Bro Daddy

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Uncle Dracula used to be called by the same name?

Vampire Bat: As far as I can remember, that was Uncle Bro.

Vampire Owl: Well, I guess it varies by vampire and the century of existence.

Vampire Bat: The existence is the crime. You are not to speak about it.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about the undead existence without the human soul.

Vampire Bat: Well, that should be acceptable, as the absence of the evil human soul is much appreciated in our realm.

Vampire Owl: What do you think about our decision to watch this movie?

Vampire Bat: Well, with the Corona virus at its peak, the fact that they didn’t release this movie in theatres is to be appreciated.

Vampire Owl: Yes, a superstar movie in the theatre means a super spreader.

Vampire Bat: It seems that the producer and director of this movie are sensible people. Let other movies take the credit for being super spreaders.

[Gets a vegetable pizza and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Eesho (Prithviraj Sukumaran) and Anna (Kalyani Priyadarshan) have been good friends since childhood, and have carried over the same as a romantic relationship in such a manner that they even started living together in Bangalore without anyone having any clue about it. Their motherly figures Annamma John (Meena) and Elsy Kurian (Kaniha) wish to have the two youngsters married to each other, as they belong to a similar social status, being part of rich and influential families of the area. Even their friends and relatives find the possible marriage alliance to be an interesting one. The fathers John Chacko Kattadi (Mohanlal) and Kurian Maliekkal (Lalu Alex) are not that interested in the same because latter used to be in love with the former’s wife during pre-degree days. But the two remains good friends, and Kurian handles the advertising matters of Kattadi’s business. Kattadi’s fame is rather unmatched, as they have lot of business ventures, mostly focusing on Kattadi TMT steel bars. Kurian is into the advertising business, while Eesho is working at an advertising company in Bangalore.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Everything seems to go smoothly around here. But there are secrets which needs some cover up, as both Anna and Annamma are pregnant, and John and Eesho don’t want anyone to know about it as of now. It seems that now there is the need for a plan, so that the two can get married, and the function can happen smoothly, and later, they can talk about the pregnancies and related stuff. For the same, the two need to get married as soon as possible, with the blessings of Kurian and Elsy. But Kurian is not really fond of Eesho as latter finds the former’s advertising company to a cheap one in comparison to the multi-national company where he has been working. Yet, it seems that Kurian won’t disagree to the words of John, but there is the need for much more of plans to come. Eesho would still need to get into the good books of Kurian, and for the same, he would also need to use more than one of his skills. As Elsy also comes to know about the pregnancy, all of them will have to come together, and make sure that Kurian will be happy about this alliance – will he be the happy one too?

The defence of Bro Daddy :: The movie depends on humour and feel-good, as well as a certain amount of drama to keep itself going. Whenever it seems to go down, the cast nicely lifts it up. There is some nice humour that comes in between, and this one is kept close to family even though there was the opportunity to go for ridiculous jokes like Ittymaani: Made in China. The messages that the movie provide are pretty good too. It shows that family is indeed important, and a small adjustment made in career won’t matter – as long as you have a job at what you are the best at. It is a fine message for a new generation which keeps on changing jobs for better salary, leaving families behind. The movie also keeps the whole thing light-hearted, never choosing to explore the dark side of all of these, and the emotions, even though present are kept in such a way that there is no exaggeration of the emotional side – it just provides what is required with a simple feel-good family movie that keeps one entertained without making one think too much. Well, it was always moving towards the happy ending, we know.

The claws of flaw :: There is a certain amount of predictability in here, as expected from this kind of a movie. There are so many sequences which seem to progress the way we can guess. We also come up against a certain amount of lagging in between. A certain amount of lag can also been seen related to the revelation of things. The length is a little bit more than what was required. If the event management idea was removed, that would have helped the movie further. The beginning hadn’t impressed that much with the common jokes added, and more of life in Bangalore could have only done the movie favours. There is also too much focus on the luxury home visuals, seemingly trying to help an architect or the seller of a house. It does feel like the idea is to go and come up with life of the richest, giving the feeling that almost everyone else do not exist. The world itself is different around here, like being part of an alien planet. Some of the characters whom we see around also feel wasted, as the focus is indeed on the members of two families only.

The performers of the soul :: The movie does have a long list of memorable cast, something which is not often seen related to a family comedy drama. Mohanlal leads, and he does the same with the kind of role which audience has loved him doing. Prithviraj and Kalyani plays the usual youngsters in love, without anything new added around here, except for maybe the cuteness quotient. Lalu Alex is once again the father of the leading lady, and it is something he has done a lot in the past, even though most of similar roles have gone to Renji Panicker following Om Santhi Oshana. He shows that he still maintains the expertise in this kid of roles. Meena is once again looking good with Mohanlal, like it was in Drishyam, Drishyam 2 and Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol. Kaniha is also as notable as the rest as the mother of the leading lady. Jagadish does have a notable role here, while Soubin Shahir’s role to add some quick humour is only partially affective. Mallika Sukumaran once again drops in as the typical old mother figure, a role which would go to her with ease every time. Unni Mukundan, Nikhila Vimal and Kavya Shetty have cameos.

How it finishes :: This is the second directorial venture from Prithviraj Sukumaran after one of the biggest films in Malayalam cinema, Lucifer, which still remains strong in our minds, with the next one coming in 2023 in the form of a sequel. With Mohanlal and Prithviraj joining forces again, this was a movie which was much awaited. It has the skill to deliver as the humorous feel-good movie with effectiveness. There will not be grandeur associated with it, as things are kept simple, keeping it within the predictable lines throughout its run. The cast has elevated the same by adding humour in their own ways, and keeping it close to life. In one way or the other, the movie seems to stand on the exact opposite path of Sara’s which would have dealt the whole episode in a different manner, but Bro Daddy takes the path which the families would to see, and the one which might feel rather selfless in nature. But one can only wonder what it means to be selfless in a chaotic, brutal world? When was the last time we had a society with humans who were not selfish?

Release date: 26th January 2022 (Hotstar)
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Prithviraj Sukumaran
Starring: Mohanlal, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Lalu Alex, Meena, Nikhila Vimal, Kaniha, Soubin Shahir, Jagadish, Kavya Shetty, Unni Mukundan, Mallika Sukumaran, Sijoy Varghese, Antony Perumbavoor, Jaffar Idukki, Joji Mundakayam, Charle

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Night Teeth

Vampire Owl: And finally, we have another vampire movie.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this is about our kind of vampires.

Vampire Owl: They seem to drink blood really well.

Vampire Bat: Yet, they seem to be like a new group of vampires.

Vampire Owl: There is no new or old groups among true vampires.

Vampire Bat: You were the one leading the protest against the new batch of sparkling teenage romantic vampires.

Vampire Owl: Well, I have now become a more inclusive vampire.

Vampire Bat: You are acting like the Vampire Chameleon.

Vampire Owl: That guy has been dead for years now.

Vampire Bat: Yet, you are trying to replace him.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of tea-coffee mix].

What is the movie about? :: Vampires and humans have co-existed through the years, and the former has fed from the latter only through a mutual agreement, which means that there was no chance of a battle between the two races. The living and the undead has kept on going without any problems coming in between. There was also a truce, and as vampires continued to get better, humans continued to make themselves believe that the creatures of the night didn’t exist. Vampire continued to try and hide their existence, not feeding on the unwilling and never entering the human area without permission. Benny (Jorge Lendeborg Jr) is a college student who is working part-time as a as a chauffeur, temporarily replacing his brother Jay (Raul Castillo), who was going to apologize and make up with his girlfriend. Jay has also realized that the vampires have broken the pact and entered the human area, also feeding from a lot of them, as well as committing murders. His girlfriend Maria (Ash Santos) is also among the latest ones taken by the vampires as many encounters happen.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Benny, a Spanish speaking immigrant, is the usual local college student who is not aware of all of these, and was going on with his happy and carefree life until then. He was the one who forced to Jay to let him be the driver for a change. As he goes to the rather rich area to pick up the riders, he meets Blaire (Debby Ryan), who seems to be really friendly. The other girl Zoe (Lucy Fry) doesn’t seem to be that friendly, but does seem to be talkative enough, in a strange manner. They even talk about the possibility of this being his last day on Earth. They do arrive at grand location where the party is taking place, and he hears a woman screaming from inside. At the same time, a war between vampires and humans are coming, because a very rich and influential vampire lord Victor (Alfie Allen) is the person who has intentionally broken the truce for no reason. Jay is actually part of a human group which is charged with maintaining the peace between the two races. As Jay and his friends start hunting down the vampires, Victor plans to finish off his fellow lords and gain all the power. So, what role does Benny play among all these around here?

The defence of Night Teeth :: There are some very interesting scenes in this movie which once again brings the vampires to the human world without pretensions. One has the feeling that this could go the Twilight way and make a mess of the whole thing with full teenage vampire romance, but such a thing doesn’t happen at all. The visuals are nothing less than stunning, as we go through this vampire-infested world in the nights with classic style buildings and lights – the blood also runs strong here, adding to the overall creepy beauty of the atmosphere. The pace is always good around here, and the vampire situation that we see here has been nicely arranged. The vampire-human clash in the city is basically like something that we have seen before, but being much better, like a battle between gangs or races nicely set in a better environment with a divergence. There is a continuous flow of a beautifully stylish world that is going on here, with a touch of horror, as blood runs through. Even without that much of backstory being told, the tale goes on really well.

