The Hunt

Vampire Owl: The vampires haven’t been into the hunt much these days.

Vampire Bat: Well, only the werewolves hunt now, as we have outlawed the same.

Vampire Owl: The law hasn’t really been officially passed yet.

Vampire Bat: There is nothing official about the laws these days.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the bats no longer hunt either.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it has been brought to a halt with the spread of COVID-19.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that we are also afraid of viruses now.

Vampire Bat: Yes, only the ones passed on by humans, not the one’s from bats.

Vampire Owl: I am pretty sure that the humans created their own viruses.

Vampire Bat: They have been doing everything harmful to their own people and planet, which is why we should close the connection portal with their world forever.

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

What is the movie about? :: Athena Stone (Hilary Swank) is going through a group text about something grand which is supposed to happen soon, and it is referred to as “the hunt”, even though they had agreed not to text about it. Everyone in the group seems to be excited about it, but won’t talk about this one particular thing. Later, another one of the texters is on an airplane, and they find a man coming out of nowhere, and everyone in the flight panics, saying that he was not supposed to wake up so early. He is then attacked, and after losing a lot of blood and an eye, he is thrown back to an area where others are also kept sedated. Soon, eleven people wake up gagged in a forest. They find a large wooden box in the middle of an open area with weapons and the keys. Soon, some people start shooting at them, and as some of them die too soon, the others are supposed to try and survive this event of being hunted with advanced weapons by strangers.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Three captives somehow manage to escape over a barbed-wire fence to what seems to be part of normal civilization. They get into a service station, only to find out that it is run by people who are part of the hunt, and after poisoning the first person who tries to have food from there, this particular elderly people gets rid of others with guns and grenades. The couple enjoys the killings, and calling themselves elite, hopes to get rid of these people who were kidnapped and put in there. The next one to arrive is an army veteran, Crystal Creasey (Betty Gilpin) who has a conversation with the couple, finds out that they are lying about almost everything, and that they are all part of the plan. She also finds out that despite what they are trying to make them believe, they are not in the American state of Arkansas, but in Croatia, and there are traps set everywhere to make sure that they die, even if they are not taken out by attackers.

And what else is to follow with this strange hunt? :: Everything seems to go deeper than what is seen on the outside. Then, she comes up against another survivor, Gary (Ethan Suplee) who has a grand theory related to all of these, with some rich liberals trying to hunt the commoners for entertainment. He is very much focused on the same, but Crystal is not bothered about the same, and is focused only on surviving, as this does reminds her of some of her past. They also get in a train, and it also has some refugees – they find out that one of those refugees is a crisis actor, and others are real refugees. Gary ends up blowing him up with a grenade and is later killed. At the same time, Crystal ends up with the soldiers who don’t know what is going on, and she meets Don (Wayne Duvall) from the original eleven who was repeating the story which she was also narrating. But the soldiers do have problems believing them, and they understand that there might be hunters in between real people. Can they escape from all this trouble or meet their doom?

The defence of The Hunt :: Betty Gilpin is the biggest asset of this film, and this is the first time I am seeing her – she does make a perfect choice in an action film, maybe she will make it as a scream queen of horror consistently too, especially in slashers. The movie here is really good, and with its thrills and action sequences, continue to score throughout its run. There is a lot of action happening around here, and the fight scenes are really good, especially the final fights, not just in the manor, but also before that. The idea that the film actually makes fun of people on not just one side, for both the liberals and the right wing people are part of the humour. The film has some serious gory stuff going on at all times, but it is also a funny one along with all the action and thrills that go on. The atmosphere set for this one is nice, and there are some fine visuals to go with it. With the twists and turns in there and with expectations of the unexpected, The Hunt makes things happen, and it is efficient in doing the same.

Positives and negatives :: Hilary Swank is excellent as we already know she would be, but she is there only a few minutes. We would have expected her to stay throughout the film, but unfortunately, that is not the case, and the same is about Emma Roberts, who has almost no screen space around here, getting killed too early. The idea of using the funny side more than the darker side might not appeal to everyone either. The idea of revenge also gets a shock with the tale of the tortoise and the hare being told in a different way, with all the gore that is a feature of this film. There are many shades being explored in this film, and the way the leading character tells that tale, is nothing less than amazing in a very creepy manner. There seems to be many different messages that run through the film, and it also provides us with the choice to take any among them. The journey here is great, and we only wish that it didn’t end in an hour and half which is too less for this film, and it surely requires a sequel that explores similar elements again.

