Madhuram

What is the movie about? :: Kevin (Arjun Ashokan) is the bystander for his mother, who is going to have a surgery at the government medical college hospital very soon. He is married to Cherry (Nikhila Vimal) who isn’t accepted by his mother yet. He is very much tensed about it, and spends most of the time wondering about what is to happen next. Sabu (Joju George) is there as a bystander for his wife Chitra (Shruti Ramachandran). There are also others who have become part of the hospital during their time spent out there. Ravi (Indrans) is a retired postman who is waiting for his wife to be discharged, while celebrating forty years of marriage. Thajudeen (Fahim Safar) is a bystander for his father who is forced to come there because the doctor in the hosptial is very famous, and a quick surgery is required. Despite how much how much Ravi talks about the importance of staying in long marriage and how much Sabu reasserts the same, Kevin and Cherry are on the verge of a divorce. Cherry wonders if it will happen as soon as his mother is healthy and asks him to leave her.

So, what happens happens around here? :: Thajudeen is to first one to leave the hospital from the group, as his father has a stroke and dies, causing moments of silence and depression everywhere around them. Kevin’s tension only further increases as the surgery is delayed, and after knowing about the death of Thajudeen’s father. The same also affects Ravi upto an extent, as he is also a little bit worried. Sabu talks to the others about his love story with Chitra which happened at Kunjikka’s (Jaffar Idukki) restaurant, where she used to come and have biriyani in secret. They married after causing a lot of problems in the neighbourhood. Ravi’s tale is about him falling in love with his wife while delivering letters at a locality, and it was another case of love story wrecking havoc around. When Kevin’s anxiety problems get better, they are surprised to find that Sabu is surprisingly angry at the hospital staff, which leads to the big revelation by Doctor Rajah (Lal) about Chitra. This makes them wonder how long he has been in the hospital.

The defence of Madhuram :: The movie has to be appreciated more for its optimistic viewpoint about relationships, and life that goes on with love and endurance against all odds. With Joju George who seems to go through the whole thing as if living through it rather than acting, and Shruti Ramachandran who blends in to this role in a realistic manner like no other, this one feels like a safe watch from the beginning itself. The movie’s messages about relationships is beautiful, as it celebrates being in marriage, and with love. The movie also knows where to place the emotions, without any overdose of melodrama coming into the picture to ruin things. The humour which the movie uses in the initial stages brings some early delight, and as it passes on to the sad and emotional side, it makes sure that the balance is not lost, and we are not put into a world of eternal depression, for there is faith, belief and hope at all times. The taste of love between husbands and wives never losses its charm, for love in marriage is shown as a thing with wings more than that of the other kinds of relationships.

Positives and negatives :: Some dialogues might feel like a little too much in the view of life, but the actors who deliver them make it even more effective – the emotions are so well portrayed through them, and we appreciate the choice of performers here again and again – you see how Joju and Indrans make us feel, and the rest are following them so well, effectively. The visuals of the hospital are also nice, and songs with all the picturization makes us feel the emotions which are present at all times. The food also stays with us, and the focus in the same also contributes to the overall mood, which is surprisingly a happy one for most of its run, even though it is set in a hospital and there is the long wait for some risky surgeries going on throughout the film. You also see that this one basically maintains the balance between optimism and realism, unlike Jis Joy movies like Sunday Holiday, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum and Mohan Kumar Fans which have so much of optimistic attitude that one feels that there is too much of positivity in life which is not really there. Without the same, this one makes you feel the love, and you are into the emotions.

The performers of the soul :: The director here is blessed with a fantastic cast which anyone would wish to have in a work of drama. It is led by none other than Joju George, the man who touched our emotions the best, not with an emotional drama, but with an investigative thriller, Joseph – that was one turning point which still holds strong in our minds, and this drama holds strong with its emotional content, thanks to him more than anyone else. We have always known what he is capable of, and here is one more testimony to his skills. The combination of Joju George and Shruti Ramachandran is something to remember for long, as their relationship has a lot to take away in this tale of different relationships between many couples. Shruti Ramachandran was already there in the highly emotional drama, Kaanekkaane, which was another film which released in the same platform. This love story of the two over one biriyani and more food, is a thing of high quality and the flashback keeps us glued to the seats and in love. They also have some nicely visualized songs to support their cause – you also remember some simple, yet lovely dialogues.

Further performers of the soul :: After the Joju George and Shruti Ramachandran story, we have the other tale of husband and wife, with Arjun Ashokan and Nikhila Vimal playing the couple without that much of love, and with one mother standing in between them, leading to a possible divorce in future. Arjun Ashokan had the role of a lover in June which came from the same director and has no problems here, while Nikhila Vimal was last seen in the horror movie, The Priest. Her ability to deliver some natural performances were seen in two different roles in the movies Aravindante Athidhikal and Njan Prakashan, and she continues to establish herself as a leading actress with such roles. Even though this is the secondary love story, and is often rushed, raises itself with the performances of the two. Indrans has another touching performance to deliver here after Home, and this character also stays close to us. Jaffar Idukki, Jagadish and Lal also come up with some delightful performances, even though in smaller roles. Fahim Safar, Navas Vallikkunnu and Malavika Sreenath are also notable.

How it finishes :: The movie does have its surprises, but the intention here is to bring an emotional surprise rather than the usual one, and the director is successful in doing the same. There is emotional strength which is equal to, or at times even at a higher level than Kaanekkaane also of Sony LIV, for this movie is purely a relatable drama for many people, and it is about husband and wife relationship. The Tovino-Suraj starrer of the same platform had elements of a thriller, and therefore not relatable for all times, but when we look at Madhuram, its emotional intensity is of the common man’s soul. Well, the work that these OTT platforms have done to make our Christmas celebration better, is to be appreciated, for we have already had the greatest superhero film in India in Netflix, and this one is a collection of emotions, which we are to cherish. Well, with these movies being available everywhere in the online platform, you can give some credit to the Corona virus pandemic for bringing these national and international level of attention.

Release date: 24th December 2021 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Ahammed Khabeer
Starring: Joju George, Shruti Ramachandran, Nikhila Vimal, Arjun Ashokan, Lal, Indrans, Jagadish, Malavika Sreenath, Jaffar Idukki, Babu Jose, Sminu Sijo, Thirumala Ramachandran, Navas Vallikkunnu, Fahim Safar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kaaval

What is the movie about? :: Thamban Maathan (Suresh Gopi) and Antony Joseph (Renji Panikkar) used to be close friends for a long time, but now Antony is left alone at his home with his two children, Rachel Antony (Rachel David) and Alex Antony (Evan Anil). Antony’s health has been failing for a long time, and is troubled by those who had loaned them money, as well as some former adversaries. He wishes to get Rachel married as soon as possible, but it seems like an impossible task, as those who had provided them with money won’t allow that. The local SI Madhu K (Kichu Tellus) doesn’t care about what happens to Antony, as police has always held a grudge against him due to a few incidents which happened many years ago. They are only happy about Antony being at the receiving end of all these troublesome incidents. Head Constable Aravindakshan (Sadiq) is the only person who thinks otherwise, but is helpless. It is evident that the locals will also haunt their family in the name of their past.

So, what happens happens around here? :: Things would seem to go on as usual, but is only a matter of time until Thamban dies and the situation gets worse for Alex and Rachel. During their troublesome past, Thamban and Antony had been fighting against the local bigshot Kuzhiyil Chandy (Suresh Krishna), as well as the police officers SI Muralidharan (Sreejith Ravi) and PC KP Varghese (Shanker Ramakrishnan). Situation continues to go out of hand further, as the whole thing intensifies with retaliations happening all the time. Soon enough, Varghese is found dead, and it becomes a matter of self-respect for Muralidharan and the entire police force. But the cops won’t depend on themselves for the act, as there are many others who are looking to get back to the two. As the intensity of the rivalry increases, Antony is beaten up and has his leg amputated, while Thampan somehow manages to survive the attempt to murder him. Antony’s wife asks Thampan to go away and cause no further problems there, to which he agrees. But now, he will need to make the much needed comeback.

The defence of Kaaval :: When we talk about the movie, it is clear that it is dependent on Suresh Gopi to keep it going. The strength here is all focused on that core on which the structure is built. The movie seems to be made for him to play this character, one which is supposed to make a comeback as he himself is doing here. There are some moments to remember, and those are all related to him making that grand return. The movie also has most of its characters as evil, and it is basically the reality about our world – humanity’s degeneration has been shown to catch our attention, for these are the times when you just cannot trust people who choose to live on hatred towards their fellow creatures. There is also some fine twists to go in the end, and as the mystery is revealed, it is not something you have predicted, even though the same could have been revealed in a more interesting manner instead of just talking about it. The visuals are all beautiful, and one can only love this setting with greenery all around.

The claws of flaw :: The movie follows somewhat the usual pattern that was chosen a few years ago, and such a repetition can be seen as being followed here too. It also does drag, and this much of a length should have actually been avoided. The flashback here is also too weak and pretty much predictable, with a few weaknesses coming in there, as the same also ends rather quickly to let in the newer world. If the movie had released much earlier, its flaws would have been mostly forgiven. We are also predicting too much of the things around here, and that goes for even the dialogues. The strength of the movies like Ekalavyan, Commissioner, Lelam and Vazhunnor cannot be emulated even in a much smaller dose. The film also seems to have been in a hurry to end, as the final moments don’t do justice to all the build-up, for there were so many ways in which the movie could have ended, and none of them are taken. The quick end can now only be justified by a sequel, but one can have doubts about the same. Then there is also the burden of expectations.

The performers of the soul :: Kaaval is the film that marks the return of Suresh Gopi after the much awaited earlier return in Varane Avashyamund – that was not a comeback to his comfort zone though, but we did see the spark returning there. The film here has him returning to his usual style instead of the comic side which was prevailing in that movie which released last year. He has two other similar films coming up in the form of Ottakkomban and Paappan which seems to share the feeling which is not so far away – the two also seems to have more grandeur related to its scope. As we look around here, it is more or less the Suresh Gopi that we have loved to watch in the past – the years haven’t changed him related to what he has been doing doing for sure. Renji Panicker comes up with some fine combination with Suresh Gopi, and the two would have made a fine team if the film was released many years earlier, for the movie itself has elements which could link it to many years ago.

Further performers of the soul :: Rachel David plays the role of the daughter figure, and she has done the same in a convincing manner, with a much better role than what she had on her debut as the leading actress. Evan Anil, the brother of Drishyam‘s Esther Anil also plays one significant role here, which stays as notable. The two youngsters do show some promise, and it is not really that much of a surprise. Among the villains, Kichu Tellus does stay strong in comparison with the others, while Suresh Krishna’s character is dead too early. The film also has its own dose of surprise villains, as the twists related to them are there to be taken, and bring the surprise in the end. There are lots of known names around here, and they all play their parts well enough. You see Shanker Ramakrishnan, Sreejith Ravi, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Rajesh Sharma and others, all playing fine roles as part of the tale. This never goes short with actors and actresses.

