Cinemalaya review: Coleen Garcia shows range in 'Kaluskos'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Aug 14 2022 08:18 AM

Coleen Garcia in 'Kaluskos'
Coleen Garcia in 'Kaluskos'

Rebekah (Coleen Garcia) was very busy in her corporate career, while her husband Jay (Karl Medina) stayed home to take care of their daughter Amaya (Queenzy Calma). When their marriage broke down, Jay went to live with his mistress Azel (Cara Gonzales) as he and Rebekah battled for custody over Amaya. To complicate things further, Rebekah was offered a promotion to work in Norway. 

Amaya was not particularly close to her mother, and this made her difficult for Rebekah to handle at home and in school. Amaya was fond of wearing a strange mask with a beak and constantly whined about wanting to stay with her dad. One night, after Rebekah tucked Amaya to sleep in bed, she saw yet another Amaya under the bed, who said she was hiding from monsters. 

From the very beginning, there was a prominently ominous theme about water -- a boat, pouring rain, a bathtub -- but these did not actually lead anywhere. The plot of the film did not have anything even remotely to do with water at all -- no boat sank, no one drowned. Therefore, all of these scenes were only there to establish an atmosphere of dread, nothing more. 

There were scenes where a character was able to do incredible feats of strength, like single-handedly carry a wooden bed frame up from the cellar, break the fall of an overweight child who stumbled off a roof or stuff a dead adult body into an upright drum. These details, while probably minor, can distract from the vision and logic of the film as a whole. 

On the other hand, there were also scenes which were beautifully-executed by director Roman Perez Jr. One such scene is that where there were two Amayas seen simultaneously at one time, a most startling and critical scene that set the plot in motion. The library scene where Jay was trying to appeal to Rebekah's better senses was well-written as it was well-shot, the best scene for Karl Medina here. 

I wished that this mother-child story did not have to end in yet another Grand Guignol blood bath as was the frequent ending of several Vivamax films. In my opinion, there was an earlier scene of Rebekah and Amaya happily cuddling together for the first time that could've already been a perfect ending. The decision could've been to favor a more gentle, subtle ending, but then again the flashier, gorier option won. 

Like it or hate it, this film proves that Coleen Garcia is a good actress and she can carry a whole film on her shoulders. The role of Rebekah was practically a one-woman show for her to showcase her whole range of dramatic chops. This could even have been a best actress vehicle if she did not need to go all over-the-top running around wearing bloody lingerie at the climax. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."