In Focus: Bloody Crayons

After two (or more) years in development hell, Bloody Crayons has finally arrived. Based on a popular Wattpad series of the same name, the movie was previously under the helm of Quark Henares, with stars Julia Barretto, Khalil Ramos, Inigo Pascual, Joshua Garcia, Bailey May, and Ylona Garcia at one point attached. The iteration that reached our screens is directed by Topel Lee and serves as the follow-up project for love team Janella Salvador and Elmo Magalona.

Teens spend the weekend to shoot a video project on a private island, where they are killed off one by one once they begin to play a game of bloody crayons.

The major issues with its source material are its lousy writing, petty characters, and absurd plotting. So uncommitted is the original writer that he admitted to changing the villain midway through his series. He can’t even follow through with his whole gimmick of using crayons in every death scene.

What I appreciate about the film is that it improves on the original in all aspects. By reducing the cast count from 14 to nine, there was more time devoted to developing the characters and their relationship with each other, particularly Olivia and Eunice. It even invented an interesting and well-thought-out game that makes the crayons in the title much more plot-significant.

The cast is strong overall. Janella Salvador is rootable enough as the lead, but it’s Jane Oineza and Maris Racal who steal the show. Elmo Magalona seems to be the weakest link, and how he is awkwardly shot doesn’t do him any favors.

Bloody Crayons is an enjoyable teen film that has a couple of minor problems, such as falling for haunted house tropes and offering some blatantly obvious fan service (the undressing scene at the beach, anyone?). But its smart deviations more than made up for them.

Random Notes (SPOILERS BELOW)

  • Gerard (Empoy Marquez) seems to be a last-minute addition. He is barely in the movie and is given a quick passing. Empoy is gravely underutilized and miscast.
  • Good for Ronnie Alonte for receiving an “and” billing. To be fair, his character is actually the male lead, which makes me wonder who was supposed to play Eunice and Kiko in the original script – is it Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia?
  • There are some gratuitous shots here of all characters stripping down to swim. It’s not entirely necessary and seems like purely fan service.
  • There’s some queer subtext between Kenly and Justin, especially once the latter turns ballistic upon the former’s demise.
  • Give Jane Oineza more projects! She deserves it.

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