After a week of toiling away on my new online job, I finally got a chance to watch Bloody Crayons this weekend. It was highly recommended by my girlfriend, saying that Director Topel Lee is a trusted name in the horror genre.
I love horror, but I have a strong preference towards the work of other countries like Japan (which has great folklore), Korea (who are masters horror-thriller), and Thailand (who knows how to blend horror with comedy).
I think that Pinoy movies in this genre rely heavily on noisy sound effects and chaotic music instead of creating an atmosphere of dread, and the feeling of ‘this is scary because this might happen to me.’
It was a pleasant surprised then, because Bloody Crayons is a step away from this negative stigma that I have of Pinoy horror films. I was even a bit sad that not many people are watching this movie.
Just what should you expect from this film? Read on to find out!
A group of filmmaking students makes their way to a private island to shoot their last project. It was a small, hidden paradise with a clean beach and undisturbed forest. In the middle of the island is an antique manor that serves as their base of operations, while the remaining estate will be their film location.
They spend the first day horsing around, with the shoot happening on the 2nd day. Too bad, because it started raining heavily by then, forcing them to postpone the shoot until the rain slows down.
While waiting for better weather, they play an unheard of game called “Bloody Crayons.” And here starts the slasher film that you paid P200+ to see.
I thought for a while if this game existed in real life. I wouldn’t know for sure because I didn’t have neighbors so my schoolmates are the only same-age kids I know. After some thinking, though, I concluded it as a made up game, and that not many (if any at all) barkadas would be trying this game out on their next sleepover.
You play with 4 pieces each of crayons in the color pink, blue, black, white, and red. You will take turns taking a piece of crayon from your container.
Picking a pink crayon means you will pick one of your friends, and this friend will dare you to do something. If you fail or refuse to do the dare, he or she will write on your face with the crayon.
If you get a blue crayon, you have to reveal something from your life that you never did, and whoever has already done it will color their faces with the blue crayon.
A black crayon means you have to create a rule that everybody has to follow until the next black one is picked. A white crayon saves you from whatever rule the black-picker makes.
The “most important” red crayon is a bit different. The first three pickers will have to pour a liquid into a shot. It could be something decent like orange juice or something funky like used cooking oil. The person who picks the 4th red crayon will drink the shot and thus end the game.
I think a good old spin the bottle is enough.
Not Horror at First
If you come in the theater after, maybe 30 minutes, then you wouldn’t second guess it for a horror flick. If you’re like us who come in the theaters 10 minutes early to watch some trailers, you might get confused because of all the teen drama going on on-screen.
Sure, it starts instantly with a slasher scene, which is the previous short film of the group. However, that is followed by 20-30 minutes of establishing shots to show the viewers the place and the relationship of the characters. Boring as it may be, I believe it is necessary for us to see where the action takes place, and how close these people are. Without this establishment, the movie loses impact.
As soon as the real movie starts, though, you’ll be at the edge of your seats! It feels like I’m riding a roller coaster because of all the screaming I’m hearing from the crowd. And it sounds like actual panic, too. Not some group of people doing some sarcastic screaming. I admit, it has its moments that made me hold my breath.
It was a good choice to watch this film, whose main villain is an actual person and not some ghostly entity. It didn’t need any special effects (which in the Philippines is very underwhelming), and the horror is in the survival of the characters. There is a killer in the island, so of course, in perfect movie logic, the group has to split up.
The first few deaths were actually quick and start with some of the more important characters in the movie. You’ll wonder how it happened and who did it, but don’t worry as there are very few plot holes left unplugged by the end of the movie. The next few deaths were long and gritty and forces the characters to run and fight. The ambiance is dark, but you won’t miss any of the action thanks to the good selective lighting.
The ambiance during the latter part of Bloody Crayons is dark, but you won’t miss any of the action thanks to the good selective lighting. The island is a big place, too, so there was plenty of spots for the teens to die or get in grave danger.
That last sentence sounds bad but it’s how it is.
I’m 50-50 on the sound direction. It has very good audio and the dialogues can be heard crystal clear. It still uses loud sounds to induce a scare to the viewers but it’s used sparingly enough to be tolerated. I like the use of that low, rumbling sound during the basement chase scene because I think it added to the sense of dread. I just wasn’t sure if a slow version of Umagang kay Ganda by Image is the best song to end the movie with.
And that’s it!
I didn’t talk much about the characters because knowing them and their relationship is one of the things that YOU have to do to enjoy the film. That said, they all have their unique personalities that although you won’t root for them, you’ll at least breathe a sigh of relief when they dodge a figurative bullet.
It’s sad to see that the movie has a low viewership because I think it’s a quality film when you look past its minor hiccups. I’m thinking they could have released it closer to November when people are in the mood for spooks, but if you haven’t watched it, I suggest you go see it with a friend when you get the chance.
I’m giving it a score of 8.5/10.
And if you already watched it, what do you think of Bloody Crayons? Let me know in the comments below!
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