How it finishes :: The film also has references to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and it has some fine dialogues, both monologues and one-liners which we can remember. There are so many creepy moments in here, and with its twists and turns, as well as the action, it has us interested in every second of its short, one and half hours run. In the beginning, you might feel that this could be like The Hunger Games and the German film, Breakdown Forest – yet, very soon, you will know that this is entirely different, and the innovation that it uses to skip away from the usual stuff also needs to be appreciated. The Hunt knows what it is doing, and with its realization of the possibilities of the same, a seemingly usual kind of premise is developed into something divergent, with class. With a lady lead that suits perfectly in here, there is a lot more to this film than what is seen in the trailer. If this was not affected by the first wave of pandemic, there was scope for more popularity, for sure.

Release date: 13th March 2020
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Craig Zobel
Starring: Betty Gilpin, Emma Roberts, Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz, Wayne Duvall, Ethan Suplee, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Berry, Amy Madigan, Kate Nowlin, Reed Birney, Glenn Howerton, Sylvia Grace, Justin Hartley, Jason Kirkpatrick, Walker Babington, Macon Blair, Teri Wyble, Usman Ally, JC MacKenzie, Steve Coulter, Dean West, Vince Pisani, Steve Mokate, Hannah Alline, Tadasay Young, Jim Klock

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*** This is not to be confused with Haunt.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chhorii

Vampire Owl: More of interesting horror to be unleashed?

Vampire Bat: Yes, Dybbuk was a remake from our world, and this one is remade from another language and industry.

Vampire Owl: Some good original horror is always in need.

Vampire Bat: Horror can be original only in a limited way, as it is universal.

Vampire Owl: Unless we become the one true horror.

Vampire Bat: We are never truly into horror.

Vampire Owl: So, we are not into our true nature.

Vampire Bat: The normal terrifying vampire has already been abolished.

Vampire Owl: You mean that there is no normal anymore.

Vampire Bat: Normal is not real as of now, not in our realm.

[Gets some French fries and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: A pregnant woman is chased in a sugarcane field by unknown forces, and with nowhere to go, they force her to cut their womb. Later, in a city, Sakshi (Nushrratt Bharuccha) is pregnant, and works in an NGO, and lives with her husband Hemant (Saurabh Goyal), who is in trouble for not returning a loan in time, with his business failing. His partner had also disappeared with the money. He feels that he is being stalked by people who needs the money back. She is happy with her work and regarding life in the city, but things don’t get any better with the cash which was borrowed. As people start threatening them, with Hemant even getting beaten at times, this makes the city no longer a safe choice for living. They are given twenty four hours to return the money, and make the decision to leave for their driver’s village which is located in a very remote area, and has a good number of sugarcane fields. Three hundred kilometres away, and a lot distant from civilizations, there are only five houses in the village.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It seems that almost nobody comes there, even by mistake. They have to walk a long way through the sugarcane fields, and after almost losing the way multiple times, reach the area which has no network coverage and almost no shop. There, they meet Bhanno Devi (Mita Vashisht), the driver’s wife, a very orthodox woman who seems to be a person completely belonging to that particular village in more than one way. Hemant leaves the place soon enough, to find a solution to their financial problems, and the two women share a bond with each other. What Sakshi doesn’t understand is that there is more than what meets the eye with the people there, as much as the supernatural. Therefore, the fight will be against the dead, the undead and the living to save her world. But is it possible for her to face such terror in a weakened state? Do they have further secrets which needs to be unveiled for her life to be saved from what seems to be doom in waiting?

The defence of Chhorii :: Chhorii adds to the list of horror movies which are part of a human infested, virus infected world, which is not less terrifying than any film which one will get to see. The atmosphere here is really good, and it is really shot here to create the perfect situation for horror. It looks scary enough during the day time, and in darkness, it is something more. Being at the middle of nowhere, with no place to go, is terrifying enough, and there is more here to add to the same. It is certainly a scarier world than the lifeless modernity or a haunted house, with or without the presence of the supernatural. The presence of the children here adds to that eerie feeling more, for we are never hopeless about the terror of some demon kids. The background story which serves as the flashback gets things to be really interesting. The film also has a social message which runs through the background and comes strong in the final moments of the film.