How it finishes :: Kaaval doesn’t bring anything new, but does come up with some additions the memories of the past. It is an entertaining movie, even with some stretching in between. But some advancement according to a new world was surely required, for some innovation in the usual thing can always be taken. With a shorter run-time, and moving somewhat away from the older formula, this could have surely been much better. Even without the same, we can be happy with the grand return that Suresh Gopi has received, and be glad that we are reminded of those movies of the 1990s which we have cherished for so long. With the release on Netflix, we are also able to watch that at a time when the new variant of COVID-19 is threatening to close the theatres again and has us worried. During these troubling times, we are reminded of those Suresh Gopi movies which have entertained us with big action and heavy dialogues. Kaaval is a reminder, and something of that nostalgia that will live forever.

Release date: 27th December 2021 (Netflix), 25th November 2021 (India)
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Nithin Renji Panicker
Starring: Suresh Gopi, Rachel David, Renji Panicker, Evan Anil, Kichu Tellus, Kannan Rajan P Dev, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Muthumani, Sadiq, Sreejith Ravi, Suresh Krishna, Shanker Ramakrishnan, Rajesh Sharma, Pauly Valsan, Chali Pala, Baby Parvathy, Anjali Nair, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Santhakumari, Gilu Joseph, Aristo Suresh, Anitha Nair, Ambika Mohan, Aman Panicker, Jaise Jose, Ajmal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Suicide Squad

Vampire Owl: Do you remember watching the last Suicide Squad?

Vampire Bat: That was rather too long ago to remember.

Vampire Owl: There is never too long ago with superheroes.

Vampire Bat: These are the supervillains though.

Vampire Owl: We are now living at times when there is not much of a difference between the two. The borders have been blurred.

Vampire Bat: I would have some exceptions with these particular people though.

Vampire Owl: They are not really the ones we would like to have in the vampire realm.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that there cannot be a Vampire Suicide Squad with freaks.

Vampire Owl: An immortal squad for suicide? That cannot be.

Vampire Bat: Well, immortality can be ended with a well-planned suicide if you are good enough to do that.

[Gets a chicken cutlet and three glasses of chocolate shake].

What is the movie about? :: Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) gets a team known as Task Force X, also called The Suicide Squad – consists of prison inmates who agree to carry out extremely dangerous and often near impossible missions for her in exchange for lighter sentences. As they come up against their first mission, there are two teams, and from the first one, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is the only inmate who survies along with Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) who was leading the team. The second team is able to sneak in between, under the leadership of Bloodsport (Idris Elba), and supported by Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian), and Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior). They are now at a small South American island nation of Corto Maltese which had its autocratic government overthrown by an anti-American one. They have to destroy a Nazi-age laboratory which still holds a secretive experiment known as Project Starfish. It is supposed to be extra-terrestrial in nature.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: While Bloodsport and Peacemaker are expert marksmen, Ratcatcher controls rats. King Shark seems to be the strongest among them while Polka-Dot Man seems to be more of a distraction than anything else. King Shark almost eats Ratcatcher before being stopped by her pet rat, while Bloodsport and Peacemaker cannot get along at all, going on competing with each other instead of concentrating on the mission. Polka-Dot Man seems to be all lost in between. They find Flag among the rebel soldiers and Sol Soria (Alice Braga) who leads the soldiers agrees to assist them, so that their country could be free from military control, and also as part of vengeance. Harley Quinn who is caught by the government soldiers is taken to the palace, and she understands the new regime’s plan to destroy the other nations using Project Starfish. The team has to find The Thinker (Peter Capaldi) who is in charge of the operation before the situation gets any worse.

The defence of The Suicide Squad :: The colours and shades that we see in The Suicide Squad are beautiful, and it seems to be a quality which it has inherited from its predecessor. You can always keep your eyes on the screen, and be happy with what is seen on the background with settings that keep one interested. The visuals are all good, with the world looking beautiful. There are some fine action sequences in the final moments of the movie, and the use of humour works at times – the same is done best by Harley Quinn herself. The use of rats contribute nicely to make a visual spectacle, and the lights during the darkness nicely contribute to making the world better. The fights in the movie can be seen an worth one’s time. The action had also started much early, and there is not much time wasted with that. There is also scope for some fine sequels and spin-offs left in the end too. The stylish part stays strong too.

The claws of flaw :: The movie required a better human villain to keep things strong, but that cannot be seen around here. The villainy among the main characters also fall flat with not much being done with it. There was always something special to be done with a film like this, and better heroes could also make way here. The blood and gore is very much unlike the usual superhero films, but with its big extra-terrestrial antagonist, it chooses to go dumb in the looks and not scary, which is also strange. There is also no shortage of usual repetitions around here. With a fine premise, it losses so many opportunities which were there to be taken. The big iconic character, Harley Quinn, is also not used to the best advantage, as we know that she has always deserved more. Some of the humour here also feels dumb enough – the dark humour doesn’t work that effectively. This required to maintain its quality at all times, but we see that it has some regular ups and downs.

Performers of the soul :: Throughout the movie, one can surely see Margot Robbie dominating the proceedings again as Harley Quinn. There are moments which seems to be about her only, even though nothing matches what he did in the earlier Suicide Squad – the absence of Joker will always be the big missing point. The one tale that catches our attention the most is that of Daniela Melchior, who dominates the proceedings in a beautifully passive way. She is the one who deserves a possible spin-off among all the characters around here, something bigger and smarter than Birds of Prey. This is one character to which we are also emotionally attached, and this attachment is to stay, as long as the last rat is alive on this planet. There is a certain amount of cuteness in the psychotic beauty that is attached to everything about her. Idris Elba’s character is rock solid, while John Cena’s is just ridiculous. There is no strong villain among the performers either, even though there were so many signs in the earlier stages of the movie.

How it finishes :: The Suicide Squad is a journey down from the original Suicide Squad, which was poetic, and fun from the beginning to the end, and had a human antagonist worth fighting against, unlike what we have now. Even the characters or similar characters reflecting the first movie are not that good here, whether with the costumes or with the action. Yet, this movie also holds its ground, and manages to be better than DC’s superheroes coming together. When the team of villains do better than Justice League every time, one cannot wonder about the fact that the world is going with evil over goodness. The evil that we have seen in this world through the ages will only get worse, that is for sure. The Suicide Squad is a reminder of the same, and it makes another interesting film. Until DC gets the better superhero movies like Aquaman back here, you can always watch Minnal Murali, the first Malayalam superhero movie on Netflix, which gets the origins better than most of the others in style.

Release date: 24th December 2021 (Amazon); 5th August 2021 (USA)
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Margot Robbie, Daniela Melchior, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Minnal Murali

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with a drama, Pallikkunnile Punyalan, which takes place as part of a church festival, and the firecracker warehouse catches fire, leading to the death of many people in the village. Then we get to the happenings of the same riverside village at the present. Jaison (Tovino Thomas) is a tailor who is now running his father’s shop, and hopes to go to the United States at some point. He is in love with Bincy (Sneha Babu), but her father who is a police officer makes sure that he doesn’t meet her again. Bincy is also no longer interested in him, as her marriage is now fixed with a richer man, Aneesh (Jude Anthany Joseph). On an eventful day, two bolts of lightning strikes both Jaison and the waiter at the local tea shop Shibu (Guru Somasundaram). But both of them come out of the lightning strike without much of problems – small side-effects like cough and cold are there though, and even the doctor feels that they seem to be okay for some strange reason. Soon, the two will find out that the side-effects are not really what they though they would be. There is much more to what meets the eye with the recent incident, and it would take some time to figure things out.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Soon, the two people who were struck by lightning begin to discover their superpowers. While Shibu discovers them all by himself, Jaison is helped by his nephew Josemon (Vasisht Umesh), who is a big fan of the superhero comics. When his father Varkey (P Balachandran) is attacked by a police officer, Jaison decides to take the matters into his own hands and attack the police at a school festival. At the same time, Shibu robs a bank in the village, and the name which Jaison wrote on the wall, Minnal Murali is blamed for both the incidents. While both men were hit by lightning, their powers seem to vary though. While Shibu seems to control objects around him, Jaison seems to focus on his strength and speed, and former seems to have an upper hand when they meet on the road. Jaison’s newfound ally is Bijimol (Femina George) who runs a travel agency and martial arts coaching class, but they are not able to figure out the other person who is behind the crimes which are happening around. But for Shibu, it is not that difficult to find the other person with superpowers.

The defence of Minnal Murali :: This is one movie which looks really good, and world in which the whole metahuman battle is set, is a place which never ceases to have further scope. It is to be noted that the smaller parts of the movie are as interesting as the grand things which is seen and appreciated as usual part of a superhero film. The film also maintains a Shazam-like funny side, and even more at times, even though the comic side that we see here is stronger in comparison. It also boasts of some social commentary to go with it, and the message about loneliness and loss only gets stronger by the end. The emotional side is also strong enough to keep it going. This film happens in a place which is down to earth and real, and how the director manages that in between all of these so well is to be appreciated too. The final showdown is among the best that you can get, with a setting which makes you so much interested in it. There is also that fun fight before the interval, which is a joy to watch, living up to a festival mood. Then we also relate to the superhero so well, and that is always supposed to be the perfect first thing. There is no dumb superstar nonsense like hero and villain flying around with slow motion punches and kicks, for this one knows how to use its superhero strengths and not overdo the same.

Positives and negatives :: There was always a lot of expectations about this particular movie in comparison with the others. If you have seen the promos with The Great Khali and Yuvraj Singh, as well as the special Muthoot Ad, you know exactly how it was going so strong long before the release – there were also comic strips on the front page of newspapers, and today, the whole front page of some newspapers are dedicated to the film. The hype was surely high, and one can be glad that it has delivered so well – some usual superhero repetitions can still be seen, as we look at this one. The first few minutes of the film do go slowly though, and it could have been a shorter movie avoiding them, or of the same length with more action added to it. The possibility for a sequel is left behind in the end, and even though one wonders what can happen in a village like this, the chances are already shown. Even though the usual Avengers and Justice League’s superhero comparison would be there, I would compare this one more to an Indonesian movie, Gundala – there was lightning striking and a hero rising – but the focus was on the city in that case, and the situation was also different in another world which required separate treatment.

