Oct 16, 2011

[Movies] Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington

My recent adventure with watching Eugene Domingo movies reminded me of why local cinema disappoints me. We have so many talented actors and I'm sure there many great stories just waiting to be told. And yet we often squander all this on cheap trips, rehashed storylines and cliched characters.

When I had first heard about this movie, I certainly had my doubts. The impression the trailer gave was that it was somehow equating homosexuality with a zombie plague - and that couldn't be a bad thing. It seemed like just another movie that glorified the more outlandish stereotypes about what being gay in the Philippines is like, even if only a certain type of gay character.

But the movie finally hit theaters after its limited Cinemalaya screening and the positive reviews started to pour in. This was definitely one of those cases of when the opinions of my friends started to factor heavily in my movie-watching decision and so I finally gave in. Thus my partner and I spent an afternoon watching this movie and we were delightfully surprised.

Zombadings 1: Pataying sa Shokot si Remington (loosely translated as Kill Remington Through Fear or something) is a 2011 independent Filipino LGBT comedy (and that's a mouthful). It was directed by Jade Castro with a screenplay by Raymon Lee, Jade Castro and Michiko Yamamoto.

As a child, Remington (Martin Escudero) used to get his kicks by making fun of gay people. Finally he comes across a gay guy (Roderick Paulate) who curses him to become gay when he grows up after he taunts him. Fast forward 15 years and we have a teenage Remington who is smitten over city girl Hannah (Lauren Young). But one night he's attacked by a mysterious figure and the next day he finds himself behaving...differently.

At the same time, there's been a series of serial killings in the town targeting gay residents alone. And with Remington starting to dress in skimpier clothes and speak fluent Swardspeak, it seems he's doomed to become a possible target. So now Remington needs to figure out what's happening to him and all he has as support is Hannah and his best friend Jigs (Kerbie Zamora) to help him. But Jigs is starting to look rather attractive to him as of late...

The writing behind this movie is pretty brilliant, I have to admit. I'm not saying it was a perfect comedy, but the writers certainly knew what niche they were aiming for and were pretty prepared to embrace it. And with the cast being fully on board with what they wanted to achieve.

We can't start talking about the cast before first discussing Martin Escudero. This guy was absolutely brilliant as Remington. Yes, we all know he's straight and that's part of what makes his performance so good. His depiction of a guy turning gay, even if a rather loud and flamboyant kind of queer, really worked! You could see his internal conflict as he changed, especially when he finally had a chance to, well, act on his gay impulses.

For an idea of what the folks behind the movie went through to find Remington, check out this video:


I also liked the minor yet memorable role that Eugene Domingo portrayed as Hannah's depressed mother. She was given some pretty strange, and quirky lines and things to do in the movie and she delivered it with the same level of comedic intensity that she always brings to the table. If anything, rollerskates rock.

Now the story was, well, okay. It tried to make sure that there was a bit of the homosexual agenda, as it were, without being too in your face. But there were bits that just didn't make all that much sense to me like the whole serial killer angle and the confused feelings here and there, but then it's a comedy and not major political drama or something.

The movie was entertaining and both my partner and I were laughing all throughout. Remington was a darling, and the Jigs character was quirky yet fun and Hannah...was kind of blah. But that's not the point.

Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington is a delightfully smart comedy hidden behind a rather ridiculous premise. And the fact that there's a "1" in the title is either just a cheap homage to old thriller movies or it just might represent the beginning of a new franchise. The movie gets 4 stupid examples of Remington becoming more and more gay out of a possible 5.
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  1. and you forgot Roderick Paulate's fluency in swardspeak.

  2. That seemed a tad redundant to cite pa, haha