Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Vampire Owl: Have you read The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I had read that novel as a part of writing an assignment during my English Language and Literature post graduation.

Vampire Owl: What would adding some fire to the title mean?

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this has any relation with it. This one is actually French. This is not Korean or Chinese for a change. Let this burn bright!

Vampire Owl: So, the portrait is not really the portrait that one might be led to believe it is. I would still choose a Polaroid camera instead.

Vampire Bat: It was about a young woman who inhered a large amount of money, and becoming prey to some scheming.

Vampire Owl: I have heard about the author, but most of the people I know haven’t.

Vampire Bat: Well, he hasn’t been writing the kind of works, the vampires have been reading, and so its natural not to know.

Vampire Owl: So, you are now choosing French.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have been going further international these days.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: The story is set at some time period during the end of the late eighteenth century. Marianne (Noemie Merlant) is a young painter who takes painting classes to her eager students. As she makes them paint her portrait, one of her students asks her about a special painting from her, which Marianne used to call Portrait de la jeune fille en feu. It takes us back to the origins of that particular painting, and the same has a close relationship with Marianne’s past and her emotional side. Once upon a time, Marianne was called to an isolated island in Brittany in the west of France, to paint a portrait of a young woman named Heloise (Adele Haenel) by her mother The Countess (Valeria Golino). Marianne struggles to reach there, as she herself, and the canvas falls into the sea on her way.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There, she meets Sophie (Luana Bajrami), a beautiful young girl who works as the servant to the Countess and her daughter. They become good friends, and comes to know that Heloise was at the convent, and was forced to come back to marry a wealthy Italian nobeleman because her sister had died, supposed to have jumped off a cliff. Now, this portrait is to be sent to that possible husband of Heloise as soon as possible. The Countess says that her daughter was not ready to pose in front of any painter, and so Marianne will have to pretend that she was someone who had come to accompany her during her walks, to get rid of her boredom. It seemed to be the only way for her, and Marianne started being friends with Heloise who arrived there. She also started observing Heloise enough to paint her in parts. But there will be more than just a painting that we will be having here.

The defence of Portrait of a Lady on Fire :: There is some beautiful serenity that runs through this movie and its silence which serves more than anything else, as the main actresses really make a lovely impact with their expressions and body language itself, getting us immersed into this tale set in the late eighteenth century Brittany. The setting is incredibly beautiful, making you wish to make a visit, and one wonders where this particular island stands in history. This environment created as part of this movie is a charming one, but it is also a very simple one – it is not that usually colourful world from a grand historical past as we usually see in historical drama, action or thriller movies. We go through the eyes of an artist who is not just a painter, but someone with intimate feelings which she seems to have gained in connection to her work on the canvas – it reflects there as much as it shows up in her soul.

The claws of flaw :: Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a very slow movie, as you might have expected it from the talks about it, and also by what you have further read about the same. The movie also has some moments which are not utilized the best, especially related to the artistic work, the painting. The focus could have been more on that painting, and the artists feelings should have been above the person’s intimacy. There is also a lot of time taken in the beginning, and in between, which is felt more because of the movie’s slow pace. There could have also been some more characters to provide support, and this movie’s viewpoints are rather limited when you look at it. There is a lot of silence and a good number of dialogues, but there is less happening for the people who are looking for that as the thing which defines a movie – after all, this is close to being what you call the award movie in this part of the world. Two hours were not needed for this movie for sure.

Performers of the soul :: Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a movie nominated for Golden Palm, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival, where it lost to the Korean Oscar Winner, Parasite, and so you know that this one had to score in its performances more than anything else. It has to be noted that all the main characters in this movie are female, and you see some men for that amount of time which can be better counted using seconds rather than minutes. The movie is that much dependent on its female characters, especially the two main ladies, with more to be added from a third young character, and a little more from the much older character who plays the mother. I haven’t watched many French movies, but Noemie Merlant is the one lovely actress who has come up with a perfect performance here which cannot be matched. She has been very expressive, and very much enchanting as the painter, closely followed by Adele Haenel who manages almost the same. Luana Bajrami, the next important character is done well, and Valeria Golino is there for less time, and does fine.

How it finishes :: The movie is not to be confused with The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, as the title only has the addition of fire in the end, which might have been enough to prove its point. But people are more or less attracted into feeling that this is the same thing, and only the fact that this is not a British or American movie making them feel that this is something else. But the movie is not a lesser classic when you look at it, as it feels like an old-fashioned throughout its run. It is a slow-moving thing of charm, which makes sure that the moments are there to stay. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is more or less a feeling set in that historical period, and it has that delicate beauty with the realistic touch which is to stay for the beauty of tranquility, and not for what we usually remember a movie for. Portrait of a Lady on Fire takes you through the different, classic path.

Release date: 18th September 2019
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Celine Sciamma
Starring: Noemie Merlant, Adele Haenel, Luana Bajrami, Valeria Golino

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Abigail

***This Russian movie is officially the 600th movie review on this website, and it is not the post number, which is much higher. This count does not include the posts with television series reviews, yearly round-ups, introductions, movie previews and genre or language based ranking lists. Thanks to everyone who supported me with likes, shares, comments, follows or just randomly spreading the word.

Vampire Owl: I am going to choose this as the name for the next vampire child.

Vampire Bat: You have started naming vampire children?

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is a new business which I have started.

Vampire Bat: You mean that you have started a new business, hoping for more of new vampire children.

Vampire Owl: I had to start a new business. Everything else was dull due to the Corona Virus which the humans are spreading.

Vampire Bat: You can watch this fantasy adventure movie with magic to have more names.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I could have named even that virus. Corona is such a weak name. COVID is even weaker.

Vampire Bat: I would suggest not to use the names which will come first in the school register. The children will curse the one who named them.

Vampire Owl: I would name them with an Z in the beginning.

Vampire Bat: The names are to be liked by the parents too. Do remember that.

[Gets a green apple cake and three cups of special tea].

What is the movie about? :: Abigail Foster (Tinatin Dalakishvili) lives in a town which is supposed to have had an epidemic spreading, and was sealed by the government. Her father Jonathan Foster (Eddie Marsan) was one of the people who were supposed to have fallen ill, and had a chance to infect many others, leading to him being taken away at a time when Abigail was only six years old. As Abigail grows up, and has some time with the local children, she is forced to face one of the officers who were dealing with the disease control programmes, landing her in trouble. The nation calls for complete obedience during the time of the pandemic, and so any action which can possibly lead to the spread of diseases wouldn’t be tolerated. This perfect subordination is supposed to be the one thing that can stop the epidemic from becoming something which would cause the deaths of many thousands of people.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Abigail understands that one of the masked officers is Roy (Petar Zekavitsa), her uncle who had disappeared on the same night when her father was taken by the authorities. Going against the authorities to find her father, Abigail learns that her city is actually place full of magic, and the authorities are trying to stop the people with magical abilities to share it with others or to display it in public. There was no epidemic other than magic which they wanted to cure. She also discovers that there are some special magical abilities in herself, and along with the search, she also has to keep herself safe from the officials who will hunt her down too. But there might be more secrets to be unveiled than she could handle. Can Abigail come out strong from this adventure in which she faces more and more hurdles? Will someone be ready to help her, going against the authorities who wish to suppress all magic?

The defence of Abigail :: The special effects score the highest in this movie, successfully recreating a world of magic, even better than most of the much acclaimed movies – the movie is a visual stunner, and let nobody tell you otherwise as it would be a lie. The action sequences are mostly supported by magic, which gives a fantastic feeling on the screen. The music also nice to hear, and they seems to have used special care in the use of background music according to the circumstances. It also adds to providing strength to that steampunk feeling which was already attempted through the visuals – yes, you have to love the world in display here, whether it is real or magic. After all, such a world provides the needed escapism, as everything comes together in the end, as it leads to one grand battle which you can remember and recollect. The escapist fantasy might be what prevents you from thinking too much, and getting immersed into its created universe.

The claws of flaw :: Abigail doesn’t know how to progress through the story, as it keeps falling down from the heights which it climbs. Even with a grand beginning, there is no real effort to keep it rising. Some of the dialogues feel strange, and not suiting the movie and its mood in any way. Some of them are exactly opposite of what a situation would demand. A certain problem with the dubbing might be the case here leading to the mess. They could have surely made this better with all the resources which they had, and such a fine start which was there. The confusion in the story can be seen at different places, and the focus does shift too often. By the time everything comes together in the end, some people might have lost interest, unless they were immersed in this escapism. Maybe many years later, there can be a reboot which solves the problems of this movie, or even a sequel or a prequel which explores this particular world really well.

Performers of the soul :: Abigail doesn’t thrive on its performances much, and it uses the visuals to hide any flaw out there, not just with this, but also the other elements which are all inferior to the visuals and special effects of the flick. The protagonist is played by Tinatin Dalakishvili who is okay for most of the time, and she does have her moments, but also gets some terrible lines in the movie, which is rather disappointing, whichever way we look at it, because we do see talent in her, and she never gets to use it here. At the same time, Eddie Marsan is perfect as the father figure, whenever he is there. Gleb Bochkov as Bale doesn’t impress much, while Ravshana Kurkova manages to do well enough as Stella, but she is side-lined, which is rather disappointing. Overall, the cast struggles to stay around the average level, and even though there is a rise on occasions, there is also the fall, which can be felt more in this movie.

How it finishes :: Abigail is a movie which is rather unknown around here, and as a Russian movie, I don’t think it managed to get a dubbed or subtitled release at this part of the world – even I am heard about this film for the first time rather too late. It is a movie which had a grand idea behind it, and with the support of the fantastic visuals and lovely music, could have brought an epic on the screen, but as of now, it has managed to be a pretty good work – not the best which you will find, but one of the interesting fantasy movies with a steampunk setting, and magic all around. This is also the second Russian movie which I have watched after the 1925 Soviet silent film Battleship Potemkin directed by Sergei Eisenstein, the great pioneer in the theory as well as practice of montage. Watch Abigail, and wander through another world of magic, which you have known in the other grand worlds of fantasy – forget the negative reviews, and see how much this world can take you in, and have you interested.