The performers of the soul :: After Kaanekkaane, Tovino Thomas has come up with another fantastic performance, but this time, of another kind, leaving nothing common in between – that one was a work of grand emotions, and this one, something of grandeur on the screen. His two films of 2020, Forensic and Kilometers and Kilometers were also not in any way similar to each other, as one crime thriller and a comedy drama. He has seen a lot of variety through the years, and we see how well he fit into the grand costume of a superhero too. Femina George adds to the heroines as another character to remember in her first work of grandeur. She plays the strong female lead with martial arts expertise, and will have more to do in the final moments of the film too. She is surely a talent for the future in Malayalam movie industry. Guru Somasundaram plays the villain with the strength that we expect from such a character, and even better than most of the superhero movies struggling with villain problems. He also has some emotional moments working so well for him. The grand battle between the two sides is what we keep waiting for, at all times – he excels during those final moments where the battle goes grand, and with a backstory of anger and anguish, is an excellently crafted antagonist with situations.

Further performers of the soul :: Vasisht Umesh has been the star of the promos, and serves as a kind of superhero trainer, as he brings a lot of light moments in the movie. He brings the most humour around here, and there are some fine cute moments with him around. Aju Varghese adds to the humour as usual, and he doesn’t deviate much from what he has been doing for long. Along with him, Rajesh Madhavan and Baiju Santhosh also play police roles of interest. Jude Anthany Joseph and Sneha Babu adds some humour in the beginning stages, but are not used that much – same is the case of Bijukuttan and Mammukoya who have become usual parts of Basil Joseph movies. Shelly Kishore also gets a role of substance after some time. Harisree Ashokan’s role here is rather serious, and we will remember this one too. The other name that we note here is of Azees Nedumangad from Star Magic fame – we see him in a small role here too. P Balachandran plays a father character here, with an emotional side. Almost all of these people contribute to the humour so well – the same works very nicely.

How it finishes :: Minnal Murali, even though is in possession of enough special effects for support, is not too dependent on the same like some of the other superhero stuff which has released in India. Instead, we have focus on the content, and that is where the movie scores heavily. We remember that the focus was all on Krrish as the sample superhero movie after Shaktimaan did the same thing a long time ago. But Krrish was basically taken out of Hollywood, and there is nothing new about it other than having so many things copied from English movies. But Minnal Murali takes it to a more natural world instead, and with a fine origin tale, has the flavour of Kerala in it – the absence of overrated nonsensical romance and related songs come as bonus too. The world is also a small one, and like the one we have witnessed before in Basil Joseph’s previous movie, Kunjiramayanam – it helps a lot to keep the hero close to our heart, as there is no need for the huge overdose of saving the world against all odds, as he saves the village and that is indeed enough. With a fine superhero created in a perfect environment, you are now ready for a franchise. You can now be sure that you are going to love it. MERRY CHRISTMAS! 🙂

Release date: 24th December 2021
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Basil Joseph
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Femina George, Vasisht Umesh, Guru Somasundaram, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sneha Babu, Aju Varghese, Shelly Kishore, P Balachandran, Bijukuttan, Harisree Asokan, Baij Santhosh, Basil Joseph, Roji P Kurian, Syam Cargoz, Mammukoya, Gibin Gopinath, Devi Chandana

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Come Play

Vampire Owl: Strange people calling us to play at this point of time. Why?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I think that they are the brain-repaired zombies.

Vampire Owl: So, zombies now have their brains repaired?

Vampire Bat: Yes, they manage the repair with the brains that they eat.

Vampire Owl: I am still not sure why they would want us to play with them though.

Vampire Bat: Well, they want our vampire brains for further repair.

Vampire Owl: In that case, I would tell them to find some of those evil humans.

Vampire Bat: Well, evil humans are easy to find. We can refer them directly.

Vampire Owl: Yes, almost every one among them qualifies as evil according to the definition.

Vampire Bat: Let the zombies and humans meet each other soon enough through the next viral apocalypse.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three glasses of oreo shake].

What is the movie about? :: Oliver (Azhy Robertson) is an autistic boy who cannot talk either, and uses a smartphone so that he can communicate with people. One night, he finds an app on his mobile named “Misunderstood Monsters” which talks about the story of a monster named Larry who is different, and therefore nobody wants to be his friend, even though the only thing that the creature wants is friendship. He does have his own episodes of screaming at night, and his mother Sarah (Gillian Jacobs) has some tough time with it. She also feels that her husband and the child’s father Marty (John Gallagher Jr) is just not doing enough for the troubled child, as he is almost always working. Oliver is troubled by his classmates who don’t like him as he gets special treatment due his disabilities. They also try bullying him, and also takes away his mobile phone, throwing it into the field near the school. At the same time, the relationship between Sarah and Marty only gets worse.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Sarah is not happy because she feels that Oliver only likes Marty, because he is the earning member of the family, and always brings the child the presents. As the tablet which Marty brought for him as a present identifies someone else with Oliver in the room with its face recognition software, there seems to be something wrong. The tablet actually starts talking to him using the same app which he was using to talk to others, and it identifies itself as Larry, who just wants to be a friend. As Marty who is bothered by Sarah’s talks finally decides to move out, the latter organizes a sleepover to help Oliver to become more social. But the chosen friends are the boys who had earlier bullied Oliver. Oliver hides the tablet as he is afraid of it, but the other boys find it, with a boy reading the story. It leads to Larry appearing, and things, as expected, can only get worse. But who would believe that Oliver is not responsible for all that is happening in house, and that there is a supernatural force at work?

The defence of Come Play :: There are some interesting scares added here and there in the movie, and some of them are more effective than the rest. The darkness and the sound effects are used well, as the visual effectiveness gets only better at the later stages of the film. The demon at work here is pretty good, and the idea that it can be seen in its original form through the tablet opens another dimension for horror very well. The idea of loneliness being spread through technology feels real, and as part of our present world. The demons from inside the technology – social media and the internet, mobile phones and laptops, they are all more real than ever. They might not be having an exact form these days, but they are present at all times, and even in the absence of the supernatural, the human evil shows its presence. Come Play’s monster can also be seen as a reflection of such evil humans, and the film also scores with a fine emotional side. It is not that easy to escape from such realistic monsters.

The claws of flaw :: Come Play could have added more effective creature horror rather than focusing more on those quick scares, and use of divergent creatures is nothing new, as we know from movies like Lights Out and It Follows. One does feel that something better could have been added with the creature detail, as better design only means the possibility of something better around here. With such a premise, it is not ready to take the risk, and that is surprising, because there was a lot that could be done with this particular monster. It could have gone beyond one family, and maybe it could have also had a background story – instead, we go for the safe zone with singular focus around here. An appearance of the monster at school, or at shops would have also been useful. The ending of the film also seems forced, and it doesn’t try to take a peek into the other dimension. All the build-up surely required more than this, as we look close here.

Performers of the soul :: Gillian Jacobs is very effective in becoming the motherly figure in a horror movie, and seemingly suiting the horror genre well. She is the one person who is there throughout the film as a mother who tries to understand, and is also the kind of person who would suit a horror film with younger cast, as she looks very much young. She does shine as the mother who has made some mistakes in the past, but does love her child and is ready to make all the sacrifices for him, as she also gets certain emotional moments which are of quality. John Gallagher Jr joins as the father figure well enough too. There are some moments for him too, especially with the creature making it to him. Azhy Robertson plays the child in trouble well, and Winslow Fegley plays his friend without much trouble. Some good performances from children also means that the horror story has better strength. The monster here is a fine performer all by himself, but a creature of electricity is surely capable of more – maybe the creature required a face too.

How it finishes :: Come Play might be a lesser known horror film in comparison to others, but is one effective work anyway. When children are involved, and when there is a monster from another dimension trying to come in through technology, one knows that this cannot be of lesser horror, especially with so many more people getting into technology due to the Corona virus pandemic and the related lock-down, work from home, schooling from home and more. Another film, Chathur Mukham has also dealt with the same thing, in Malayalam. Demons as part of technology can only get worse – we have watched Pretham and its sequel too. Let us have as many monsters are we need, because humans and the one virus spreading all over the world has made it much worse for the world. At least these monsters stick to a routine, but not those whom we see in real life. If you are looking for a similar movie with children and demons, you might also want to watch the Spanish film, Don’t Listen and the Korean one, The Closet.

Release date: 30th October 2020
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Jacob Chase
Starring: Gillian Jacobs, John Gallagher Jr, Azhy Robertson, Winslow Fegley, Rachel Wilson, Jayden Marine as Mateo, Gavin MacIver-Wright, Eboni Booth, Dalmar Abuzeid

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Girl

Vampire Owl: I can feel the presence of something divergent here.

Vampire Bat: The divergence of humans are mostly foolish though.

Vampire Owl: The foolishness of humanity has brought the world to this situation.

Vampire Bat: And also their greed and hatred which know no bounds.

Vampire Owl: Can we trust the humans related to anything?

Vampire Bat: About cheating and murdering others of their kind, for sure.

Vampire Owl: When was the last time you met a good human being?

Vampire Bat: They don’t really have angelic creatures out there.

Vampire Owl: Angels have become myths everywhere.

Vampire Bat: There are no myths that have not becoming reality at some point of time, at least in this particular realm.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three glasses of pista shake].

What is the movie about? :: A young lady known only by the name Girl (Bella Thorne) returns to her small hometown after a long time. She does have the feeling that something is not right there, and she actually came there with the intention of murdering her abusive father. He had earlier written a letter to her mother, threatening to kill the middle-aged lady, and Girl hopes to set things right, as she goes to the village with hatchet in her possession. Even though her mother knows the address of her father, she doesn’t give her the same, telling her that she doesn’t really need to know it. But that doesn’t stop Girl from looking for the person everywhere. She manages to keep a doubting sheriff away, and also keeps the people at a bar further away from her while finding the address of her father in the phonebook at the place. But, much to her shock, she finds her father already murdered. She tries to report the murder to the sheriff, but is able to connect nobody with her mobile phone. There seems to be no range more mobile phones anywhere in the small town out there.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She is finally able to connect to her mother from the bar in the town, and inform her about the death – she only wishes her daughter to come back home, but Girl really wants to know who killed her father, as she considered it to be her duty to commit the murder. She continues to try and find the sheriff, but there is nothing good coming out of the same, as he never really appears anywhere, not in his office, bar or the church. When she finally finds the person, things are not like she had imagined. The death of her father has something more than what she thought, and there is a mystery related to the last letter which he had sent to her mother. There is a lot of money also related to the same. They tie her up and threaten to torture her until she reveals where the money is, but it turns out that she didn’t have any idea that there was any money involved with her parents. They wouldn’t believe the fact that she came there to kill her father, and has no idea about him having any money with him.