Positives and negatives :: The movie does succumb to the usual tendency of such vampire stories to go through the predictable path, and that which appeal only to a certain amount of audience. Yet, it manages to come back up in the path whenever it seems to be a little lost, with the style and some nice humour that seems to come as a welcome addition. The humour comes in to join the horror and the thrills, and makes them more entertaining. It is a reminder that the funny side can compliment a horror movie really well, and it was what the film, Black as Night had missed while trying to add some dumb humour and some nonsensical history in between. The cast has also been perfectly chosen, even though there might still be some names which one would also like to have around here. There are some fine action scenes in here, that is for sure, and the vampire girls lead in that quite well. The movie also sets a fine ending which has scope for a future sequel. The music is really good, and set things up nicely for the happenings of the world. The movie does have some good fangs at the needed areas.

The performers of the soul :: Jorge Lendeborg Jr plays the protagonist caught between vampires really well – he seems to suit the situation nicely. He has the confusion being dealt with nicely, but even has enough to be a vampire himself. Yet, there is nobody who suits the nice vampire role better than Debby Ryan, who also has her moments of vampire intensity. One another day, she could be part of a horror slasher movie as a scream queen too, with blood seemingly doing well with her. Lucy Fry had played a vampire about seven years ago, and she is doing it again – this time, she is part of a much better movie, and has a lot better role to perform, as she becomes the perfect nocturnal creature in need of blood and enjoys all the violence that she inflicts. She has the kind of look here that one wouldn’t doubt if she is not really a vampire, even from a distance. I would love to have her as a major antagonist in more than one horror movie. Raul Castillo and Alfie Allen are the strong ones belonging to two sides. One would also love The Voyeurs‘ own lovely Sydney Sweeney and the always charming Megan Fox playing two superior vampires, but we could have actually had more of them here, especially the former who makes a very interesting character in a short time.

How it finishes :: We are never short of the need of the vampire movies to entertain us, for vampirism shall never leave the audience, being an idea of quality since Lord Byron’s physician, William John Polidori published the first vampire novel, The Vampyre. After all, vampires are as immortal in literature and cinema as the vampire characters happen to be in fiction, their immortality in their ability to entertain the viewers rarely questioned. This one, with a touch of the modern age, doesn’t fall behind, even though I did have my doubts after watching the trailer. Well, this is one of those movies which manages to do a lot better than what the trailer had brought us – the movie seems to realize that its strengths are best shown as a whole rather than in parts. You are going to remember the humour in this movie as much you remember those moments of action with blood having a say. In the end, you will remember that the vampires are forever, and they will keep coming back in different forms in different movies like the certainty of Corona virus taking different forms and coming back for more of infections.

Release date: 20th October 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Adam Randall
Starring: Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Debby Ryan, Lucy Fry, Raul Castillo, Megan Fox, Alfie Allen, Ash Santos, Marlene Forte, Bryan Batt

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bhoothakaalam

Vampire Owl: So, the title could mean the days of the past as well as the days of the ghost.

Vampire Bat: It is a nice play on the words being used here.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that Malayalam movie industry can have good horror anymore?

Vampire Bat: Well, horror is the only reality of life. So, it is always possible.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the realistic tendencies of the industry can help.

Vampire Bat: Yes, what is life, but a collection of horror of reality?

Vampire Owl: I can’t disagree. I once heard the story of the devil finding the burning hell as a better place to live in comparison to Earth.

Vampire Bat: Well, you know what humans are capable of. They have already made their world a place worse than hell.

Vampire Owl: So, who are the real monsters?

Vampire Bat: Humans are the real monsters, from the day of birth itself. You should see how they torment their own people.

[Gets a chicken biriyani and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: Vinu (Shane Nigam) is a D.Pharm graduate who is living with his mother, Asha (Revathy) in what seems to have been a very unhappy household since the death of Vinu’s father post leaving a lot of money to be paid back for the loans which were taken. His grandmother dies after living most of her life on the bed after a terrible stroke which she barely survived, and the life of mother and son which was full of negativity only gets worse after the demise. Vinu has been looking for a job for a long time, but as he is focusing on getting some work in his field, and is also trying to keep the search close to home, he is not really able to make any progress with that. Depression seems to come naturally to him, as well as his mother, who is a school teacher for small children. Asha is also hesitant to send him anywhere distant, especially to go for a job which is not directly related to the course which he studied. She also temporarily losses her job, as she ends up hitting a child accidently.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The mother and the son continues to have arguments over the past, present and future, as Vinu decides to find a job outside Kerala or even India at some hotels where his friends are working. Asha finds him as a rather useless person, as she originally wanted him to study MBBS, and they had spent a lot of money related to that too. But soon, things get worse, as Vinu feels that he was locked within a room by his dead grandmother, who moves around in the wheel chair. Asha feels that he needs counselling, but he doesn’t agree. George (Saiju Kurup) who runs a counselling centre comes home to help him, but Vinu is not happy about it at all, as he feels that he is being marked as an alcoholic and drug addict. George also feels that the sleeplessness might also be a reason, along with the mental problems which runs within the family. Vinu is in love with Priya (Athira Patel), but has stopped returning her calls, as he does almost nothing, while staying in his room, or in front of the television. But he continues to see and feel things – can this mean something else?

The defence of Bhoothakaalam :: Starting off as a movie which seems to have characters with some mental problems related to trauma, it smoothly enters the horror mode after some time. With many options being left behind, one can make different guesses about what actually happened. The minimum elements are used effectively, and the atmosphere of the house also brings a certain amount nostalgia – like our old houses which had mosaic on the floor along with some old style furniture as well as spaces on the wall. The darkness and shadows are pretty much effective in bringing the scares, and there is much to be felt about the possible presence in the house – they contribute to reaching a point where the title can be justified. The emotional side is also very much working, and there is much of the feelings going through here. Even with all the terror coming from outside, there is also the presence of the depressing past related to regret which continues to haunt everyone – the memories can be disorienting enough, as we move forward through a world of chaotic mind here too.

The claws of flaw :: Bhoothakaalam often restricts itself in the use of horror, except for the finally fifteen to twenty minutes when the film is finally allowed to unleash itself, bringing all the elements which it had in store, but didn’t use early enough. It does take its own time, and one feels that it is moving too slowly during that period of time. There are movies which slowly gets stronger, like Come Play, In Fear and It Follows, and one might feel that this might not feel that new with the early slow movement. The mind could have been given better focus, and the presence in the house could have also been better explained, thus leading to a better final finish. It is surely not that scary as some people seem to talk about it – there is something to be frightened about, but not that much as what the reviews exaggerate here, for only those who haven’t watched Hollywood horror movies at all can be that scared about it. After all, these are not the days when people are scared of ghosts that much, because humans have proven themselves to be more evil, each and every time. Ghosts have to be a special kind of scary to rise about human demonic acts.

The performers of the soul :: Shane Nigam continues his work more out of Kumbalangi Nights rather than the other movies, as he once again plays a similar youth who doesn’t really have a job for a multitude of reason, even though he is better educated this time. Revathy’s work continues to be a thing of quality, as he plays a mother role with a difference. There are moments which rises above the natural so well. James Eliya seems to be the man with logic, and has his moments of advice. Jilu Joseph has a small presence as a psychiatrist, as it is Saiju Kurup who deals with the counselling more, and even finds out a few secrets about the house – one would have loved to see more actions being taken by him here. Manju Pathrose plays the usual nosy neighbour, a role which is quite short. Valsala Menon played the grandmother, and that was the role which also lasted for only a few minutes as the movie continues to focus on the mother-son duo for almost all the time. Athira Patel is more or less the Mamitha Baiju of Operation Java coming in here as the seemingly forced love affair which in this case doesn’t reach anywhere in comparison.

How it finishes :: When we think about ghosts and past, the first movie which comes to our mind is Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, a Gothic romance horror which was not watched by that many people in this part of the world. But the past that haunts this movie is more or less related a good number of other horror movies, with one haunted house as well as a psychological side, both complimenting each other, sometimes from a distance, and at times, getting close enough and going through one another in style. Bhoothakaalam doesn’t hesitate to combine its elements, and then come up with the defining moments in the final stages of the film. This is surely a good deviation from the usual horror movies that we have in the Malayalam movie industry, and just like some of the other Sony LIV movies which released in the last few months, like Madhuram and Kaanekaane, this one also has a strong emotional side to go with. Well, you can also have some interesting horror with relationships running emotional in the background, for the ghosts are better and truer with their emotions than the fake humans.

Release date: 21st January 2021 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Rahul Sadasivan
Starring: Shane Nigam, Revathy, Athira Patel, Saiju Kurup, Manju Pathrose, James Eliya, Jilu Joseph, Valsala Menon

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kate

Vampire Owl: I don’t know many Kates from around here.

Vampire Bat: You do know Kate Winslet and Kate Beckinsale.

Vampire Owl: They are certainly not from around here.