The claw of flaw :: The movie can feel somewhat stretched for one’s liking, as it does feel long with much of time being consumed without a lot happening. With a shorter length, this could have been much more effective, adding a certain amount of crispiness here and there. The language spoken by the villagers can also be difficult to understand, leaving us to look out for the subtitles at regular intervals. The tale could have also been more straight-forward, without leaving the mysterious elements behind. The message also arrives late, and if it had released much earlier, the effect could have been more. The stereotyping and the predictable elements are also allowed to run strong around here. The scary elements could have been more, using the atmosphere to more of an advantage – there were so many moments which could have used better scares, and combined them with the atmosphere. The present world asks for a lot more horror than the pre-Corona world, as people have changed a little too much for everyone’s liking.

The performers of the soul :: The movie is very much centered and focused on Nushrratt Bharuccha. She is very much comfortable in playing the pregnant city woman who ends up in a village, all alone. She deals with the horror genre really well, and it would be nice to see her in a similar role with city horror at some later point. As this film is a remake of a Marathi horror film which released a few years, there would be comparisons, also related to the performances – only those who watched the original can comment further on the same. We know that Mita Vasisht from different movies in the past, and this one is no exception for her, as she runs through the whole thing without holding back. Pallavi Ajay, even though silent throughout the film, makes a strong presence. Yaaneea Bharadwaj plays the one ghost whom we would like for most of the time, and there seems to be a lot of work being put in there. Rajesh Jais plays the man with a mystery to him very well. Saurabh Goyal also does more than what his character seemed to be up to, in the beginning.

How it finishes :: At a time when life is full of horror, especially with humans mostly choosing the evil paths, the requirement for horror films never ends. The one movie that we remember while watching this is the English film, In the Tall Grass, with the environment, and also about an Indonesian film, Impetigore. This movie is also a reminder of humanity’s evil side, and it tells us that humans are always more evil than ghosts, going after their selfish needs all the time. There is so much of evil being repeated in our world, and the movie, even though focuses on the crimes on women, one has to say that the Corona virus infected world has seen too much of the same being done on different unsuspecting people. The film enters the world which has lost its humanity, and repeats its own favourite mistakes – the basic idea that human beings cannot be trusted, will only find a repetition here, as ghosts do have more quality than those who walk on Earth claiming as the superior living species.

Release date: 26th November 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Vishal Furia
Starring: Nushrratt Bharuccha, Mita Vashisht, Pallavi Ajay, Yaaneea Bharadwaj, Rajesh Jais, Saurabh Goyal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Drushyam 2

Vampire Owl: How many Drishyams have we watched?

Vampire Bat: I am sure that there is no count of the same being kept.

Vampire Owl: I remember watching the Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil versions of the first part and having missed the Sinhala, Telugu, Chinese and Kannada versions then. We can watch them all as second part this time.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and we are now done with the original Malayalam version of the second part.

Vampire Owl: Well, now we will have more versions of the second part too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this version is only the beginning of another list.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that this one would be just like the original?

Vampire Bat: Well, the plot will work the same here.

Vampire Owl: Also, I see that Jeethu Joseph has directed this one too.

Vampire Bat: And we also have Meena and Esther Anil doing the exact same thing in another language. This would be a worthy remake.

[Gets some vegetable samosa and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Rambabu (Venkatesh) and Jyothi (Meena), along with their daughters Anju (Kruthika) and Anu (Esther Anil) have become richer after those earlier incidents from the first movie, as the former has now bought some land, and started a film theatre. Their neighbours make a couple who fights a lot, and the woman is a clear victim of domestic violence, with the man being a drunkard. The people in the town don’t really like them anymore, as they have become rich and influential. Due to the same, all those people around come up with gossips regarding the earlier incident leading to the death of the boy, and police continues to investigate the earlier missing case as it was something which proved to be very much humiliating for the entire police department. Rambabu has the dream of making a movie, which he wishes to be perfect, and has left aside, a certain amount of money for the same.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that a local man returns home after finishing his time in the prison, and he had seen something of special worth to the police during the night when the boy was murdered. The words of the man would have a huge role to play in how the rest of the case would unfold. Geetha Prabhakar (Nadhiya), former IG, would make a return to finally find out the truth behind her son’s disappearance, and this time she will find better allies. It is the time period when the investigation seems to be gaining more ground. There is a new police officer in charge of the case, and he won’t stop pursuing Rambabu, but not many people seems to be realizing the same. There are many traps being laid for the man and his family, and some of them seems to be very close to finding its preys. But Rambabu remains strong as ever, even as there are many twisted ways being followed here, yet it remains to be seen about how long he can stand strong and protect his family.

