Mallari Movie Review: A Blend of History and Supernatural Horror

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Exploring Filipino Mythology in ‘Mallari’

Hey there, fellow mommies and Netflix addicts! It’s your favorite mommy blogger from here, and boy oh boy, do I have a treat for you today! Mallari just dropped on Netflix and the family watched it over the weekend. I’m here to share a Mallari Movie Review starring the ever-dreamy Papa Piolo Pascual. Grab your popcorn and maybe a blanket to hide under, because I’m about to take you on a wild ride!

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. “Mallari” is based on the true story of Juan Severino Mallari, the Philippines’ first documented serial killer. Spooky, right? Who would ever have thought that we have a serial killer right in our backyard and a historical one at that. But hold onto your pearls, because this movie doesn’t just stick to historical facts. Oh no, it goes full-on crazy town with time travel and a manananggal. It’s like “Outlander” meets “Stranger Things” meets your lola’s scariest bedtime stories.

First things first, can we talk about Piolo Pascual? This man is like a fine wine – he just gets better with age! In “Mallari,” he’s not just serving us one character, but three! That’s right, ladies, triple the Piolo goodness. He plays a serial killer priest from the 1800s, a war documentarian post-WWII, and a present-day doctor. Talk about range! It’s like watching three different K-dramas rolled into one, except with more jumpscares and less oppa-calling.

The movie’s got some serious “Hereditary” vibes going on, dealing with generational trauma and dark family secrets. It’s like when your tita accidentally reveals some juicy family gossip at Christmas dinner, but way more terrifying. And speaking of terrifying, the jumpscares in this movie are more frequent than my kids’ requests for snacks during a Netflix binge. It’s scary the first time but becomes more and more annoying as the story progresses and ends up being silly.

Filipino Mythology in Action

The story had so many things going on that the production lost the ball on some of them. Still, while a lot of things didn’t make sense, I love that there’s a lot of Filipino Mythology incorporated in the Mallari movie, blending historical facts with supernatural elements to create a rich, multi-layered narrative. If anything else, I love my Phili[hine Mythologies and I’d forgive the trespasses of Gen Z trying hard witticisms, unimaginative costume, and face designs, etc.

One of the most prominent mythological elements in “Mallari” is the inclusion of the manananggal, a mythical creature in Filipino folklore known for its ability to sever its upper torso and fly with bat-like wings to hunt for prey. The film is also rich with cultural references that ground it in Filipino mythology. For instance, it uses traditional protective measures against supernatural beings, such as “bawang at asin” (garlic and salt), which are commonly believed to ward off evil spirits and creatures in Filipino folklore. These elements not only enhance the authenticity of the setting but also resonate with the audience’s cultural understanding of supernatural protection. The way religion is also tied to beliefs (how the St Bartholomew connection is explained) also brings the Filipino flavor home.

In “Mallari,” a curse is tied to the actions of Juan Severino Mallari, whose belief in witchcraft and curses leads him to commit heinous acts in an attempt to save his mother. This curse is then shown to affect his descendants, creating a narrative that spans centuries and highlights the inescapable nature of such mythological curses. This curse is deeply rooted in the mythological belief that certain families can be haunted or cursed due to the actions of their ancestors.

The time travel concept, which is used to explore the generational curse that plagues the Mallari family is a little iffy but an understandable plot device. By traveling through different eras (the 1800s, 1940s, and present day), the film looks into how this curse affects each generation, blending historical events with mythological consequences. The film’s setting in different historical periods also allows it to explore how Filipino mythology and folklore have evolved over time and shows how mythological beliefs can influence and be influenced by historical contexts.

Acting and Characters

Sans horrible makeup, Gloria Diaz as Doña Facunda Mallari, proves that being a beauty queen doesn’t mean you can’t get down and dirty in a horror flick. She brings a regal yet haunting presence to the role of Severino’s mother, adding depth to the generational curse storyline. JC Santos absolutely kills it (pun intended) in his supporting role as Brother Lucas Alarcon Segundo. He’s so good, he even snagged the Best Supporting Actor award at the MMFF Gabi ng Parangal.

Janella Salvador joins the cast as Agnes Salvador, the wife of Dr. Jonathan de Dios (one of Piolo’s characters) in the present-day timeline. Salvador brings a fresh energy to the film, balancing the horror elements with a relatable modern perspective. There were a co0uple of lines they made her say that was absolutely terrible but she brought it home at the end. Whew.

Elisse Joson takes on the role of Felicity Mallari, adding another dimension to the complex web of characters spanning different timelines. Her performance helps tie together the various threads of the Mallari family saga, showcasing the far-reaching consequences of the family’s dark history. The ensemble cast rounds out the film nicely, each bringing their own flavor to this horror adobo. Their performances help create a rich, textured world that spans centuries and adds credibility to the film’s ambitious (if unmet) narrative.

As for our beloved Papa Piolo, this isn’t his first rodeo, but it is his first horror film. We last saw him in the romance drama “Flower of Evil” in 2022, so this is quite the genre jump. But let me tell you, he nails it harder than I nail my New Year’s resolutions (which is to say, pretty darn well for the first week at least).

To watch or not to watch?

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Is it worth leaving my comfy couch and my trusty Netflix account for?” The answer is, it depends. Lol. This movie is like the adobo of Filipino horror – it’s got all the familiar flavors we love, but with a twist that may put off those who don;t want to do a couple of mental gymnastics. sTILL, it’s a great excuse for a mom’s couch time. Just maybe don’t let the kids watch unless you want them crawling into your bed for the next month.

So there you go, if you’re a fan of jump scares, “Mallari” is a must-watch for any Filipino horror fan or Piolo Pascual enthusiast. It’s got scares, it’s got drama, it’s got Piolo in three different outfits – what more could a mommy ask for? So grab your snacks, deposit the kids inside their rooms, and treat yourself to a night of thrills, chills, and multiple Piolos.

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