The defence of Girl :: There is a certain amount of deviation related to how things go on around here, and it is not your usual kind of film which has the female looking for vengeance for an abusive father for her mother, as it would feel in the beginning stages. There is more to the film than what meets the eye, and there are some twists in waiting here. We feel that there is something about Bella Thorne with a hatchet, and that suits an image like nothing else, even though there are not that many action scenes around here related to that. A determined lady with a hatchet in her hands can make you believe in the scope here. She is more or less like Jamie Bernadette in I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu, not with the particular details, but with the determination on her face. The atmosphere created by the small town is really good, even though we were always looking for more related to that. The film successfully brings the feeling of a hidden danger at parts of this particular world which is visually beautiful with scenery, but has more.

The claws of flaw :: The film here is just too slow to become a thriller, as picking up the pace seems to be difficult for the flick at all times. Even when there were many different chances to speed up at different intervals, the movie doesn’t really take them. Drama takes over the thrilling side at too many occasions, but on many occasions, we would have preferred it to be the other way around. Even with its twists, it takes some predictable turns in between, and that wouldn’t have been expected with a film like this. There could have been more action around here, with more fighting, chasing and maybe even more murders in the countryside, for the setting could have added to that well enough. This is the kind of a small, remote town which could have more secrets to reveal, and more mysteries to bring to light than this. The violence could have also been smarter, not with too much gore, but done in a balanced way, but here, it just goes off and misses out on scope.

Performers of the soul :: Bella Thorne is the Girl here, and without a name for her character, there is the feeling of something special being about her – she does the job really well here too. The determination and a certain about of fury that is within the character is nicely portrayed by her, and one would surely love to see her in a horror movie at some point of time. She excels at the simple fight scenes, with a hatchet in her hands, from the laundry to the final outdoor fights. The Girl portrayed here is surely different from anyone whom we have seen in a leading role, looking at the past. She gets mystery unveiled all by herself, and Bella Thorne proves to be brilliant in what she does here. Chad Faust and Mickey Rourke makes pretty good villains out here, but they are not used to be the best advantage, as we see a lot more of scope related to them, with chances of being terrifying menace being laid down there. Elizabeth Saunders has only a small appearance, while Lanette Ware is more memorable here. Glen Gould also leaves a little bit of something to remember.

How it finishes :: Girl can feel like a slow movie for many, as it does get into action late, and doesn’t speed up even when the twists and thrills come up, and yet, it is a pretty good drama and thrills mix which can be watched mostly due to Bella Thorne, the leading lady who has done a remarkable job. This is all about her, and we follow her into a world which is not that familiar, unless we are in a horror movie. Even though slow moving thrillers with elements of drama are not that preferred, we have had movies like Ivide and Ranam doing some good job here too. Movies like these are not to be avoided for their slower pace, but are to be appreciated for how well they have gone through the same, and managed to come out strong. You take the French thriller The Swarm, Norwegian thriller Lake of Death or the Spanish thriller The Paramedic – you see that they do their jobs, even at such slow pace. Well, we need our thrillers to go through all paths, especially the less traveled ones.

Release date: 20th November 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Chad Faust
Starring: Bella Thorne, Chad Faust, Elizabeth Saunders, Lanette Ware, Mickey Rourke, Glen Gould

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sacrifice

Vampire Owl: Vampires have always been against sacrifices.

Vampire Bat: Yes, sacrifices are now limited to the Northern Witches.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the Draconians don’t do sacrifices anymore.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it has been an outlawed practice throughout the realm.

Vampire Owl: Yet, they didn’t officially declare it so. Illegal sacrifices are still happening.

Vampire Bat: The Land of the Vampires shall have no part of it.

Vampire Owl: They even put up some posters inviting vampires for blood moon sacrifices.

Vampire Bat: We never accept the invitations of the Northern Witches. I am sure that they are completely aware of that.

Vampire Owl: You still cannot blame them for trying so hard.

Vampire Bat: The borders have been left open for too long these days. We need to have some control there.

[Gets some tapioca chips and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: Isaac Pickman (Ludovic Hughes) and his pregnant wife Emma Pickman (Sophie Stevens) travel to a remote island which is part of Norway, all the way from United States of America. After his mother’s death, he is hoping to claim a surprise inheritance which has come to his attention. The place is extremely beautiful, and there is so much of lovely scenery around. It would have been a perfect tourist destination for anyone from any part of the world, and also a great eco-tourism holiday. The home is also located by the same of a charming lake, which gives the feeling of being in a magical world. Some of the paintings at home seem to bring something back to the memories of Isaac, as they go on living as normal as they can. The locals don’t seem to like the British who manipulated the Nordic language and the Americans who claim that Christopher Colombus discovered America. They come up against a fight which Isaac seems to lose miserably, but when they realize that Isaac is from around there, they turn rather friendly.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: They also meet Renate Nygard (Barbara Crampton) who is the local sheriff – she wants to know about his father and his murder on that night when Isaac left Norway for the United States of America. Isaac understands that the police feels that his mother murdered his father, and lied to him that he had left him as he found a new family. The sheriff provides some updates about Isaac’s family after calling them for supper – they also come up against Astrid Nygard (Johanna Adde Dahl), the sheriff’s beautiful daughter. As they make their seemingly vacation-like visit, the couple discover some dark secrets which are related to the family. Then the sinister events that happen around there have other directions to follow. This seemingly charming trip turns into a nightmare without warning as Isaac and his wife comes across a secret pagan cult that worships a deity based on the sea and its waters. Astrid’s brainwashing of Isaac only makes things worse. Emma understands soon enough that the people have something more to provide than what meets the eye.

The defence of Sacrifice :: What catches our attention the most around here is the visuals, as the natural beauty is almost everywhere, from the smallest detail to a world of nature’s visual splendour – add a few beautiful people around to go with the same, among which Johanna Adde Dahl stands apart, and has her moments rising out of a lake which would have been iconic in cinema if this film was more popular. Along with the usual things of beauty, these moments from her might be the creepiest thing of beauty like nothing else that we see – one would also wonder here, whether she is of this world or a human manifestation of an ancient demon, as she appears with the northern lights from the freezing waters of the lake, naked and with only a few words of mystery. There are mysteries that runs through the movie, and it also has some scares going on with it, mostly related to the location itself, and related to the waters that surround the water and imprison its people. The mystery here does live on, and doesn’t depend on the ending to provide that usual conclusion.

Positives and negatives :: The movie might feel slow, and a little bit predictable at the final moments, but the slow descend towards horror is not to be considered a negative. Just like the film Castle Freak and the direct adaptation Color Out of Space, this is also closer to the definition of Lovecraftian horror which focuses on the incomprehensible and the unknowable. Even though there might be some shock and gore added to the newer films which take these features, this one is without them. Our movie here thrives on the mystery, as we don’t know what is real and what is not, for there are so many dreams and nightmares around here, with the cult not really showing what it is really about, and what Johanna Adde Dahl is all about, whether she is a figment of one’s imagination or a human representation of the goddess that they worship. It doesn’t have much of the special effects to go with it, and also hesitates to have that huge an ending, but it leaves the scope for a sequel, and we can always hope for the Lovecraftian world to find new life in everything around.

Performers of the soul :: Sophie Stevens does a great job as the pregnant woman who is caught among things that she doesn’t seem to be able understand. She is the only one who feels that there is something strange around there, and the feeling of being alone in a terrifying world. There is fear and helplessness being portrayed, after the beauty and bliss earlier. Ludovic Hughes’ descend into madness is also portrayed well, as it is an even better performance from him in the final stages of the movie. Barbara Crampton remains solid throughout the movie as one character who seems to know almost everything, and also does decide most of the things around there. Johanna Adde Dahl has our attention more than anyone else, even with very less dialogues spoken – the creepy beauty that she brings makes sure that there is something terribly divergent about the movie, as she her appearance out of the lake is one of the most magical moments in the film, unclothed and supported by the magical aura of the nothern lights, with the scope to be iconic if the movie gets more popularity later. She has her dialogues only then, and they enchanting as much as creepy in nature.

How it finishes :: Sacrifice is a surprisingly interesting film as you look at it, and the same suits more than just the genre of thriller. Brought into a Lovecraftian world, it is your need to understand this kind of a thriller, horror or drama, and what kind of a universe it would be depending on. For those who are looking for usual horror and thrills might not be that happy about it, but that is indeed a problem with their understanding, with expectations for a usual Annabelle, The Nun, The Conjuring, Sinister or Insidious. This film is much more than that, as it transports us to this particular world which boasts of both beauty and creepiness – the strange universe is something that we can cherish, with a few things to keep us guessing. After all, such an isolated world might be completely free from Corona virus and certainly free from its newly formed mutation which threatens to conquer the world again, Omicron. As we fear more pandemic induced lock-downs, keep looking out for some good films while you can. Christmas is on its way, and as the grand celebrations arrive, you stay safe.

Release date: 22nd October 2020
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Andy Collier, Tor Mian
Starring: Barbara Crampton, Sophie Stevens, Ludovic Hughes, Lukas Loughran, Johanna Adde Dahl, Jack Kristiansen, Erik Lundin, Dag Soerlie, Ingeborg Mork Haskjold, Edwin Roseth-Oye, Annika Josefine Stromblad, Balder Bjorke

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Curse of Audrey Earnshaw

Vampire Owl: I think that I have met this girl before.

Vampire Bat: No, she is not the witch who cursed you last year.

Vampire Owl: How can you be so sure? She had the same expressions.

Vampire Bat: The witches can be confusing with their looks.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that they alter their appearances very often.

Vampire Bat: Yes, many more times than we do in a human city.

Vampire Owl: Yet, we can see through them, can’t we?

Vampire Bat: We are not immune to all kinds of magic.

Vampire Owl: We are still immune to dark magic.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but not all kind of dark magic. Some witches practice the darkest of magic, and we are often not strong enough to resist the same.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three glasses of Vanilla shake].

What is the movie about? :: During the times when there were more and more settlements in North America, a group of families decided to separate from the Church of England, leading to the establishment of an isolated settlement, further away from the rest in the continent. Years passed, the the World Wars broke out, and science had the advantage over religion, with unrestricted expansions, but the villagers of this particular settlement kept their old ways of life alive. Later, in the year 1956, a strange phenomenon, which came to be known as the eclipse, a kind of pestilence spread throughout the settlement and its surroundings, poisoning the land and also corrupting the livestock. The only exception was the land belonging to one woman, Agatha Earnshaw (Catherine Walker), and he was suspected of heresy. She also gave birth to a girl child during the eclipse, but kept the child as a secret from the villagers who kept looking at her with suspecting eyes.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The community has kept struggling without hope, and with a feeling that God abandoned them, and that there is no future for them, as the time shifts the 1973 – not many things have changed for this particular village far away from civilization. Agatha continues to live separated from everyone with her daughter who has now grown up, and yet remains hidden from the eyes of others. She tells Audrey that anyone who tries to come to their place is a villain, and that everyone in the village wishes to steal young girls like her. The villagers continue to despise her as she still has a great harvest all for herself, and is not ready to help even those who have been starving for days and close to death. Colm Dwyer (Jared Abrahamson) and Hannah Bridget Dwyer (Emily Anderson) are further angry about her as they lost their child for some illness, and lack of food comes naturally with the life. Everyone knows that there is a curse going on, and soon, they will have to take another step to change their lives.

