SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL 15: Ulam (2014)
AVAILABLE on DVD in local video stores.
'Shake Rattle and Roll XV' Continues to Be Fun
by Philbert Ortiz Dy
Shake Rattle and Roll XV returns to its omnibus format, after the experiment with Chito Roño in the last edition. Once again, three different filmmakers are handed the reins to three different horror stories. As always, the results are pretty mixed, but the total product remains really compelling. Shake Rattle and Roll XV isn’t a perfect anthology of stories by any means, but it once again proves the lasting value of the franchise.
Franchise veteran Jerrold Tarog brings Ulam, which stars Dennis Trillo and Carla Abellana as a married couple who move into an old house belonging to grandparents that never approved of their union. While they stay in the house, they have weird dreams where they seem to be slowly transforming into monsters. The segment is disproportionately well made. It’s the one segment that really feels cinematic. It is gripping right from its first moments, where the segment quickly establishes the tension that exists between the main characters. Restraint on the use of visual effects helps give the segment a visceral immediacy. Dennis Trillo and Carla Abellana are used really well. But the real attraction here in the cast is the great Chanda Romero, who really relishes the diabolical machinations of this particular plot.
Shake Ratlle and Roll XV is worth it for Ulam alone. It isn’t as thematically strong as the other segments that Tarog has directed, but it’s still a pretty dazzling showcase of genre filmmaking. Ahas is a fun little bonus. The plot doesn’t make the most sense (and I think they lost track of which twin was which at some point), but it’s still a load of fun. Flight 666 is a clunker, but it isn’t so bad that it ruins the experience. All in all, it is another fun year for the franchise, which continues to let filmmakers tell stories that no longer seem to fit in the modern mainstream horror mold. While it’s easy to make fun of the franchise for being a nearly yearly event, it remains a somewhat bright spot in the MMFF.