Vampire Bat: They are still part of our large film universe.

Vampire Owl: Universe is never that large, as we look at it.

Vampire Bat: Well, this movie and its performers can be part of it.

Vampire Owl: Mary Elizabeth Winstead has always been part of it.

Vampire Bat: Okay, you do remember her movies which suited us vampires’ tastes.

Vampire Owl: Living through so many centuries, tastes do change.

Vampire Bat: The world does change, but do we? In this realm, can we?

[Gets a ghee roast and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is an experienced assassin who has Varrick (Woody Harrelson) as her handler. She is also an expert sniper who has never missed a target in her long career which has focused mostly on the use of sniper gun and long distance shots. Varrick was also the one who trained her, right from childhood itself. Kate has to come to Osaka in Japan to kill a leader within a powerful yakuza mob, but only just manages to hit the target, after a child comes in the way. Even though this hit was also a success, having to kill someone in front of a child bothers here, leading to an emotional turmoil. She intends to go for one final mission, and then begin a new life, as a commoner. But before the final mission, she comes up against Stephen (Michiel Huisman) in bar. They have sex in the room, and she follows up with a sniper shot, and it is the first time that she misses one, that too, with the chance for clear shot.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She understands that she was poisoned by Stephen under the instructions of the members of a crime family which is headed by Kijima (Jun Kunimura), whom she was planning to assassinate, after having already killed his brother in front of his niece, Ani (Miku Martineau). Having only a day left to live before poison gets her, she decides to kidnap Ani, and bargain with Kijima. Despite using her as a bait in the beginning, she decides to keep her safe during the mission, as the gangsters are also targeting her. Ani is the last in the line of the family, and her death would help an internal power struggle. For getting to the top, she has to get through Renji (Tadanobu Asano) and Jojima (Miyavi), and there is a long way ahead after that too. There are many complications that she has to face on the way too, as many other secrets are revealed, with the unexpected happenings that occur related to the person whom she was trying to assassinate.

The defence of Kate :: Led by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, we have female assassin for a change, instead of the usual, and with her performance in the action scenes, we feel that she makes the exact person who was needed here. The film has so many delightful action sequences, and the one at the top floor of a penthouse, and the final combat are of top quality – the style and the music are nothing less than charming. The world that this movie has created in Japan feels like a classic one, and with all the beautiful violence, you only wants to go there. The fights that we have here, are also never overdone, and would make both John Wick and Hitman: Codename 47 proud. There are also enough emotional sequences to go with it. The lighting, darkness and colours have a different feeling about them, and the we also feel a lot of Japan. After the first few minutes, almost all of the city is set in one city in Japan, and with the main character having less than twenty four hours to live, this one keeps close to the unity of time and place, as well as unity of action, one of the rare action movies to keep it close to the Classical unities of Aristotle.

Positives and negatives :: With its quick action, the movie never drags, even when adding the emotions to it – the emotional side also deserves some applause, even though it could have dealt with the same in different ways which could have appealed more, for options were surely there to be taken. Reminder of other films will also be there, but we can actually see this one as superior in action at times. The violence is there for most of the time, and it has taken with a certain amount of beauty related to it. Some parts of it can feel predictable, but it is with multiple guesses taken – many options were there and therefore one cannot correctly guess the same at all times. Some dialogues are actually there to remembered, and a few of them are like providing some messages about life, revenge and forgiveness. There is strength in the frames, and the way in which this one is taken, will need applause too. Even as you are not part of anything like this, and has never been to the city or been part of any action that comes close, you feel what is happening around, and you are engaged at all times with the assassin’s work.

Performers of the soul :: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fantastic as the assassin, and it is the one thing that stands apart like no other. We have seen her from Final Destination 3 itself, and after slashers like Black Christmas were there, we saw her 10 Cloverfield Lane and Gemini Man, two others full of action and mystery. Birds of Prey had her as an assassin too, as the Huntress who was supporting Harley Quinn. Action, horror and mystery seems to suit her really well, and thriller seems to be her perfect genre. From 2000s itself, she has held a higher position among the scream queens, a position which Amber Heard also shared during a similar time period. Unfortunately, there is no scope for a sequel to have her back as the assassin, with this being the dead end, but one has to say that she deserved more movies like Hitman, John Wick or The Transporter. You can have her as part of these bloody genres at any moment of time, and she is sure to deliver. Miku Martineau as Ani plays a child in trauma that you are to remember. Woody Harrelson has a solid role to play here too.

How it finishes :: Kate is a strong action film which reminds one mostly of John Wick, and at times of The Equalizer, but also develops a life of its own. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead at the top, you can also feel some shots of Anna, even though the premise and the world itself is very much different. You can watch this particular movie just for the action itself, and she is more or less like a female Keanu Reeves – one would wonder if she could have actually played Matrix‘s Trinity in another parallel universe, because there is the feeling that in those clothes, and in that world, she would look almost the same. Clearly an engaging ride, Kate takes you through a fun-filled action journey which is to be remembered not just for all the melee combat, sword fights and gun shots, but also for the story with its twists, as well as the beautiful world that we see around there in between the combat. It is indeed an all-round action package, and not a movie that depends on mindless action all the time. Choose this one for full-time entertainment.

Release date: 10th September 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Miku Martineau, Woody Harrelson, Tadanobu Asano, Miyavi, Michiel Huisman

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Space Sweepers

Vampire Owl: I have a history of sweeping space for years.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this is the kind of space which you think it is.

Vampire Owl: Yes, how many spaces can there be?

Vampire Bat: This is certainly not about the space which you cleared in the cemetery.

Vampire Owl: I was talking about the space in Doctor Frankenstein‘s laboratory.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that is going to count as space in science fiction.

Vampire Owl: The laboratory has been part of science fiction movies for a long time.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein himself is part of fictional programmes only.

Vampire Owl: I just hope that the Frankenstein monster doesn’t hear you.

Vampire Bat: There is no such monster. You are now taking characters out of stories.

[Gets a mango cake and three cups of Darjeeling tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 2092, and the world that we know of, is no longer a suitable place for living. All the greenery of the forests have vanished, and deserts have spread. Fading sun and acidic soil has caused the plants to disappear. It was like Earth was on life support. But most of the people are forced to remain on the planet and live through is polluted ecosystem. The UTS Corporation has arranged an orbiting space habitat for people who can afford them, and only a few elite people are able to enjoy this Earth-model ecosystem which assures a happy living space for everyone who becomes part of it. The place is completely governed by UTS Corporation who defined the laws, and decided who came in and went out of there. Earth which used to be the symbol of life has become what space used to be – a symbol of death. James Sullivan (Richard Armitage) serves as the CEO of the corporation, and has his own collection of the best of the world, and is also cultivating life on Mars using a super plant.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: James intends to open a colony in Mars too, and considers it as New Eden. He considers humans responsible for the situation of Earth, and assures everyone that the new world will not be like that. Ninety five percent of the total human population fail to find a spot in the new world, and many non-citizens are forced to survive as space sweepers, collecting space debris floating in Earth’s orbit and then selling it to the company factory. One of the main space ships which try to do so and become very successful is the Victory. The team is led by Captain Jang Hyun-sook (Kim Tae-ri) who was earlier on the other side, but is now against UTS after knowing its true motives. She had even tried to assassinate its CEO, but failed miserably. Kim Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki) who is also a part of the team, used to be on the other side too, and is looking for the body of his daughter who was ejected into space after some debris collided with their station some time ago, and he is running out of time. The others are Tiger Park a.k.a. Park Kyung-soo (Jin Seon-kyu) and Robot Bubs (Yoo Hae-jin).

And what else is to follow in this adventure in space? :: All of the crew seems to have their own story, but has to come up with a new tale of their own now. The space ship Victory picks up a space shuttle floating in space, with a little girl inside. This girl named Dorothy (Park Ye-rin) is supposed to be a weapon of mass destruction which was created by the notorious terrorist group named Black Fox. As Dorothy’s bag has a phone with a number of missed calls, they call and connect to Kang Hyeon-u (Kim Mu-yeol), and make a deal with him to return her for a grand price. It is also assumed that she is also a robot, and that despite her appearance, she is very dangerous. But it seems that what they knew about the girl and the Black Fox might not be true, and there are some sinister motives that UTS might be having. Soon, their mission would change to something else, because James Sullivan likes to keep his own secrets about Mars, Earth and the orbital station. Dorothy will also have to play a part in the same, a very disastrous one.

The defence of Space Sweepers :: The story of the movie is nicely set with a fine premise, and the setting of a future world is nicely done. We are immersed in this world which is sure to come, as Earth is surely going to fall at some point, and a world without human extinction itself is a surprise. This new world is nicely detailed, not just with the newly created eco-system, but also related to space and everything around. Along with being the visually spectacular thing as expected, it is almost emotionally strong with its content. There are moments which keep us going with action, thrills as well as the drama. Kim Tae-ri also comes up with the best of performances among the cast, and other follow well – there is something about her as the captain, and the rest are only glad to continue the good work. We have been in short of some good space adventures after missing the Star Trek movies in the theatre, and this one adds well here. We did get to watch the Chinese movie, The Wandering Earth as a space odyssey, and now we have this one, strong enough to compete with the Hollywood movies based on future’s space.

