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A Surprising '90s Movie Gem: Sa Aking Mga Kamay

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Written by ย ย 195
3 months ago

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you part of our film history and culture for our History Month. Never thought I'd be writing another local film review but here it is. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Wow. I finished watching this '90s film last night and I just love the details. All I can say is, Chin Chin Gutierrez was really an amazing actress. No doubt about it.

She became a nun after becoming an environmentalist since leaving the entertainment industry in 2010. Even so I still consider her as one of the best actresses ever. I was definitely blown away by her acting in this movie.

Don't worry I will not spoil it for you. Haha. Just read on and you will eventually know what it's about.

This 1996 movie was digitally remastered and restored in 2017. I wasn't able to watch it when it was first shown in theaters. Even when it was released in cinemas the 2nd time around, I also wasn't able to see it. ๐Ÿ˜… I am not a fan of any of them except perhaps Chin Chin.

Restored film still from iWantTFC.

You might be wondering, how did I find out about Sa Aking Mga Kamay? Well, last night I was looking for a movie to watch. Checked my social media profile and then went to a page. There I saw the remastered trailer of this film and wow it looked really clear and seemed amazing. Who knew we had such a gem of a movie back in the '90s huh? ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Too bad I wasn't into movies back then. And of course I was not even old enough to watch R rated films the first time it was released. Haha. So be warned as this is not for kids and immature minds, okay? Don't watch it if you're less than 17 or 18 yrs old.

Overall, I can't really compare it to any local movies in the '90s. I wasn't as patriotic then as I am now. Also I was living in the province and was too young to care about what was going on in our society. I can tell you more about comics and anime on TV than movies from that decade. ๐Ÿ˜

โ™ฆ Main Cast

The movie stars Aga Muhlach, Christopher De Leon and Chin Chin Gutierrez. One is known for being a beloved matinee idol, the other two are top caliber actors.

โ™ฆ The Trailer

Watch the old trailer version below and let me know what you think. Unfortunately for my international readers it's not in English but feel free to still watch it.

Just by seeing this, it showed me how explosive a movie it is. I was surprised by the level of acting on both trailers that's why I checked on where I could watch it. Good thing I saw someone's comment mentioning it can be watched on iWantTFC (for free).

After finally seeing the full movie, I'm happy to say it doesn't have the usual distracting English subtitle hardsubbed in recent Filipino films. Hahaha. I love it. The old version can be watched on that website. I prefer to watch movies that way, no hardsubs is the best!

Curious about the the remastered version trailer? Here you go:

The remastered full length film probably has an English subtitle. You can do an online search for the international version with the title 'In My Own Hands'. (Literal translation is In My Hands but just stick to the title they used.) Or watch it online for just P100 ($2). (This is not a sponsored post but please support legitimate streaming sites of Filipino movies.๐Ÿ˜)

I'd love to watch the restored version but I'm such a cheapskate that I wouldn't even spend money on it. ๐Ÿ˜… But I'm sure if I do watch the new one I will be able to see every detail and appreciate everything more than I do now.

Anyway it doesn't matter if I watched the original, old grainy version. I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

โ™ฆ Synopsis

On IMDb we can read this summary:

A handsome serial killer is on the loose, preying on unfaithful wives... and his next victim might just be the wife of the investigator of his case.

Joven (Christopher) is the NBI agent (local equivalent of the FBI), Camille (Chin Chin) is his wife and Gene (Aga) is the criminal.

โ™ฆ Review of Sa Aking Mga Kamay (In My Own Hands)

Movie Poster from IMDb.

โ—™ย  Characters and Story

Sa Aking Mga Kamay is a gem of a psychological thriller. The story is not your typical run of the mill Filipino movie. No wonder it is said it didn't become a blockbuster film back then. Such quality ones don't usually perform well in the box office around here. That's the sad thing, most people would rather watch foreign films than support or really create our own amazing ones. (Colonial mentality is waving. ๐Ÿ‘‹)

Anyway remember this was shown back in 1996. During those days there was no CSI or other such US crime TV series yet. That's why while watching it I was fascinated by how the film presented the crime scenes and investigations. They didn't go in depth but you know, it's still notable for me.

Because it's a local film it really hits where it should. It tackles infidelity/adultery, abuse and childhood trauma. There is enough back story so viewers can even relate and possibly pity the bad guy. The story has depth and is quite complex enough to make you hang on to every scene.