The defence of The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw :: The film thrives on its atmosphere, which has so much in store with a setting which is established nicely with an initial writing about the premise – the first scene surely sets the mood, and the visuals nicely contributes to the same, as it does raise our expectations by quite some distance. If the story could have explained all the happenings better, the atmosphere could have elevated this one in the blink of an eye. There is the presence of blood and gore, but the same is not that much justified as we look at them. The main character does have the looks which are required, and there is always the feeling of having more than what meets the eye soon enough. We have seen films like The Witch, and so we are expecting something similar around here too, as the evil creatures of the night, from vampires and werewolves to zombies and demons, we are also interested in the witches to make the horror runs strong into a world of escapism that we always need.

The claws of flaw :: The real-life curse for the movie lies in the ending here. It doesn’t seem to know how to finish everything after building up all these. Running towards confusion is not what one would want with a film like this one. Finally, you are wondering what has actually happened, and there is always something wrong with the titular character, and it is not just the usual kind of wrong, but more, in a complicated manner. The movie is also really slow, and in between, there are scenes which don’t seem to make much of a sense, and we are always looking for some big terrifying sequence with sorcery to happen, but that is not there to be taken. There are no real witch-like gathering or frightening events happening in there, and due to the same, the movie has less strength as a horror movie, as it focuses on being a slow thriller. There were so many paths for this movie to follow, and none of them are taken, which brings some disappointment around here, as we don’t really get what we were expecting at all.

Performers of the soul :: Jessica Reynolds as Audrey Earnshaw is the young lady who is the reason for almost everything around here to happen – she has that kind of a look which would serve a witch, supported by the expressions and even movements. She has taken on the character which is a little bit too complex and strange, but managed to work with that well enough. She also has that stare that a witch would require, and her violence is unparalleled just like her curses. Catherine Walker as Agatha Earnshaw plays the mother, and she also remains as strange she can get, staying close to the character with the possible mysteries. Jared Abrahamson plays the role which is closest to a leading man, but he doesn’t really get much of a screen space either. Hannah Emily Anderson plays his wife, and that is done pretty well too. Sean McGinley adds well to the characters of interest in the movie, and so does Don McKellar, and later Geraldine O’Rawe. There are others who are just part of the world, and has something or the other to do at some occasions.

How it finishes :: There have always been something about the tales of witches in worlds created in any village far away from civilization, and with strange curses being felt all around. This one is no exception, even though it doesn’t make the best use of its resources, not living up to the strength that it displays in the beginning, and progressing to the end without enough of the explanations. You know that this movie was capable for much more, but we take this dark and disturbing story as it is, and enjoy is as much as we can, without that much expectations in horror. These movies serve as a reminder to how the world of strange beliefs have been, and how we have not become better people with science taking over – we are just the same if not worse, even without the supernatural, evil, distrustful and full of hate. We all have the devil in more people these days, and humanity’s lack of conscience has made the present world a worse place to live in than those days when people at least feared and revered God. Beware of the people around you more than the witches.

Release date: 2nd October 2020
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Thomas Robert Lee
Starring: Catherine Walker, Jessica Reynolds, Jared Abrahamson, Sean McGinley, Geraldine O’Rawe, Don McKellar

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Conjuring 3

Vampire Owl: We have missed The Conjuring series so much.

Vampire Bat: Yes, La Llorna, Nun and Annabelle couldn’t serve enough.

Vampire Owl: Well, the original will always rise above the spinoffs.

Vampire Bat: Most of the time, I would agree to the same.

Vampire Owl: You are trying to focus on the possible exceptions for too long.

Vampire Bat: We have to look at the exceptions too, as they are also present.

Vampire Owl: I would focus on the righteous horror that this franchise brings.

Vampire Bat: Yes, that will remain our primary focus at all times.

Vampire Owl: I also suggest the use of one vampire character in the franchise.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that won’t be need, with so many demons and ghosts wandering around in this particular universe.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three glasses of chocolate shake].

What is the movie about? :: In the year 1981, the expert demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are documenting the exorcism of 8-year-old David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard), with his family being present there. His sister Debbie (Sarah Catherine Hook), her boyfriend Arne Johnson (Ruairi O’Connor), and Father Gordon (Steve Coulter) are the others present there, as the process unfold in Brookfield, Connecticut. During the process of exorcism, Arne calls the demon a coward and asks it to enter his body instead of David’s. Despite being warned not to talk to it, he has the demon interested here with his talks. Ed sees that the demon transport itself from David’s body to Arne’s, but suffers a heart attack due to the violent demonic attack, and is taken to the hospital. This particular exorcism was meant to end months of torment of David, but for Arne, it was just the beginning of a long period of torture. Arne and Sarah seem to be having perfect life, but not everything is that perfect with them. The two are in love, and Arne is close to proposing, but their life is no longer about just that and work.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Ed takes about a month to wake up, and it turns out that only he saw that the demon entered the body of Arnie. Then the first ever murder in 193 years history of that town occurs, as Arnie murders the landlord of the apartments with 22 stabs. Lorraine does call the police, but the cops arrive there late, and can only find Arnie covered in the blood of the victim, and holding the murder weapon that belonged to him, with his fingerprints all over it. The lawyer doesn’t think that there is any hope for Arnie to escape in the name of demonic possession, but she is convinced by the Warrens. Still, fighting the first American murder trial to defend using demonic possession, the Warrens are not sure where the demon has now gone. There is no trace of any such demon on Arnie, as he is able to read from the Holy Bible and use the Holy Cross without any difficulty. This means that there is the need to be find the source of all these which started with one child’s possession. What all secrets do that hold? Are they good enough to save Arnie from death sentence?

The defence of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It :: With the initial plans on exorcism, we know that the movie is really serious here, as it gets into action very soon – it is as if the demons cannot wait, and we also get into that horror mood with it, as we are led with the fine beginning. The demon is about seriousness from the beginning itself. There are the secrets to be discovered about an occult, and the effective use of darkness, sound effects and quick scares continue to be present as any other film of the genre would possess too. There is some deviation from the usual demons which are seen around, and some fine visual treats are arranged not just with the locations of the time, but also with the use of lighting in the darkness. The footsteps in the darkness and the effective music nicely play part in this one. The case that the film deals with, is also interesting in its own way, and one would have to keep thinking about the possibilities of such a thing happening, even though evil humans are always possible of a lot of things. What would happen when an evil human is possessed by an evil spirit?

Positive and negatives :: We are already a little too much familiar with this world of The Conjuring, and we see things which have been used many times before with the franchise, as well as the spin-offs – the demons are not really the strangers that we knew them to be. The demons should surely have required an update, after all these years, it is only appropriate for them to get their own upgrades at least with science and technology developing. You can see many possibilities here, and some of them are lost, even though the basic elements of the franchise do remain similar in nature. We have all been fond of these portrayal of evil spirits, and there is no real harm in asking for more every time. Well, the demons deliver better than humans, that is for sure, and the same is ascertained by the end of the film, as promises are better kept by the forces from the other world. The ending could have been a spectacle though, and this one came so close to it in moments, but the film doesn’t become that grand a thing with its final scenes.

Performers of the soul :: Patrick Wilson is someone whom we have seen on many occasions on the big screen, unlike the other actors and actresses who have consistently acted in horror films. Insidious has already seen him in there as part of the other successful horror franchise, and he has been the villain in Aquaman, but nothing to remember him like his role in this particular franchise. He continues to do what he has been doing the best here too. He seems to have seen more superpowers and supernatural in his work in Hollywood than anybody else, and we can be sure that more is to come from this franchise for him. Vera Farmiga surely has more work to do as far as the unveiling the mysteries of this particular paranormal investigation is concerned, and she continues her work as she was doing in the earlier parts of the franchise. Sarah Catherine Hook plays the loving and supportive girlfriend in an appreciable manner – the kind of lover who never gives up against any adversity, as sweet as you can get. Ruairi O’Connor plays the possessed with a certain amount of skill too, while Eugenie Bondurant is as pure evil as you can get here.

How it finishes :: When you have another film from The Conjuring franchise, you just get ready to watch it without thinking twice, and I am sure that most of us did the same, and have landed on this particular flick. We are all fans of that one great franchise which has found no parallels, especially with more and more spin-offs added to it, all of which having the scope to develop as separate tales of demons. It might seem that people are losing their fears for demons due to the rise in the number of demon-like humans who have infected our world with lies and hatred, not holding back in cheating people or taking a life. Then there is also the Corona virus which has shaken some people’s faith in God as well as the fear of Devil. But we just cannot ignore the presence of the supernatural, at least in the movies, for the presence of evil is always there, and it is always feels better to blame it on something else, when humanity itself is the biggest representation of the demons. After all, our trust on humans can only be as much as our trust on demons.

Release date: 15th December 2021 (Amazon); 13th August 2021 (India)
Running time: 112 minutes
Directed by: Michael Chaves
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, Eugenie Bondurant, John Noble, Snannon Kook, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Keith Arthur Bolden, Keith Arthur, Vince Pisani, Ingrid Bisu, Andrea Andrade, Ashley LeConte Campbell, Sterling, Jerins, Paul Wilson, Charlene Amoia, Davis Osborne, Mark Rowe, Stella Doyle, Jay Peterson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Konda Polam

Vampire Owl: So, we continue to go through films of different languages.

Vampire Bat: The second Telugu film to be at this website.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but Drushyam 2 was basically something we knew so well already.

Vampire Bat: The reflection of Drishyam 2, as we see them.

Vampire Owl: This is a fine thing brought about by the Corona virus.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the release of films in Amazon Prime Video is more certain now.

Vampire Owl: The rise of OTT was only a matter of time.

Vampire Bat: The world has changed with entertainment too.

Vampire Owl: Yet, humans remains the same, as evil as they can.

Vampire Bat: They were able to find more evil from the OTT platforms, as they were not ready for it.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three glasses of chocolate shake].

