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Xian Lim’s ‘Tabon’: Not Surprising for a New Filmmaker


I can vividly recall what I said to Xian Lim while waiting for his turn to dub his last film Hanggang Kailan. That was in January, I think. I frankly told him, “There are two sides of the coins.

Tabon will either succeed because you are writing the script and you are directing it at the same time. The other side will be a disappointment if you will overlook some points.”

A debut film can either make it or break it. 

Lim’s directorial debut film is reminiscent of the 1977 Italian supernatural horror Suspiria by Dario Argento and has a remake last year.

Lim’s full-length entry to this year’s Cinemalaya has VFX of blood dripping on its opening credits. The moviegoers can take a hint that this is not the usual type of film they can find in the yearly film fest. 

Lim took a bold move in making this film. Applaudable. 

The script tells the story of Christopher Roxas‘s character, a family man. He needs to return to his hometown after learning about his father’s mysterious death. 

Upon reaching his hometown, the chief police officer who handles the murder case of his father breaks some revelations to him. There were three suspects, but only one holds the truth which he’s about to uncover. In the film, the lead character being the son of the cult is in for a trap.

Lim’s film is not as outstanding as the other two entries. Its profundity will astound (if not all, but to some audiences). Lao Rodriguez, Leon Miguel, and Dexter Doria are all impressive in their approaches to their respective roles.

The screenplay by Lim and his co-writer Eseng Cruz is problematic. The direction is tolerable and is not surprising for a new filmmaker like Lim. Scenes need some tightening but not as bad as that of 2017 Cinemalaya entry–Ang Guro Kong ‘di Marunong Magbasa. Maybe if Xian decides to fully commit himself in making films as a director, he might just have the chances to excel. Hopefully, if he’s not distracted from other interests of his.

The film also stars Ynna Asistio, Bapbap Reyes, Menggie Cobarrubias, Benjie Felipe, and Richard Manabat.


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