It was a very bad time for farmers with their crops not thriving. People were desperate for food, even to the point of grabbing food scraps from dogs. Upon the coaxing of their friend Dadong (Epy Quizon), young couple Kichi (Nadine Lustre) and Tomi (Diego Loyzaga) agreed to spend some of their meager budget to buy a lottery ticket for a chance to win the big cash prize in order to get away from their pitiful state of impoverishment.
Kichi and Tomi's lone ticket won the big jackpot prize. They decide to hold off for one month before claiming the money they won. They gave Dadong a made-up reason and then left to live in another village run by a religious cult led by Manong the Elder (Raul Morit) and his shy wife Nori (Krissha Viaje). When Dadong eventually figured out that his two best friends had deceived him, he swore that he would get his share of the money he felt he deserved.
Winning a big windfall of money in a lottery is such a life-changing experience, it is bound to also be a bountiful well of drama for the people who win it and get rich overnight. While it could be very exciting to plan how one is going to spend the new-found cash, security becomes an inevitable concern as one becomes very paranoid about people around them who may all want to get a share of this unexpected treasure.
There had already been a classic local film, "Misteryo sa Tuwa" (1984) by Abbo Q. dela Cruz, which tackled moral and social issues surrounding the sudden gain of money. Instead of winning in a lottery, a family gained access to a bag of money which literally fell out of the sky in the form of an airplane crash in the mountains of Lucban, Quezon in the 1950s, and all hell broke loose among the unscrupulous politicians and military men stationed in that area.
Yam Laranas scaled down the concept of "Misteryo sa Tuwa" to concentrate more on intimate interpersonal relationships. With its over-the-top climax and bizarre ending, it showed how even just the mere prospect of money can pit even the best of friends against each other, and transform the kindest and most religious of people into monsters.
Lustre and Quizon can look forward to acting nominations for their impassioned performances.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."