8. Anak Ng Dilim (1997)
Like many other locally distributed film industries around the world, the Philippines has an established tradition of blithely ripping off Hollywood product to satisfy their domestic audience. In the years prior to the worldwide spread of the internet and social media, very few of these xeroxes ever saw the light of day outside of the country that spawned them – but we live in a global village now.
That’s how we’ve come to hear about Anak Ng Dilim, also known as ‘Child Of Darkness’, Nick Lizaso’s sneaky 1997 rehash of Brian De Palma’s seminal 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie.
Lizaso isn’t just some Bowfinger-style chancer – he’s now a respected veteran of their TV and film industry, president of the Cultural Centre of the Philippines and chairman of their National Commission for Culture & Art, the Takeshi Kitano of his industry.
None of that bona fide talent and passion stopped him, a quarter of a century ago, from remaking, plot point by plot point, character by character, scene by scene, one of horror cinema’s most famous and critically acclaimed offerings, twenty-one years after its release.
You would think that so slavish a copy might result in a watchable movie, and fortunately on this occasion you’d be right. Anak Ng Dilim isn’t actually that bad, showcasing some excellent performances (soap star Gladys Reyes as Carrie-alike Adela is particularly good) and an astute eye for framing.
Where it falls down is turning Carrie from a tragedy with appalling consequences into a redemptive revenge fantasy with a happy ending. Everyone lives, and Adela gets a slow-motion rom com hug at the end. Urrgh.