. She was able to portray the role well despite the difficulty of her character. Toni Moynihan and Justine Peña were both effective in their roles as Rachel’s mother and best friend respectively. I think what I find a bit awkward is their use of the English language from start to finish of the film.

The movie is set in a fictional town in the US called Monte Maria, although it is so obvious that the whole film was shot around Metro Manila. Because of the story’s American location, the whole cast is expected to speak English (I think this is because the film was specifically written for foreign viewers to get a broad reach).

So whenever they speak, I find it awkward to listen to them since their locations where they are don’t really look like a place abroad. Still, despite this, the film is pretty much watchable and it manages to keep one’s attention because of the interesting premise.

Technically wise, the film actually looks really good. The film is one slick, glossy picture thanks to the film’s cinematography and visual. Although at times, visuals become a problem whenever they use CGI effects in the scenes because most of it looks pretty clunky.

The film could have been a good mystery thriller, but once it reaches it’s ending and reveals the biggest twist, you end up wishing that the twist just stayed as a secret. The twist that the film tried to hide from the very beginning wasn’t that compelling enough to match the intriguing mystery that the film built from the get-go.

It was disappointing as I was expecting something that would leave a punch but this uninspired twist just left me scratching my head, asking myself “Is that it?” Then, there’s that overly long speech to explain the said twist so that viewers would understand how everything happened.

I get it that there really is a need to explain the twist, but good endings don’t need a novella long explanation for audiences to absorb everything.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the film. Well, the 90% of the film to be exact. There’s actually a really good mystery thriller here and director Yam Laranas deserves some credit for that. Unfortunately, the only fly in the ointment here is its ho-hum twist- it isn’t satisfying nor rewarding enough for audiences who expected something mind-blowing once the movie ends.


5 – Excellent
4 – Very Good
3 – Good
2 – Tolerable
1 – Terrible
ABOMINATION is one of the five entries in the Sinag Maynila 2018.


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