Zombieland: Double Tap

What is the movie about? :: Years have passed after that incident which involved a case of mad cow disease mutating into mad person disease transforming people into zombies, an event which started in the United States of America, but spread to the whole world in a short amount of time. The virus had turned the nation into a wasteland, where people struggled to survive against the creatures while finding the supplies from here and there, as people used the names of places as their own nicknames, not being attached to anyone. But there were a few exceptions for that case too, as it was seen in the previous movie. Ten years have passed after Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Colombus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) had started living like a family while making their way through a zombie infested nation. The team have become experts in zombie hunting and finds their new home in the abandoned White House.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Colombus takes the idea of starting a new family very seriously, and proposes to Wichita with the Hope Diamond from Smithsonian Museum, an act which doesn’t go well with her, who is afraid of getting attached to him during the time of a zombie pandemic. She begins to value her freedom more when listening to the proposal. Meanwhile, Little Rock is not happy about Tallahassee playing too much of a father figure and considering her as a little girl, not allowing her to find a lover and start her own family. Wichita and Little Rock leave the place, after placing a note there. Tallahassee is not that unhappy about their decision to leave, but Colombus is devastated. One day, in a mall, they meet Madison (Zoey Deutch), a girl who survived the zombie apocalypse alone by hiding most of the time inside a freezer, having absolutely no contact with other humans or zombies for many years.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: Colombus manages to find a lover in Madison after the heart break, despite Tallahassee saying that the only reason the zombies spared her life was that she had no brain for them to eat. As Colombus and Madison spends the night together in Lincoln’s room in the White House, Wichita makes a return to find them together. She looks forward to finding Little Rock who had left with Berkeley (Avan Jogia), a pacifist and a hippie with lots of weed and a guitar which he keeps playing. The team of Tallahassee, Colombus, Wichita and Madison takes a minivan, and starts the journey searching for Little Rock and her newfound love interest. Madison finds the journey as her long awaited road trip, and during this travel, there would be more zombies to deal with, including more agile, powerful and durable super-zombies that takes multiple gunshots to kill, named T-800 after the machines of the Terminator franchise. Can they survive it all?

The defence of Zombieland: Double Tap :: There is enough fun in store here as zombie attacks lead to some fine action sequences, with a touch of humour. The funny side remains strong, and the new characters only add more here. The fans are going to consider this to be a very good sequel which goes on the same path as the first movie had chosen, and there is nothing much that deviates. The best of funny moments relate to Zoey Deutch, as the character leaves the best potential for the comic side, starting from the freezer and going for the zombie infested road trip. The zombie hunts are nicely done, we do have some family bonding going on here, as the group is even extended. In the end, movies on virus pandemics are of more interest these days due to the Corona virus, and it doesn’t matter what happens to the patients of this zombie virus as long as its in a fictional world of a movie.

The claws of flaw :: Zombieland: Double Tap doesn’t apply much of brains to the brain-eating zombie movie, but one has to say that it was rather expected. The first movie had explored the idea of zombie comedy and the premise really well, leading to not much being left for this particular sequel. Therefore, we only have a little bit of innovation, if that can be found after some searching done. Zombies are also losing their significance, and this movie needed more of the creature action – more attacks were to happen considering the fact that there are better and improved zombies in action here. The beginning part of the movie also seems to be forced, so that there can be a reason for them to keep running, that too after finding a fine home in White House. This is where Zombieland: Double Tap can make things better with another sequel, if there is one.

The performers of the soul :: Woody Harrelson leads the way here, with the funny moments as well as the action sequences naturally. Jesse Eisenberg follows the same here, as things don’t really change much for his character here. Emma Stone once again has that fine character which she performs with ease, and Abigail Breslin has let to do in comparison, thus having no trouble in doing the same. The movie also have some nice additions which can be taken over to the next sequel, and the best of them is undoubtedly, Zoey Deutch who handles the funny side so well that all her moments bring the best humour to be remembered. Rosario Dawson also makes a pretty good addition, even though her character is just another one expected to be there in a setting like this. Avan Jogia doesn’t add much, as any minor character could have done the job, or even a photo.

How it finishes :: This second movie in the franchise might not be as satisfying as the original Zombieland, but it is still a lot of fun, with the zombies, and the fact that the movie has kept all the original characters played by the same actors, along with adding some interesting characters makes things even better for the fans and admirers of that zombie comedy which even inspired a lot of people to watch the Bollywood zombie comedy, Go Goa Gone. With the end finally coming for the Resident Evil franchise, we have missed the zombie pandemic, and Zombieland is the answer to our need for the zombie virus. During the time of Corona virus, as it spread through the world, there is always room for another virus, especially for a zombie pandemic. After all, most of the nations all around the world are in lockdown even without the zombies. So, lets have more of such movies.

