Movie Review for Scaregivers

Insanely Inept

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The Filipino comedy has probably suffered the most through the troubles of the local industry. Today’s comedies feature none of the cleverness of films past, relying on bottom-of-the-barrel lowbrow humor and odd special effects to get a reaction out of audiences. Scaregivers is yet another one of these films, which just continually set the bar lower and lower for our local comedies.

Billy and Bob are small time crooks who set out to steal a couple of diamond rings from a jewelry store. Unfortunately, they’re nabbed by the police, and are soon on a fast track to prison. But during the trial, they manage to convince the judge that they’re insane, and they’re quickly sent to a mental institution. They’re quick to plan for their release, but unfortunately, the mental institution turns out to be haunted by a ghost who doesn’t like people who pretend to be insane. The two need to figure out how to stop the haunting, lest they become the latest victims of this vengeful ghost.

The first thing that might strike you about this film is how long it is. It’s striking, because it doesn’t really have enough plot to justify that runtime. There’s some semblance of a story in there somewhere, but none of it really makes any sense. The script doesn’t really try to make any of it work, mostly letting the characters stumble headfirst into a series of contrivances that could be construed as some form of narrative. Mostly, they just concentrate on gags, which would be okay if the gags were any good. Nine out of ten are lame, and that last one will be dragged out for far too long to work.

The filmmaking is even worse. It’s a technical disaster through and through, with really bad shot choices, uneven color grading, poor shot sequencing, choppy editing and lame special effects. Very little thought seemed to put into how the film moves or how each shot connects to the next, leading to a very disjointed experience. The film also makes a halfhearted attempt at being scary, and it fails miserably. These scenes are paced horribly, lacking the rhythm to build up any tension at all.

Wally Bayola and Jose Manalo, in my experience, are pretty funny guys, but none of that talent is on display in this film. The material is just far too weak, and the subpar filmmaking does them no favors. Ehra Madrigal gets stuck with a pretty bad role, and she isn’t able to get anything out of it. Iza Calzado and Paolo Contis, both formidable talents, aren’t used very well, and add nothing to the film. Scaregivers also features cameos from the likes of Marian Rivera and Vic Sotto, but it’s absolutely nothing to get excited about. Their scenes are too weak to allow them to really do anything.

I can’t really think of a good reason to see Scaregivers. When you get right down to it, the film isn’t just bad; it feels inept. It fails to achieve a basic level of quality that’s associated with films released into theaters. The writing and filmmaking are so poor that it’s difficult to imagine that this is a movie released by a major outfit. And it hurts to see all these resources being wasted on stuff like this, because we are capable of so much better. We shouldn’t have to settle for this rubbish.

My Rating:


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