Aswang

"Aswang" tells the bizarre but unoriginal story of a young pregnant woman terrorized by a family of vampires who feed on the unborn. As a pastiche of classic horror films ("Rosemary's Baby,""Alien,""The Shining"), this low-budget item is so derivative and awkwardly acted that it might not even hold surprise for movie buffs and college students.

With:
Peter Null ... Norman Moses Katrina ... Tina Ona Paukstelis Dr. Roger Harper ... John Kishline Olive Null ... Flora Coker Cupid ... Mildred Nierras Sheriff ... Victor Delorenzo Claire Null ... Jamie Jacobs Anderson

“Aswang” tells the bizarre but unoriginal story of a young pregnant woman terrorized by a family of vampires who feed on the unborn. As a pastiche of classic horror films (“Rosemary’s Baby,””Alien,””The Shining”), this low-budget item is so derivative and awkwardly acted that it might not even hold surprise for movie buffs and college students. Neither scary nor funny enough, “Aswang” is a self-reflexive exercise that hardly qualifies as a midnight attraction, as it was shown at Sundance.

Peter Null (Norman Moses), the heir to the prosperous Null estate, desperately needs to have a child to fulfill his mother’s wish and the family’s will. Opportunity knocks when he meets Katrina (Tina Ona Paukstelis), a young, unwed woman needing to deal with her unwanted pregnancy. But the new couple must convince the eccentric matriarch, Mrs. Null (Flora Coker), that Katrina is Peter’s wife and that their match is made in heaven.

Following genre conventions, story is entirely set in the deserted estate, a haunted house surrounded by a forest. Upon arrival, Katrina is introduced to its residents: the crippled and nasty Mrs. Null, the doting maid Cupid (Mildred Nierras) and the mentally ill sister Claire (Jamie Jacobs Anderson), who’s locked in a cabin.

Barry Poltermann and Wrye Martin, the novice scripters and helmers, have obviously seen a lot of schlock horror movies, but they don’t provide many jolts and thrills along the way. Using the legend of Aswang, the mythic Filipino vampire, pic aspires to be a modern update of classic vampire tales, but the predictable plot doesn’t contain the requisite twists.

Technical credits are OK, though the production lacks shrewd humor and visual style. Ultimately, “Aswang” is more gruesome and gross than frightening.

Aswang

Production: A Young American Films in association with Purple Onion Prods. production. Produced, directed, written by Barry Poltermann, Wrye Martin. Executive producers, Frank Anderson, Steve Farr.

Crew: Camera (color), Jim Zabilla; editor, Poltermann; music, Ken Brahmstedt; art direction, Margot Czulewicz; sound, Paul Dickinson; special effects, Tim Brown; associate producers, David Dahlman, John Biesack; assistant director, Paul Johnson. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah, Jan. 23, 1994. Running time: 82 min.

With: Peter Null ... Norman Moses Katrina ... Tina Ona Paukstelis Dr. Roger Harper ... John Kishline Olive Null ... Flora Coker Cupid ... Mildred Nierras Sheriff ... Victor Delorenzo Claire Null ... Jamie Jacobs Anderson

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