Positives and negatives :: This doesn’t move that much away from what we have seen before including the theme and the visuals, but latter does get a special touch. It doesn’t raise itself to a complete fun movie, even though it doesn’t become a preachy film with Elysium-like content. With such open space, the opportunities were endless though, and all are not taken. There could have also been a Korean touch with this one, while this one goes close enough to Hollywood instead. It is also a lesser known movie, even though it basically stands taller than so many overrated Hollywood movies. The villainy in this movie is also a little bit too predictable, and there could have been some twist related to that, despite taking the safe side there. People do tend to expect more from a film like this, as the trailer looked to be of top class, and there are not many Korean space movies which I know about – so many of them have been about horror instead. I do feel that there is always scope for more of this kind of movies from South Korea.

How it finishes :: Space Sweepers deals with a future which is not that far away, and it is also the one which we are to expect sooner or later. Even though the facts about orbital stations and colonization of other planets might not be that accurate, the ultimate end of Earth and the escape of the richest among them – the quickly science-loving millionaires and billionaires to other planets remain true. Consider it in that manner, this movie is a fine prediction of a terrible future, which we have seen in other movies too, with or without the shots of space. I have also given it a chance in my novel, Wrath of the Future, which was published in 2020, after the first wave of COVID-19 had seemed to come down. Well, you always need a little bit of the future’s possible horror to think about, but that hasn’t really helped to make humanity better, has it? Well, it doesn’t seem to come close, and thinking about that, let us enjoy this movie the most for its entertainment value, as it creates that grand spectacle on the screen.

Release date: 5th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Jo Sung-hee
Starring: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu, Yoo Hae-jin, Richard Armitage, Kim Mu-yeol, Park Ye-rin, Oh Ji-yul, Christian Lagahit, Kim Hyang-gi, Anupam Tripathi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Reminiscence

Vampire Owl: I do see my long lost memories on a screen.

Vampire Bat: Do not tell me that this is about another invention of Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: He is too much addicted to the present to go into the past.

Vampire Bat: His addiction is with the impossible future.

Vampire Owl: There is no future that is impossible for Sir Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: Do not call him that. He was never knighted by the Count.

Vampire Owl: The knighthood is not a thing of title anymore. It is something of action.

Vampire Bat: There is no action can he can come up with to deserve it.

Vampire Owl: You will know it once he is done with the grand experiment.

Vampire Bat: You call what he is doing in the so called laboratory an experiment. I call it a death wish without limits.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: In a not too distant future, climate change has led to the sealevels rising, resulting in a flooded Miami. The temperature has risen so much that people prefer to go through most part of their lives at night. Sooner or later, the sea is supposed to claim the whole city. Nicholas Bannister (Hugh Jackman) and Emily Sanders (Thandiwe Newton) used to serve in the military forces, but is now running a business which helps people to relive their memories in a world which has no hope about the present or the future. Most people come there because they cannot live in a present which feels disastrous, and wishes to go through their past lives again and again, often due to nostalgia, and at other times because of a loss. Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) is their latest customer who wishes to find where she kept her keys, from her memories. As the memories do get visualized every time to help Nicholas guide the customers through their past, him and Emily gets to watch most of the things which the customers have gone through.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: After Mae leaves her earrings behind, Nicholas finds her in the nightclub, and they start a relationship, but Emily doubts her and wonders if she has some other motive in being with him. Later, one day, Mae disappears without a trace. Nicholas tries to find her by reliving his own memories of their relationship. It is something that could trap him in the memories forever, but he continues to do so for months. Emily is disappointed about his transformation, and asks him to move on. He feels assured that someone so much in love won’t disappear all of a sudden, and something might have happened to her, while Emily feels that their business is going down as customers as decreasing. He does find her earrings in a gutter, making him believe that she cam back for him, but Emily assures him that a lot of things ends up out there, and it could be from a long time ago. When prosecutor Avery Castillo (Natalie Martinez) calls him to retrieve the memories of a suspect. But it is not something that he will like.

The defence of Reminiscence :: There was always supposed to be something about Reminiscence, as we know that it is about memories, love and a mystery which will bring the twists. The concept is brilliant, and from an apocalyptic world, it moves to science fiction, and then to a mystery with ease. It is the kind of world which we will have sooner or later, sea taking over the land as a result of global warming, and this one also has the smartness show it as a gradual thing, and not as something happening in a few days or months. Well, it is a reminder to us that we are moving slowly towards that possible end, and none of us are doing anything about it, as the rich already have their Elysium and control of most of the money, while we are fooled easily. The journey takes you through what can be called a complete package. This one is not predictable at all, and there are some nice surprises in store – the twists add to the melancholy, and as the protagonist says, there is no happy ending in real life, but we understand that there can always be beauty even in the sadness. The ending of the movie, even though not a happy one, is a beautiful one indeed.

Positives and negatives :: Reminiscence does make us feel that we have seen some of it before, as it is surely a collection of different elements merged into one – yet, you see that final moments of it feels very much unique and incredibly touching. There are some slow moments in the middle, which might be the scenes which pull this movie a little bit backwards by not adding the needed ingredients there. When thinking about the memories and a future, you are quickly thinking about Total Recall and Ghost in the Shell, but they were all action, as you look at them. This movie also has its fine dose of action sequences, and there are twists and thrills awaiting in the memories along with the charm of love. There are not many science fiction thrillers which are able to create such an emotional effect on audience, and that too related to love. Lisa Joy’s one and only full-length feature film is here to stay in the heart. You avoid that tendency to slow down, and you have a work which you can watch, and be touched in multiple ways.

The performers of the soul :: Hugh Jackman is fantastic in this movie which has him in a role which has emotions running through him so well. He also makes a charming pair with Rebecca Ferguson, a couple like we haven’t really seen before. On one side, we have the long living mutant, Wolverine with healing powers and on the other side, we have the assassin from Mission Impossible series of movies – two people of action are the people in love here. There is no other two performers who could have made this work so beautiful. While the thrills are effective and the mystery is present throughout the film, it is the romance that makes the apocalyptic future’s science fiction a thing to remember, and the dialogues from these two are to stay with us for a very long period of time. It is the kind of tale which would have everyone asking for a happily ever after, unlike those half-baked romantic nonsense served as if there is true love being shown. Negative shades are also not new to Rebecca who played the full, strong antagonist in Doctor Sleep. Thandiwe Newton is also a powerful support while Cliff Curtis’ villain is strong enough. The other thing you note here is the perfect melancholy on the face of Angela Sarafyan.

How it finishes :: I will never understand why this movie didn’t do that well at the box-office, for it is a lovely and divergent take at the same time. The mixture that this film provides is something which is suitable for everyone, with different genres touched with the power of human memories and emotions. There is the feeling of mystery that goes through this world which seems to be almost apocalyptic with a realistic feeling, and the science fiction elements nicely blend in here to make the journey better. Also a romantic movie, this one focuses on that side with supremacy in the final moments. You will find this movie to be a lot better than what the reviews say, and there is that beautiful feeling of abiding sadness and a bliss of true romance which follows you from different directions. It has that kind of performers who keeps you so engaged in it, more than how it would have been with any other. Reminiscence is the kind of movie I would recommend for most people, and it would have even done better if it had released here before the Corona virus pandemic, for the admirers of Wolverine would also love this particular avatar.

Release date: 20th August 2021
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Lisa Joy
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Natalie Martinez, Marina de Tavira, Angela Sarafyan, Daniel Wu, Mojean Aria, Brett Cullen, Javier Molina, Sam Medina, Norio Nishimura, Nico Parker, Roxton Garcia

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Transformania

Vampire Owl: Do you know that they made Van Helsing the bloody scientist here?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I am completely aware of that.

Vampire Owl: They have replaced Doctor Frankenstein. How evil is that?

Vampire Bat: Doctor Frankenstein was never really a true scientist.

Vampire Owl: You should stop saying that. We know his inventions.

Vampire Bat: Your list of his inventions is flawed.

Vampire Owl: But they have been very useful.

Vampire Bat: Van Helsing has always been a real doctor.

Vampire Owl: You cannot support that evil former vampire hunter.

Vampire Bat: Well, you have to appreciate the fact that he is not into hunting again.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Count Dracula (Brian Hull) has the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Hotel Transylvania happening with almost every guest attending the party. His human son-in-law, Jonathan Loughran (Andy Samberg) almost ruins everything though, as he continues to be the moron that he has always been. During the celebrations, he was planning to retire and leave the hotel to Jonathan and Mavis (Selena Gomez), but as Jonathan continues to be the most foolish person on Earth, he decides to pretend that there is a clause that the hotel cannot be transferred to anyone who is not a monster. Jonathan who has no inch of smartness in his small brain decides that the only solution here is to change himself into a monster. It is then that Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) provides him an opportunity become a monster, as he has the device to change people into such creatures. He does successfully test it on a guinea pig, and becomes proud of his grand invention, boasting further about it.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: So, Jonathan a.k.a. Johnny is transformed into a dragon-like monster which breathes fire, and has huge claws. Dracula tries his best to make sure that nobody gets to know about it, and tries to reverse the action, but ends up making himself human in the process, also destroying the device as a result of the events that follow. Abraham Van Helsing tells them that there is a way to change them back, and it is by finding a crystal in South America, which can take the place of the one which was destroyed, and get the device to work again. Dracula’s good old friends Frankenstein (Brad Abrell), Wayne (Steve Buscemi), Griffin (David Spade) and Murray (Keegan-Michael Key) also turn human, as they drink from a fountain contaminated by the ray. Even though Frankenstein feels good about it, as he is now a handsome human being, the others are not really fond of their transformation, and neither is the other monsters who find it to be very strange and unacceptable.

