Zombadings: Patayin sa Syokot si Remington is a Filipino independent film that has a silly premise bordering on the ridiculous, and hordes of gay characters in the front and center. It tackles social issues mixed with typical young romance, serves up laughs with every sequence and makes for a truly memorable comedy with a conscience.
Zombadings is the story of Remington (Mart Escudero), a boy who has a knack for mischief. His favorite targets are the homosexuals in their their town of Lucban, Quezon. He spares no one, and harasses members of the gay community to no end. One day, he meets a gay man (Roderick Paulate) at the cemetery and taunts him about his gender. The gay man curses him that when he grows up, he too will turn gay. Remington forgets about the incident until the week before his 21st birthday, when he is attacked by a weird man armed with a shaver. He wakes up in his bed to find himself shaved, and with a penchant for tighter clothes. A series of visits from the mysterious man heralds Remington’s gradual transformation into the thing he despises the most. To make matters worse, there is also a serial killer on the loose, victimizing members of the third sex, the case of which Remington’s mother, the police chief is trying to solve. As Remington tries to figure out how to get rid of the curse, zombies of the dead gays are summoned to take revenge on their killers. With the town in chaos, Remington, his buddy Jigs (whom he starts to have feelings for while in gay mode) and his other love interest (while in guy mode) Hannah Montano race to get Remington back to normal but this would call for a sacrifice from someone dear to his heart.
The movie was hilarious. Mart Escudero, a relatively young actor who was mostly relegated to supporting roles in the past, was a revelation in Zombadings as he effectively took on the role of the film’s lead character Remington, a bona fide homophobe who gradually transformed into a hip grinding, disco dancing, tight shirt wearing, navel bearing queer. This kid simply oozes charm. He was able to sell himself as a cute boy next door and also pull off his other persona as a man loving gay. Although his delivery of his dialogue in gay lingo was a tad stiff, it was still excusable because he was portaying someone who was new to the language.
The supporting characters also deserve praise, even the relative unknowns who were given bit parts. However, I felt that there were some unnecessary characters in the movie who were placed there to be funny but only served to kill the comedy. Technically, there were a lot of imperfections in the movie and some inconsistencies in the plot, but these could well be overlooked by the general outcome of the film.
What I loved about Zombadings was that despite having a farfetched premise, it had appeal as it reflected society. It subtly shifted the focus to the issues of the members of the third sex, how some people sometimes equate bring gay or having a gay family member as a curse, the struggles that gays have to face in order to gain acceptance, and the ridicule they endure from those who do not understand them. The movie does not lack for moral lessons as Remington realizes many things when he turned — how to accept people as they are, and how to have the courage to go for what he truly wanted. Family relationships are also given a great focus, especially towards the end of the movie.
Kudos to Zombading filmmakers Jade Castro, Raymond Lee and Michiko Yamamoto, who already earned accolades from their earlier works including the indie Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, and the dramatic masterpieces Tanging Yaman and Magnifico.
I really enjoyed seeing this film and judging by the other audience’s reactions, they did too. Zombadings was not a movie intended to make fun of the third sex although it was marketed as such. Rather, it used entertainment to promote the message of respect, tolerance and acceptance for all members of society, no matter what shape, color or gender.
Although I’m not sure if this will be entered in international competitions or will have international screening dates, I would highly recommend getting this on DVD.