Mahal is a part of an elite squad of skilled hunters responsible for keeping the world safe from vampires and other creatures of the night. Her mission to rid the world of this undead threat becomes compromised when her fate intertwines with an aswang.
Vampariah is a bizarre creature feature that analyses the duality of the natural order and the relationship between good and evil — and how those lines are ultimately very blurred. The film stars Kelly Lou Dennis as Mahal (the hunter) and Aureen Almario as Bapinay (the aswang).
If you've read this far, your probably thinking to yourself, “What the fuck is an aswang?— We got your back:
An aswang is a self-segmenting vampire of Philippine mythology that spouts bat-like wings and uses a long piercing tendril tongue to eviscerate victims and drink blood the embryos of pregnant women.
Minor spoilers ahead:
The plot is one that has often been done before. Our paladin-like hero is forced to join the side of the enemy that they once so vehemently oppressed. Living as the enemy and experiencing life on the other side, the hero questions their previously held beliefs and begins to side with the oppressed. It is a trope that, if done well, can make for a compelling narrative.
Vampariah does manage to accomplish that narrative and even though a restrictive budget, slipshod acting and ridiculous special effects do hamper the experience, Vampariah entertains from start to finish. Its fresh take on the vampire mythos (at least for non-Filipinos) and well-structured story made for a very entertaining 90 minutes. The visual effects weren't always bad, but they are a huge part of the film and I think with a bit more of a budget, it would have made me take the film a little more seriously.
I feel a lot of the credit should be given to Matthew Abaya, the writer/director of the film. At its core, there is a really good structure, a sense of pace and a good plot. Most of the film's strengths I'd credit to his vision and direction…although he really did make me feel like a dirty foreigner for being a white guy married to an Asian woman.
Overall, Vampariah is a decent action/horror that is funny, sexy, fun, informative and well structured. There are faults, sure, but Vampariah can hold its head up high knowing that it was brave enough to take chances and is very much entertaining…something I expect of the entertainment industry. Oh, and there are a ton of cringy one-liners too…which I know I can't get enough of. Vampariah, is available to watch on Digital Download from 4th December on the following platforms: iTunes, Amazon, Rakuten TV, Play, Microsoft, Sky Store, TalkTalk, Vubiquity, and BT. Catch the trailer below. Thanks for reading and stay sordid.
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