Release date: 18th October 2019
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Jesse Eisenberg, Zoey Deutch, Rosario Dawson, Avan Jogia, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Escape Room

What is the movie about? :: Six people from different background, unrelated and unknown to each other are given puzzle cubes which they are supposed to open. The names include Zoey Davis (Taylor Russell), a Physics student who is an expert in her subject, and can’t stop talking about it even when she is not at the college, much to the dismay of the fun loving room mate who rarely understands anything that she says related to science and technology. Another name on the list is Ben Miller (Logan Miller) who is responsible for replenishing the stock at a shop, someone who is an introvert and has almost zero friends. Meanwhile, Amanda Harper (Deborah Ann Woll) is an Iraq war veteran, traumatised from her experiences there, but a perfect lady soldier who thinks she can go through anything. Jason Walker (Jay Ellis) is a stock trader who spends his time thinking about how to please his clients and make money. Mike Nolan (Tyler Labine) is a poor truck driver who wishes to earn some quick money.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The last one in the group is someone who is a gamer mad about the idea of escape rooms. Danny Khan (Nik Dodani), a man of South Asian descent, has gone through such experiences before and is excited to be part of this particular escape room game, which would provide the winners with ten thousand dollars, an amount which none of the group members would leave behind. They go to a floor at the top of the building and await further instructions from the game master. When Ben tries to open the door, the door knob falls off, seemingly showing that the game had already begin. They start looking for clues to escape from there, but the discovery of one clue only leads to the heat in the room to rise, and now they have to escape the place before they are fried alive in the first challenge itself. But this won’t be the toughest of their challenges, as many more rooms are to come.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: Even though they manage to find an opening to escape that particular room, there would be tougher challenges awaiting, and some of these tasks would have connections to their past, something which would come to their own mind at regular intervals while going through the escape procedure. There is no doubt about the fact that Amanda Harper, as an Iraq war veteran, would have a troubled past to remember from her time in the Middle East, but the question remains about what kind of past other participants would be hiding. What might be the reason why these six people who are not related to each other, and with nothing to connect them were given the puzzle cubes? Is it a game which itself has a past which had all of them together at a point? Are there some elements which make sure that these people have what it takes to survive, whether the brains or the muscles?

The defence of Escape Room :: The movie makes a fine treat within the genre, as there are puzzled to be solved, and very personal problems to be taken care of. The movie is a psychological as well as action thriller, and it also has the elements of drama with the characters’ past catching up quite fast. It can also be considered to be a part of a type, strangers-in-a-room subgenre, where only the toughest and the smartest can survive. We have seen such a situation before in The Belko Experiment, and during the times of Corona lockdown, this movie will surely catch one’s attention. There are some interesting rooms designed here even though we would have wanted even better ones. There are some nice situations being brought here for the protagonists too. We will also have some twists around here too, even though not that many of them.

The claws of flaw :: If you had watched the trailer, you would be expecting more from the movie. It does reveal a little too much of the movie, and as this one is of short run-time, there is less number of rooms. The movie could have started earlier with the action because here it starts twenty minutes in the film. There was scope for one more room to be squeezed in here with the same run-time, and with a slight increase in the same, another one could have been there. This idea has been tried and tested a lot, and it could have had something special as we see it being repeated here, but the same is not done. There is also some predictability which comes into the picture in the final stages, and the movie just tells us the names of the characters who are to survive towards the final stages – the three characters of whom we have had a few minutes of introduction, which was rather unnecessary addition to an unnecessary revelation. The ending is also ordinary.

The performers of the soul :: There is another movie in 2017 released with the same name, and what seems to be keeping this flick better could be the performances, as setting, puzzles and characters of the 2017 seems to be better from the trailer. In the 2019 version here, the one actress who looked perfectly suited for the role was Deborah Ann Woll, who played the Iraq war veteran in a very convincing way throughout the movie. The next one to make an impression is Taylor Russell who plays the character who has the most screen space, and it comes off without any difficulty. Logan Miller is natural in a usual person kind of role, and Jay Ellis suits here like Will Smith does in most occasions. Tyler Labine and Nik Dodani are the lesser players here, as we don’t get to notice them much except for the latter coming up with a funny side which is cut short too soon.

How it finishes :: With the premise that it had, Escape Room is a movie which could have achieved something bigger, and maybe it can with the upcoming sequel. The movie has its moments with the rooms, and keeping the audience at the edge of the seats trying to figure out who all will go to the next level, and how they can figure out the puzzles and survive each stage. With six people facing circumstances beyond their control, there was always going be thrilling fun, and this movie is no exception here. I was wondering that during these times of Corona, you can create yourself an escape room with puzzles. After all, we are all under lockdown, and going out is nothing less than a terrible violation against our own countrymen. So, lets play a game or two, decode some puzzles, answer some riddles, and create our own escape rooms in the house.