Release date: 23rd August 2019
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Aleksandr Boguslavsky
Starring: Tinatin Dalakishvili, Gleb Bochkov, Rinal Mukhametov, Artyom Tkachenko, Ravshana Kurkova, Ksenia Kutepova, Olivier Siou, Cecile Plage, Nikita Tarasov, Petar Zekavitsa, Nikita Dyuvbanov

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Metamorphosis

Vampire Owl: Do you know that some of the vampires in our group are having a great metamorphosis these days?

Vampire Bat: Vampires are having metamorphosis nowadays? I thought that it was more or less of a werewolf thing.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it used to be. Only the zombies and witches had a small share of the same in the recent past.

Vampire Bat: So, vampires are becoming more or less similar to those people.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but our metamorphosis is rather different in comparison. We metamorphose into something greater, or rather magnificent.

Vampire Bat: Aren’t we magnificent creatures already?

Vampire Owl: Magnificence is no longed counter in the same terms. We are using a new unit to measure it.

Vampire Bat: But, a metamorphosis now is not something that we can afford.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but Doctor Frankenstein has discovered a different method which is cheaper and of a better quality.

Vampire Bat: Mr. Frankenstein! I know that there was someone like him behind all these happenings in the castle.

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with an attempted exorcism on a young girl who is tied to the bed inside her room. In the beginning, things seem to go on without much of a trouble, and the demon seems to be a weak entity, listening to all the prayers in Korean and Latin, not taking over the girl’s actions or words. But all of a sudden, it turns violent, leading the girl’s mother to come in, making the priest lose his control over the incantations as well as the demon, which takes the girl to the window, making her suicide. But before commiting suicide, the girl and the mother of the girl, both mocks the priest, and tells him that they are as old as God, and the Supreme Power has forsaken him, all these being the will of the Almighty. The priest who is originally named Joong-Soo (Sung-Woo Bae) decides to leave priesthood after being blamed for the girl’s death, but the diocese and his superiors do not approve of it.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As Joong-Soo who has struggled to keep the memories of the demons away, his brother and family moves into a new home in the countryside. Gang-goo (Dong-il Sung), his wife Myung-joo (Young-nam Jang) and the children, Sun-woo (Hye-Jun Kim), Hyun-joo (Yi-Hyun Cho) and Woo-jong (Kang-Hoon Kim) have a bigger home at the countryside with a lot of space both inside and outside, but things do not go as expected in the new place, as there is there is something strange going on there. The problem start with their neighbours itself, and there seems to be something weird going on with the person who is staying at the place too. There is undoubtedly a demon out there who is taking possessing people and taking the shape of humans. The family only has one person to turn to now, but if that person can do the exorcism or not is something that is to be seen.

The defence of Metamorphosis :: Being a movie about demons and exorcisms, it does have that, even though there is a certain shortage for sure. The power of exorcism is shown in the beginning as well as the end, and there is some fine display of creepiness with the neighbour’s house and the talk of the demons. It has blood nicely used, and having the evil entity more powerful than everything has more to be lost in this flick. Well, this time, the demons go personal, and it has more powers than one can imagine, making the idea of defeating it rather difficult and complex, especially with a failed exorcist trying to do the same. The scares are there, but there are limitations considering the fact that not many things scare people these days. The demons don’t have the belief in them coming from people in the modern world, but the movie does manage to rise above it, thanks to the visuals and the performances.

The claws of flaw :: It seems that the Korean film industry is trying a little too hard to find its perfect exorcist movie, just like the zombie movie was found in Train to Busan – the signs can be seen in this movie, where it struggles at times to keep it as what the flick was supposed to be. When you have a shape-shifting demon in your pocket, you are supposed to make more out of it, especially with the scares regarding who is who, and more like who is the demon and who is not. It was that demon who could have had its origin stories and had the strength to keep the whole thing creepy throughout its presence, but that is not done here. The movie also doesn’t use the protagonist’s guilt that much, and comes up that creepy scene in the shower, another one over the bed and another one in the dining room, all of them needing a boost to rise above the usual. Yes, cliches are going to be found here, and repetitions too.

Peformers of the soul :: Metamorphosis, as many other horror movies, has to depend on its demons and exorcists more than anything else. With the demons, it remains safe as usual, as they never stops doing what they were to do in a world of horror and demonic presence. Sung-Woo Bae plays the priest and the exorcist, and we see that he makes a fine priest in the movie, working through the terror very well. Dong-il Sung plays the father figure really well, with the concerns over his daughter worked nicely. Young-nam Jang plays the mother, and that is also done well enough. Among the children, Hye-Jun Kim stands out, as she plays the responsible elder sister, and she also gets to be part of more of the exorcism – she is the believer and the one with most faith than anyone else. Yi-Hyun Cho plays the younger sister who is not the kind of person who is happy with the family, and that also works out well. The rest of the cast adds on well too.

How it finishes :: Another interesting movie about demonic possession comes into the picture with Metamorphosis, and it is something which you can depend on, because it mostly follows the usual pattern, but is not without some divergence here and there. It can be considered as that kind of a movie which stays close to Hollywood flicks like The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun, Insidious and The Vatican Tapes, but still manages to bring something which the regular English movie won’t dare to bring, unless it is something like It Follows, Lights Out, Don’t Breathe or The Autopsy of Jane Doe – the movie which could show full divergence. Metamorphosis is the kind of movie which can at least give the usual horror movie with demonic possession horror, even if you don’t like the deviations brought about here, and so the movie makes a safe title to watch among the rest. But you are most probably going to find it to be something more, depending on your taste.

Release date: 21st August 2019
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Hong-seon Kim
Starring: Sung-Woo Bae, Dong-il Sung, Young-nam Jang, Hye-Jun Kim, Yi-Hyun Cho, Kang-Hoon Kim, Se-hee Kim, Jeon Mi Do, Kwi-seon Kim, Dae-han Ji

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

First Love

Vampire Owl: This is quite an interesting title for the first Japanese movie that we are going to watch. More power to Asian movies after Korean and Chinese.

Vampire Bat: That would actually be Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood.

Vampire Owl: What was that one all about?

Vampire Bat: It has the grand tale of William Shakespeare’s great tragedy, Macbeth, shining bright in a different form here.

Vampire Owl: So, we have had another adaptation of Macbeth. This should connect to the Japanese setting, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it moves from Medieval Scotland to feudal Japan, and becomes a special classic in itself.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that there were some great Japanese movies during those times.

Vampire Bat: Yes, you know that Akira Kurosawa is considered to be one of the biggest names in world cinema.

Vampire Owl: I remember reading about that quite well.

Vampire Bat: Let us get back to this movie which won’t be the first Japanese film I watched, but it will surely be the first Japanese flick to be revealed on this site. Take that Polaroid camera too, let’s take some photos.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Leo Katsuragi (Masataka Kubota) works at a popular Chinese restaurant in Kabukicho suburb of Tokyo city, which happens to be an entertainment and red-light district in Japan’s busy prefecture. Abandoned as a child, and with nobody to care for, he lives his life all for himself, while participating in local fights as a boxer – supposed to be one of the best young rising boxers and the future of Japan’s boxing talents. But that changes after losing a match, getting knocked down by a weaker punch from a comparatively weaker opponent, much to the dismay of himself and his supporters among the crowd. As Leo visited the hospital, he is told by the doctor there that he has an advanced tumor in her head, and even a treatment might not lead to recovery, making him sure that he is going to die soon enough. With nobody to take care of him, and no hope for future, he just wanders around the city, abusing the fortune-teller who predicts for him a very long life, and no more loneliness.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The city has many groups of transnational organized crime syndicates going strong, and the most powerful of them is yakuza, a mafia-like criminal organization. A corrupt police officer Otomo (Nao Omori) and a yakuza member Kase (Shota Sometani) has a special plan to outsmart the gangsters as well as the police. It is into this plan that a young girl Yuri (Sakurako Konishi) enters. She is sold in prostitution to pay her father’s heavy debts by the call girl name of Monica, and is trapped by a yakuza named Yasu (Takahiro Miura) and his girlfriend Julie (Rebecca Eri Rabone) The two intended to make use of the beautiful young girl for adding further profit to their drug business, making Yuri herself a drug addict. One day, when Otomo is going through his plan, making Yuri also a part of it, she runs away from him hallucinating, and is saved by Leo who knocks him out with a punch. This leads to a butterfly effect which changes everything – the question remains about who all will survive now!

The defence of First Love :: Even though doubts were there in the beginning, First Love is not just focusing on the crime action thrills, as it chooses for fine performances mostly from its protagonists, and then from the rest of the cast. When it is into action, it is furious, but in a believable way, and there are heads rolling for sure. There is no overdose of action though, with flying bodies like in some of those dumb Bollywood movies from the past, and maybe even present. Those were the movies when common men suddenly became super-powered Avenger-kind of people, but here, they have the fights going more realistic, and there is a limit set to the violence too, and that comes as a surprise considering the kind of theme this movie is dealing with. It also leaves some some positive messages with the tale of the two main characters finding hope and life – there is also some fine feel-good factor coming into the play in the end, at it is indeed a lovely ending for a movie which seemed so dark, but not without some humour.

The claws of flaw :: If you are expecting full blood and gore in this movie considering how it began with the gangsters, you are not going to get that. First Love also takes some time to get into its action, and does need time to become interesting. The inciting incident comes a little late for a movie like this. There are some animated sequences, which though do look good, but adds nothing to the movie which should have continued its usual style. You are also going to find a few things being repeated here, which is quite natural for this genre. There can also be a problem with identifying the characters in the beginning, because there are too many of them, and they are all coming and talking about one thing and the other – after all, most of us are people who got not much of an information about these criminal groups and gangsters. The gangs like triads and yakuza are not known to most of our audience in this part of the world, and took me quite some time to figure things out in the early stages of the movie.

