by Philbert Ortiz Dy
Shake Rattle and Roll 12 doesn’t stray very far from the modern formula. One segment deals with a killer inanimate object. Another with engkantos. And the last is a monster tale set in a unique location. Still, given these tired narratives, at least one of the segments is a definite must-see. The franchise continues to do what it’s best at: giving a mainstream platform for talented filmmakers. While the platform itself might be getting a bit dusty, that alone makes the entire venture worthwhile.
The strongest of the three is Jerrold Tarog’s Punerarya. In it, a young teacher (Carla Abellana) is hired to be the tutor of two children from a family that has the strange affliction of being extremely sensitive to the light. She goes about teaching the kids and soon discovers a deadly secret. Tarog elevates a routine narrative with really strong direction. The swooping camera movements and moody visuals provide plenty of suspense, even when you already know how everything is going to turn out. Weird editing hurts the narrative flow, but the quality of effort is pretty clear.
The editing hurts all three segments in general. It feels like huge chunks of story were excised from each part, making everything feel a little disjointed. The special effects were pretty bad as well. The franchise’s growing reliance on special effects is pretty disheartening, because these filmmakers seem to be fine with even the cheesiest of practical effects. Performances are okay across the board, but one actress really stands out from the rest. Carla Abellana just kills it in Punerarya, exuding a steely determination that distinguishes her character from the standard horror movie damsel-in-peril. Also, one must make mention of Odette Kahn, who makes the most mundane things terrifying.
As a whole, Shake, Rattle and Roll 12 is a pretty decent iteration of the franchise. One segment is awful, but entertaining. Another is solid, if a little boring. And the last one is genuinely great, the strange outlier in quality that has always made this series at least an interesting proposition. As a whole, it still comes out as pretty uneven. The stories are all still drawn from tired old wells, the editing is choppy, and the special effects are still a mistake. But I still believe in the promise of the series, and would continue to recommend that people support it.