A young woman enters into a bizarre contract with a reclusive family in this low-budget terror tale that gets big points for an original take on an old storyline.
The movie begins with Katrina getting dropped off for an appointment by her slacker boyfriend. She enters into a law office, where she subsequently signs away all rights (to a future child) to a guy named Null. The attorney is an ashen-faced snot whose poor coloring is no doubt related to his chain smoking. Katrina is obviously desperate and way too naive to realize these folks are not looking out for her best interests.
Cut to seven months later and Null is driving Katrina to his country estate. Turns out he owns the whole zip code but can’t claim it until he sires an heir. The good news is that Katrina isn’t smuggling a beach ball in her blouse, so Null is about to come into that money. The sheriff pulls them over for speeding but then apologizes for not recognizing Null. We learn that he has spent most of his life in the Philippines, so none of the locals could pick him out of a line up.
The Null home proves to be large, old and decidedly eerie. It is run by Null’s mom who, in turn, depends on Philippine housekeeper Cupid. There is a second house on the estate and it’s a creeped-out palace with a sagging porch. This is where they house Null’s loony sister and they warn Katrina to keep her distance.
Next up we get the obligatory welcome dinner. It is something out of the “Addams Family,” with huge hunks of ham being doled out by Cupid while everyone gazes at Katrina like she’s next on the menu. Null tries his best to be charming but he loses that veneer when a stranger enters onto the property. These guys are definitely hiding something and it doesn’t take long for the gloves to come off.
On her second night in the house, Katrina awakens to find an extremely long tongue creeping into her bed. She does not react by shrieking like a B-movie victim, however, and instead grabs a cutting implement and severs the tongue. This doesn’t please mother. Turns out, she is on the roof, with the rest of her monster tongue, and severing it has caused her some discomfort. She promptly falls off the top of the house but her enlarged food taster is now jammed in Katrina’s window sill and it leaves her dangling over the yard. That is, until her son comes along and frees her by cutting more of her tongue out. Huh?
Around now you will be wanting an explanation (or some strong painkillers) and you get one. This family is cursed. They are Aswang (pronounced “oz-wong”), a Philippine version of a vampire. They all rock mighty long tongues and feast on the life energy of unborn children.
Katrina realizes she isn’t their first victim but is determined to be their last one. She proves to be a tough customer but does she have what it takes to bring down a vampire dynasty? Well, there is plenty of hardware lying around, and before the film is over, you will see chainsaws, hammers and gardening implements used in ways that are strictly prohibited in their manuals.
This is an odd one, so it should come as no surprise that it hails from Wisconsin. The land of cheese and the Green Bay Packers has produced only a handful of horror flicks, but each one can be noted for its originality. This state may be known for its cows and beer, but it really shines when it comes to original horror flicks.
This film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it offended the snooty independent film honchos, before being delegated straight to video. Worth a look.
Best line: “I don’t need you. Alive.”
1994, rated R.