And how can the transformation be reversed now? :: Dracula and Johnny have already travelled all the way to South America, and as Ericka Van Helsing (Kathryn Hahn) sees some news about an old tourist being rescued by a monster in a Latin American country, they figure out that this is related to the father-in-law and son-in-law. They find Abraham Van Helsing hiding from the guinea pig monster, and understand things better, finally deciding to travel to South America and find the two. Meanwhile, Dracula does face the problems of being human again, as he is now old, and much weaker than his original state. They are forced to go through a jungle which seems to have enough dangers in store for them, but the monster finds it easy to go through them. The whole team from the castle are also in South America now, searching for the two. But it won’t be easy to find the two in the forest. Now the question remains if the transformation can actually be reversed, and whether things can now go back to the strange way of being normal. Well, you have to hope for the best, but not always when monsters are involved.

The defence of Hotel Transylvania: Transformania :: The Hotel Transylvania feeling is maintained here again, and the usual stuff gets going once again. The characters do continue to be interesting, as we look at them, and we have always wanted the monster world to be more relevance. The animation remains a thing of quality, and the world within Latin America is also nicely created, and would have looked much better if watched on the big screen with 3D, but we know that Amazon Prime Video is the best option with most of us not having the desire to sit in an air-conditioned hall with possible infected people for one an half hours. Well, the short run-time is still a positive thing, as we look at it. The message is surely given, even though there is the feeling of repetition, making us feel that we have seen all of these already. There is also some humour present around here, even though there is not much around. Well, you have vampires, the mummy, werewolves and the Frankenstein monster in an animated movie and you have to enjoy it up to an extent every time, doesn’t matter what the flaws are.

The claws of flaw :: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is the fourth film in the franchise, and there hasn’t been any improvement, that is for sure. As we are watching this on Amazon Prime Video, we cannot really know if there is that much of a grandeur set for the big screen. The one young human here continues to be a complete moron, and a character whom we hate more than ever – the fact that he doesn’t die in this movie is the biggest disappointment of the whole franchise, the daughter vampire could have also been dead to add some beauty to the whole thing. The movie’s whole point should have been the end of humans and the rise of the monsters who are less evil, but the franchise still struggles to get to that point. It should take in some ideas of innovation from other successful animated movie franchises and get the creative imagination working – after all, it is about vampires and other interesting monsters, and you can never really have enough of them. You do have the premise to work on, don’t you?

How it finishes :: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is just another addition to the grand list of similar movies which are part of a franchise, and has dealt with similar things for quite a long time. The first movie was among the very first animated films to be reviewed on this website, and there has been many animated movie reviews which followed. This one is surely a step backward from the original, and I cannot say about the other movies of the franchise as I haven’t watched them yet. With the lack of inspiration to create something better, and lacking further in creative imagination, the movie only continues what it has been doing, and does provide the feeling of repetition throughout its run. Still, it is some fun, and more entertainment for those who haven’t really watched the previous movies. Well, you can just start with Count Dracula who is running a hotel, trying to transfer it to his daughter and son-in-law, for there is not much lost related to it. These are the kind of movies which can always stand alone, as they are supposed to cater to the younger audience better and keep them wanting a sequel or two. Well, not every movie can be Frozen and its sequel.

Release date: 14th January 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Derek Drymon, Jennifer Kluska
Starring: Brian Hull, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Fran Drescher, Brad Abrell, Asher Blinkoff, Richard Blevins

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mother Android

Vampire Owl: So, another movie with the world going to end?

Vampire Bat: Yes, humans love making this kind of movies.

Vampire Owl: It is basically because they know that their world is going to end soon.

Vampire Bat: They know that so well because they are causing it.

Vampire Owl: Well, Doctor Frankenstein wouldn’t make such dangerous inventions.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein has never been a real scientist.

Vampire Owl: At least he is making some medical inventions, not trying to run away to the Moon and Mars like the wealthy humans.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that he doesn’t care about our world any more than humans.

Vampire Owl: You know that as an undead doctor, he is trying to do his best.

Vampire Bat: He has been a dead doctor for a longer period of time than being undead.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: It is a Christmas evening, and Georgia Olsen (Chloe Grace Moretz) finds out that she is pregnant with the child of her boyfriend, Sam Hoth (Algee Smith). Georgia is disappointed, as she doesn’t want to have a child at an young age. Sam tells here that she is ready for anything, and also asks her to marry him. She is not really sure about this particular relationship, and wonder what the next step is – she also hides this newly discovered secret from her parents Mr and Mrs Olsen (Jon F Merz and Tamara Hickey). An android Eli (Stephen Thorne), which is owned by the Olsens wishes wishes them Happy Halloween, which seems to point to something being wrong. Soon there is a sound which resembles a technical glitch, and while the smartphones start exploding, and the androids start attack their owners. As they watch another android named Daniel (Liam McNeill) attack its owners, and a series of explosions everywhere, they understand the end of humanity is close enough to arrive now.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Nine months have passed after the incident which was then considered as close to the end of the world as it could get. Now, Georgia is expecting her baby any time soon, and try to get to Boston which is supposed to be highly fortified. The rest of the areas had androids taking over, and completely running through the military forces. Georgia and Sam have heard rumours about new mothers and babies being transported to Asia, where they can have a peaceful life. But to reach there, they have to cross an area full of androids who will not stop until they find all humans out there dead and buried. On the way, they find a military post, where they are let in, and Doctor Howe (Kate Avallone) allows them to have the baby here, but as Sam gets into a fight with a soldier, they are thrown out. Once they are outside, they decide to take a motorbike and quickly go through the android-infested area, but with the machines on the hunt, that seems to be one grand dumb idea.

The defence of Mother/Android :: The man vs machine theme is present, even though not used to the best advantage. The movie getting released on Netflix after Hulu was indeed a good idea, as more people have access to it now. The beginning stages of the movie can be considered as the best parts, as we know that we are up to something big, and there is an apocalypse coming up, like that of the Terminator and similar movies. The expectations are raised high during those moments. The world after the apocalypse is also nicely created, without hope, and with most of the civilization already finished. There are similarities to a zombie apocalypse here, even though there is no transforming into machines. The final moments do capture the strength of the emotions back, and it works because of Chloe Grace Moretz, an actress whom we have seen from her childhood, one young lady who never holds back with her work. As Raul Castillo comes in later, the performances can mostly be appreciated, and we are all in support of a lady who is soon to be a mother, trying to survive against all odds.

The claws of flaw :: Mother/Android required to have more science and also more action, along with more thrilling moments, as the elements of drama are the ones that have the advantage here, with the rest taking the backseat. The emotions could have also been better defined, instead of having only a woman who is going to give birth at the centre, with not that much to be added after that. You have a couple in love with each other, and the woman is pregnant – there is not much to do for the the man here other than become the protector. The man is the protector and the woman is the mother, thus having not much of a significance here otherwise, as their personalities are not that much to remember, as both do get irritating at times. The movie is slow, and is about half an hour too long, as we look at it and try to feel the entertainment. The idea of the androids attacking is also not used to the best advantage, and there are no real memorable scenes, even after that twist has us taken for surprise – the advantage is just not taken here.

The performers of the soul :: Chloe Grace Moretz is an actress whom we have seen around for a very long time, from those times when she was not an adult – she was there as part of so many different roles which had our attention. Dark Shadows and Carrie were the ones which caught my attention first, but these made me go back and watch one of my favourite vampire movies of all-time, Let Me In – she has been one remarkable actress from her childhood days, and she had also played a similar figure with motherly affection in a more recent movie, Shadow in the Cloud, a full action film. As usual, she holds her side strongly, and with all the focus on her, gets it right, even when the movie seems to struggle with some of its content. She fits into the mother looking to survive in a machine-troubled world with ease, as no role seems to evade her fine performance. Algee Smith plays the supportive role, and that is done in a natural way, with nothing huge, and no surprises added. Raul Castillo plays the man with a secret, and he is surely the kind of actor who is suited for a post-apocalyptic work, as he has some action sequences to go with it.

How it finishes :: Even with the restrictions related to the budget, Mother/Android has managed a pretty good post-apocalyptic flick with fine performances to go with it. Just like the title says, it has only two significant things in the movie, the android and the mother – the others are pretty much insignificant. Just like some of the recent post-apocalyptic works, this one stays slow, even though there is just enough of the thrilling moments in a specific atmosphere as well as the twists to keep it going – well, not all movies set after apocalypse can be asked to become as quick paced as The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Divergent, Mortal Engines or Mad Max: Fury Road. This one does manage to bring the feeling of the end of the world again, and as expected, with technology, the idea which the Terminator franchise has always provided the support for. Well, the world, most probably is going to end due to the effects of science and technology – it is surely the one thing which has brought all the global warming and the nukes to the scene, and if this movie also holds it responsible one can only agree.

