Cinema One Originals 2012: Mariposa Sa Hawla ng Gabi movie review

Can you imagine this pretty lady with a sweet and gentle smile doing some action scenes? Holding up a shotgun or a knife? Punching or stabbing gangsters, goons and thugs? Think it over because she got it! One of the premiere actress in the country, Ms. Erich Gonzales showcased and flourished her tough, unyielding and striking side for her newest film Mariposa Sa Hawla ng Gabi.

An official entry to Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival 2012 by Strawdogs Studio Productions, Mariposa Sa Hawla ng Gabi is a film by Richard V. Somes. Just this last November 29, 2012 I went to the premiere night of the movie in Robinsons Galleria Movieworld to watch this one-of-a-kind film. The trailer impressed me. Nothing much was revealed about the film but it was said to be dark and deep. Just when curiosity strikes, I figured that this is a must-see. And of course, it has been so evident that Erich is my personal favorite so here is my movie review for Mariposa Sa Hawla ng Gabi:

Mariposa Sa Hawla Ng Gabi
Starring: Erich Gonzales as Maya
Alfred Vargas, Mark Gil, Joel Torre, Ma. Isabel Lopez, John Lapus, Dennis Padilla, Rez Cortez, Odette Khan, Vangie Labalan, Mon Confiado, Ermie Concepcion, Alex Vincent Medina, Levi Ignacio
directed by Richard Somes
*watch the full trailer:
Movie Synopsis:
Maya received a letter from a friend of her sister named Vivian asking her to come to Manila with an urgency of need. Vivian (Ma. Isabel Lopez) then revealed that Maya's sister named Mona is already dead. Maya couldn't believe her sister's death, by seeing her sister's lifeless body with a different looking, bloated face and peeling off, rotten skin of the body. Maya, being puzzled on Mona's death, pursued to do a fact-finding on how did her sister died. She meets Caloy (Alfred Vargas), her sister's ex-boyfriend. Caloy helps Maya in tracing the roots of it all. It was then discovered by Maya that Caloy was the one to blame, he was into gambling and for money, he rendered Mona as a collateral in loaning money. It turned out that Mona was sold to an underground illegal syndicate, led by Frankie (Mark Gil). A prostitute den is where Mona was held captive. Mona had escaped but failed to sustain life. Caloy and Maya fell into the dirty hands of the evil crooks. They were caught up helpless. Frankie is a crazy, psychopath immoral who aims to have all her women slaves undergo facial surgeries to pattern their looks to a portrait of a beautiful woman. How can Caloy and Maya end their suffering? Will they escape this insanely horrible ordeal? Will Maya ever claim justice for her sister's death?
The PROs:
•The film is really different! Edgy and aggressive. Dark and deep. Stinky and dirty. Disturbing and weird. The movie was so EFFECTIVE.
•The ambiance of locations on the film adds the creepy feel. They showcased the seemingly hidden parts of Manila. They exhibit the slums where 'illegal' things happen.
•I am holding a strong grip on the intense scenes that will give you the thrill. There were even moments where I am even almost closing my eyes or holding back a squeal.
•The gore and violence is a PRO to me. Many can't withstand seeing blood or killings but for me this movie just had the right mix of violence to be compared to Hollywood films like the SAW series.
•The seasoned actors in the movie had given out striking performances in this film. The movie's aim will not be well-delivered without the actors' impressive and remarkable portrayals. I would like to commend Alfred Vargas for an exceptional performance. I appreciated his brilliant act in this movie. Artistry was redefined by the casts of this film.
•Erich Gonzales is the perfect choice for the lead! Versatility was never an effort for her. Seeing Erich as Maya was moving. Watching her punching, fighting and stabbing the gangsters and even skinning a monitor lizard was priceless. Strong, kickass woman! Direk Richard said in a previous interview that no 'double' took her place in this movie. Erich Gonzales once again proved that she is a star without any doubt. She is EXTRAORDINARY.

The CONs:
•There were minor noticeably obvious camera tricks to cover up certain fails on the camera shots that I figured to be a con.
•There were also slight moments on the film that I found to be too noisy and uncontrolled.
•On the premiere night, there were some points on the movie where we encountered some technical difficulties that result to the movie being on mute, not sure if it is the movie or the cinema, but it's not a biggie.. thanks to the subtitles! :)
A big congratulations to Strawdogs and Direk Richard Somes for being brave and gutsy in making this film. This is the advantage of the indies, they are more concerned of the content and purpose than being commercially accepted. This movie has left me thinking about it after watching. It is mind-boggling, hair-raising and heart-stopping. A lot of people was asking if it is a horror film and I will answer it by a straight NO.. instead i would like to describe it as an intriguing dark PSYCHO-ACTION THRILLER. I must say that I loved the film, but some may not. Liking this movie is depending on how you can accept this kind of deep genre and how well do you appreciate the artistry behind it. For me, everyone behind this film deserves a clap! They pushed it off the limit and created something fresh, freakish and fascinating.
Direk Richard Somes said he chose Erich Gonzales as a lead star because "Erich Gonzales is not only an actress... She's a true artist!" and I agreed. In this movie, she is more than your typical leading lady in a teleserye or a movie doing drama and pa-kilig.. but she proved that she's also an ACTION STAR! Erich holds up to her craft and after watching the movie, I personally told direk Richard that Erich is the perfect choice for the role as I congratulated him and shook his hand after the screening. Erich has surpassed my expectations. I have been obviously supporting her, and apparently I already told her that I believe in her and her love for her craft, but after watching Mariposa Sa Hawla ng Gabi, I never thought that I will believe in her all over again! She is more than a charmer, she has pure talent.

Be fascinated, surprised and amazed by this striking film! Go and catch it's remaining scheduled screening for the Cinema One Originals Film Fest! Dec. 5 at 9:15 pm and Dec. 8 at 2:30 pm in Robinson's Galleria Movieworld. Don't miss the chance to be disturbed by this psycho-action thriller offering!

After the screening as I approached Erich to take her photos, I got speechless at first and all I was able to do initially was to clap in appreciation of her performance. She then said, "Naks naman". She was all stunning and vibrant as always. Then after a few shots I was able to utter: "Sobraaang galiiiing!" in front of her. And she replied: "Thank you Ms.Mighty Mau." And with that Ms. Erich Gonzales left a smile on my heart that night. (see more photos of the premiere night here: LINK)

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