The defence of Drushyam 2 :: In Malayalam movie industry, sequels haven’t had that much strength, even with superstars in the lead, as the chance to go down into a mass movie is always there, and this film does threaten to do so more in Telugu, but does manage to get back its original strength. There can always be exceptions to everything though. Just like the strong predecessor which made the big impact, this movie also starts with the usual family moments, even though we know that there is something always waiting to happen. There is the mention of such possibilities, but the progress is just usual until we get into the last one hour or so, as things continue to get worse for the protagonist and family, with the same thing going further down for them to bring the danger. Even though the movie also has a twist in store in the end reminding the viewers of the first film, it does manage to maintain its novelty with different elements. This means that the difficult job has been done nicely to make the sequel work well on its own.

Positives and negatives of the movie :: The fact that this one has released in Amazon Prime surely has its own advantages and disadvantages too, and I would prefer to watch this one without the horror created by the superstar fans in the theatre, just like I did for the Malayalam version. In the theatre, it wouldn’t have been this peaceful. The action should have started much earlier though, as this is the second movie of a franchise and character establishment was done well enough in the first film itself. The pressure that the first film maintained is much less here too, as things get over quickly after the terror begins. Final few minutes should have surely been extended at the cost of cutting a little bit of those family moments in the beginning – the dialogues from the local people are also a little more than needed. As a sequel which has been adapted from an original sequel, changes could have been made, with the same director at the helm yet again. Yet, the setting seems to have been more perfect for the Malayalam version, even though the adjustments made here do work.

The performers of the soul :: Venkatesh as Rambabu continues to be the strength of the franchise as Mohanlal was in Malayalam. He could go on doing the same thing again and again in even more films which can follow in the franchise – the character has surely come across some changes from the first film, but in essence, there is not that much of a difference, and we will come to know about the same thing soon enough. The ending shows that there is something about the character that is here to stay. The veteran actor at work has no real problems in keeping the act going, just like Mohanlal had no trouble. Meena’s work here is similar to what she did well in the Malayalam version, and yet it has the differences that are demanded when the whole setting is changed to elsewhere. Esther Anil also remains the same younger daughter as she used to be in the original, with the small differences of the new environment. Kruthika plays her role well, once again reminding one of Ansiba, often doing a better job in comparison. Sampath Raj and Nadhiya remains solid in their works of negativity, reflecting their Malayalam counterparts really well. It was also nice to see Shamna Kasim around here playing a strong lawyer role.

How it finishes :: Drishyam was once the highest grossing movie of all-time as far as Malayalam film industry is concerned, and it had shown the strength in so many languages including one in Sri Lanka with Drishyam 2 also calling for remakes now. Considering this remake, it is almost the same as the original, and therefore doesn’t require much of a talk regarding such a comparison, and as the sequel, it is certainly not that great as the first one. There was always going to be something about a remake and sequel like this, and that feeling will take this one forward for many more days. Drushyam 2 is surely a thing of quality as far as entertainment is concerned, and will go on to receive the expected appreciation. A lot of people from Kerala will also be watching this film to see how it compares to the original, and they will find this to be worthy enough. With the theatres being opened, there might not be many more big movies releasing Amazon Prime Video, and one can enjoy this one for now, even though you can’t stop of the feeling of having seen all these before, and for them, this is still repetition.

Release date: 25th November 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 153 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Venkatesh, Meena, Esther Anil, Kruthika, Nadhiya, Naresh, Shamna Kasim, Vinay Varma, Satyam Rajesh, Shafi, Tanikella Bharani, Chammak Chandra, Thagubothu Ramesh, Annapurna, Chaitanya Krishna, Venu Tillu, Chalaki Chanti, Naidu Gopi, Bharat Behera

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Closet

Vampire Owl: I would have suggested another name for this film.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that the title justifies well enough though.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the horror effect is certainly not there in the title.

