AlapaapFilipino horror trash that was apparently marketed as a porno flick in its native land—a designation that isn’t entirely off the mark given the copious sex scenes and trashy overall vibe.  In other words, CLOUDS (ALAPAAP) offers very little, although its final twenty minutes are memorably delirious.

It begins with Jake, a filmmaker, recuperating from an accident.  In a desperate quest for excitement he and his filmmaker pals Dave and Donald head off on a jungle trip, together with their respective girlfriends Christine and Betsy, with the aim of making a film.

They rent a run-down house in the wilderness whose owner, one Mr. Longed, informs them that his late daughter, who was killed after being sexually abused two months earlier, previously lived in the house.  Her ghost is apparently still residing therein, as becomes apparent that night when Betsy is possessed by the spirit of the dead girl and seduces Jake.  Donald spies the chicanery and becomes enraged, but is distracted by a sentient wooden idol that appears to be monitoring his movements.

More weirdness occurs the following day, when Jake is again seduced by the dead woman, who takes flesh and blood form amid a scenic outdoor waterfall.  Donald and Dave catch Jake in the act and use the opportunity to shoot a verite porn loop.

That night the ghost possesses Christine, in which form she repeatedly slaps Dave.  A bit later Donald and Dave elect to show Jake the film they shot earlier, only to find that the woman with whom Jake was canoodling isn’t visible onscreen.

The ghost woman appears once again, this time to her father, to whom she reveals what’s driving her: a desire for revenge against the assholes who killed her.  What she doesn’t seem to realize is that her chosen targets—Jake, Dave and Donald—are not the ones who did the deed!

Director Tata Esteban ensures we’re aware of what decade this film emerges from in the opening minutes, taken up with a ridiculous eighties-centric music video with clips from the film interspaced with a really bad pop tune, crooned by a Father Guido Sarducci lookalike.  The eighties vibe is furthered by the horrendous synthesizer music that plays throughout.

In keeping with the title, there’s a great deal of fog dispersed throughout the film.  Furthermore, it’s all extremely lugubriously paced, with inconsistent sound design—a problem exacerbated by the English dubbing, which is as distractingly inept as any I’ve seen/heard.  The sex scenes, for those who care, are of the softcore variety, and appeared to have been heavily abbreviated in the print I viewed.

Yet the filmmaking, for all that, isn’t entirely without flair, with some arrestingly odd camera angles and horror nerd in-jokes of the type one would expect from an American filmmaker (such as a shot of a character reading the Dennis Etchison novelization of THE FOG).  Then we have the utterly bonkers final twenty minutes, with a dog attack, a mirror that breaks and reforms itself, a self-writing typewriter, a face-melting hairdryer and an it’s-all-a-dream-but-not fade-out of the type that has become quite popular in Hollywood horror movies.  Unfortunately, those things are not enough to make for a worthwhile film!

Vital Statistics

CLOUDS (ALAPAAP)
Aces Films International/Oro Vista Motion Pictures/Rare Breed

Director: Tata Esteban
Screenplay: Rei Nicandro
Cinematography: Joe Tutanes
Editing: Abelardo Hulleza
Cast: William Martinez, Mark Gil, Michael De Mesa, Tanya Gomez, Eva Rose Palma, Isadora, Ed Villapol