Performers of the soul :: The performances start here with Masataka Kubota who plays the young boxer in a very much believable manner, as he moves from solitude to finding someone he could help before he might die. We can see the change in him, and there is no superhuman fights being done by him, as everything stays within the perfect limits. Sakurako Konishi, from her first appearance also becomes the bright spot of the movie, as she also undergoes an evolution which is bigger than that of the main hero. It is her coming-of-age story, the bildungsroman that changes her from the hopeless drug addict and prostitute which she has been since childhood, and we see the smile out of happiness for the first time inside Tokyo metro, and that is the sign of the change which is to come, which she does in a brilliant way. Rebecca Eri Rabone a.k.a. Becky is the other female actress who scores high, as she also gets her dose of action. Nao Omori and Shota Sometani are two others who are more into action nicely. The other actors are usual, and does their jobs naturally in the crime thriller made out of action sequences.

How it finishes :: There is plenty of action going on in First Love, and there will be blood and gore even though not to that very high level – do not be fooled by the name of the movie, because except for some slight, indirect romance which is always there, this has nothing to do with love, except for maybe love for fellow humans as said in the religious texts. Along with all the action and thrilling moments, the movie also provides that message, not to live just for you as a selfish human being and to use the skills for helping others, thus finding meaning and hope in life, not just for you, but also for those people whose lives will undergo some fine changes with your help. The whole thing remains stylish and cool, with the viewers having a very satisfying experience, as the movie never really steps back in its quality since the action gets incited. First Love is one Japanese movie which you can add to your list of foreign regional flicks that need to be watched.

Release date: 17th May 2019
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Takashi Miike
Starring: Masataka Kubota, Sakurako Konishi, Rebecca Eri Rabone, Maimi Yajima, Nao Omori, Shota Sometani, Takahiro Miura, Mami Fujioka, Yen Cheng-kuo, Duan Chun-hao, Masayuki Deai, Jun Murakami, Kenichi Takitoh, Bengal, Sansei Shiomi, Seiyo Uchino

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Divine Fury

Vampire Owl: We are certainly not used to watching Korean movies.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but we make exceptions with some of those films

Vampire Owl: I think that the last two Korean movies reviewed around here were The Wailing and Train to Busan.

Vampire Bat: They were the only two movies of that particular language which were reviewed here. The other big movies were Chinese.

Vampire Owl: Yes, The Mermaid and The Monkey King 2. I remember them. There were two short-films too, I guess.

Vampire Bat: After that, the total number of movies watched itself was decreased, and there was no chance for Korean and Chinese films.

Vampire Owl: Well, we are back here watching them though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is always more movies to watch, except at the theatres during the time of Corona Virus.

Vampire Owl: That time too will pass, and we will be back to watching the latest movies at the theatres.

Vampire Bat: I shall display no doubt regarding that statement, so that I can hold on to some more optimism at the time of crisis.

[Gets a pineapple cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: Yong-hoo (Park Seo-joon) is a martial-arts champion who keeps winning all his fights as if he is seeking revenge for the death of his father, who was murdered while doing his duty as a police officer in the city, and his mother who had died even earlier. He feels that God didn’t listen to his prayer when he was a child, and left him an orphan, and the wrath which he possessed from the same feeling helped him to become the fighting champion he ended up to be. But one day, he has an injury on his hands, which he shows at the hospital, but after a number of days, it only gets worse with the doctor confirming that it is not an infection, and he should show it at a bigger hospital in the city. Finally, he decides to meet a new shaman, a blind young girl who has a connection with the spirit world. The girl finds out that there is something evil about him, and refers him to the priest at a local church.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There he meets Father Ahn (Ahn Sung-ki) who is performing an exorcism, and with his wound, he is able to help him. The priest reveals that it is stigmata, the bodily wounds which were imposed on Jesus Christ while he was undergoing crucifixion. He also added that it would appear only on those people who have strong faith. It surprises him though, as he has never known faith after his father died. But, as time passes, he gets involved in what the priest has been doing, including getting rid of the demons, as there is nobody else who is willing to help him in the dangerous exorcisms. He slowly and steadily begins to regain his faith in God, but there is a bigger evil in existence in the city, and soon enough, they need to find it. When they exorcise a demon from a young girl Soo-jin (Park Ji-hyun), the priest comes to know about it. Can they do it early enough, or will darkness envelope the city? What would be the key to defeating the demons they don’t know much about?

The defence of The Divine Fury :: There is something about The Divine Fury that you will find different, or rather many things, as you approach it as a horror movie, but that is only one side of it, while having your journey through the film. The movie basically blends many things, including action sequences, mystery, thrilling moments and others of emotional bonding. The emotional side to the movie also remains strong between all these action and horror. The movie has a run-time just a few minutes more than two hours, and we get through that quickly, as there is no slowing down the action here, for the demonic presence is always there. The final action sequence somewhat reminds one of Constantine, even though not that much well done, and there are some nice punches and kicks being landed in the end. The final shot of moving hands from the well is really creepy, and so are the exorcisms which are well done, especially that of the young girl and the kid.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t really begin so well, and it gets interesting with the first exorcism which the protagonist partially witnesses. There are many other approaches which this movie could have taken too, but it often chooses the easy way, especially with some parts giving the impression that we have watched all of these before. People might think that there is a little bit of too much speech about God and faith going on right through it, but it is a necessary part of the movie. The final action scene could have been made somewhat like the John Wick fights between the lights, and the demon in the end could have also been scarier. We could have also used more exorcisms, and the philosophical dialogues could have been quickly done with. The villain could have actually had a better background and backstory too.

Performers of the soul :: Park Seo-joon plays the main character, and he has some interesting movie titles under his name. We can witness the changes that come across him clearly, as we see the journey shown nicely. Ahn Sung-ki as Father Ahn also makes a perfect priest, and his dialogues about almost everything catches our attention – there are words of wisdom from him which we might miss, if we are not careful enough. From the first moment he is seen in the exorcism scene, we know that he would be the right priest. The two also share some funny moments too, even though the seriousness of the situations stay as it is. Woo Do-hwan doesn’t really fall behind much either. It has to be noted that the movie has managed to have some fine performances from the supporting cast, especially those who plays the possessed, starting from the young girl played by Park Ji-hyun. You have to look out for them every time.

How it finishes :: The Divine Fury is the movie that deals with exorcism and the demons in a very different way compared to what we have seen in many different movies, from The Conjuring, The Nun and Annabelle series or the good old Insidious franchise. There is also the hope for a sequel known as The Green Exorcist. I will surely be looking forward to it, as this is the kind of movie which Hollywood will find difficult to make, and the Korean movie industry has nicely made one movie which could stand apart, even though not without its flaws. Do not get fooled by the comparatively smaller rating given to it when we consider some other popular Korean movies, because this one is not a pretender, and it goes through things directly. If you want to watch a good action horror movie with martial arts and exorcism running through it along with some philosophy, do watch this one.

Release date: 31st July 2019
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Kim Joo-hwan
Starring: Park Seo-joon, Ahn Sung-ki, Woo Do-hwan, Park Ji-hyun, Jung Ji-hoon, Sim Hee-seop, Seo Jeong-yeon, Jo Eun-hyung, Kim Seon-min, Jung Eui-soon, Kim Bum-soo, Lee Chan-yoo

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Polaroid

Vampire Owl: I have heard about this case of a vampiric camera.

Vampire Bat: There is no such thing as a camera for vampires. We don’t even appear on the mirror unless we take the necessary measures.

Vampire Owl: I have heard about this camera which kills people.

Vampire Bat: It could be a werewolf thing. They are the ones who are really interested in cameras, posing for photos all the time.

Vampire Owl: What about the zombies?

Vampire Bat: They haven’t really invented the camera yet. The zombie lands are just trying to come out of the stone age.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that they won’t be able to do that any time soon.

Vampire Bat: Stone age actually suits them, but surely the camera won’t.

Vampire Owl: So, what are your thoughts on a camera which kills the people whose photos are taken on it?

Vampire Bat: It is a good way to kill those people you don’t like, I would say.

[Gets a paneer dosa and three glasses of mixed fruit juice].

What is the movie about? :: Sarah Dawson (Madelaine Petsch) and her friend finds a polaroid camera among the items left her mother, the former takes a gorgeous photo of her friend to show to her boyfriend, but the friend finds a shadow standing at her back, and is hunted by a mysterious entity which keeps coming for her at night, and it finally twists her neck and kills her. Much later, the same camera is found by Tyler Drew (Davi Santos) who gives it to Bird Fitcher (Kathryn Prescott), a shy teenager whom he has a crush on, and also lets her take his photo to test it. Bird, who goes home, decides to go on a party with her best friend Kasey Walters (Samantha Logan) who gives her a Little Red Riding Hood costume to attend the programme which is hosted by Avery Bishop (Katie Stevens), one of the much adored girls of the school. On the way, Bird sees a shadow behind Tyler in the photo, which she considers to a problem with the print.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the party, she takes the photo of Avery and Kasey, along with some other friends including Mina Rodriguez (Priscilla Quintana), Mina’s boyfriend Devin Lane (Keenan Tracey), and her own high school crush Connor Bell (Tyler Young), offering a better quality printed photo in an instant which they can keep instead of getting lost among the thousands of photographs on a random mobile phone. After the party, Bird is informed by Sheriff Thomas Pembroke (Mitch Pileggi) that Tyler was killed inside the antique shop where she was also working. During the same night, when everyone else had left, Avery is killed by the same entity which murdered Tyler, and Bird who finds the shadow no longer in his photo, but in the party pictures, gets tensed, and tries to destroy the camera, but fails. Nobody seems to feel the need to believe her. Now, she has to find a way to save them all, but will she have them in time before everyone gets killed one after the other?