To me, what makes it amazing is the details. Even if we already know the plot, we won't know how everything happened unless we watch it. Knowing how the criminal got to Camille and what happened next makes it worthwhile to see. It shows how twisted and sinister someone can be.

A few scenes even gave me some Die Hard and The Shining feels at some point. Oh boy what a ride. ๐Ÿ‘ Felt like I was watching a horror movie sometimes. ๐Ÿ˜†

I'm not familiar with director Rory Quintos' work but I think he did a good job with this one. I love how most of it was executed. It evens shows sensitivity to the mental health of children. Plus points for that! ๐Ÿ‘

From what I know of our movies and TV shows, this is clearly unlike those shown in those days. Well maybe even up to now.

It still has elements of the typical Filipino film centered on family and relationships but it's deeper than that. It's not cheesy, corny or melodramatic at all. ๐Ÿ‘ The movie has that "in your face" thing going on. I like how we see human error blown up in style. It's not as gritty as On The Job (the best action/crime flick we have so far) but it is still worth watching.

The characters are definitely well developed and relatable. What else can we expect from Mr. Ricky Lee, one of the best screenwriters in the country. He is one of the three who wrote the script but the story is credited to another director/writer: Olivia M. Lamasan.

โ—™ย  Acting

Aga Muhlach was perfect as a pretty boy serial killer but the dramatic acting chops really isn't his forte. I wasn't expecting much from him anyway. He was pretty scary as a bad guy though, I'll give him that. Working with top caliber actors looked like it surely inspired him to act better.

Of course the movie has it's flaws. The love/sex scenes are kinda funny at some point plus the matinee idol acting is really not my cup of tea. To be fair, he does have the charm and seduction part down pat.

I know it's not easy to act that's why I really commend character actors. They're amazing, can't praise Chin Chin Gutierrez enough. Haha. I expected nothing less from her. She is just the best among the rest. If I can give her an award she will get a hundred! ๐Ÿ˜

I hope she didn't experience PTSD while making the movie. I mean the things her character went through. Oh my gosh. Being victimized by a murderer is no laughing matter. And then having to deal with the husband later on... Oh how stressful.

Christopher de Leon also showed what he's made of. Having already won several best actor awards at the time, I was not surprised at how natural he acted.

Except for the mentioned flaws, the acting is never over the top or half baked. Particularly notable was when things were heating up towards the end. Oh boy, the fight scenes, the action and suspense. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Whew!

โ—™ย  Cinematography, Production Design and Music

Love how they edited the intro scenes. It was cut to cut (cross-cut) and full of action! ๐Ÿ˜ The movie doesn't have any computer graphics or special effects at all but I like how they used lighting to express the serial killer's thoughts. So yeah also be warned, if you have light sensitivity you might not enjoy some of the scenes.

Another thing I like was the use of a seemingly big old house plus the darkness or the play with light and shadows. The setting is just brilliant. Oh my I love the visual contrasts. It made the movie such a thriller indeed. Haha.

Movie still from IMDb

They also used symbolic things like the Cattleya flower. The set pieces are just tight you know. Everything in the movie is really integral to the story.

As for the music, I don't really have anything against it. Sound effects were just fine to me too.

โ™ฆ Rating

Now we come to the conclusion, how would I rate this '90s flick?:

  • Characters & Story: 10

  • Acting: 9

  • Cinematography, Production Design & Music: 8

Overall rating: 9/10

I'd definitely watch the remastered version soon. Pretty sure it's worth it. How about you? Have you already seen this movie? What do you think of it?

* * *

Lead image is from iWantTFC website. Movie stills/screenshots from the trailer unless otherwise noted.

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Comments

Because of this, manonood na tuloy ako. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Salamat sa recommendation!

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Haha enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜„

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3 months ago

I haven't seen this one but those are interesting characters. This is better than what movies we know have these days. No other interesting story just who is cheating who. Wala na ba talagang maisip na ibang concept? Tas aangal sila na walang tumatangkilik hayst.

$ 0.01
3 months ago

Hahaha true. That's why I was surprised that this is a very good movie. ๐Ÿ˜†

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3 months ago

It is just like a killer story of enemy who kills a lady in start of trailer. Yeah! Old movies look liked not able to watch in modern era. But I love to like these version also. HD is best option to enjoy the movie but Old is always Gold. Philpines have good history in movies.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Hehe yeah he's a serial killer. Watching in HD is great indeed. We have many good movies but only several are great imho. :)

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3 months ago

Yan yun kita mo tlga yun takot n chin2, taz c aga pala yun serial killer parang d nia bagay pero nagampanan nia ng maayos

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Kaya nga, galing galing tlga ni Chin Chin. hehe.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

miminsan ko lang talaga makita si Aga maging kontrabida..