Vampire Bat: What else do you expect from a title?

Vampire Owl: Much deeper horror to attract people towards the film.

Vampire Bat: It could be named after humans then.

Vampire Owl: Humanity is too much of evil. Let us leave them with their own evil.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is strange that they are scared of ghosts.

Vampire Owl: Is it supposed to be natural?

Vampire Bat: Well, they are ghosts of humans. As they die and continue to be evil at the same level, there is more terror.

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

What is the movie all about? :: Sang-won (Ha Jung-woo) doesn’t have a happy relationship with anyone including his daughter Yi Na (Yool Heo) after a car accident which caused the death of her wife. They move to a new house which is located in the countryside with not much of civilization nearby, and he is also not able to find a nanny for his daughter. He has to work at a construction site, and has to leave home soon enough. At the same time, it seems that his daughter has found a new friend in the new place, but the person is not human, and neither is the doll that she found in there. As Sang-won is taking a lot of medicines to keep himself going, and has his own dose of hallucinations, he is not able to differentiate between reality and what he is dreaming about.
There is also something about the closet in the old house where they are staying, and it has a lot of things which the earlier residents had left behind, with that doll also coming from there.

So, what happens next in this tale of horror ? :: Yi Na still seems to be happier than before at the new house. But one morning, Sang-won finds out that her room is all messed up and she seems to have brutally murdered a bird. Things only get stranger with the child, but he has to work as usual. There is certainly something supernatural about the house, especially the closet, but Sang-won feels that it is part of his hallucinations and nightmares which have been quite common, and had gotten only worse at the new place. The nanny does arrive at the house, but despite charging a lot for her work, she is not that fond of the child who is also not happy with the circumstances. Soon enough, the nanny just wants to run away. When Sang-won returns home, he is not able to find the child, and blames the nanny. But the police finds nothing to point such a crime on her. He keeps looking for the child with the help of the police department, but for months, he is not able to find any clue. None of the cameras on the road had shown the child going outside either. Now, one can only wonder where she had gone.

The defence of The Closet :: The movie does take the idea of the haunted house pretty well, especially with the more haunted closet at the core of everything. The child does take on the transformation very well, and the other demon children who come later are effective in creating the new world of horror. There is one particular scene with the child demons everywhere that seems to be nicely planned. You cannot be without fear for the child demons, for the inherent evil of the children are often more powerful than one can imagine. We know the idea that William Golding brought with Lord of the Flies, and that is indeed a scary thing even for the realm of the ghosts, as there is no limit to what pure evil can do. The visuals are really good, as we look at them – there is always beauty as well as creepiness which are displayed so well. The atmosphere with a certain amount of melancholy works without fail. You can say that with a possible sequel, there can be a horror myth developed for further progress.

The claws of flaw :: There was always scope for The Closet to do more and also better, but it often hesitates to take that opportunity to rise further. It doesn’t use the terror elements to the best advantage in the beginning stages, as the haunting could have gotten much scarier with better usage of the elements and effects. The terror is often limited to the closet as well as the room which contains it, and even then, it could have been scarier with the content. There is always something more to be done with such a setting taking over. Korean films have been in the front to bring the innovation, but it is not so in this case, as it doesn’t become the memorable one. There are the usual flawed decisions that the main characters make, and you know that this could always be creepier, especially with the premise. The film does makes one wonder why the industry is not coming up with one special film that could make all the difference in a world of weakening horror genre.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is not that much dependent on the performances, as there are only three characters who are of importance, and it is the supernatural that dictates the performances more than anything else. Ha Jung-woo does play the father figure very well, and we have seen fathers losing children to demons or ghosts very often, like in the case of Don’t Listen which had a similar father figure in a haunted house in the middle of nowhere. Here, we have a much controlled performance in comparison, and that works well enough. Kim-Nam-gil does make a smooth entrance as an exorcist of another kind, even though it is also a reminder of other films which we have watched before, for there is always something coming together as the common thing in the end. Heo-Yool becomes the terrifying child after becoming the sad and depressed child of melancholy in the earlier stages. The other characters, as one would expect, become people of not much importance here. It could have used a past with more characters effectively though.