The defence of Polaroid :: There is not much that Polaroid doesn’t try to do, as it is sure that the focus has to be on the camera, and it establishes the same in the beginning stages itself, starting the killing spree, just a few minutes into the movie. The idea here is really good, and there are moments when the movie seems to be struggling, and then it comes up with something more. It manages to put some twists and turns in there, related to the antagonist, and the incidents which had happened before this ghost came into the scene. The visuals are good, and the surroundings are nicely chosen – the darkness is used well, and so are the sound effects. The evil spirit is nicely established as the one thing which cannot be stopped, early itself, as trying to destroy the camera and the photos taken on it won’t work. With a short run-time less than one and half hours, the movie handles everything directly and without confusion.

The claws of flaw :: With a camera at the centre of everything, like the tape in The Ring movie franchise, this one could have achieved more. After all, those who get their photo taken by the camera dies, and there is a serial killer past behind it – such a case is certainly worth more. It does leave the feeling that we have seen all these before, on many different occasions. Also, even after getting a pretty good cast to work with, they are not used that well. If it was another movie which had such a young talent, a more dramatic tale might have came into existence. Even when there is a party, there is nothing much happening there, except for a photo being taken here. It has an antique shop, just to take a photo, and to kill a person. Some of the deaths also happen without much of an innovation, as a person gets chased, and just gets killed, failing to impress.

Performers of the soul :: Kathryn Prescott surely is a talented actress, as it is her who manages to lead well throughout this movie. She does looks younger than her age, and so she suits the role well – her expressions also make it work better. Madelaine Petsch is limited to a small role in the beginning, even though we were given the feeling that she was the one who was to play a major role here – she is limited to that introduction to the polaroid camera programme. Tyler Young and Samantha Logan who plays the next supporting role manage to come up with an okay job. The other friends played by Katie Stevens, Priscilla Quintana and Keenan Tracey are just there to fill up the list of people to be killed by the camera because of being a part of photographs. In a movie like this, it seems that it is death that defines these next line of friends.

How it finishes :: Polaroid could have had you scared about taking photos, but it doesn’t rise to that much of a scary level – still, it is worth watching for some fine moments which are there, and the innovation does come into picture at times. If you are looking for another movie to watch for lock-down, this one is there. It is not the kind of movie which will appeal to all horror lovers, as we have been bombarded with multiple sequels and spin-offs of The Conjuring with movies like Annabelle and The Nun coming up with some more demons and spirits. Polaroid can also provide you with a spirit with a past, and you can watch it to add another one to the list. You are sure to enjoy it in parts, and the last few moments are quite good – therefore, it is fine to wait for the same. It is not a movie watch by many, and so, you can’t go with the critical opinions with just very few reviews.

Release date: 17th September 2019
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Lars Klevberg
Starring: Kathryn Prescott, Grace Zabriskie, Samantha Logan, Katie Stevens, Madelaine Petsch, Priscilla Quintana, Tyler Young, Javier Botet, Davi Santos, Keenan Tracey, Mitch Pileggi

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Brightburn

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Superman is originally an evil entity from space?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I know that aliens are mostly bad, and this one also had to be evil.

Vampire Owl: Well, this movie seems to establish him as pure evil.

Vampire Bat: The movie of the usual alien invasion is to conquer or destroy Earth, and so we cannot be surprised about it.

Vampire Owl: I used to wonder how evil an alien can be. Can they be more evil than humans?

Vampire Bat: Why not? It is exactly why there are no vampire aliens. They are incapable of bringing the balance like the Earthlings.

Vampire Owl: I think that some aliens are immortal, like those myths.

Vampire Bat: They exhibit fake immortality, and will die soon enough.

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the portal which Doctor Frankenstein opened, so that we could cross over to the other planets and galaxies.

Vampire Bat: Yes, silly humans are still using those outdated spaceships. They will never learn, even after the lock-down. Let them walk through some tall grass to have sense.

[Gets a masala dosa and three glasses of mango juice].

What is the movie about? :: Tori Breyer (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman) do not have a child, and they are hoping for one, or at least adopt someone. It is then that the house shakes and they see a spaceship crashlanding in their yard. They find a child in the spaceship, and adopts him as their own son, without letting anyone else know. They hide the spaceship, locking it down in the barn so that nobody including the child finds it, letting this to be their own secret to keep for life. The couple just tells others that they had adopted a child, and everyone including the family and people of the small town of Brightburn accept him as their own. Everything goes smoothly for years, but it changes for a twelve year old Brandon Breyer (Jackson A Dunn) who are no longer the same, innocent child as he used to be – he is no longer the beloved son who loves his parents and obeys them, as he is called by the spaceship.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The spaceship which is locked inside a door within the barn keeps calling for him, and sends signals to him. Soon, he ends up finding his superhuman strength as he ends up throwing the lawnmower a long time away, while trying to start it, and finds his superhuman endurance as the motorized blades of the machine destroyed are by his hands which are not affected at all. His classmate Caitlyn Connor (Emmie Hunter) is the only who remains somewhat friendly to him, as everyone in the class and the whole school despised him due to his show of over-intelligence. But when he tries to enter her house at night, it causes a rift which leads to him breaking her hand, and also leading to Tori telling him the truth. This causes him to develop his next superpower, heat vision, and understands the message of the spaceship loud and clear while understanding the fact that he is special unlike the weaklings around him. Now, what will he do?

The defence of Brightburn:: There are some good scenes of horror in this movie, and the idea that Superman can be evil, always gets to scare us – especially when there is no Kryptonite to exploit his weakness. It uses some jump scares and there is that feeling of fear which is always there, as we are having an alien entity which cannot be stopped by anything that humans have. The idea of an evil child always works well enough, and we have inherent evil here, which is not of this world, but from another planet, from a far away galaxy. The child here becomes pure evil after the call of the spaceship, and there is not stopping this danger which is horrifyingly real. The superhero genre has its other dimensions here, and sets up for a sequel with what would have happened if Superman was really a threat in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, or how he was after he woke up from death as a different person.

The claws of flaw :: There is too much of blood and gore associated with Brightburn, and one often thinks if it was what required the focus around here. The focus should have been on the main character, the alien child’s character development, but the same is not there, as we see him change to become the slave of the spaceship, listening to all which is murmured to him. Even though the development of his superpowers can be seen, there is not much of a development in him as a person. There is that predictability which runs through the movie all the time. We know what is to happen next with this so called alien child from outer space, and in showing the same, the flick uses brutality the most, and depends on it rather than anything else, as if it is a certain kind of weakness it possesses. Within its short run-time, it shows very less of everything else.

Performers of the soul :: Jackson A Dunn plays the alien child, and he seems to be pretty good at it – the evil look comes to him well, and it will be interesting to see how he can work in a possible sequel, as this movie doesn’t explore his character that much expect for the being that evil alien child. Elizabeth Banks stays at the core of this movie, and she plays the lady with an extra dose of motherly love, which prevents her from understanding what kind of an evil demon her son was becoming. Even after so many years, she is someone whom we can always trust as long as horror movies are concerned – well, she was also there in The Hunger Games and its sequels and most of you do know her. David Denman is also pretty good as the husband and father. Emmie Hunter who plays the girl at school is also to be noted, as she has that Eva Mendez look, and does a good job.

How it finishes :: The idea of the alien who became the savior of Earth ending up bringing another idea that he became the exact opposite, is something worth thinking about. It is an interesting concept with the ant-superman super-villain finding his superpowers and using them against humanity, which has no defence against him at all. There are no superheroes, and only one terrifying villain who has not even grown up yet. The ending of this movie has enough to set up a sequel, and as of now, the movie works pretty well with its idea to set things for whatever is to come next. There is enough in this movie to keep the audience interested, as violent horror gets a thumbs up. Just like Corona virus these days, you know that evil always finds a way, and this alien creature does find the evil within, and maybe it is an advanced form of inherent evil in the child.

Release date: 24th May 2019
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: David Yarovesky
Starring: Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A Dunn, Matt Jones, Meredith Hagner, Emmie Hunter, Jennifer Holland, Christian Finlayson, Abraham Clinkscales, Becky Wahlstrom, Anne Humphrey, Steve Agee, Gregory Alan Williams, Stephen Blackehart

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

In the Tall Grass

Vampire Owl: How tall can the grass around the castle get?

Vampire Bat: They surely can’t be taller than us, because we have to use those fields for daily exercise, sports and other activities.

Vampire Owl: The grass in this movie surely looks scary even for vampires.

Vampire Bat: It is based on Stephen King and his son Joe Hill’s 2012 novella with the same name, and so it had to be scary.

Vampire Owl: I didn’t know that Stephen King’s son was also writing horror stories.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and there are film adaptations based on his works, like The Horns which had Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple in the lead.

Vampire Owl: That is something not well known, I am sure.

Vampire Bat: The television series NOS4A2 is also based on his novel of the same name, and is pronounced Nosferatu.

Vampire Owl: So, he is also a master of horror, only of a later and new generation.

Vampire Bat: Yes, his original name is Joseph Hillstrom King, and his brother Owen Philip King and mother Tabitha King are also authors.

[Gets a ghee roast and three glasses of grape juice].

What is the movie about? :: Becky DeMuth (Laysla De Oliveira) is a young lady, six months pregnant, who seemed to be becoming a mother before he was prepared for it, and due to the same reason, the child’s father Travis McKean (Harrison Gilbertson) is no longer with her, leading her to think about not having this baby or leaving the baby behind after giving birth. Her brother Cal DeMuth (Avery Whitted) is in charge of driving the car all the way to San Diego so that she can live with her aunt there, and with Travis gone, he considers himself to be the protector of his sister and her child. Traveling through an empty road, they stop at an empty space near what seemed to be an abandoned old church. Some other vehicles were also parked nearby, but there was nobody around. It is then that they hear the voice of a child from the field nearby, which has very tall grass, and they also hear the child’s mother calling.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The two gets concerned, and enters the grass field, and begins searching for the mother and child. The sound seems to close, but they are not able to get to the father and child, despite moving quickly towards them. In the process, Becky and Cal are also separated from each other. There is no network connection in the mobile phone, and they are not able to find each other despite being able to hear the voices. In the process, they meet the members of a family who are all trapped in here. The boy whose voice they had heard is Tobin Humboldt (Will Buie Jr) who had entered the grass field chasing his dog, and his father Ross Humboldt (Patrick Wilson) and mother Natalie Humboldt (Rachel Wilson) had also entered the space following him. Now, the family is separated just like the brother and sister. It seems that there is no way out, or is there at least a slight chance?

