Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington – The Review

The second half of 2011 is proving to be great for Philippine Cinema. I mean there are two Eugene Domingo movies playing in Trinoma on the same week! And before that, Trinoma was screening Ang Babae sa Septic Tank!

I think for a Pinoy movie to be successful, Eugene Domingo must be included in some way!

With that said, Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington has been buzzing since early this year. With that name, how can you not? The name is as catchy as Ang Babae sa Septic Tank. Definitely who ever thought of that name just made the movie unforgettable. The glaring reviews it got when it was shown in various film festivals also gave the film notoriety.

The Story:

Barely getting out from his diapers, the young Remington was such a potty mouth. In the opening part of the movie, he was insulting the third sex. One visit in the cemetery was enough for him to shut up though. But little did he know that the name calling he was belting would curse him for a lifetime.

Days before his 21st birthday, a series of deaths occur in his hometown of Lukban, Quezon. These deaths had a common denominator – gays. At the same time, a mystical brute gay demon was little by little replacing his manliness with gayness.

The timing of this mess is a travesty since Remington may have found the girl of his dreams.


The Good:

Martin “Don’t call me Mart Escudero” Escudero proved that while fellow Starstruck alum Aljur Abrenica had the body gays like, Martin had the acting talent they drool upon. Martin carried the film and he did it well. The gay acting wasn’t forced. The reactions he had were awesome and his rapport with the ensemble proved helpful in making the film believable.

One of the best parts of the film was kind of disturbing... for men. However the kissing scene Remington and Jigs did in the flick was kind of fun to watch. It was kind of almost resembled the Between Two Ferns episode where Zach Galifianakis kissed a lot of Will Ferrell. It was painful to watch but you had to look (nay need) at it because it was so funny! The other scene I liked was when Remington danced the crap of a techno song where graphics were hurled left and right. And finally the speech that Remington had with Eugene Domingo and Lauren Young (the first time he talked in straight gay lingo) was also a bright spot.

Roderick Paulate and Eugene are a class on their own. Roderick cursing was funny while Eugune letting her actions talk was superb as well. The movie gained semblance way before its release because of these two. Janice de Belen’s character’s light seriousness made her character stand out without overacting while her sidekick played by Angelica Canapi brought in the humor for her. Lauren Young charmed the audiences while Kerbie Zamora made a nice account of himself as the “Ron Weasley” of this gay serial killer-busting trio.

Yes, I compared the Martin-Lauren-Kerbie combination with the Harry Potter kids.

And then there’s John Regala. If you look at him, the last thing he’ll ever be is to be included in this movie – let alone play a good guy in it. But you know what, he did well here.  

Bayani Agbayani and Marian Rivera also delivered in their very short roles (Bat ambango mo... amoy tae...) while Odette Khan, Remington’s family’s maid, Leandro Baldemor, and Daniel Fernando also did well. Hell, even Remington’s friends that looked green in the acting department also provided great comedy work here.

By the way, is gay sex running rampant in Lukban, Quezon?

So the ensemble is nice and so is 80 percent of the movie. The movie had a conscious effort in gay acceptance and while it had too many gay sexuality moments that made me hold my girlfriend’s hand tighter and firmer (ang kyut-kyut ng mga abs nila!!!), it manages in succeeding to place no disrespect on the third sex.

Also, the build up for the climax was well created. I loved every part of the movie (although I loved the movie less in the end) and it was easy for people, whatever their sexual orientation, to laugh at the gags. The step-by-step process that led to Remington’s transformation didn’t look corny and it gave the Remington character more substance. It helped a lot that Martin Escudero carried himself well in this movie because the fame and acclaim he got here will certainly help his career.

With that said...

The Bad:

Unfortunately for Zombadings, it was easy to spot what’s bad in this movie. I could nitpick a lot of things like who was Lauren Young’s dad in the story that made him get angry at Remington at the start of the movie, why did the reveal of Daniel Fernando gay-bashing persona not that hyped, why is the gaydar gun like a bunch of hamster exercise contraptions glued together, and why is Marian Rivera’s scene not that meaty.

But my main problem was this.

The climax.

After Roderick’s character’s death, his boy toy chanted something that made all dead gays become zombies. This should have been the glorious part of the movie after a wonderful build up but this is the problem of tight-budgeted indie movies. Just like Amigo, the big scene here isn’t big enough. I mean they could have devoted more time in establishing the zombies other than the comic relief that at this point, isn’t as funny as the earlier gags. All of a sudden, Remington’s gang of gay-loving friends were MIA. They could have had some of them of die so that plot won’t get detached. The scene where John Regala and his friends encountered the zombies could have been made bigger as well. Maybe it was time for these guys to have their machismo flourish since they will lose this eventually. This is where a fight coordinator or a stunt coordinator could have been helpful. Imagine John Regala doing those Jeric Raval-like fight scenes on those zombies. I would rather have John Regala and his cronies have a FPJ-like moment than Odette Khan because the scene Khan had was so random. I would have used Khan in the post-Zombie attack where there are more press people than point persons (after all, people died Lukban could have been easily placed on red alert). The graphics that was seen in Remington’s earlier dance could have been useful as well. Maybe when the zombies walk, a bunch of creepy graphics would pop up. Since the zombie scene was staged at the time of the Pahiyas Festival, I would have loved it if the non-sitio/barangay hall places had more bandaritas or fiesta stuffs and if there were more people in those fiesta scenes.

And the biggest beef on that chunk was after all the bigness of Remington’s transformation all he had to do is have a willing man hold his hands to transfer his gayness. Holding hands? Really? It would have been harder for John Regala to smack his son on the lips. Not that I want to see it, but like I said, with the way it was built up, they need to make the climax grand.

The Verdict:

But like I said, this film is very enjoyable movie. If I can compare this to a foreign film I watched, then I see it as a cross between Shaun of the Dead and Superbad. Hopefully there’s a part 2 because I think a movie like this can be a tool for Philippine Cinema to battle against the foreign flicks. For months now, people have been wasting their money to watch 3D version of very, very crappy flicks. Zombadings is a refreshing twist to those overrated and underwhelming films.  

Game over!


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