Release date: 7th January 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Mattson Tomlin
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Algee Smith, Raul Castillo, Linnea Gardner, Kiara Pichardo, Oscar Wahlberg, Christian Mallen, Jared Reinfeldt, Liam McNeill, Stephen Thorne, Jon F Merz, Tamara Hockey, Jason Bowen, Hana Kim, Benz Veal, Will Lyman, Owen Burke, Kate Avallone

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Wasteland

Vampire Owl: We do not wander through the wasteland anymore.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why someone would even try to go through that area.

Vampire Owl: We used to consider them as cricket grounds.

Vampire Bat: Why would someone play cricket in that area where things are affected too much by dark and chaotic magic?

Vampire Owl: Well, nobody knows what is to happen in the next ball. It is fun.

Vampire Bat: Dude, the stumps can come up and hit the ball for a sixer.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it means that the match is highly unpredictable.

Vampire Bat: Now, you sound like someone who would do match-fixing.

Vampire Owl: It would have been a good idea if there was an audience.

Vampire Bat: We should have just locked that area. The area has even the presence of some necromancers.

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

What is the movie about? :: Nineteenth century had seen many wars which had left Spain struggling, and people really wished to stay away from all the chaos and destruction which the so called civilized world had brought. It had not yet seen the two disastrous world wars, but Spain already had enough with its internal conflicts following the earlier loss of colonies over the course of time, thus losing its advantage over the other European countries rather early in comparison. Diego’s (Asier Flores) family is one of those groups which live a lonely life in the middle of nowhere, an area which can be best known as the wasteland. His mother, Lucia (Inma Cuesta), is kind and loving towards him, while his father, Salvador (Roberto Alamo), is a very strict man. He reminds them that beyond a border which has been set by him, there is only war, and people only die beyond that, with no hope for any possible future. According to him, death and destruction is natural out there, and the boy needs to be a man quick enough.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The family of three continues to have no contact with anyone around. Salvador feels that the boy hasn’t matured enough, and there is not enough time now. He tells the boy a story about beast which is more evil than any other creature in the whole world – it preys on the most vulnerable people, feeding on their fear. When the beast finds a victim, it uses the fear of the person to get stronger using its weakness. Lucia takes the boy away before he has to hear anything more, but it is already rooted in the mind of Diego. Soon enough, they find a badly injured man in the boat (Víctor Benjumea) – the man seems to have run out of bullets, and is seemingly very close to death. This once again asserts the fact that there are only people who wants to hurt others of their kind, and the beast is also very strong, feeding more on the fear of such evil men and women. When the man wakes up with his wounds somewhat healed, he is seen pointing the gun at Lucia and Diego. For the family, fighting the beast might be easier than fighting the evil humans.

The defence of The Wasteland :: The movie does gain advantage from the grand setting in the middle of nowhere, as we have the perfect world without hope, but with the presence of fear at all times. There are some fine visuals to support the horror and the sound effects do more, as the movie does hold on to ambiguity. The darkness and haunting feel seems to stay even after the film ends. The focus is indeed on the fear, and its manifestation is not the one that the film concentrates on. The movie gains further with its performances, as Inma Cuesta is one talented actress, who has this movie going through what runs within her mind as much as what is outside. The shades of fear and madness that she shows here are nothing less than brilliant, as she has to elevate this movie with her expressions and feelings. Asier Flores, the child actor also comes up with a performance to remember, as he always has a lot more to do that a regular kind even in a horror-filled atmosphere of chaos and hopelessness. Roberto Alamo’s comparatively shorter stay is also effective, and sets things going. The background of the world only scores more.

The claws of flaw :: The Wasteland could have been more direct with its idea, and should have been less complex with its horror and story which is often not that clear for everyone. With an atmosphere like this, it could have been something else – a thing of terror like no other, but that opportunity is not taken despite the presence of the strong premise. It could have shaped its beast better, and should have come up with some fine explanations rather than providing random stories which we are not sure about. It is as if there is not real story here, and there so many monotonous moments around here, with nothing much happening around. We know that there could be chaos, destruction and even death, but still the movie goes on so slowly after establishing the whole thing in the beginning. The feeling of being dragged is not appropriate for a movie like this, which is too short, and yet wastes time in between. The whole setting feels more post-apocalyptic than anything else, and there were so many paths which this movie could have chosen for sure. The feeling of terror could have felt more real too.

Significance of the Title :: We are always attracted to the title, because this particular poem by TS Eliot is something which almost every student of MA English Language and Literature has studied in one of those semesters. As one of the most representative of the modernist poetry works, it is also the work is not that easy to understand. It uses the Arthurian legends of the Holy Grail and the Fisher King along with allusions from both the West and East, the secular as well as religious literature. It basically dealt with the disillusionment of a generation which had to live through the First World War, even though the Second World War was yet to come. The disintegration of civilization and the loss of hope were evident in the work which was divided into five sections which saw different deviations without any warning. But despair was clearly evident there. The film, with its location in the middle of nowhere, and with the main characters, show another situation of hopelessness and despair in a world which is nothing but another wasteland, during the wars in Spain.

How it finishes :: The movie is nicely set in the nineteenth century, seemingly showing the struggles during the wats of the time, long before the Spanish Civil War and the two World Wars which couldn’t have Spain participating directly in it. The century had France led by Napoleon coming in for an invasion, while the wars for independence were many in the Americas, including Bolivian War of Independence, Mexican War of Independence, Argentine War of Independence, Chilean War of Independence, Peruvian War of Independence, Venezuelan War of Independence, Cuban War of Independence, Philippine Revolution and many others. It is the reminder of a world of chaos which the war can bring, and how it can tear down a family, without even affecting it directly from the looks of it. With one fine setting and atmosphere, the movie makes sure that the feeling is passed on well, with a certain amount of horror which might be beyond war. It could have been made more direct and more terrifying, but this works with a certain amount of quality, deviating from the usual Annabelle, The Conjuring, The Nun, The Curse of La Llorna, Insidious, Sinister kind of horror.

Release date: 6th January 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: David Casademunt
Starring: Inma Cuesta, Roberto Alamo, Asier Flores, Alejandra Howard, Víctor Benjumea

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Classic Horror Story

Vampire Owl: We, vampires can make the classic horror story.

Vampire Bat: Don’t you know that most of the good vampire films were actually made by the elder vampires?

Vampire Owl: Isn’t that actually a myth which became part of normal lives later?

Vampire Bat: Their names were supposed to be in the the end credits.

Vampire Owl: Nobody got to see the end credits. They were removed.

Vampire Bat: Well, someone wanted to take all the credits, you know.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that those were some humans who played a small part in all of these.

Vampire Bat: Humans should have never been allowed to be part of vampire works, but at some point of time, there was not much of a difference between species.

Vampire Owl: Well, at least we know the human nature now.

Vampire Bat: The only true, classic inherent evil nature in the whole world.

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

What is the movie about? :: Elisa (Matilda Lutz), an intern at a consulting firm, try a rideshare app to get to her parents’ home in Calabria in Southern Italy to get an abortion, even though she is not sure if it is the right thing to do. The recreational vehicle that she gets is driven by a travel blogger and a student of film, Fabrizio (Francesco Russo) – he is only happy to have some interesting people in his vehicle, so that his Youtube channel can get more visitors. A couple from the United States, Sofia (Yuliia Sobol) and Mark (Will Merrick) are also traveling in the vehicle to reach a wedding destination and have some good time. A doctor named Riccardo (Peppino Mazzotta) who joins them is also trying to get home as early as possible. When Elisa’s nausea causes the group to stop on the side of the road, Mark forcibly takes over driving for Fabrizio, only to hit a tree while trying to avoid hitting the corpse of a goat. Elisa wakes up in the morning and sees that the group is doing first aid on Mark’s broken leg, as the doctor takes over the procedure. They are not able to get any signal on their mobile phones, and even the emergency numbers don’t work.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: They soon realize that they are no longer on the road, but are lost in an open space surrounded by a forest. They are sure that they hit the tree on the side of the road, but now, no paths leading to anywhere can be discovered. It is like having an endless line of trees in all directions. They do find a house there though, but it is empty. It seems like a strange building, with some weird signs and heads of animals. The photos in the house has people wearing masks looking like heads of goats. There is also fresh blood and heads of animals in the woods nearby. At the same time, They see some paintings and writings in house about three brothers who came from another world, a long time ago. There is also the story of a strange ritual which was performed for the brothers, which involved a naked woman’s tongue, ears and eyes being cut out. Fabrizio had heard this story from his grandfather, and all of them decide to stay in the vehicle at night rather than the house.