The defence of In the Tall Grass :: The movie scores the best with its visuals. With the tall grass, and a mysterious rock in the open area which seems to be the middle of the grass field. This open space with the rock is as grand a visual as the tall grass which seems to have no end. There are separate feelings provided during the day and night, and we look back to a past which modernity cannot understand – something which goes to time before American colonization and the earlier tribes settling down, as the modern world looks at its people in confusion. There are those minutes in the beginning which serves the best to bring the terror, as the two siblings jump once to see each other close, and then with the next jump, they are nowhere to be found. The movie is also of a short length, and with only tall grass all around, it is a good thing, bringing no elongation.

The claws of flaw :: The humanization of the grass is rather underused, and the movie doesn’t have even a monster to use when caught in such a strange, supernatural world with creepy grass, a strange rock and darkness – it has a loop, and so much of mystery, but never chooses to reveal them. The background of the characters are not explored much either, and we don’t know why one character is acting different from another. The characters go out of control, as we don’t know who is dead, and who will end up killing someone, and also about who all are real, and belonging to what kind of loop. It is the kind of confusion that comes in the middle, but thankfully, things get solved in the end. But the movie could have used a post-credits scene, because this is the kind of horror film that will make people ask the questions, and they need to answer them.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has a collection of unknown actors and actresses trying to escape the tall grass field. Patrick Wilson of The Conjuring, Annabelle and Insidious fame is the only person whom most of us know. The actor who was also there in A-Team, Aquaman and Watchmen continues to be the one who makes the most impact, even though his character is so less developed, even though it was the one which needed the most of such development. Laysla De Oliveira is another actress among all others whom we are seeing for the first time, and she comes with a good performance as the pregnant lady caught in between some tall grass with no hope for escape. Will Buie Jr, the kid shows the hopeless and creepiness of those caught in such a situation very well. Harrison Gilbertson was there in Need for Speed, but we would be noticing here for the first time, and he is fine, and so is Avery Whitted. Rachel Wilson’s role is too small.

How it finishes :: The movie has you in a situation from where there can be no escape. The rules of the world, its physics won’t matter inside this strange field of tall grass, and it is a scary place to explore, and the movie has used this setting well enough to create the needed horror impact. But it has to be noted that there is not much of work done beyond that, and there is also a certain amount of confusion here, as everything is not that clear as far as In the Tall Grass is concerned. There are many things which this premise could have had, but as it is now, the whole thing looks good, and catches your attention – there are some nice visual moments of glory too. In the Tall Grass is surely not the movie which would make horror feel great, but is enough to keep it going, staying strongly within the genre, and using the tall grass to its advantage.

Release date: 4th October 2019
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Starring: Laysla De Oliveira, Harrison Gilbertson, Avery Whitted, Will Buie Jr, Rachel Wilson, Patrick Wilson, Tiffany Helm, William Frater

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Vampire Owl: There is no shortage of movies which have these people fighting the creatures and surviving.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they fought and survived a group of alligators in Crawl.

Vampire Owl: Two people survived in that movie, right? So, maybe two of them will survive this one too.

Vampire Bat: The movie had family bonding between a father and a daughter. It seems that this one has sisters.

Vampire Owl: The first movie had sisters, and it is just natural for the second movie to have sisters too.

Vampire Bat: The immediate setting seems to have some changes being made, but not the complete location.

Vampire Owl: I think that this one is a vampire shark.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that there are vampire sharks because we, the vampires are not fond of water.

Vampire Owl: Maybe, it can walk on the land after becoming a vampire.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that they can be included in our schemes.

[Gets a ghee cake and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: Mia (Sophie Nélisse) and Sasha (Corinne Foxx) are stepsisters who have just moved to a new school in Mexico, and they don’t really have much of an interest in each other’s matters, living like random acquaintances in their houses and going to school together without talking much. One day, Catherine (Brec Bassinger), one of the well-known bullies and proud girls of the school pushes Mia into a swimming pool in the campus while Sasha just looks, and moves on. Mia’s father Grant (John Corbett) and step-mother Jennifer (Nia Long) who understands the situation, plans a boat ride for the sisters in a glass-bottomed boat, during which they can see the great white sharks, and spend some sisters’ time together. Grant reminds Mia of the moments when they used to scuba dive together, and also leaves her with the tooth of a shark. Sasha is not really happy about this adventure, as she was planning to go out with her friends from school.

So, what happens with the events here? :: While waiting for the tour to open, Mia is depressed to see Catherine and her friends also there for the tour. It is then that Sasha’s friends Alexa (Brianne Tju) and Nicole (Sistine Stallone) arrive, and ask them to come with them to an unexplored place instead of going for this usual trip which everyone in the town are taking during weekends. They go a long way outside the town to what they called a secret lagoon, and spends their time at the place. It is then that Alexa tells them that the lagoon has a secret entrance to a Mayan city which was submerged in water, a long time ago. Grant and his two assistants, Carl (Khylin Rhambo), and Ben (Davi Santos) are working to make the place suitable for a group of archaeologists who are going to visit the place during the following week. Ben who is also Alexa’s boyfriend had taken her there during one of their secret adventures. The girls decide to see the place, but they don’t realize that there is something more than a city down there.

The defence of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged :: The movie seems to be directed towards one aim, that which is more or less about the sharks, and the environment also adds to it. It works even without the shark not given that much attention with the CGI. The Mayan city underwater with its walls and sculptures are all well designed to catch our attention – there is a certain underwater beauty here with the design. Even outside, with the girls enjoying the short amount of time, there is a beautiful world all around, and it is the kind of place where everyone would want to go with all the natural beauty around. There are some nice moments out here, which are related to not just danger, but also concerning people and the surroundings. The final moments show elements of real danger, as they seem to move towards death, and then towards escape, but then we know that they are not out of it yet – it goes on till the final moments.

The claws of flaw :: Just like many other movies which has a creature crisis at the core, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged remains predictable, and you can easily guess who all are going to survive the attack of the shark – at least that could have been arranged to be changed. In a movie which focuses on the shark, the humans and the story-line related to them suffer, because that goes just the usual way, with two sisters bonding – sometimes, it is the father and daughter, at other times, we have son and mother, or maybe two brothers, or one brother and one sister. These are times when we end up thinking that the shark came with such a beautiful motive of uniting them. In the case of this movie, it could have had the girls having more fun rather than taking them to the submerged city and the shark just after they get to the place.

Performers of the soul :: The movie, just like the previous film comes from Johannes Roberts who is going to direct the upcoming reboot of Resident Evil series, and we can be sure that the new version will bring more horror unlike the earlier versions which were more of action thriller flicks. Sophie Nelisse leads the way here, and the common audience hasn’t known her much except for playing the child in Mama. We can say that she is only beginning, and we need her in a full horror movie. Corinne Foxx, the daugher of Jamie Foxx manages to be okay. Sistine Stallone, the daugher of Sylvester Stallone also has her first movie here, and its a good work for a debutante. Brianne Tju plays the next friend, and she also does well, making the supporting cast do very well, almost the same as the main characters here. John Corbett’s short stay is good.

How it finishes :: Being someone who didn’t watch the first part, I would leave the comparisons behind, even though we do know what happens with the sequels as they struggle to bring more in the next title, and fails to do so. Sharks have always tried to bring more out of horror, and other than crocodiles, alligators and large snakes, nothing have inspired such huge survival flicks – we have seen how well The Shallows turned out to be even though there was one young lady and a shark in the sea for the most of the time. You cannot expect 47 Meters Down: Uncaged to be that good, but within the world of these man-eaters, being caught with one inside a space connected only through tunnels through which escape seems near impossible, the movie will keep you interested. After all, we are all facing crisis of survival more during these days.

Release date: 16th August 2019
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Johannes Roberts
Starring: Sophie Nelisse, Corinne Foxx, Brianne Tju, Sistine Stallone, Davi Santos, Khylin Rhambo, Brec Bassinger, John Corbett

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Doctor Sleep

What is the movie about? :: The terrifying events in the haunted Overlook Hotel which formed the movie The Shining has passed, but Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) hasn’t taken himself out of it completely. When he was a child and lived with his mother Wendy Torrance (Alex Essoe), he had the worst of the visions, but could manage to lock down the the spirits from the hotel in an imaginary space in his mind with the help of Dick Hallorann (Carl Lumbly), a benevolent spirit from the hotel which continued to help him, even after many years. As the hotel had closed down after the incidents, the ghosts, if let out, would try to feed on his psychic ability, his “shining”, as they are left with no other options. He is also warned that he should only keep his ghosts there, and not the memories. But this doesn’t go well for Danny with his life, as he gets to a new low with alcoholism, as it seemed to help him suppress his pysychic abilities, and he decides to escape from this lifestyle.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As he moves to a new town, a much smaller one, he finds a good friend in Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis) who was also an aloholic, and sponsors him with a job and a place to stay in. He makes new friends in a group meant for the alcoholic survivors, and manages to begin as an entirely new person there. He becomes an attendant for the elderly, and becomes known as Doctor Sleep, as he helped the old people to die in comfort as they reached the end of their days, with his shining. He also begins receiving some messages through telepathic communication from Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), a young girl who seems to have a shining which might be more powerful than anyone ever lived during his time, as she reaches him from a long distance away. Her parents are afraid of her abilities, but manage to raise her as a usual child, due to her skills in hiding her shining in front of others outside, including school. Danny and Abra continues to make connection by telepathy.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: It is then that the True Knot, a group of psychic vampires led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), who extend their lives towards immortality by the psychic power of young children, gets short of the much needed essence, and decide to go on hunting all around the nation. With the shining essence which serves as the steam for their existence facing a shortage, she and her partner Crow Daddy (Zahn McClarnon) adds the teenage psychic Snakebite Andi (Emily Alyn Lind) to her group, as she has an expertise in cheatign people, and because they can use their skills of manipulation. They turn her into a psychic vampire after feeding her the steam of Violet (Violet McGraw), a young girl whom they murdered, and had stored her essence for later use. While the group finds another boy with shining, and brutally murders him while feeding on his essence, Abra finds them, and she comes face to face with Rose, an act which sets the vampires on her trail. Danny feels the need to save her, but can he fight this centuries old cult of vampires?