How it finishes :: We have come across many Korean horror films, and while The Closet adds to that grand list, it is certainly not the kind of movie that has the strength to stand apart and make an impact enough to keep it strong at all times. It is surely effective enough as a horror film, but not that much as one would expect it to be, especially during a time that the supernatural needs to have more power within itself to rise about the Corona virus fear as well as the human terror that has risen above everything else. Nowadays, humanity has always been more terrifying than any ghost that the world has ever seen in the history of spirits, magic and witchcraft. After we are done with the evil that humanity has provided, we can look out for these movies which work well enough with its horror, but often not enough for people who have been troubled by the unparalleled evil which humans have unleashed on this world for their selfishness and to keep the level of hatred high. We know how humans treat the other, we really do.

Release date: 5th February 2021
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Kim Kwang-bin
Starring: Ha Jung-woo, Kim Nam-gil, Heo Yool, Kim Shi-A, Shin Hyun-bin, Kim Soo-jin, Park Sung-woong, Park Ji-a, Lim Hyun-sung, Kang Sin-cheol,bHan Chang-min

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham

What is the movie about? :: A former television actress Haripriya (Grace Antony) feels that she is stuck in an unromantic marriage with Pavithran (Nivin Pauly), who is has been a junior artist and acting coach for a long time, without any success. Their marriage was fixed by a mutual acquaintance, Sivakumar (Sudheesh) who works in the cinema field, as both had some film ambitions which didn’t materialize as they had wished for. Pavithran took loan against Haripriya’s grandmother’s golden earrings for helping his friend, and it had become another reason for their marriage landing in trouble, along with his usual unsuccessful pursuits in the film industry, along with that acting coaching going nowhere. The two are now on the verge of their separation, and as his acting coaching classes are also held in the corner of Haripriya’s father’s restaurant, Pavithran gets some gold coated earrings to replace Haripriya’s golden earrings for the time being, and both are finally together, with an added plan to go on a romantic trip.

So, what happens next in this tale? :: As Haripriya’s brother ask for the earrings to be used for loan for her family’s expenses, Pavithran decides to speed up the romantic trip and steal the earrings. They get room at an expensive hotel, thanks to Sivakumar’s contacts in the film field. There, they meet Jobby (Vinay Forrt), the manager, and Shalini (Vincy Aloshious), the receptionist. One of the room boys, Manaf (Rajesh Madhavan) seems to develop a special liking for Haripriya’s earrings. A mostly successful writer, Balachandran (Joy Mathew) is also there, along with a drunkard, Surendran (Jaffar Idukki) whom almost everyone detests. Pavithran successfully steals the earrings, and hides them. But soon, he realizes that it has been stolen from that location, as he cannot find it either. Haripriya will not stop until she makes sure that each and every person in the hotel is innocent. Jobby who has to go and meet his lover’s parents are also stuck there, and Shalini who is forced to work late without salary is more than just angry about the situation. Can anyone find a solution here?

The defence of Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham :: The movie is fun enough, and mostly mindless fun, when we look at it. The whole thing depends on the messed up lives of everyone who is seen on the screen – none of them seems to be happy, and they are all facing troubles due to one thing or the other. It is a true reflection of our world, in which there is no real happiness, and a certain search for the same leads us nowhere. We see that there is nothing that goes right in this particular hotel, which holds a mirror to a Corona virus affected, climate change affected world of chaos. Everyone has their different problems, and each one of them is shown coming together towards this one particular incident. The set design is really good, and it could even suit a horror movie, as there are reminders of The Shining and its sequel, Doctor Sleep. The setting serves the purpose more than any other thing in the film. Some of the humour is quick to rise, and there are the jokes which do no feel that dumb as some others are. There is some satire that works in the background too.