What is the movie about? :: Kataru Ravindranath (Panja Vaisshnav Tej) is someone from a remote village who has passed the civil service exams with top marks, and the same comes as a surprise to those who conducted the interview. He is also able to answer their questions with a lot of clarity, which leads to the interviewers to ask about him and why he had chosen Indian Forest Service when he could have taken the higher options of Indian Administrative Service or Indian Police Service. He is ready to tell his story, and it is about him and his father who are from a family of shepherds. Everyone around him are much bothered as he hasn’t got any job even after studying so much, unlike everyone else in the village. But after staying in the city for such a long time, he remains jobless. The village has been facing a drought for a long time, and he is forced to take the sheep far away in search of green pastures to feed the sheep and find drinking water. He feels that saving the sheep can prove as a blessing and remove the troubles which he has been facing in his life.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Obulamma (Rakul Preet Singh) who is an expert shepherd is another person to join the team, also provides some guidance to him, as they go through the journey, but remains afraid of tigers, especially one which is supposed to have hunted the sheep all the time. They might also have to come up against possible thieves and wolves on the way. He remains afraid of the situation, but hesitates to go back despite his father asking him to return, as he should continue to search for job, while others mock him. They come across the sheep thieves quick enough, and they also find that there are bigger thieves who are there to cut the valuable trees illegally. At the same time, they also face the problems of having only limited food and other other supplies. It wouldn’t take them much time to come across a tiger, and their abilities for survival are to be questioned soon enough. He feels that he was afraid of interviews as much as he was afraid of the tiger and the wilderness. But during the journey, he would have to start facing his fears, but it wouldn’t be that easy.

The defence of Konda Polam :: We do feel that there is something about this particular film, from the beginning itself, as the starting moments have some certain focus. The visuals are really good, with focus in the village and the forests, and also has a good number of actors and actresses playing the villagers doing a fine job. With an inspirational theme at the core, one can be glad that Amazon Prime Video did buy the film and brought it to us, as there is no other way for us to watch Telugu films around here. After watching Drushyam 2, I definitely wanted to add more to the list, and this one makes the time worth it. The movie inspires to face one’s fears, and there are many genuine people who fail to get a job in comparison with others who fake themselves during an interview. The rest gets their job due to reservation. So, what would the common righteous man in general category do? Well, one has to fight and fight harder every time. For the same, the film serves as an inspiration, and it also has a message in support of nature, as well as some action and thrills to go with it in this particular adventure.

The claws of flaw :: The usual kind of songs do come in between to bring the unnecessary break which is often considered natural, but they are not, during this time period. There are some moments which take the film a little bit forward than needed, and some of the repeated romance do have some negative effect around here. The romantic side surely could have been there all the time, but in the background instead of showing up all the time. The movie is also a little bit too long with this particular content. The movie would have served better if the intent was more visible earlier. There was not the need to go to the top, as an inspired person getting some other job which the common people go for, was fine enough, as we always need the dreams that we can pursue, like Mili did – not all of us can dream that big. The top scorer at the top of the world idea seems to be more or less of an idea to give those who are looking for mass moments something to cheer for but, this could have gone for a more realistic idea with that. Well, too much inspiration can be often disappointing, and it also means an unreal thought process.

Performers of the soul :: Panja Vaisshnav Tej plays someone who goes through the struggle that most of the youngsters face in the city, and also another struggle in the forest. The movie is more or less the bildungsroman, the coming of age story of his character, which he manages well. The problem is only with this being too steep a climb, making a few things rather unrealistic, and forcing people to dream too big at a time when the world is not kind to people who take the risks. The world is actually worse than a few people in a village asking a young man why he is not having any job yet. Rakul Preet Singh is lovely in this role, and she goes through the movie as a natural, happy girl who is close to the sheep. The only other person in the movie whom I know about is Nassar, who interviews the protagonist for the civil service. But it is to be noted that most of the actors and actresses who play the villagers do some fine job, especially the one who plays the protagonist’s father. The comic side still serves as the weakness for the characters, but as a whole, it can be left aside.

How it finishes :: We have seen the tiger fight with Pulimurugan, and that episode of this tale is not something we are not familiar with. There is the difference here though, as the focus goes divergent, but there are some effective elements related to that, reminding one also of the eco-friendly Malayalam movie, Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi. Even though this movie also has a similar message about nature and conservation of environment, it is also about facing one’s fears and takes it to the next level, a little too much, maybe. We can note that with the resources, they have surely managed this one well enough. With moments of glory also in store, the film gains advantage quick enough, even though not all motivation is realistic. In one way or the other, it is an inspirational movie which races towards that one goal, which completely focuses on facing one’s fears by the end. You can see that by avoiding a few elements which deviate, with some elements being the common ones, and here is a movie which doesn’t hold back in the end.

Release date: 7th December 2021 (Amazon); 8th October 2021 (Theatre)
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Krish Jagarlamudi
Starring: Panja Vaisshnav Tej, Rakul Preet Singh, Sai Chand, Kota Srinivasa Rao, Nassar, Annapurna, Hema, Anthony. Ravi Prakash, Syamala, Pranitha, Mahesh Vitta, Racha Ravi, Ashok Vardhan, Anand Vihari

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Pale Door

Vampire Owl: How pale is the door?

Vampire Bat: It cannot be that pale as the door to Uncle Dracula’s door.

Vampire Owl: It won’t be as pale as life itself.

Vampire Bat: Life will get better after Corona virus ends.

Vampire Owl: There is no life after COVID-19 ends.

Vampire Bat: How can you be so sure about?

Vampire Owl: The world has now become more evil, you know that.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but that is related to the humans only.

Vampire Owl: The realms are going to collide at some point of time.

Vampire Bat: When they do, we will be ready to face the evil humans and their weapons including hatred and fear.

[Gets some French fries and three glasses of pista shake].

What is the movie about? :: One day, a home is raided by a gang of thieves who are heavily armed. Two children survive the terrifying incident, while the parents are shot dead. The house is also burnt down, but the two boys decide to move on with the help of an acquaintance. The younger of the two brothers, Jake (Devin Druid) is working in a saloon, while Duncan (Zachary Knighton), the elder brother is leading the Dalton gang, a group of robbers who come up with some big heists all the time. When one their gang members die in a gang fight, they are in need of more manpower for a train heist which might be the best of their career. Even though Duncan is not sure about allowing his younger brother to involved in anything related to guns, Jake doesn’t back down, and the gang finally decides to take him because of the urgent requirement. They find the train heist to quite an easy job, and they find the chest which was being guarded there, and manage to escape with the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Instead of finding any gold or money in the chest, they end up finding a young lady tied up inside. The girl introduces herself as Pearl (Natasha Bassett), and tells them that her home is in Potemkin, from where she was taken by these people. She also promises them some fine reward if they take her home. As the gang also wants to have some treatment for the wounded Duncan, they decide to go to her town which is closer than the rest of the civilization. As they reach the town, they try to find a doctor first, but there is nothing in the place, but woods with one small cottage in between, much to their dismay. Pearl does offer them help, as they are forced to follow her deep into the woods, and she tells them that they live in a brothel. As they are welcomed at the brothel by the one who seems to be their leader, Maria (Melora Walters) also promises that they will have the reward soon enough. But soon they realize that there is something different about this brothel, and they won’t really like that.

The defence of The Pale Door :: The movie does have a lot of action with the gun shots, and the witches are also there, which makes this a divergent type of film in comparison to those usual films which have one of these. The transform between the western heist and the world of magic and witchcraft is nicely done with the surprise working well. The message of evil being present at all times, and the final moments after building the atmosphere works pretty well, even though it doesn’t become a full horror movie at any moment as expected. There are moments which come back to the main characters as revelations about the past, and the setting within the forest brings the need for being frightened, in a strong enough manner. Placing the outlaws against the witches is a pretty good idea, as we look at it, and can also have an extended version of the same in a sequel, as the latter can go on forever, and be back for more innocent blood to sustain them. A successful mixing of these genres is exactly what has helped around here.

The claws of flaw :: The problem with this film is that it is too slow for our liking, and there are more dialogues than action on many different occasions. The movie is also really slow to go through its problems, and the beginning moments have too many scenes which keep on dragging the film until we reach the much needed action. Even though the witches are shown in their true forms, there could have been more especially related to one of them bathing in the blood of the victims, a moment that reminds of the ancient legends. The moment required an extended version, and also the hunting which the witches come up with. Just like the vampires, the witches are always capable of more, and this one doesn’t touch those abilities enough around here. The idea of witchcraft always have enough strength to rise as strong as the vampires and zombies who have ruled the world of cinema for quite a long time, and this time, they don’t go for where the strength lies the most – instead, the safe side seems to have more of an attention than anything else.

Performers of the soul :: Devin Druid as Jake and Zachary Knighton as Duncan are given importance in brotherly bond, but beyond that, they don’t work that much within limitations. Stan Shaw as Lester makes a strong impact among the group in comparison. Bill Sage and Pat Healy are fine in what they do. Melora Walters does make a fine witch with a mission here, and there is the past that is related to her, and works fine enough. Natasha Bassett makes a fine witch for the future, and might be one of the most charming of the group. There are other witches added around here, and Ashley Couch appears in the blood bath, the one which had the scope to be the most notable scene in the film, but the same gets limited – she still has one’s attention there though. As a film which deviates to witchcraft early enough, there could have been more focus on each witch character here, but the same is not provided that much of a significance around here. But the witches don’t get their due, and that is somewhat a shame, considering the possibilities.

How it finishes :: The movie seems to have done pretty well as a low budget horror movie, and has enough to keep itself strong with the big reveal that comes later. There is not that much to make a heavy entertaining impact, but the film manages well enough with what they have. Maybe, if this had left idea of the wild west behind, and focused on the witches and their past, with the forest being the permanent setting, things could have been better. Even a medieval setting in England could have lifted this one better. Yet, there is something about the film and its witches which will keep it going. During the time when the Corona virus pandemic is coming up its omicron variant, one can say that this kind of a variant can also serve the purpose. At a time when the supernatural are going down due to the strength of COVID-19 and the evil that the humans are bringing, we all need our original demons, witches, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and zombies – let us take these witches for now and enjoy what we can, while staying safe during the omicron-active Christmas season.

Release date: 21st August 2020
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Aaron B Koontz
Starring: Devin Druid, Zachary Knighton, Melora Walters, Natasha Bassett, Tina Parker, Ashley Couch, Bill Sage, Pat Healy, Stan Shaw, Noah Segan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Possessor

Vampire Owl: We do feel that we are possessed very often.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but they are gentle spirits of the forest.

Vampire Owl: There are gentle possessors. Possessing another person’s body is evil.

Vampire Bat: The gentle spirits of the forests have the right to possess.

Vampire Owl: It is not that gentle a possession. I know that.

