By Christopher Curry | April 22, 2005

A young unwed expectant mother is given an offer that she cannot turn down. She only has to act as the wife of an aristocrat and upon delivery of “his” child she inherits a great deal of money. It’s obvious that she is in no position financially or otherwise to turn it down and so she agrees. Peter Null, acting as the husband, takes his new “wife” Katrina to the family manor located in the middle of “no-where’s-ville.”

Things are certainly strange at the sprawling mid-western estate and our heroine, while strapped for cash, is no dummy and notices odd goings-ons almost immediately. Her pretend sister-in-law is housed out back in a rancid and dilapidated shack and the mother insists that Katrina drink large amounts of wine as she herself sits at the dining room table huffing and wheezing constantly from an oxygen tank. Make-believe hubby becomes increasingly more and more peculiar in his behavior and so we’re off to weird-world from here on out.

Poor Katrina has found herself in a house of hell, and this hell is headed up by a family of Aswangs. The Aswang is a Filipino vampire-like creature that feeds exclusively on the unborn. Not only are its dietary needs quite different from the vampires of yore but it also does not possess the obligatory fangs; rather an incredibly long and slithering tongue. This tongue can easily find its way into the folds of a pregnant woman’s vagina to dine upon her fetus. The unflinching display of this unusual activity is nothing shy of disgusting if not altogether disorienting. Not only does Katrina have this s**t to deal with but also her chainsaw wielding sister-in-law who makes no qualms whatsoever about trying to cut her brother’s new bride to ribbons.

Is there a happy ending for Katrina? Afraid not as “Aswang” wallows in very few of horror’s tried and tested cliche’s. The film’s conclusion is a dark and depressing one. Even if Sally Hardesty did slip into catatonia she still got away from Leatherface, but Katrina has no such luck here and her child is born somehow hosting the god-forsaken Aswang gene.

“Aswang” is one of the most unique movies to come down the pike in some time, though it does harbor shades of “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Evil Dead.” That aside it is completely loaded to the teeth with nerve-wracking suspense, an atmosphere of sheer dread, stomach turning gore and just a dash of black humor. “Aswang” is a very effective and nightmarish film that deserves far more attention than it has garnered over the past 11 years.

Mondo Macabro offers up some really nice extras including; A making-of documentary, two separate audio commentary tracks, theatrical trailers, audition tapes, fund raising promo reel, lost scenes and a gallery of rare stills and posters.

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