The defence of Doctor Sleep :: There is balance being maintained in Doctor Sleep, as instead of getting into horror, which was the easiest step, the movie chooses to build each character really well. The case of the mind is nicely told, and we understand what each character is going through, and at the same time, we know their worlds really well. Unlike The Shining, the movie has different people and different world coming together, and we see the minds too, in an adventure which seems to be so well-designed to suit the taste of more than one kind of audience. That doesn’t take away the horror elements from Doctor Sleep, as they are present, and so are those thrilling moments. The different settings used by the movie, from the outskirts to the hotel with the spirits, are really good. The final fight scene of the movie is brilliantly worked out, and Rebecca Ferguson shows mastery out there as the psychic vampires rise above the blood-thirsty ones here.

Positives and negatives :: There was a challenging task ahead for the director here, to keep the movie close to the 2013 novel by Stephen King and the 1980 movie which deviated from the Stephen King novel – it was a difficult task, but it seems to have been done with some extra care. But the movie would have done better if it had followed the 2013 novel, because the younger audience who watch these movies more do not care that much about a 1980 version, and some others might have forgotten about the movie – if it had shortened its length and had stayed close to the 2013 novel version, there was chance for better success for this flick which didn’t come close to staying in the theatres as much as we wanted. The number of release centres which it had managed were also less, and it didn’t reach some towns at all. The movie might feel too long for some, but unlike some of other adaptations from novel which turn out to be too long, this one doesn’t drag.

Performers of the soul :: Ewan McGregor nicely makes the character a favourite, as we get to know the child from shining shown as the adult, and he fits in very well. Rebecca Ferguson plays the antagonist here, and this is one villain that you don’t need to miss, as he works this one towards perfection. When you are in a horror movie, there are antagonists which you imagine, but not this one, as she plays another character whom we get close to, someone who is not the usual evil prey. Most of the audience know her the best from Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible – Fallout; she was also there in the science fiction horror in space, Life. The Swedish actress would be someone perfectly suited for thrillers, whether action thrillers or horror thrillers, and we see her becoming the character in such a way that we can’t separate her from the antagonist. Kyliegh Curran as the girl with the most shining is solid, while Emily Alyn Lind adds a beautiful evil charm.

How it finishes :: It is not easy to come up with something like a perfect sequel after a long period of time, like thirty nine years after a movie releases. If you have watched It, you know that the sequel came in just a few years, and the second chapter never really came close to being as good as the first one. Pet Sematary, with its sequels and reboots have also just managed to be good enough. But Doctor Sleep, the sequel of The Shining has excelled in doing the job. It is indeed a shining sequel, and it might be the best, a movie can have as its sequel, especially a psychological horror film. Even Hannibal couldn’t get such a sequel, and we know where The Ring franchise went. The Conjuring had the best one as the first movie, and so did Insidious. Therefore, what Doctor Sleep has achieved with one of the best movies of the year is something that we need to appreciate. Here is one psychological thriller you shouldn’t miss even in the name of Corona virus.

Release date: 8th February 2019
Running time: 181 minutes
Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Emily Alyn Lind, Zahn McClarnon, Carl Lumbly, Jocelin Donahue, Bruce Greenwood, Robert Longstreet, Alex Essoe, Carel Struycken, Zackary Momoh, Jacob Tremblay, Henry Thomas, Bethany Anne Lind, Catherine Parker, Violet McGraw, Selena Anduze, Met Clarke

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Prodigy

What is the movie about? :: In the countryside of Ohio, a serial killer with roots in Hungary, Edward Scarka (Paul Fauteux) has been murdering young girls after cutting off their hands which he kept as souvenir. Hands have always been his weakness, looking at them before selecting the victims. He has a wonderful time, as the number of victims increase every day, leaving no clue for the police to follow. But things take a turn when due to one small mistake, one of the girls, Margaret James (Brittany Allen) escapes from captivity after he takes away her right hand, and alerts the cops. The police conducts a raid at his farmhouse, and he gets shot to death. At the exact same time, a couple in Pennsylvania, Sarah Blume (Taylor Schilling) and John Blume (Peter Mooney) have their first child. Sarah is excited to finally have her first child, as the couple have been waiting for this moment for a long time after getting rid of their family problems.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Miles Blume (Jackson Robert Scott) grows up to be more intelligent than the usual kids of his age, making people feel that he is a certain kind of child prodigy. He has no trouble in solving mathematics problems and mastering language after learning to speak much earlier. He is someone who could start pre-school early, and even skip those earlier batches considering how good he was proving himself to be. Even those all these things point to one positive side, there are changes in the boy’s behaviour as he grows up. He almost kills his bab-sitter Zoe (Elisa Moolecherry) while playing hide-and-seek by setting sharp piece of glass on the steps to the basement, and also beats up other kids at the school because he didn’t get the space which he wanted using whatever he could manage to find from a hand tools kit.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: Miles seems to be a threat to everyone around, as violence follows him to places. Sarah brings Miles to a psychiatrist Dr Elaine Strasser (Paula Boudreau) who refers them to Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore), an expert on rebirth and reincarnation. He tells Sarah about the possibility of rebirth in Miles’ case because the language which he was speaking in sleep, and was recorded and given to him by her, is a very rare dialect of Hungarian. There are not many people who know this language, and Sarah and her husband knew only one foreign language which they had mostly forgotten – Spanish. With Miles not being exposed to any other language, Arthur tells her that it could be another soul trying to be born again, replacing the soul of the boy, thus getting hold of the body to do something it had left unfinished in earlier birth. But this soul would need something more which Sarah won’t guess.

The defence of The Prodigy :: The movie maintains a good amount of creepy feeling, which only gets better with the serial killer soul taking further control, often making one think of Chucky of Child’s Play which nicely changes into the brutal murderer. There are some nice scary moments, most of them being creepier if you consider them with clarity. The creepy undercurrents drive this movie forward, as there are so many things that an evil genius can plot, even though not all of them are done. We are kept in the perpetual fear of some terrifying evil coming up, and the feeling of hope is rather bleak in this one. The movie has so much of nice foreshadowing which we can appreciate, as we do get some feeling regarding what is to come. There are not many things spookier than having an evil kid that acts like a vessel of pure evil. As we have heard on many occasions, evil comes in many forms, and always finds a way.

The claws of flaw :: Some years ago, in 2009, Orphan had a poster saying there is something wrong with Esther – Isabelle Fuhrman who later bagged a role in the dystopian thriller The Hunger Games made that movie one which everyone loved. Ten years later, in 2019, this movie comes with the tagline, what is wrong with Miles? Well, there is no difficulty in understanding where this is pointing to. There was the plan to make something like Orphan, and this time, they added rebirth to the plan. This could be even considered similar to a sequel, even though it is not. In comparison to Esther, The Prodigy struggles at times, and the effect of the twist is also not that much to be seen. The fear element is also not that real as Orphan which also had even better performances, and a past which was so mysterious and a twist which was heavy. The Prodigy could have had the evil manifestation doing more to people too, and the serial killer’s past could have been better shown too.

Performers of the soul :: As this is not the usual horror movie like The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun and Insidious, performance was always going to matter much. Taylor Schilling makes a perfect, confused mother here, as someone who thinks that one or the other action can save her child, but ends up being foolish in her motherly love. Peter Mooney who plays the father figure almost does the same, even though not that much. Jackson Robert Scott who plays the child comes with a fine performance – it won’t be that creepy as what we had seen in Orphan, but it is still something that we will remember in acceptance of another evil kid on screen. Colm Feore is solid as the man who tries to help, but knows that he has to be careful when standing on thin ice. Paul Fauteux who plays the serial killer needed to have more space, and his actions with the kidnapped girls are never really shown, except for those hands being hung there.

How it finishes :: If you have liked movies like Orphan, you are also going to like The Prodigy. The idea of a kid that acts strange and goes on a killing spree isn’t something new for us, but it will continue to catch our interest for a long time to come. After all, the idea of inherent evil being being present in children is something we haven’t been able to deny, and the works like William Golding’s Lord of the Flies had further strengthened the same. It had been working further in the movie world since The Omen. The idea of rebirth and reincarnation are used here instead of the usual haunting when the kids are shown to be evil. The idea here works in a more terrifying way because of what lies underneath, and by establishing that this is pure evil, and there is a master evil brain at work here, which is almost impossible to defeat.

Release date: 8th February 2019
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Jackson Robert Scott, Colm Feore, Brittany Allen, Olunike Adeliyi, Elisa Moolecherry, Peter Mooney, Paula Boudreau, Olunike Adeliyi, Martin Roach, Ashley Back, Tristan Vasquez

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Girl on the 3rd Floor

Vampire Owl: What shall we find on the third floor?

Vampire Bat: What if there is no third floor?

Vampire Owl: If there is someone on the third floor, there would be that floor, right?

Vampire Bat: The movie itself seems to depend on illusions and hallucinations, and so we cannot ignore that possibility.

Vampire Owl: Well, death can also be an illusion. Not everyone really dies.

Vampire Bat: And not everyone really lives. I have heard that.

Vampire Owl: I have read some highly polarized reviews on this movie, and so I will also be having some doubts before watching it.