Vampire Bat: There is a deal between Vampire Elders and the Spirits. You have to honour that as part of our allegiance.

Vampire Owl: There is no honour among non-vampire entities.

Vampire Bat: Honour is just a word. The definition goes by our actions.

Vampire Owl: Possession of another person’s body is not an act of honour.

Vampire Bat: Well, honour depends a lot on the opinions anyway.

[Gets some potato chips and three glasses of Spanish delight shake].

What is the movie about? :: In a certain alternate reality, Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is living as an assassin, but that requires her to take control of others’s bodies to carry out the murders which have become part of her life. The agency of the assassins use an implany installed in the captured host’s brain to control the person, and Vos’ consciousness is inserted in there. Vos decides how to go through the murder using the new body. After the job is completed, she forces the host to commit suicide, or get shot by people, which is the basically the only way for her to get back to her own body. She is considered to be one of the best assassins the group ever had, but as she spends too much of time in the bodies of others, imitating them, she struggles with her identity, and often fails to understand who she really is. She has to practice in her real life to speak normally, just like she has to practice before taking the identity of others. The memories of the murders which she had committed continues to haunt her at all time, spoiling her limited time with her family.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Girder (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who is in control of the agency, is confident about Vos, but hopes that she is detached from her family, which would make her an even better assassin, as attachments are holding her back. She also holds on to lot of her memories from the past. She is forced to take the next assignment too early despite not being that stable – this time, she has to take the body of Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) and murder the host’s lover Ava Parse (Tuppence Middleton) and his future father-in-law John Parse (Sean Bean), who is a wealthy CEO – the large amount of money and the properties are the target here. In the end, the CEO’s stepson would be taking over the company, and this would also bring the agency a lot of money. But the mission is only a partial success, as Ava is dead, but not the main target, John Parse survives. Vos is not able to escape from the body either, as she cannot make him commit suicide. She understands that she cannot leave this body due to a damaged implant, and she is now strong enough to overpower his will. Now, an inside crisis begins.

The defence of Possessor :: Possessor does have some fine ideas behind it, and we feel them to be strong in the first half of the film. The initial scene is quite a strong one, and it is what makes us very much interested in seeing what is to be followed. There is the courage to go divergent, which is seen here, even though the same losses the strength after showing so much strength in the beginning. The question is indeed asked about identity here, and the problems when one person tries to becomes someone else. It tells the viewers that the basic nature always wins, and you just cannot try to be another person like acting a role. The movie does remain dark throughout its run, and there is nothing like hope of positivity being thrown here, even though we feel that there is a family with a child involved, and there would be a “happily ever after” coming up soon. Well, we know that reality is a dark, tragic space where people are only interested in selfish deeds, and therefore, this movie more or less reflects the same. After all, humanity is not of hope in the present, past or the future.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t really have the strength to go through this idea with the visuals, which could have been better, and the action could have been stronger too. The science fiction elements could have also been used with clarity around here. Some more clarity would have only helped the movie, and as it moves towards the end, the focus seems to be somewhat lost, even though the beginning stages were making us wishing for the better. Too many images come and go here, but without them coming together well enough, this cannot be considered as the best of use of the available resources. You can always have a Hitman, John Wick, Gemini Man or Anna doing their job, but not without some fine visualizations. The early death of Tuppence Middleton is also disappointing, considering the fact that she was one nice addition to the film. In the end, one does wonder if all these were for this one thing, as you were expecting that grand finish, and not something like this.

Performers of the soul :: Andrea Riseborough’s performance is the one to remember, and there is no doubt about the same. Her work is limited due to some strange visions and the lack of clarity which the movie has. Christopher Abbott does a pretty good job, but having the mind-controlled, confused character not leaving out the complication at any moment, leaves him limited too. Tuppence Middleton is the actress whom we had seen in a supporting role in Jupiter Ascending, and she has the skill to come up with something notable out of nowhere – it is no exception here. She is lovely, but we don’t get to see her for more, as her character is killed, and we see another work from her vanish too early for our liking. Sean Bean is very good yet again, and when he is there, we love how things proceed. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays another complicated character who has a few moments to remember. Rossif Sutherland’s role is rather limited here, and when we begin to feel that Kaniehtiio Horn was going to show promise, her character is also killed.

How it finishes :: Possessor seems to be the one movie which is more critically acclaimed and award-winning at the film festivals. The movie is interesting, and does have its moments, but one might not find it as that grand as those critical appreciations suggest. As I had written in the earlier paragraphs, the idea is very good and so are the messages, but they could have shown in a better way, and some of the characters could have also been used in better ways rather than just killing them. Yet, we are interested in the divergent idea and the path less taken, as we look forward to seeing such risks being taken further. If you like the difference in ideas being taken into consideration without holding back, this would appeal to you. Other than that, this one goes on a slow journey which begins strong, and gets weaker by the end, not strengthening its possibilities. So, it is a personal decision to be made on watching this film, and as these are the times of Corona virus pandemic, most decisions are indeed personal in nature, as solitude comes with different pandemics of the world, and the quarantine that follows the same.

Release date: 2nd October 2020
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Brandon Cronenberg
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Tuppence Middleton, Kaniehtiio Horn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christopher Abbott, Rossif Sutherland, Sean Bean, Raoul Bhaneja, Gabrielle Graham, Gage Graham-Arbuthnot

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Monster Hunter

Vampire Owl: I know that humans call us the monsters.

Vampire Bat: Well, this is not about us, for sure.

Vampire Owl: I do know that humans are the monsters though.

Vampire Bat: That idea has been reiterated so many times.

Vampire Owl: We have seen the same clearly in the film, Kuruthi.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that there are many more examples outside the movies.

Vampire Owl: I had known the same from an alien in The Blackout too.

Vampire Bat: The aliens always know things better.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is why the aliens won’t talk to humans.

Vampire Bat: I think that it is better for aliens to not talk to these humans. They are hopeless creatures living in hatred for their own kind.

[Gets a marble cake and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: In a parallel world, referred to as the New World, humans are fighting monsters all the time, and these creatures come from under the sands, while people use ships looking like galleys and galleons to travel on the sands of this particular world. There, one of the people (Tony Jaa), a skilled warrior against monsters is separated from the other crew members of their ship, as they are attached by Diablos, a huge, powerful subterranean monster. Back on Earth, United States Army soldiers led by Natalie Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her United Nations team are searching for their missing team in a desert. They come across a huge storm with lightning which seems to activate some stones there having inscriptions. They are taken into a portal, and from there, they enter a space without gravity and then into the New World. There they find what remains of the missing soldiers and also their vehicles. The don’t figure out what happened, and the place looks like a different type of desert with so much of sand.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The map doesn’t match with what is seen at the map, and all the technology they have for guidance is messed up without any chance for a repair. They are relieved to find that at least their weapons and vehicles seem to work. But none of their weapons are even a little effective against the monster which seems to be protected against such weaponry with some kind of armour. Some of them are killed, and the remaining troops go into a cave, only to be attacked another type of monsters, spider-like, and crawling through the caves. There are many such monsters who fill up the cave, and they are all infected by the monsters, dead or almost all good as dead. Natalie manages to escape from their cocoons because she was only paralyzed earlier, and had overcome the same. She manages to escape the same, and it is still to found if she can survive in this world full of monsters, and it is to be seen what role Hunter has to play in her survival and a possible return to Earth. But with monsters everywhere, that is indeed doubtful.

The defence of Monster Hunter :: This is one full action film with the terrifying monsters adding nicely to it in style. The creatures are all terrifying and detailed enough to catch our attention, and the slaying methods entertaining as they should be. There are grand moments with such creatures all around and attacking with full strength, and you have dragons as well as sand-serpents along with crawlers. The new world with its elements are also a joy to watch. There are so much to be seen with the visual splendour, even thought it is not that colourful – the situation is rather dark when we look at it, seemingly a lost world. A new world created makes our escapist tendencies feel better every time. The film, as it is based on the video game of the same name, does remind us of a computer game with its features – the world itself is something which suits a high quality video game, but it is not a game which is popular around here, and I am yet to find someone from life to have played it. The sound effects and the music nicely adds to what is seen on the screen. It also has a special scene in between the credits, so do look forward to that.

The claws of flaw :: This doesn’t manage to move out of the video game feeling enough to create a full film effect. There is very less importance given to the characters, and we don’t really know much about what is happening in the new world or the old one. We just have the action, and so many characters from the original world are killed too early for our liking. As this is more or less like an origin story of a possible franchise, there should have been a better explanation for things in the beginning. Waiting for a sequel with only this much action done is a little too less for our liking. A few things also get repetitive at times, not just related to this film, but also about other movies. The focus is also only one two characters, and we have a few others in the beginning and the end, and nothing more. The game also happens to be Capcom’s second biggest seller after the Resident Evil franchise, and so one has to wonder if this film is enough for the game, and only those who have played one or two of the games in the franchise can tell us clearly about it.

Performances of the soul :: Milla Jovovich in an action film is always joy to watch, as she has shown the best in the Resident Evil films, which ended with Resident Evil: Retribution and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Whenever she is around, we can be sure that there can a lot of spectacular action sequences coming together, and this one is no exception. She is like the action heroine who is there for such sequences forever. It is the similar case of Tony Jaa who is also known for the same genre, even though Mila had some horror added to her films every time, mixing the genres rather than sticking to one thing. Other than these two, there is no other character who has anything significant to do here. They do make a good team, especially as action is all that they need to do here. Maybe, there could be a video game based on this film some day, rather than the other way around. The only other person whom I can think of, related to such action films is Kate Beckinsale, the lady vampire of Underworld and its sequels as well as Total Recall.

How it finishes :: Adapted from the video game of the same name, this film also maintains the effect of being inside a game, and even though it might not have received the positive reviews just like the other game adaptation, this is an effective one. I did find movies based on computer games to be better than what the critics said, and Hitman: Codename 47, Need for Speed, Doom: Annihilation, Prince of Persia and Max Payne are a few of them. There were surely the bad ones, like Assassin’s Creed, but movies based on games have a tendency different from the rest. Well, this one makes an interesting film in that list for sure. You are transported into a new world that reminds on of Avatar and John Carter, even though this is mostly a world of desert terrain, which means there is not that much to enjoy the colours. But with this one, you enjoy the action set in a new world with monsters all around, and watching such monster hunting is fun enough. You are never really short of some fine monsters around here, that is for sure.

Release date: 28th May 2020
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Paul WS Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Meagan Good, Tip Harris, Diego Boneta, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung, Ron Perlman

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Encounter

Vampire Owl: I have always enjoyed encounters with aliens.

Vampire Bat: Yes, you have always been looking for vampire aliens.

Vampire Owl: If a species requires blood to survive, they would just vampires and not aliens.

