Make no mistake about it. Topel Lee's Bloody Crayons is a bad movie.
It features characters who are more interesting when they're dying than when they're living, spending hours flirting or bickering. It is consistently illogical. Its effort to veil its brash anarchy with insincere slogans about the importance of friendship is at best, laughable.
However, it is also the type of bad movie that is so committed to all its ludicrous and absurd elements that it becomes so wildly entertaining.
Slasher movie checklist
Bloody Crayons predictably starts out with a group of students merrily making their way to an unkempt vacation house in the middle of a remote island to shoot a short film. Lee methodically ticks every item on the slasher movie checklist, routinely identifying the relationships of his characters and planting the seeds of possible discord.
Kiko (Elmo Magalona), the director, is secretly in love with Eunice (Janella Salvador), who has also caught the attention of newcomer John (Ronnie Alonte). Eunice is the best friend of Olivia (Jane Oineza), the owner of the vacation house and the ex-girlfriend of Kenly (Diego Loyzaga), who is now dating Marie (Sofia Andres). Yves (Justin Ybanez) was recently dumped by April (Maris Racal). Gerard (Empoy Marquez) plays the charming clown of the group.
The setup's admittedly a drag.
The film initially thrives on the teenage charms of its young cast, with Marquez sporadically throwing punchlines to add a slightly different flavor to all the trivial preening that most of the characters are busy with. Lee dutifully attempts to spice things up and tries to turn the teenage characters into the objectified stereotypes that the genre requires, hoping to strike that perfect balance of making them amiable enough to inspire a certain level of interest but also disposable enough to be killed off in the most unglamorous of ways.
The results are often hilarious. There's a failed sequence where the characters are one by one shown removing their clothes only to reveal either scrawny bodies or bikinis that are just too prude to arouse any sliver of eroticism. Clearly, Lee is trying to infuse brash sexuality into his cast of studio-managed stars just to evoke that requisite mix of lust and violence that the slasher genre subsists on but fails because of the limits of what is acceptable to maintain the squeaky clean image of his stars.
Barrage of nihilism
Nevertheless, it is when the conflicts come to fruition that Bloody Crayons becomes truly enjoyable.
There is great satisfaction in witnessing the characters abandon their jubilant natures to turn into either suspicious and murderous psychopaths or cornered victims. Lee stages the deaths skillfully. There is apt tension and thrill in all the chase sequences. There's even humor from the absurdity of the situation the characters have finally found themselves in, adding much-needed levity to the barrage of nihilism the film needs to indulge in.
This deliberate plunge towards darkness saves the film from just being a parade of trite and banal concerns of today's youth. In a way, and while it may be a stretch, Bloody Crayons, which started out as a lousy genre exercise that doesn't seem to be about anything, turns itself into an offensive critique on the current generation's preoccupation with shallowness.
There is a clear and palpable delight in exposing its characters, and by association, the actors and actresses portraying them, perishing because of their own folly and hollow obsessions. It's all so much fun.
Bloody Crayons is a film so bad, it's good.
Each of its many embarrassing missteps converge to come up with an experience that is never without any substantial pleasures. It could have worked better if it were more unhinged, if it were less prude in its display of its hormonally-charged characters, if it weren't beholden to the requirement of concluding with a facile moral. However, as it is, the film's more than just tolerable. It's actually engrossing. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.