Vampire Bat: Maybe it is a case of the movie being watched only by two entirely different levels of auidence?

Vampire Owl: Well, maybe we can serve as that missing level.

Vampire Bat: This one has CM Punk, and so with all those WWE memories, we need to.

[Gets a marble cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: Don Koch (CM Punk / Phil Brooks) wants to have a new beginning in life, as things don’t go that well as expected and his wife Liz Koch (Trieste Kelly Dunn) is carrying. According to him, the mother and the child would enter a new house which he bought in the Chicago countryside, and he himself would be renovating it. Without any professional help, he stays at the new house, and prepares it. He meets their religious neighbour Ellie Mueller (Karen Woditsch) from whom he understands that the house has a terrible past, and he even hears some strange sounds inside, pointing to supernatural interventions. He also meets Sarah Yates (Sarah Brooks) who is supposed to be living just near the house, and almost starts a relationship with her, only to try and keep her away after one night in the name of his wife and unborn child.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Don meets Sarah again on the next few days, but decides to avoid her and keep her out of the house, even though she seems to try to visit him every day. He calls Liz’s friend Milo Stone (Travis Delgado) for helping with the work, as the house seems to have a lot more to be done every day, with more and more faults being exposed, and part of it actually falling down – even the piping and electrical lines don’t seem to work well enough. But, as Milo finds out about Sarah, he is not happy at all, as he knows much about Don’s earlier life and how he used to be a cheating husband and a hedonist with no control over his activities. Sarah takes Milo to the basement and murders him with the help of a girl with a distorted face, coming out of the walls of the house. She also manages to kill his dog which seems to be watching everything. Don doesn’t have any idea what is happening, and there is more to the house than what meets the eye.

The defence of Girl on the Third Floor :: There have been many similar movies resembling Girl on the Third Floor in the past, but this might easily be the simplest of them all. The movie does provide the feeling that the house is alive from the beginning itself, and there are those moments which keep us guessing, on the edge of the seats. There is always something within the walls of the house, and it includes a walking, mutilated corpse – but what we see more are those coming out through the holes on the wall and the plugpoints, none of them giving an idea that the terror will be over anytime soon. Danger is established as a part of living in this particular house, that too without showing the mutilated figure much, and there is no violent shaking or shadows telling tales – this haunting is realistic and there is not much of special effects used here either. There are some messages to go with it too.

The claws of flaw :: Girl on the Third Floor is quite slow with its proceedings from the beginning itself. At no point does it seem to try to speed up things, quite satisfied with the pace with which it is working. Even though it is okay to go that slow in the beginning stages, the same can’t be said about the later situation, when picking up pace was needed towards the end. There is no big scare jump in the last few minutes unlike what was expected with all these established much earlier. The movie also ends with scope for a sequel with the process seemingly going on to continue, but there is no real explanation for that. There is no big cast to support the movie, and there is zero humour here, providing nothing to support in between. Parts of this movie can also be confusing for some people, as not many things are that direct in comparison to the usual horror movies with a haunted house at its centre and a mysterious girl.

Performers of the soul :: CM Punk a.k.a. Phillip Jack Brooks is not the person you have known as part of movies, or even television series and short-films. He is a mixed martial artist, but he is best known for his time in WWE, where he had some of the biggest matches in the industry written by his name. In wrestling entertainment, his four hundred and thirty four day WWE Championship reign happens to be the longest of this century. He had retired from all professional wrestling in early 2014, continuing in mixed martial arts, but he still has that skill for cinema shown by WWE stars, particularly The Rock whose recent movie, Jumanji: The Next Level was a big entertainer. CM Punk doesn’t disappoint in this flick, as he plays the role really well, and so does Trieste Kelly Dunn who plays the pregnant wife with all the worries. Sarah Brooks is really good as the girl in the house, and she has the mysterious person here under control.

How it finishes :: Girl on the Third Floor, despite its simple appearance, has enough to keep it going forward within the horror genre. With its setting and led by a WWE superstar, there is enough fuel that is in store and is used well. There is only limited resource that gets burned, and still, the effect is more. The usual Insidious and The Conjuring more of scares are not to be expected, as there are more like The Nun and Annabelle to support such cases. This one is rather the old style movie with a haunted house which doesn’t spend time scaring its protagonist all the time, but instead gets through him in parts, slowly and steadily. It is the house which preys the on a hero’s flaws, and as that includes overconfidence and arrogance, things take a turn for the worse. That would be a reason for a ghost to act on it, and you can’t really blame the supernatural being in that case. Along with this, you can also watch other lesser known horror movies like In the Tall Grass.

Release date: 25th October 2019
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Travis Stevens
Starring: CM Punk, Sarah Brooks, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Elissa Dowling, Karen Woditsch, Tonya Kay, Travis Delgado, Marshall Bean, Bishop Stevens, Anish Jethmalani

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pet Sematary

Vampire Owl: This is the cemetery where most the people we know shall go.

Vampire Bat: Most people don’t go to cemeteries. They are taken there.

Vampire Owl: We, the undead can just walk all the way there though.

Vampire Bat: The Stephen King’s novel might have other ideas about the cemetery.

Vampire Owl: Well, there is nothing like being buried in a grave far away from the town. It is so calm and peaceful.

Vampire Bat: It has always been calm and peaceful under the surface, except for some worms.

Vampire Owl: You can listen to those foot steps if you stay awake for long. It is not that peaceful in cemeteries of the city.

Vampire Bat: There is no hope in the cities anymore.

Vampire Owl: Does that mean hope among humans otherwise.

Vampire Bat: There is none. There is no goodness in them even during the time of a virus which has killed a good number of them, and sent them to lockdown.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) moves to the countryside with his wife Rachel Creed (Amy Seimetz) and his children Ellie Creed (Jete Laurence) and Gage Creed (Lucas Lavoie). The move from the busy city of Boston to the calm and quiet town of Ludlow seemed to be a much needed change for them to settle down and slow things down. Ellie’s cat, Church named after Winston Churchill is the only other person who is with them. They find out that there is a pet sematary as a part of their property, as they have bought a large section of land of which finding all the borders is a tough job. Children taking their dead pets to the cemetery had become a common sight there, seemingly having a ritual significance. Despite being asked not to venture through the woods and the deserted areas, a curious Ellie makes her way through the cemetry and meets Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), an old widower.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Ellie becomes friendly with Jud, and the family also invites him for food. One day, a student who struck by an automobile, Victor Pascow (Obssa Ahmed) is taken to the hospital, and Louis try to save him only in vain. After the incident, he has visions of the same person trying to warn him about certain danger which is to happen if he decides to go beyond the limits. One day, Church is killed by a truck, and Jud takes Louis past the pet cemetery to an ancient burial ground and asks him to bury the cat there, putting a stone over it. The next day, Church returns home alive. But it can be seen that he is different -the cat had become very aggressive and violent, brutally attacking a bird, and eating it alive, as well as attacking the kids. Jud tells Louis that it might be a spirit that came back from the dead, even though he had expected the cat to return in the same manner.

The defence of Pet Sematary :: There is no questioning the ability of this particular movie to use the terrifying atmosphere to its advantage, as the common “cabin the woods” setting serves as the perfect place, with one cemetery built around an ancient burial ground creates too perfect a world for a horror movie here. The feeling of mystery is always there, and we keep expecting something terrifying to be revealed at different steps. There is also that scary past and legend that goes a long way back beyond colonization to go with it, and there is some creepy music to add here. The movie also has a certain amount of blood and gore even though not too much, and a violent kid is always scarier than the rest, especially when returning from the dead – demon kids never stop being impactful with or without the presence of the demon spirit. You will also love the choice of cat being made here, and the speeding trucks also add to the effect.

The claws of flaw :: This version of Pet Sematary does have some differences with the Stephen King novel, and such a deviation might not be liked by everyone. After all, King is the god-figure for so many readers of horror, especially those who started reading much earlier. Changes from the 1989 film version can also be seen here. The movie also doesn’t explore all the spookiness that can be associated with the cemetery, especially with an area which has an even longer history to go with it. In these types of movies, elements of nature can play a better role, but this one decides not to touch the same much. There is a lot of scope for horror in each moment and each part of this movie’s visual and audible part, and those elements are not exploited enough. The movie is also slow paced, and it does take its own time to keep the horror moving.

Performers of the soul :: Jason Clarke is there as the protagonist, a name which we have known throughout popular movies including Terminator Genisys and Everest among many other flicks. He plays the loving father very well, and faces the troubles making some hard decisions nicely. Amy Seimetz was there in Alien Covenant, in one of those roles. She is really good here, as the character works on the memories, and there is the past that catches up to her. Jete Laurence as Ellie Creed is fantastic as the cute little kid as well as the undead child looking forward to violence. John Lithgow plays the good old guy in the neighborhood who knows that evil is eternally present, but can do nothing about it. Along with these, the masked kids having a procession to the pet sematary and the cat do seem to add to the performances just in some short period of time.

How it finishes :: Pet Sematary moves on like any other Stephen King book inspired movie with ease, and with the written material at the base, there is no difficulty here. With the mis-spelled cemetery in the name, the novel takes the idea to the visual level too, and it becomes another version of the much appreciated novel that needs a watch. In the world of The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun, Insidious, Child’s Play and other popular movies becoming part of a series of flicks in a franchise, there is always scope for the old style horror, as much as the new generation horror like It Follows, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe. After all, good horror is the need of the time, especially with one virus spreading all over the world, and bringing the terror without adding anything that is out of this world. Everyone stay safe, stay at home, and watch more movies.

Release date: 5th April 2019
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
Starring: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jete Laurence, Sonia Maria Chirila, Obssa Ahmed, Alyssa Brooke Levine, Suzy Stingl, Maria Herrera, Lucas Lavoie

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Child’s Play

Vampire Owl: Do you remember Chucky?

Vampire Bat: How can we not remember Chucky? He was the coolest scary doll until Annabelle came into the picture.