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Exactly hahaha.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

You've done a great movie review. I only watched a Filipino movie once on Netflix. But it didn't leave any good impression on me because I don't remember anything about it. This one looks interesting. I take note to look for it.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Oh alright. Hehe. Hope you like it if you get to watch one with an English sub. Thanks!

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3 months ago

I saw the film way back in the 1990s. Lol

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Ay isa ka pala sa mga nakapanood nyan dati. Hehehe.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Oo. Haha. Grabe. Tagal na yan.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Hahaha ayos. Ako nito ko lng napanood haha.

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3 months ago

Napaghahalataan na edad namin no. Haha

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Ehehee, now we know. :)

$ 0.00
3 months ago

High school pa lang naman ako nung nirelease movie na yun. Kung hindi HS, late grade school.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

napanuod ko na to eh, nakakainis si aga dito amp AHAHAH si mama kasi mahilig manuod ng mga old filipino movies kaya nakakapanuod din ako haha

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Ahaha ok. Fan ka ba ni Aga? Hehe. Buti n lng di ako fan hahaha.

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3 months ago

Halaaa, ang poging killer naman nyan. Pero mukhang maganda, mga ganitong genre favorite ko sa Kdrama at Anime ee. Kaso guilty ako di talaga ako mahilig sa Pilipino Movies huehue. Napanood ko sin Thriller kaso diko natapos aguy. Pero balikan ko to bukas. Thanks sa pag share UwU

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3 months ago

Kaya nga di mo aakalain killer pala. Whew. Hahaha. Ok lang di rin ako madalas manood ng Pinoy movies. Karamihan naman yata sa atin ganyan haha.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Napanood ko to dati, na stress ako. Nakakainis si Aga dito, na kalimutan ko nga na nagagwapuhan ako sa kanya sa Inis ko.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Hahaha, ganun tlga. Pero ok naman kahit ganyan role nya. Maiba lang kahit minsan haha.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Kung bata bata pa si Aga pwede siya sa mga Die Hard at speed na films eh

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3 months ago

Hahaha true.

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3 months ago

The actress' name sounds familiar. Pero never ko pa napanood yung movie. I will have to check that one๐Ÿ’–

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3 months ago

Yes sikat din naman siya before. Hehe. Hope you enjoy it too if mapanood m.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

I didn't know Chin Chin Gutierrez but I heard her name several times before po. And about Aga Muhlach and Christopher De Leon acting I must say that they are really good actors of their age. Hopefully some other movie viewers appreciate Pinoy movies because it is also a great one and worth watching for.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Yes she was a very good actress. Magaling tlga. :) Mabuti nga at may mga nare-restore na quality movies. Hehe. Nalalaman natin mga di natin napanood noon.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Opo mahilig din po ako manood ng mga old movies kase kasama ko po yung lolo at lola ko sa bahay eh lagi luma po ang pinapanood nila kaya nadadamay na rin po ako sa panonood.

$ 0.00
3 months ago

Wow ang saya naman manood pag ganyan. Hehe.

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3 months ago

Opo grabe tapos maraming times po na action ang pinapanood nila si FPJ po or Fernando Poe Jr. Idol po kase ng lolo ko yun.

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3 months ago

Ayun pala. Hehehe.

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3 months ago

Just heard of this movie. Got curious on how Aga Muhlach gave justice on his role as the serial killer. First to see him being the "bad guy" in a movie. Also. given his gentle voice? I am really curious on this one.

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3 months ago

I know right? Hahaha, I also didn't know he had this kind of film. Good thing it is a quality one.

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3 months ago

Good thing you bumped on it.. I'll check it out this weekend

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3 months ago

Orayt. Hope you enjoy watching it too.

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3 months ago

I am not that really patriotic when it comes to local films (shame on me). I only watch local films depending on my mood although I can say that some Pinoy films are good and can be watched international. I have not heard of the this movie I may try watching this on my rest day. Thanks for sharing.

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3 months ago

I know right? But I still watch our local films just to know if there's any improvement or if there are any good ones. Hehe. Hope you enjoy this one. :)

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3 months ago