Alyx Ayn Arumpac assesses the Filipino government’s war on drugs, in this pivotal and terrifying examination of the impact on life in the region. When Rodrigo Duterte is voted in as the president of the Philippines, a series of events are set in motion which trigger violence in every social spectrum of the nation. Aswang follows a group of individuals – a journalist fighting corruption, a coroner inundated with work, a missionary comforting the bereaved, and a street kid with family in prison and friends who are unfortunate enough to be victims to the ongoing terror. 

Arumpac’s documentation of shocking moral bankruptcy and unparalleled violence is a vital film in a time in which Duterte’s regime still enjoys the support of its voters. Accompanied by the powerful imagery of the fear and terror afflicted on the nation’s poor, there is an intangible sense of death and poverty that plagues the marginalised, poor, and underprivileged. In the film’s use of different perspectives, we see how police and government employ fascist tactics against those that are powerless. Whilst Arumpac implores her audience to care beyond simply watching the film, there is an uneasy sense of powerlessness that transpires, as the same destructive government, police, and vigilante forces are rarely seen or held accountable. 

The title word ‘Aswang’ is used to describe a monster in Philippine folklore, and it is clear who the title references within the context of its events. This sense of folklore is perpetuated by constant reference to fear and lurking evil throughout.

A documentary that serves to inform the world of the horrors that have happened and are still taking place in a country with a complex political discourse, exposing the Philippine government as oppressive bureaucrat-capitalists. A compelling and necessary documentary that highlights the desperate inequality and state-operated oppression of the region. 



DIRECTOR: Alyx Ayn Arumpac

SYNOPSIS: Documenting the Philippine government’s war on drugs and the effect of this on the lives of the nation. Following a group of individuals, all at different ends of society, all fighting moral bankruptcy and violence.