Vampire Bat: Well, if they are from another planet, they are surely aliens.

Vampire Owl: You are questioning their basic nature of existence.

Vampire Bat: When on Earth, they are still aliens.

Vampire Owl: Drinking blood is in their nature, and that counts as vampires only.

Vampire Bat: This one is worth a debate at the Dracula Castle.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that Uncle Dracula will accept them as just vampires.

Vampire Bat: You don’t know him well enough after the Corona virus pandemic.

[Gets some French fries and three glasses of strawberry shake].

What is the movie about? :: Malik Khan (Riz Ahmed) is a dishonorably discharged Marine who is having a tough time living the usual kind of life. He sees that there is so much of riots going on the nearby cities, and the is bothered by increase in violence all around the state and the country. His former wife Piya Khan (Janina Gavankar) and children Jay Khan (Lucian-River Chauhan) and Bobby Khan (Aditya Geddada) are now living with her present husband Dylan (Misha Collins), a long distance from him. The sons, especially Jay is not happy with the situation, and has turned extremely arrogant. He visits Jay and Bobby at takes them away in his car, saying that this is a road trip which their mother has kept as a surprise. The boys feel that this could really be a fun ride, but there is more to it than what he says. Malik seems to be waiting for something bad to happen at all times, and there is a lot of worries that he seems to have here.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: When they are stopped on the road by a police officer, he is forced to tell the boys the truth about what has been happening in the last few days. He tells them that there are some non-terrestrial microorganisms taking over the planet, as these aliens are using human bodies are used as hosts – most of the humans are no longer in control, and some heavy research is required regarding this, for which they hope to reach a safe place. He also feels that at least half of the population has been infected. The idea of a parasite growing inside one’s body frightens the boys, but they decide to fight and make it the safe place with their father. As Hattie (Octavia Spencer) is the one who is in charge of Malik’s parole understands that he took the children after tying up Piya and Dylan, she understands that he is in trouble. Back home, FBI is in charge of the investigation on the kidnapping of the boys, and they feel that he might be going to keep his children.

The defence of Encounter :: The beginning of the movie was really good, and it keeps us interested throughout most part of its run. Most of the things which were shown in the beginning turns useless in the end, but they had a fine role in making the whole film engaging. This has the strength to work as a post-apocalyptic movie after the worms, parasites, or anything takes over later, but it chooses to go ordinary, and that is indeed a shame. The performance are really good, and the visuals are also nice, when we look at them. Some action is also added here and there, but there is almost no horror being part of this, even though there was the chance for that too. It is basically what we thought about the movie before watching it that has kept us interested, and one has to say that the talk about the film before its release did go well to create an image – the same is not reflected well here though, as we stare at it.

The claws of flaw :: Encounter is very much a confused movie, as it doesn’t really seem to know what it is aiming for, with a beginning as an alien invasion movie, and then going on to be a strange family drama. This change that the movie brings at a point of time does no favour to it – if everything happened the other way around, things would have been much better. The movie is called a science fiction thriller both on IMDB and Wikipedia, and one really has to wonder how this film gets into that particular category, especially in the second half, as the path seems completely lost. Even though the ending does look realistic, it is not the kind of finish that are looking for, and for a climax like this one, not many people would wish to buy the tickets – well, this is on Amazon Prime Video and when you have already taken the subscription, one might just end up watching it quickly for the sake of it. Promoting a movie as what it really is, would be the right thing to do, in my opinion.

Performers of the soul :: It is the performances that score for the movie which struggles with confusion over its own identity, as Riz Ahmed does a very good job as the former Marine who seems to be trying to end an alien invasion, but is as confused as the movie itself. His feeling of paranoia, worries and strange acts are all things which work well for us. If the movie could have actually stepped it up well enough, this could have brought wonders for him, but unfortunately, he also struggles with the film as we reach the disappointing end. Janina Gavankar has some fine family moments in the beginning, but that doesn’t carry over as the protagonist doesn’t really feel the need to save her from aliens. Octavia Spenser also has some fine moments, as one of the most likable characters that we see anywhere. Rory Cochrance is the typical FBI agent that we see in different movies in similar forms. The two children are good, especially Lucian-River Chauhan who has a little more to contribute in comparison with Aditya Geddada.

How it finishes :: Encounter makes another science fiction alien invasion thriller entry to Amazon Prime Video after The Tomorrow War did the same thing a few months ago. Still, our movie here is rather different, with no big alien attacking people around, and no huge action scenes – in this case, we don’t have too much of sci-fi being thrown around, as no certainty about the alien attack is provided. Almost all the movie, you keep thinking if there is really an alien, a doubt which won’t favour you if you are looking for full action alien flicks. This movie is more drama when we consider the case here. You have an alien movie here without the certainty of the existence of the aliens, and that is indeed not the science fiction that you want. Well, when there are so many alien invasion movies at your disposal, and which a good number of science fiction films waiting for your eyes, this one which degrades into a family drama might not be the one you prefer, but it is still an interesting watch, especially during the first half.

Release date: 10th December 2021
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Michael Pearce
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Janina Gavankar, Rory Cochrane, Lucian-River Chauhan, Aditya Geddada

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<<< Click here to go to the previous English film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bali

Vampire Owl: I have heard that there is always a perfect time to begin something.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is time, and this will be the first Marathi film to be reviewed here.

Vampire Owl: Where does that leave us with the different language films being reviewed?

Vampire Bat: That would have us with more films than we had expected in the beginning of the year.

Vampire Owl: When they make a film with the name Bali, that is quite nostalgic, isn’t it?

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that Bali is open for international tourists yet.

Vampire Owl: Well, vampires are never international tourists.

Vampire Bat: We do come from a different realm, and so we are international.

Vampire Owl: So, we do have our own passports? I have never come across one.

Vampire Bat: Just use your fangs to make it work as required.

[Gets some banana chips and three glasses of chocolate shake].

What is the movie about? :: Shrikant Sathe (Swapnil Joshi), a widowed father is living his usual happy life as a happy single father with his only son Mandar Sathe (Abhishek Bachankar) who is a lot into playing cricket at school, and the father is completely in support of whatever he does. The father-son bond goes quite deep, and they are more or less like friends. Mandar also prefers to have his father with him all the time rather than his friends. When the seven year old boy faints during a cricket match, and is taken to hospital for a detailed diagnosis, things change. The two are referred to another hospital which has all the required facilities, and has a famous specialized department for children. They have an appointment with Radhika Shenoy (Pooja Sawant) who asks them to go for some more tests to make sure that there is no serious problem due to him having continuous breathing problems. Radhika feels that nothing could be wrong with the boy who looks alright, and the tests are just precaution.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Mandar meets a boy who is admitted in the hospital due to cancer, and is going through terrible pain in the stomach. They become good friends in a short period of time, and leaves the hospital’s main area to go to the deserted part of the hospital which is undergoing a certain amount of maintenance. They were supposed to play cricket and also meet the nurse whom the boy considered to be his mother, Elizabeth D’Souza (Shraddha Kaul). Soon, the boy is taken into a room in the abandoned area, and is found dead with many wounds and bruises on his body, and the doctors consider him to have fallen down and hurt. As he is admitted in the hospital as a result of seeing the dead boy in the operation theatre, Mandar starts talking to the mysterious nurse, and he also considers her as a mother-like figure whom he can contact at any point of time with a mobile which he discovers in the room. It turns out that there is something about the entity known as Elizabeth which the hospital hiding. Who is she, and what does she want?

The defence of Bali :: The film has just enough scares out here, and there is also one fine mystery to go with the same. There are also some nice twists around here to go with the horror. The background to the ghostly figure, even though becomes predictable at times, is nicely created with those twists added. The final moments’ twist is indeed a nice one, and the way it is presented is also nice. The movie also talks about a few things which have the possibility of happening in the medical field, and it does serve as a warning about the same, as greed for money is something which has taken over both the medical and educational field. Even though the latter can have other options, we are always tied to the requirements for medical treatment, and these types of revelations are often the need for the time, even though there is only a rare chance of the same happening. It never hurts to be warned about the terrible possibilities, and you know that the world around you doesn’t work on righteous, but on selfish requirements of money and fame.

The claws of flaw :: The name of the movie did give me a confusion, as I felt that there was something about the place in Indonesia, and maybe this film is about the place – obviously not knowing the language has its own confusion for us who are watching such films due to the release happening in Amazon Prime Video. It could have surely included more horror, and with the building being such a fine location and having the perfect atmosphere, it could have used the same to the best advantage. The message could have also been made more loud, and the background story could have had a longer time spent on the screen. The film also takes some time to get us interested enough, as the entity is often avoided rather than being scared of. Some of the moments here could have been straight to the point, and as far as ghosts are concerned, the one here could have surely had more here with its existence in the abandoned building. The ending can also feel to be a little bit rushed, instead of raising the level there.

Performers of the soul :: Swapnil Joshi plays the concerned father very well, and Abhishek Bachankar plays the child nicely, getting into the bond in a fine manner. The leading actor is the one who has to do all the work while dealing with the spirit, and in doing the same, he is surely at a fine level. In the end, it is Pooja Sawant who gains all the attention, as she plays a character who has her own secrets, and there is more to her than what is seen in the early stages of the film. Both the male and female lead are not those whom most of us who haven’t watched a Marathi movie are not familiar with, but we would love to see them in movies of other languages too. Rohit Kokate who plays another doctor has also done some solid work in support. It is difficult to connect the performers with roles for us, because enough information is not available anywhere, and we are not aware of the Marathi film industry. Yet, it can be safely said that the movie has pretty good performances from almost everyone, and this is a job well done in that case.

How it finishes :: Coming from the same director who came up with Chhorii, the film which had different ideas about horror, this one also has us interested early enough. Horror in India has always been struggling with its limitations, but this one has managed to rise over the same, and has even come up with a message, which reminds one of the Malayalam film, Joseph. This one has the eyes of horror set in the medical field, and a certain amount of greed and pride that takes the central stage in those private hospitals which are always looking for money and reputation to be at the top. Further talk about the same would reveal a little bit too much about the story and the twists which it is supposed to take, and therefore it is up to you to watch this one and understand more about it. After all, horror at a hospital can bring more than what meets the eye for us, and the spirits that live in any medical centre can be of further interest.

Release date: 9th December 2021
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Vishal Furia
Starring: Swapnil Joshi, Pooja Sawant, Pritam Kagne, Samarth Jadhav, Rohit Kokate, Sanjay Ranadive, Shraddha Kaul, Abhishek Bachankar, Mahesh Bodas

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

<<< Click here to go to the film review before that.

<<< Click here to go to the previous horror film review.

<<< Click here to go to the previous Hindi film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.