The claws of flaw :: Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham doesn’t have that much of an effectiveness with its jokes as we would expect in the beginning. In the later stages, it only becomes more and more repetitive in nature. The calls for the manager as well as one drunkard who remains irritating for most of the time doesn’t score that much as expected in the later stages of the film. There is a little bit too much of stretching of the whole thing. The same thing goes on moving forward, and the idea to bring a message in here is lost. It is more or less an opportunity lost in that case. Often it goes down to the level of the kind of movies which we have detested for the buffoonery that gets repeated – such films are not there now, but we do remember such a past. Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham did have some good hype related to the cast, and the trailer despite not giving out a clear idea, did make us feel that there is something special in store, but that much is not there to be taken.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly leads the movie well as expected. This is similar to what he had done with Love Action Drama, another comedy film which could only partially work with its humour. But for someone who has done many movies with some effective light humour, this won’t be a step forward. The one whom we remember for Thattathin Marayathu and Om Shanti Oshaana‘s light comedy was quite a different star, and that was the one whom we continued to prefer. It seems that the same has been lost up to an extent. Grace Antony had her best movie in the form of Kumbalangi Nights, and this one has her as the sole lead. She has provided an entertaining performance here too. Vincy Aloshious plays the other female character of importance, and we would be remembering that one well enough too. She should be considered as the pick of that Naayika Naayikan show on Mazhavil Manorama along with Meenakshi, especially with the way they do comedy.

Further performers of the soul :: Sudheesh has another role which runs through the movie with focus on the beginning and end, and it is good to see him in such roles, like the one we saw in Theevandi. He has been the one actor who has been there from our childhood itself. Vinay Forrt can be considered as playing the funniest character around, and we also feel for the character trying so hard. He and his mobile phone do become interesting from the beginning itself. Joy Mathew plays a role suiting him well. Jaffar Idukki plays a drunkard who is often too irritating, but most of the time, he manages the same in an okay manner. Rajesh Madhavan as Manaf comes up with a notable performance here, and he is the one character who scores when least expected. Sudheer Paravoor as Vijesh Nair is another employee character that we will be noting. There are a few other interesting characters, and they all blend into the hotel atmosphere really well.

How it finishes :: Life has been very serious in the last few months as far as OTT films are concerned. Well, we know what has been happening everywhere, and there is no confusion about the films being serious with a world of chaos all around. Starting from Drishyam 2, we have had a series of serious films, like Kaanekkaane, Sunny, Malik, Kuruthi and others, which have held on to the serious characters really well. The number of comedy movies has been comparatively less, as we look at them. So, this one serves something light-hearted in between, even though it is certainly not that effective. As the theatres have opened now, the movie needed to be of better quality to keep the audience in the OTT platform. Now, with the theatres having opened, people will be moving there unless there is enough power in the OTT to keep them online. The challenge of Kurup is there to stay for long, as it seems. Well, we know that more is to come soon.

Release date: 12th November 2021 (Disney Hotstar)
Running time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Grace Antony, Vinay Forrt, Vincy Aloshious, Joy Mathew, Jaffar Idukki, Sudheesh, Rajesh Madhavan, Sudheer Paravoor, Sivadas Kannur, Neeraja Rajendran, Ratheesh Balakrishna Poduval

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jai Bhim

What is Jai Bhim about? :: The movie begins with a group of people who are supposed to be from some lower castes or tribes having some police cases forced on them without any particular reason other than their community of birth. In the end, almost all the cases fall on them, as police closes the pending cases by putting them on these people. Raja Kannu (K Manikandan) catches snakes and rats in the village, and lives in a tribal area of a remote village with her wife Senggeni (Lijomol Jose). The tribe is known for their useful job, which helps the rich people of the area who boasts of their higher caste status, and won’t care about these people. But Raja Kannu is also arrested by police in the name of a robbery which happened in the house of the village head, as there is a lot of force on the cops due to the same. The police says that her husband had escaped with three other tribals on a fateful night. They are helped by as Maithra (Rajisha Vijayan) who has been working as a teacher among the tribals, and was trying to provide them with enough education and some identity to go with it.

So, what happens next in this tale? :: Advocate Chandru (Suriya) leads cases for the downtrodden people, and has managed to help many people before. But in this particular case, police has already prepared everything, and with enough proof being ariticially created, this eems to be very difficult for Chandru. SP Ashok Varadhan (Sibi Thomas) wants the case to be solved at any cost, and the local police officers go further to manipulate everything from the first point. Chandru visits the whole area with Maithra, and tries to find some clues. But will he be enough for this particular case, as many more false witnesses are being added, and it becomes a thing of prestige for the government? Can truth go above the false witnesses in an age of hopelessness and lies? The question still remains if the three are even alive and Chandru wants IG Perumalsamy (Prakash Raj) to investigate the office, and Advocate Ram Mohan (Rao Ramesh), the most prominent and respected lawyer will stand against Chandru for the government and the police.