Release date: 4th January 2019
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Adam Robitel
Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, Yorick van Wageningen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Forensic

What is the movie about? :: A little girl is separated from her elder sister at a dance school, and is later found murdered. Rithika Xavier IPS (Mamta Mohandas) is in charge of the case which had soon become a media sensation. Samuel John Kattookaran (Tovino Thomas) and Shikha Damodar (Reba Monica John), the forensic experts are asked to assist Rithika in the case. But Samuel also has a past with Rithika who was his elder brother Xavier John Kattookkaran’s (Saiju Kurup) wife until their divorce due to the loss of one of their daughters. Due to the same reason, Samuel and Rithika are not happy about working together in the case, but they manage to find out some important clues, as another child is murdered. They find out that this is the work of a serial killer who was linked to another series of murders known as the Burma Colony serial killings.

So, what happens with the events here? :: A retired police officer Abdul Wahab (Renji Panicker) who was dealing with Burma murders case, a child psychologist Jayakumar Menon (Prathap Pothan) and the two other police officers who are also in the case, Murali Mohankumar (Anwar Shereef) and Dano Mammen (Rony David) also become the key factors in moving forward in the investigation. But time is running out for them, as another child is kidnapped, and this time within a few minutes of her mother leaving her at a seat in the hospital, that too with so much of crowd and CCTV camers around. The cops figure out that it is not the usual serial killer, and the person couldn’t be alone. Someone working close to them might also be helping the killer. But time is running out, and the media has created enough panic among people – how long will it take to end this?

The defence of Forensic :: This movie releases at a time when a little girl had gone missing and her body was found in the nearby river, and this date of release being a strange co-incidence which adds to that feeling of fear and eerie. With twists and thrills maintained, and the suspense existing till the end unlike Anjaam Pathira which decided to make it a revenge movie too early as it showed the villain rather earlier, Forensic definitely holds strong. It takes the terror to the last moments, and has one psycho killer who could actually be called so, without a motive other than the murder which becomes the justification all by itself. There is a balance, and an order being followed here. For a movie which begins with a patricide, there is a fine foreshadowing of what is to follow, if the character shown in the opening scenes is going to be at the centre of attraction. The red herrings are given very well to improve the impact further.

The claws of flaw :: Even though the movie does hold advantage over Anjaam Pathira, the movie lacks similar moments of sudden shock, but the same can be seen running underneath the idea of the movie throughout, and coming to light more in the later stages with the psycho coming out of the darkness. But a better use of darkness and silence was required instead of focusing more on the blood and violent moments – it could have had some balance there. The final moments leading to revelation could have also been managed in a different way to create better impact. There are also some usual moments which were not needed in a serious movie of investigation like this. A few moments of the movie are also predictable, and a better treatment of its main characters like Memories did, would have also contributed here in a better way, but Forensic makes no such effort.

The performers of the soul :: After having two of the best movies of the year to his credit in the form of Virus and Uyare, Tovino Thomas does manage to begin this year in style, as 2020 has one thriller to follow the much appreciated Anjaam Pathira for him too. The character works for him well, as he plays a smart forensic expert who helps the police – it is the kind of role which doesn’t require him to bring anything special. There are some action scenes for him too, as he moves forward strongly with this character. Mamta Mohandas had only two movies to her credit last year, with a supporting role in 9 and playing the lady lead in Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel, both of them not crossing the border to create further impact among the audience. She makes a police officer with a troubled past with ease – the character works well on two levels.

Further performers of the soul :: Reba Monica John who made her debut in Jacobinte Swargarajyam had things going in her favour with the role in Bigil, but other than Paippin Chuvattile Pranayam, she remained mostly unnoticed by the Malayalam movie audience. Her supposed cameo in Mikhael had also gone unnoticed. She has a good role here, and the same doesn’t have any romantic side, and it is a positive thing in a movie like this. Saiju Kurup is paired with Mamta here, and it is to be noted that the two made their debuts as leading actors in the movie Mayookham. He has a rather usual role, which he does with ease, and the same can be said about Renji Panicker who is not stranger to his character in this movie too. Anwar Shereef and Rony David also come up with the roles of police officers, which they do well enough. The kids also play the roles nicely, especially the boy with long hair and the girl who plays the leading actress’ daughter.

How it finishes :: With the success of Anjaam Pathira, there was always going to be the need for more thrillers, and with movies like Anveshanam only becoming half-thrillers while going deep into melodrama, Forensic had become a necessity. Well, it can be said that Forensic scores over Anjaam Pathira when we compare the two – this movie is clear with each element, and shows how one events lead to the other. Forensic also has a clear psycho killer with the motive not being revenge from a long gone post. The movie also doesn’t rush through things like Anjaam Pathira – the terror in Forensic also feels more real, as murder itself becomes the motive, as it was said in the trailer. With a clear revenge motive like Anjaam Pathira did, such a feeling couldn’t have been achieved. The advantage has been clearly gained.

Release date: 28th February 2020
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Akhil Paul, Anas Khan
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Reba Monica John, Mamta Mohandas, Renji Panicker, Saiju Kurup, Prathap Pothan, Mohan Sharma, Rony David, Anwar Shereef, Srikanth Murali, Ramu, Dhanesh Anand, Anjali Nair, Devi Ajith, Anil Murali, Lukman, Giridhar, Rajesh Hebbar, Sadhika Venugopal, Thennal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.