And what more of horror is to follow here in the middle of nowhere? :: They feel that there is something going on in the house, and Sofia goes inside house with Elisa to explore further, only to find something in the attic. There is a cocoon, and inside that, there was a child named Chiara (Alida Baldari Calabria), who has her tongue cut out, and kept separately, making them remember the tale of three brothers. She is supposed to be the only survivor in the family, and writes down that there are not in a forest. They hide in the attic while Mark was dragged out of the vehicle by three masked figures, who torture and kill Mark by pulling out his eyes and also breaking his feet with a wooden hammer. After Mark’s body is dragged to the forest, they run to the woods. After finding a large number of abandoned cars, they understand that they are not the first victims of these people, and might not be the last either. When they walk through the forest, they end up at the same place, and also see that the vehicle missing. Is there any hope left now?

The defence of A Classic Horror Story :: The best thing about this movie might be its use of sound effects and also the music that relates to the situations so well, and works even better for the horror. One has to wonder how they find all the strength with the sound when we are less expecting it, and manage to have such an amazing effect. There is something for the Hollywood movies to learn here, and our films are not even close, as far as horror is considered. The visuals are amazingly good, and the beautiful scenes of nature combines with the terrifying ones really well. This strange, scary, beautiful world, is something that we can cherish, and be glad to see on the screen, wishing that this was actually there in any of those theatres. Yuliia Sobol and Matilda Lutz make pretty good screen queens, as we look at them wandering through the situations of horror – even though the latter is the female lead, the former is the stronger of the two. The male actors basically pales in comparison to these two who make have the better moments.

Positives and negatives :: The ending of the movie is a little bit of a struggle though, as it was not having some of the best twists around there either. There were so many routes which it could have taken, but it has chosen one which was so less interesting. There could have been so many terrifying truths about what is happening on the screen, and how this is like a world from where there could be no escape, but the film chooses to go through the path which is rather too easy to take, to create a twist. It might have been trying to become another one of The Cabin in the Woods, but that much of a satiric fun isn’t present in this one. There is a lot of blood and gore around here though, even as it doesn’t really go with the fully slasher horror model. The only other two Italian movies on Movies of the Soul are Pinocchio and Piranhas – this one is the first Italian horror film and the first full-thriller movie from Italy to be part of the reviews here. One has to say that as a horror fan, different people would enjoy this is different manner, depending on how much they like the ending.

How it finishes :: A Classic Horror Story surely lives up to its title, and this Italian movie has enough to keep it stronger than a good number of Hollywood horror movies. There are not many English movies which have used the available resources so well in comparison to this one. One has to question some other horror films about their use of the visuals and sound effects, as well as the urban legends which were available in a better way. If you forget the ending of this film, the rest of the whole thing makes one really care about the main characters and tensed and afraid of the terrifying world within what seems to be a forest. That particular hunt and torture are enough to wonder about the smartness behind this particular movie. Among the horror movies which have released in the last few years, this might be the one which can have the right to use this particular title. Enjoy this world, and hope that it can be inspiring for many horror movies which have lost their way completely in the beginning stages itself.

Release date: 14th July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Roberto De Feo, Paolo Strippoli
Starring: Matilda Lutz, Yuliia Sobol, Will Merrick, Justin Korovkin, Peppino Mazzotta, Cristina Donadio, Francesco Russo, Alida Baldari Calabria

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Major Grom

Vampire Owl: It is a shame that vampires don’t have the ranks of major.

Vampire Bat: We do have titles like vampire-at-arms and master vampire.

Vampire Owl: They seem to be a little too much limited in scope.

Vampire Bat: Scope is what Uncle Dracula talks about it.

Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula is no longer interested in matters of war.

Vampire Bat: He is not against the peace which prevails among vampires, werewolves and zombies of all realms.

Vampire Owl: He is too old for another war, just like the vampire elders.

Vampire Bat: The wars are led by vampires-at-arms and master vampires.

Vampire Owl: But there is always one Uncle Dracula banner in the front side.

Vampire Bat: The limitations of not having a new banner designer. Nothing more.

[Gets a masala dosa and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Major Igor Grom (Tikhon Zhiznevsky) is chasing three bank robbers dressed like clowns, supposed to look like hockey players from a popular Soviet cartoon. He manages to catch them, but at the same time, causes a lot of damage to public property. Colonel General Fedor Prokopenko (Aleksei Maklakov), Igor Grom’s boss and head of the Saint Petersburg Police doesn’t like what has happened in the streets, causing ten million of currency to be lost, putting the blame on the police department. He doesn’t like the fact that Grom is not wearing police uniform and not having any police equipment. He asks Grom to quit, but tears apart the resignation himself, as he feels the need for his presence in the police department. It is then that the trial of Kirill Grechkin (Yuri Nasonov), the son of a billionaire, takes place, and he is accused of a hit-and-run incident under the influence of alcohol. Kirill, despite being apprehended with proof by Grom himself, feels that he won’t be convicted.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Aleksei Lyosha Makarov (Oleg Chugunov), a boy from the same orphanage where the girl who was hit by Kirill lived, feels that the court is corrupt, and is against the common man. He is extremely disappointed, and is also supposed to have disappeared somewhere after the verdict acquits the rich boy. IT millionaire Sergei Razumovsky (Sergei Goroshko), who is the founder of a new social network Vmeste, and his friend Oleg Volkov (Dmitry Chebotaryov), who grew up in the same orphanage as the murdered girl, are not happy with the court’s decision. A masked man attacks and burns Kirill Grechkin, whose car is also destroyed completely. With flame throwers, armour and great skills in combat in possession of the killer, Grom is not able to catch him. Lyosha is taken by the police for the murder, but Grom tells everyone about the incidents of last night, which the police dismisses. He investigates on the case, but it seems that almost everyone wanted the boy to be dead, as he was such a nuisance.

And what more is added to the tale as something strange is coming up? :: Yulia Pchyolkina (Lyubov Aksyonova), a blogger and journalist also wanted a role in the investigation. Later, Oleg comes to Razumovsky and confesses the truth that he is the man on the streets with the flamethrower. Razumovsky is upset by this, but doesn’t want to turn his friend in to the authorities. It is then that videos of a strange man known as Plague Doctor appear on the internet. He wears a mask and a combat suit, and has bombs and flamethrowers – he promises to clean the city and take it out of all the criminal mess. Olga Isaeva (Anna Nevskaya), head of RosGarantBank is the next victim of the Plague Doctor, as she is accused of taking away the money of the poor. There seems to be a war on the rich and influential, called on by the Plague Doctor, while Lyosha is released. The newly formed vigilante is now considered as a hero by many people, who don’t want him to be caught. What does this change do to the law and order situation in the city?

The defence of Major Grom :: The movie does have a hero played well by Tikhon Zhiznevsky, and Sergei Goroshko makes a fine antagonist. Lyubov Aksyonova plays the lead well too. The film can also boast about its stunning visuals, which is interesting in more than one way. There is the feeling of quality here, which is maintained at all times. The beautiful world of Saint Petersburg is a boost, and we do get some fine action sequences around here, with the strong antagonist who seems to be better than the most. The protagonist here is not a Batman, Thor, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Spider-Man – kind of hero, as he has no specific superpowers or a lot of money, except for the fact that he is strong and surely has an expertise in fighting. The film focuses on his strengths and moves forward well. Even for a seemingly superhero movie, it does stay close to reality, and keeps the hero somewhat flawed too. There is also the presence of some humour which works, and keeps the pace quick at all times.

Positives and negatives :: The movie basically follows the usual plot, and that too, without trying too hard. It is not really different from the usual superhero movies, with a villain having a grand motive, and also having those psychological problems, but talks about being ideologically superior. The choice of the villain’s costume is interesting as well symbolic, as he intends to take away the plague in the form of a few people, from the city, striking as the Plague Doctor providing treatment. It is no surprise that movie makers outside Hollywood are making some fine superhero films these days, for the cultural difference is contributing very nicely to making these flicks more interesting than seeing something which we have seen for a very long time. Yet, there is always more that these kind of movies can do, with creative imagination that can go beyond some comics, suiting the age. A superhero can be built differently, and transformed as much as a creative thinker can – something which would make the admirers of the genre proud. After all, you are never really far away from finding the perfect superhero.

How it finishes :: Here is another interesting heroic adventure of our times, based on another comics. For a change, we do have the superhero policeman, and not the common man who takes the law into one’s hands, mostly due to circumstances. Well, we require our superheroes in all forms, even without the superpowers – defeating what seems to be a supervillain is surely what matters the most. It does remind us of those other superhero movies, but with its setting, as well as with the choice of cast, it does stand apart. There are not many superheroes who can get a strong villain like this one, and therefore, just like Minnal Murali, this one powers up well enough. In a world populated by humans who have been degrading further into their evil ways, the requirement of a superhero seems to be understood better these days, along with the understanding that one can never have such a hero in reality. With the same, the movie does provide some good escapism, even though it is still close to reality than most superhero works.

Release date: 5th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Oleg Trofim
Starring: Tikhon Zhiznevsky, Lyubov Aksyonova, Aleksei Maklakov, Aleksandr Seteykin, Sergei Goroshko, Dmitry Chebotaryov, Mikhail Evlanov, Oleg Chugunov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Brazen

Vampire Owl: So, Netflix seems to have released another movie with a killer.

Vampire Bat: I am wondering if this is a serial killer on the loose.

Vampire Owl: There is always a chance that there can be more than one killer.

