Vampire Owl: I think that these people are more ghosts than guests.
Vampire Bat: The guests can be ghosts too. Sometimes, the ghosts are guests.
Vampire Owl: So, we the vampires are not guests?
Vampire Bat: We can only become guests with multiple level acceptance.
Vampire Owl: You are talking about having the need to be invited into a home.
Vampire Bat: Yes, we were rarely invited, and even Uncle Dracula was avoided.
Vampire Owl: Now, that is indeed atrocious, and it is also a case of racism.
Vampire Bat: Humans are born as racists, just like they have that inherent evil.
Vampire Owl: I hope that they learn from us, for here, all vampires are equal.
Vampire Bat: Yes, even zombies and werewolves feel so.
[Gets an vegetable samosa and three cups of masala tea].
What is the movie about? :: Katya (Angelina Bit) is a young girl who works as waitress at a restaurant which is not too busy a place. There she meets a special group of youngsters who have a different hobby, which is to organize parties in other people’s empty houses. They leave the place the same it used to be, after the party is over. They keep asking Katya for such a place, and she finds for them, an old summer cottage on the coastal area, where nobody really lived. The abandoned house, in which a spiritualist salon was running a long time ago, seemed to be an excellent place, with the Gothic looks making it even better – the location is also within what seems to be an area with a lot of trees, and one would require a vehicle to reach there. They reach there and has everything set, and it is then that they meet Andrey (Yuriy Chursin) who claims to be the owner of the house and asks them to get out. But they attack him and throws him into the cellar, continuing the party.
So, what happens with the events here? :: Later, it is revealed that Katya used to work in the same house as a cleaner a few months ago, and was in love with the man who had lost his wife and child in an accident. She did make some advances to him, but he had rejected her which sent her to a time period of depression. Another realization that comes upon them is that there is something terribly wrong with the house. They do find a book on demons out there and even tries to summon one without success. There is something moving around the house, and two of their friends go outside are missing. Even the man whom they had locked in the cellar is missing. Now, they begins to wonder what is going on in there. With something terrifying and sinister walking in the shadows of the night, is it possible for them to escape from the terror which seems to await them? Will they die at that night itself, or will they live to fight another day? Are they going to see the demons described and drawn in the book, face to face?
The defence of Guests :: The one thing that stands out as far as Guests is concerned, it is the setting, not just the mansion, but also the area around it. One would really want to have a movie at this part of the world set in such a world of terror. We have that haunted feeling here right from the beginning stages itself – it has to be noted that the movie itself is dark right from the beginning, and the dark clouds are more or less the foreshadowing of something which is supposed to happen very soon. The demons, even though in the shape of a woman and a child, are well-designed. The feeling of melancholy which is prevalent in this movie is also something worth noticing. The scary moments are more or less related to the atmosphere itself, and we can feel the danger lurking in each corner of that old, abandoned home with a past related to the summoning of demons, as well as the practicing of occult in such a way that it is so serious and facing an inescapable situation.
The claws of flaw :: Guests doesn’t make the best use of what is there to be taken, even as a wonderful atmosphere is established so early. The idea of partying in houses without people in there is rather strange, and not really that much acceptable, however we look at it. There is also that lack of punch in the ending, which could have been something better. Except for the main characters, the rest of not really likable, and even when they get killed, we don’t feel for them at all. The movie should have taken things more seriously, and added more of the terrifying moments, because they have two demons in the form of mother and child along with an unsettling atmosphere – we know what such an environment can do with movies like Crimson Peak, and the usual kind of movies like The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun and Insidious have also used the quick scares nicely to get them into the chilling atmosphere, but this one seems to feel that it has enough, and doesn’t try for more.
Performers of the soul :: Angelina Bit who plays the main character becomes another classic option for becoming a scream queen in many horror movies in different languages. There is a certain amount of dark melancholy surrounding her, and we understand that she is possessed by that sadness which itself could become a monster – she plays that well enough even though we have seen the same thing done better before. We see how she becomes a perfect part of this situation in the haunted house of demons. Yuriy Chursin as Andrey is the other person who comes up with a pretty good performance. He plays another man filled with almost the same type of sadness. The rest of the cast is the kind of thing that we see in most of the horror movies, as there is nothing special about them, while they play along within the movie. The rest of the characters are not human, but demons, along with the house itself which seems to have something to say.
How it finishes :: Russian horror movies seem to choose the settings wisely, and do score well enough from the same. Guests, even though doesn’t possess the needed strength with its tale, and goes through a struggle to raise the level of its horror, does have enough out there to keep things going. The same is supported by the ambiance, which is the one thing that raises this to a higher level. During the time of Corona Virus, we are never short of horror movies, even though the idea of terror did change in the last few months – it was no longer about the ghosts, but related to the pandemic. But horror will live on, as there will always be abandoned houses supposed to be haunted, and the traditional ghosts and demons cannot vanish that easily. Fear will keep coming in different forms to produce more of horror – until then, you can be happy enough with little horror movies like Guests.
Release date: 7th March 2019
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Evgeniy Abyzov
Starring: Angelina Bit, Morgan Berry, Yuriy Chursin, Mikhail Bachelor, Greg Chun, Elisha Gaikal, Ben Diskin, Mariya Lisovaya, Anar Khalilov, Mikhail Mescheryakov, Jessica Rau, Jonathan Meza, Marina Panferova, Jamie Rapaport
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.