The defence of Jai Bhim :: It is up to Suriya and Lijomol Jose to keep the film strong at the top, and there is no point where you feel that they are not fully immersed in these characters which they portray. Seeing the latter in such a role was a surprise, and one would wish her back in many more Malayalam movies. The film is a valiant take on ferocious discrimination and injustice which has been forced on people just for their birth in a particular community. In doing that, the film remains strong at all times. In staying with the subaltern against the strong and the influential, it makes some very strong points. The same is portrayed without using the useless mass fight scenes, which would have been there if this film was taken a few years ago, but the movie chooses not to satisfy the brainless mass. There are many emotional moments in the film, and the agony that the weak goes through is portrayed realistically rather than with the unnecessary extras. The intensity that the film carries is a lot too, and the strength only increases as the film progresses.

Positives and negatives :: The film does take some time to go through its beginning stages, and it does have the predictable stuff at work too. From the moment it starts, we are somewhat sure about what would happen even without knowing the history of the real-life tale, and we feel that the film could have been a little shorter. Some dialogues could have been avoided, but a few others could have had more detail, like when talking about the Rajan case which happened long ago in Kerala. Rajisha Vijayan could have also had more to be done, even with some good time being spent on the screen. It is always normal to expect more from this kind of a film, because we know the kind of topic it deals with. There is always something to take home in this kind of movies though, and this one, even though dealing with a topic which people might be aware of, leaves us with the reminder that injustice still exists, and there is the need for someone to raise the voice at the right time for the right people, and not for some celebrities who have their own ways of saving themselves, having their own influence and power.

Performers of the soul :: Suriya has one strong performance added here, and it seems that he has become the character like a fine reflection of a determined, enthusiastic, righteous lawyer. The focus that is required in the character is shown without the extreme heroism that would have taken over in some other movie, but not in this case. There is no violence related to the man either, as there is no beating up the bad guys, and there are no stylish dialogues, which makes the character blend in right into the film’s mood. It does feel that he is really into the character so well, and becomes a mirror of the ideology inside him. This is also the first Suriya film that I have reviewed here, and I am glad that this movie could be chosen for the same. Lijomol Jose, whom we know for the lovely supporting role in Maheshinte Prathikaaram and the lead role in Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan, has her biggest role here, and she has performed exceptionally, making her the leading actress, the woman who was wronged, and seeking justice. I hope that she would continue in the film industry after marriage too.

Further performers of the soul :: K Manikandan in the husband’s role has death coming to his character after a fine performance. Prakash Raj plays a solid police officer with his own ideology, which we love, and he is the one cop whom you would love to have in your universe of reality. Rajisha Vijayan, who won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her debut film, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, also has her moments, being a strong part of this. We know what she has done in Kho Kho, June and Finals, and she could suit at any place with grace. She has a superior status among this generation of actresses in Malayalam film industry, and so when she is there, you wish to check out the movie. The villains are all good too – when you look at them, they are not the same kind of antagonists, for the work at different levels. They are all united by a few things, but you see the divergence that runs through them, with them acting different even when doing the same job. There are lots of supporting cast members who also do some jobs worth appreciation, staying strong in the background throughout the film.

How it finishes :: There have been many courtroom dramas, and Pink might be the most famous among them – this one nicely adds to the list of those films. Unlike most of such movies which have dealt with similar topics including bringing justice to the subaltern, this one has its complete focus on such divisions and atrocities committed in the same name. The film is also supposed to be based on a petition which was filed in 1995, and the characters are also known to be based on real-life people with real-life incidents forming the background of the film. There is always the feel for some need for films on discrimination, and this one makes a welcome addition, as it makes some strong points about the same. It is also available with audio in Hindi, and therefore, it should be accessible to a much bigger audience on Amazon Prime Video. Theatres have opened, but you still have moves like this one on OTT, and you know you have to trust the OTT.

Release date: 2nd November 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: TJ Gnanavel
Starring: Suriya, Lijimol Jose, Rajisha Vijayan, Prakash Raj, Rao Ramesh, Guru Somasundaram

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<— Click here to go to the previous Tamil film review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Tamil full-length film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.