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USD $1 ₱ 58.79 0.0000 June 21, 2024
June 20, 2024
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‘Teniente Gimo’ is Unique in its Awfulness

It clearly isn't important to the film to keep any sort of consistent tone or milieu, and it spends the next hundred or so minutes failing to tell a story as it attempts to ape the appearance of comedy or drama or horror.

Teniente Gimo is framed as an interview with an old lady (Erlinda Villalobos) that supposedly knew the titular figure personally. She tells a story set in 1958,in a small town in Iloilo. High school student Ella (Eliza Pineda) is the daughter of Gimo (John Regala), the captain of this particular barangay. The town believes that Gimo and his family are aswang and that they are behind a series of killings around the town. Against the wishes of her parents, Ella entertains the attentions of her classmate Victor (Joshua Dionisio). Victor, in trying to win over Ella, attempts to learn the truth about Ella's family.

Immediately setting the tone is a box of herbal supplements besides the old lady being interviewed, the same brand featured prominently on the shirt of the interviewer. There is absolutely no attempt to cover up the product placement, no effort put into integrating this piece of Commerce into the narrative. Amazingly, this brand of herbal supplement will pop up again later, in the middle of the scenes set in the 50s. It clearly isn't important to the film to keep any sort of consistent tone or milieu, and it spends the next hundred or so minutes failing to tell a story as it attempts to ape the appearance of comedy or drama or horror.

The movie may be called “Teniente Gimo,” but it isn't actually very interested in the said character, who barely shows up in the movie. It is instead the story of a boy in love with a girl who might be a monster. It's not a terrible premise, but the movie seems to have no idea how to tell this story. It basically stops in the middle to have Victor and his comedy relief brother Monching (Mon Confiafo) run off to have everything explained to them by an old man that has experience dealing with aswang. This is the longest scene in the movie, and it does nothing to move the narrative forward. It is just space for lame jokes and lengthy, boring explanations of what aswang are.

The film's stabs at humor are sophomoric at best. And they really clash with the melodrama that comes later on. They also make it tough to buy into the attempts at horror. This film is trying to do it all, but it can't do any of these things well. The "comedy," such as it is, gets no help from the direction and the editing, which let the punchlines die in an arrhythmic haze. The sentiment drowns in the pointless narrative, and the horror wilts due to a general lack of atmosphere.

The VFX are very bad, and the film knows it. It actually ends with the director delivering a voiceover saying that he's also unhappy with the VFX and that he's angry with the guy who was in charge of it. It takes a special kind of gumption to release this film knowing that a big part of it is just awful. There's no acknowledgment that perhaps this film could have been re-shot, re-edited, or just generally reworked until it was worthy of release.

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And there is also no acknowledgment of the weaknesses in the other aspects of filmmaking. As awful as this film already is, what takes it over the edge into new territories of awfulness is this direct address from the director, making excuses for failings, making sure to let the audience know that the fault lies in somebody else. It doesn't contain its awfulness in the package that the cinema provides. It takes it out into the real world, dragging the audience into issues it shouldn't be involved in. But at least this makes the film uniquely terrible, rather than just the run-of-the-mill we so often get in our cinemas.

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Teniente Gimo
Horror
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2.3/5
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