Abomination (2015): Brilliant Mystery Thriller (Review)

Abomination

Co-written and directed by Yam Laranas (who also worked as DP) Abomination holds the viewer’s interest from start to finish. Classed as a mystery thriller this latest offering from the man who gave us The Echo is the cinematic version of a “page turner.” Quite literally, the film is an addictive treat that one feels compelled to stick with to its very surprising end.

The story follows young Rachel Rivera, a troubled teen with a number of mental issues. She feels responsible for putting her father in a coma and is on medication  meant to help her control her emotions.

Rachel, it seems, has trouble separating truth from fiction. She also has an anger management problem. The film starts with Rivera covered in blood and in a state of confusion.

The mystery starts immediately and the story keeps the audience on its toes as the young teenager struggles to make contact with her family. She is taken to hospital and when the well-meaning nurse calls Rachel’s mother, the woman hangs up.

Throughout the film the audience is taken back to Rachel’s recent past. The girl relives various traumatic and upsetting memories and we are privy to her pain and confusion.

Filmed in the Philippines, Abomination features English dialogue and has not, apparently, been dubbed. This adds a lot to the proceedings and each actor manages to knock it out of the park despite the odd awkward speech pattern.

Tippy Dos Santos is spot on as the heroine of the piece. As Rachel she manages to convey both sides of this troubled character almost effortlessly. To Santos’ credit we never see the wheels turning behind her performance.

Toni Moynihan play’s Rachel’s mum Vicki with a mixture of tired resignation and helpless anger at the situation she finds herself in. Justine Peña, as Mindy, makes the most of a smaller role and, like Santos, convinces as the confused best friend.

David Bianco, as Dan, makes a splendid rotter and the audience applauds when this roofie toting miscreant gets his comeuppance.

Laranas manages to shift the gears of the film almost seamlessly. There are a number of revelations, some more traumatic than others, that continue to surprise the audience.

Abomination has been put together very well. As one attempts to piece together events that have shaped Rachel’s recent past and present, each occurrence dovetails perfectly with the O. Henry ending.

Yam Laranas is a master storyteller. (He shares writing credits with Gin De Mesa, Oscar Fogelström and Paolo Vacirca – the latter two for the screenplay.) In this project he manages to infuse the film with what feels like a supernatural slant.

Yam does not disappoint with his latest effort. His protagonist is a character we root for from the very first frame. The twists and turns of her story captivate as much as they mystify.

Rachel works so hard to learn the truth of who she is and how she came to die that we empathize completely with her plight. When at last the mystery is solved the audience is shocked.

Abomination is a solid 5 star film. It keeps the viewer guessing right up until the reveal and at 90 minutes never drags. Tippy Dos Santos makes the most of her role and gives the audience a heroine that is easy to root for.