Vampire Owl: Annabelle could never be that creepy, as the spirit is not always creepy enough.

Vampire Bat: Well, he has been an inspiration for vampire dolls too.

Vampire Owl: They say that this time we have a reboot and not a sequel.

Vampire Bat: That is not natural. Usually, the come up with more and more sequels as if this is something eternal.

Vampire Owl: This one also got Artificial Intelligence.

Vampire Bat: Yes, what is a doll without AI during these days of science and technology?

Vampire Owl: That would make it a robot.

Vampire Bat: A robotic doll which would replace all, maybe.

[Gets some tapioca chips and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: Kaslan Corporation has a new type of high tech dolls called Buddi, which are designed to be long time companions to kids, learning their interests and what happens around, and then acting accordingly. These dolls become huge hit among the children, as parents find them to be substitute for other children and pets – the dolls are also supposed to be flawless, passing a large number of tests, and not reporting a faulty piece anywhere. With factories for manufacturing and assembling all over the world, one of them in Vietnam, has its safety protocols manipulated and disabled, just before one of the fired workers finish his final Buddi doll. After doing the same as an act of vengeance, the worker commits suicide, but the doll is packed among the other dolls and sent to the United States of America to meet the rising need for the models.

So, what happens with the events here? :: In the city of Chicago, a retail clerk and single mother Karen Barclay (Aubrey Plaza) and her son, Andy Barclay (Gabriel Bateman), movies into a new apartment, where latter struggles to make friends. To help Andy move away from his continuous staring at mobile and television, and to take his attention away from her newfound boyfriend Shane (David Lewis) who is with her most of the time, Karen blackmails her boss to get a faulty Buddi doll which was returned to them, as a new version of the doll was ready to hit the markets. The doll which does seem to have some problems with its working procedure, calls itself Chucky (Mark Hamill) and is instantly attached to Andy, whom he considers to be his best friend, and a pal forever. Due to interest in Chucky, two kids in the building also becomes friends with him, Falyn (Beatrice Kitsos) and Pugg (Ty Consiglio).

And what else follows with the happenings? :: But Chucky doesn’t seem to be the usual Buddi doll, as it develops violent tendencies from the horror movie it watches with the kids, and almost stabs them mimicking what happens on the screen. It strangles Andy’s pet cat which had scratched Andy, and scares Shane for making him happy. Chucky is one possessive doll that doesn’t like anyone other than him to be too much attached to him. Andy and his newfound friends make the other neighbouring kids like Omar (Marlon Kazadi) unhappy. Meanwhile, Andy also becomes friends with other neighbours Detective Mike Norris (Brian Tyree Henry) and his mother Doreen Norris (Carlease Burke) to whom he gives advice on new technology. But this increase in the number of friends is not something that pleases Chucky, as he is the one who is supposed to be the best friend forever – for that to happen, he would do more.

The defence of Child’s Play :: There are some nice scary and even more creepy scenes in this movie, as the doll becomes more of a threat than it had ever been in the past, with Artificial Intelligence threatening to do more. There is also the presence of blood and gore, especially related to the killing, and the final fight scene has more of it, with a lot of dead bodies involved with chaos being unleashed by the doll. The new generation who has not watched the original will like it even better. In the age of Annabelle doll with a spiritual presence, Chucky does more with Artificial Intelligence and catches our attention in style. Aubrey Plaza as the mother leads the way here with the performance, followed by Gabriel Bateman and the other kids, mainly Beatrice Kitsos. In between, Brian Tyree Henry also has a fine role done well.

The claws of flaw :: The fans of original movie and its early sequels might not like to stick to this one with a different look and also a divergent tale about its origins. The violence brought forward here might not make some people feel happy either. There are garden tillers and chainsaws in action here with the soon-to-be dead people not getting any close to a deviant respect either. The movie also ends too soon, as there is less happenings after the doll goes rogue – we should have certainly had more of them. Child’s Play is a franchise which was always destined for more greatness than it ever had. We can hope for the same greatness to be achieved in the possible sequels. We know that there is always more ideas coming up as far as horror is concerned, and with the slasher elements added, it is yet to be seen how much this can accomplish.

How it finishes :: The original version of Child’s Play was about a serial killer performing a Haitian Vodou spell to transfer his soul into a Good Guy doll. This one changes the storyline to match the current situation, as Artificial Intelligence becomes the key. Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky have been some very interesting movies in the franchise, and so a reboot here was supposed to arrive at some point. The variation that this movie had brought might not feel good for people who wanted to keep the original idea alive, but one has to agree that this one also brings a lot of scary and creepy moments to remember. It can even stand as a stand-alone film without the help of the previous movies – a claim which not many movie reboots can claim. Well, horror here can have many more sequels, and they can strive to be even better with this particular premise.

Release date: 21st June 2019
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Lars Klevberg
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry, Mark Hamill, Beatrice Kitsos, Ty Consiglio, Tim Matheson, David Lewis, Marlon Kazadi, Carlease Burke, Nicole Anthony, Trent Redekop

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Crawl

What is the movie about? :: Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) who studies in the University of Florida hopes to gain new heights as a swimmer, and she had been trained for the sport by her father Dave Keller (Barry Pepper) since childhood, when she used to break all challenges underwater. It is during one of those swimming training sessions at the university that she comes to know about a Category 5 Hurricane Wendy which is on a collision course with Florida, as her elder sister Beth Keller (Morfydd Clark) who lives with her family in Boston calls her, and advises her to get out of the state as soon as possible. But it turns out that she can’t reach her father, and she decides to go to her family home, make a quick visit and leave the state with him. As she gets close to her hometown, Wayne Taylor (Ross Anderson), a police officer and Beth’s ex-boyfriend asks her to go back as the cops are trying to lockdown the place.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Even though most of the roads on the way are partially flooded with heavy rain still coming down, she quickly takes a deviation, and goes to her house much to the dismay of Wayne. She gets to the place where he was supposed to be staying, but finds only their dog, Sugar. Then she leaves for the family home where she grew up, hoping to find him there – she also takes the dog with her, and finds the water level on the roads to have risen further, and the rain not seeming to lessen at all. She finds his truck at Coral Lake house, but he doesn’t seem to be anywhere in the house, leading her to search in the basement. There, she finds her father wounded and without consciousness. But she is attacked and is cornered by a group of alligators seemingly arriving there due to flooding. Now, their exit is locked, and there is no option of calling anyone.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: The mobile phone is destroyed in the process, and everyone in the neighborhood seems to have left the place due to flooding, and the hurricane expected to pass through the middle of the town, with further flooding almost there. More water comes into the basement, and the place starts getting flooded, making their safe corner behind the pipes to be accessible for the alligators by swimming. Both are injured, and Haley being a swimming champion seems to have a better chance of swimming out of it, but not with the alligators around. Through the window, she gets the attention of three young thieves (Anson Boon, George Somner and Ami Metcalf) who are stealing things from the flooded petrol pump and shop on the opposite side of the road. But as they look to the other side, they are caught by another group of alligators and killed. Now, Haley and her father are left with just the option to swim – but isn’t that suicide?

The defence of Crawl :: The movie does provide thrills with some nail-biting moments, and we are with the protagonists from the beginning itself, as a natural disaster along with some alligators are coming to get her and her father. There is her skills in water being focused with all the action, and the father-daughter bonding is also there to be taken. The atmosphere of the movie is very well done, as the flooding, the dark clouds and the powerful wind creates the feeling of the impossible escape throughout the flick. The same can be said about the characters whom we can relate with, especially as we have had our lockdown, and an invisible enemy in the form of a virus instead of the alligators. There are some quick scares with the alligators around, and there is the blood and gore associated with alligator attacks. The alligators coming out of nowhere adds to the much needed scares and there is fear present through out the movie.

The claws of flaw :: Crawl might still pale in comparison to grand survival movies like The Shallows. But this one doesn’t have that much of a perfect realism to go with it, as our protagonist fights many alligators and ends up surviving while that movie was one true survival flick with the main character taking days to final get rid of one shark. So, there is a little bit of extra added here in Crawl as far as surviving is concerned, and there it goes in the path of movies like Jaws. It could have also had more deaths to add to its tally, or at least some dead bodies to add to the scary moments. If these moments of fear had also lasted longer regarding the in-movie time, that would have also been nice – the movie is also very short in total run-time, and this is the kind of alligator attack that we can go through if we have less than one and half hours to spare, thus never dragging or wasting time.

The performers of the soul :: Alexandre Aja, the director is known for violent French slasher cult movies like Haute Tension, and master horror movies in English like The Hills Have Eyes and Mirrors. There is horror staying on here, with his skills. Kaya Scodelario does a fantastic job here as the protagonist. She seems to be perfectly suited for this role in more than one way. I remember seeing her for the first time in The Maze Runner, and she was a special addition there. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales also had her presence, and she surely has one performance to remember. There are some fine dialogues and her moving through water evading the alligators as the apex predator – the moments that rise above all. Barry Pepper also has his moments as the father. The rest of the cast members don’t have much to do except for being food to the alligators, or being part of the world outside.

How it finishes :: During the time of Corona Virus, Crawl becomes another movie to watch with another natural disaster causing people to face the wrath of nature and its creatures. At these times, we have faced terror in one way and went to lockdown, and with this movie, lets see what awaits us in bigger size, as we become nothing facing mother nature. The movie has nicely captured the fury of nature, not just with the creatures, but also with the flooding and the coming hurricane. The special effects make sure that we are engaged to this atmosphere in more than one way – well, flooding is coming during these monsoons in different parts of India just like last years, and this movie is something that we can watch again during those time. With the climate changes, we always have to be ready for more.

Release date: 12th July 2019
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Alexandre Aja
Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, Morfydd Clark, Ross Anderson, Anson Boon, Jose Palma, George Somner, Ami Metcalf, Annamaria Serda, Savannah Steyn

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@ Cemetery Watch
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