Vampire Bat: If it was a vampire, one killer would have been enough.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t really want a vampire in there though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, vampires are rarely serial killers or psycho killers.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that vampires can only be contract killers.

Vampire Bat: We, vampires have been killers of souls for a long time.

Vampire Owl: The exact title should have been takers of souls.

Vampire Bat: With the exception of zombies whose souls are now with the Northern witches.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: Grace Miller (Alyssa Milano) is a popular mystery novelist who has long journeys with her book tours. Most of her novels have women getting murdered, and after a series of investigations, the killer is discovered. She finally gets to visit her sister after a long time. The sister is going through a custody battle for her son after filing a divorce, and also teaching English Literature and Drama in high school. Ed Jennings (Sam Page) who lives next door is a detective has just solved the case of the murder of a woman by her husband, and is now going through a few days off. Grace and Ed have drinks together and discusses different fictional murders, as she hopes that she could use his help in her upcoming novel. But when she returns home after spending some time with him, she finds her sister dead inside the house. Grace goes into depression, and Ed feels that he should be going through the investigation rather than any other police officer, and help her.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Police investigation discovers that even though her sister was a teacher for the public, she was part of a webcam based site known as Fantasy Inc, where she worked as a dominatrix, providing online femdom. The first suspect is the ex-husband, as the dead woman knew some of the secrets that the rich and influential man held. Even though she has remained anonymous as the company has always guaranteed to keep her identity secret, and as she was also wearing a mask throughout her performances, the police feels that it could have been somehow leaked. Grace feels that she should also be personally involved in the investigation, even though Ed asks her not to take it personal, and let the police do the job. She does come up with some interesting information from the school where her sister was teaching, and that provides some of the missing pieces for the police. But it seems that this is not just about her sister, as there are other murders.

The defence of Brazen :: This is one entertaining movie which has an investigation going, and the puzzle is nicely solved, with some nice red herrings thrown around here and there. The lost parts of the puzzle are nicely brought in here, and we are also able to make some guesses, but things become perfectly clear only by the end. From the beginning itself, you know where this one is going, and as you get into the mood soon enough, you are much more interested in it. It has some interesting twists happening around here, and it does take a fine turn in the end. The idea of including the dominatrix-teacher twist is something which hasn’t been tried before, and the movie makes some fine connection related to that. You are not required to expect too much about this though, as this doesn’t go on with that much of a divergence, and we have the straight forward thriller which can be enjoyed. You see the murders happening, and you see how the mystery is solved, with the killer being caught in the end – it is pretty much what you need as a completed puzzle. Then there is Alyssa Milano, the lady from our past, bringing back the childhood memories.

The claws of flaw :: The movie suffers from the early reviews, which seem to be against it, and can affect its scope, but it really doesn’t deserve that much of a spot down the ratings. The addition of a mystery writer to the police department’s investigation does feel strange, as if the cops are not that bright, thanks to the lady at the head of the department who seems to have less faith in her own people. The investigation of the police should have been the more convincing one, but here, it seems that fiction can serve the whole investigation better, and it is indeed a strange thing. Even with a serial killer who seems to be more like a psycho at the centre, there is not that much of scares related to it – the man could have been used better. It could have also used the work of the dead people better, and could have connected it better with the psychotic episodes. There could have also been clearer versions of the murders happening with some nice shots of the same making the deaths more gruesome. The first few moments of the movie are also slower, and it does take some time to pick up the pace, while the romantic angle is less explored.

The performers of the soul :: We have known Alyssa Milano mostly from one vampire movie which was among those interesting vampire flicks of the times, and she was indeed a loved actress from the movie, and during those times – we were all looking for some fine horror movies during those times, with special focus on vampire films. Many years later, twenty six to be exact, I am watching another movie with her in the lead, and it is a case of nostalgia as much as anything else. Well, she has been the childhood crush of many kids living and growing up through the 1990s. She does come up with a good performance here too, even as the character is not that perfectly written according to the needs of this thriller. Well, there are a few actresses who were part of our childhood, and they still remain our favourites at a higher age group. Sam Page plays a good supporting role, and he also shares a fine chemistry with Alyssa, often bringing a certain amount of humour related to it too. Emilie Ullerup also shines during her short stay around here. Malachi Weir also has a supporting role to add to it here. Aaron Paul Stewart also has something to contribute.

How it finishes :: Brazen might not be a movie that caters to some high expectations, but it is surely the type that manages to do its job well, and also in an entertaining way. The movie is based on Nora Roberts’s novel Brazen Virtue, and the similarities and differences between the two versions are yet to be known. Some of the early negative reviews about this movie feels rather surprising, because there is not that much of flaws here, which pulls it down, as far as you look at it according to the overall mood of the movie. It is an investigative thriller which maintains the strength throughout its run, and there are some interesting moments which builds on the tale’s twists really well. In the end, there is the final twist, and we see the serial killer mode being switched on in the middle, as the investigation did get stronger then. You can surely watch this movie and be entertained, and Alyssa Milano is the one actress whom you remember from the childhood days, as she was one of those big names of those times, in those early CDs and DVDs.

Release date: 13 January 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Monika Mitchell
Starring: Alyssa Milano, Sam Page, Colleen Wheeler, Lossen Chambers, Emilie Ullerup, Malachi Weir, Barry W Levy, Matthew Finlan, Aaron Paul Stewart, Will Verchere-Gopaulsingh, Jack Armstrong, Leslie Kwan, Michael Q Adams

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The 8th Night

Vampire Owl: Another Korean horror film with monsters? That sounds good.

Vampire Bat: Korean movies have some fine monsters.

Vampire Owl: I wish that I could invite a few of them here.

Vampire Bat: Monsters are not allowed here. They are considered the same as werewolves and zombies.

Vampire Owl: But dead monsters are allowed.

Vampire Bat: Well, we do give them honorable burial in the cemetery.

Vampire Owl: Why would a monster come here to be buried?

Vampire Bat: We are now promoting burial tourism.

Vampire Owl: Now you are giving those kinds of ads?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the ads are very popular now.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: A long time ago, a monster roamed free, and intended to create eternal suffering for humans. Unable to kill it, the Buddha was finally able to stop the monster by taking out its eyes, coloured black and red. The red eye continued fighting, and when the Buddha was finally able to stop the red eye, he placed it along with the black one in different caskets. He buried one eye in the great hills of the Far East, and the other eye he buried in the great deserts of the Far West, hoping to make sure that these would never meet and bring the monster back. In the year 2005, a professor Kim Joon-cheol (Choi Jin-ho) wants to prove that the Buddhist myth is real, and finds one of the eyes in the India-Pakistan border. But he is disgraced, and people don’t believe in him. The media makes fun of him, and the authorities say that what he has with him is forged. This angers him, and after many years, he still wants to let everyone know that he was telling the truth.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He reawakens the monster’s red eye, and open the gates of hell, in an attempt to prove that the Buddish myth real, thus also making people realize that he is not a liar. Monk Ha-jung (Lee Eol), a protector of one of the caskets, understands that the red eye has reawakened, as he alwso wakes up from his meditation. He asks another monk Chung-seok (Nam Da-reum) to seek Park Jin-soo (Lee Sung-min), a construction worker who was banished from the monk community – the one who is supposed to be born to stop the eyes’ reunification. All these were foretold, and the prophecy is to be fulfilled – if the eyes are united, on the eighth night, the monster will be unleashed, and it will unstoppable. At the same time, Detective Kim Ho-tae (Park Hae-joon) is also working in the case of the strange corpses that the red eye leaves behind after its grand awakening. But are these people good enough to stop the evil which seems to possess so many people and murder many of them?

The defence of The 8th Night :: The movie has some good divergence with its myth as well as the horror that it brings. There are also the characters who have some interesting past to go with the present, and are defined by past, present and future. The mythological elements about the monster works really well, and its effectiveness only increases as the movie goes forward. There is a certain amount of quality which has been maintained in its use of properties. It uses the settings of the city quite well to gaining advantage in horror. One would initially have the doubt about what a horror movie can do with two eyes lying apart and coming together at some other point of time – how can random eyes be horror? Well, this one answers the same quite well, and has a number of moments which bring some divergent horror, different from what we expect and what we have been seeing. The idea of the ancient prophecies and monsters is used effectively here as the journey never gets less interesting.

Positives and negatives :: The movie could have had more grandeur in the establishment of the characters and terror which is unleashed, and some moments don’t contribute that much like it was intended. It also gets very complicated at times, and also a bit slow in some moments. There is a lot of mystery about what has been happening around here, and with this kind of a monster, you have absolutely no idea what can happen next – it keeps us guessing as well as thinking. There are some shots which are so good and effective that they stay with us for long enough. They have captured the essence of nature, as the movie goes forward with its battle between good and evil too. The eerie feeling which this movie provides, might seem different than the usual, that we would get elsewhere. South Korean movies are pretty much rich in providing some symbolic horror, and this one also does try to deviate from the normal and most traveled course of action for the best. The movie also has some service as an investigative thriller – we know how the spirits and real-life investigations of crimes go together, like in the case of Malayalam movie, Cold Case.

The performers of the soul :: Lee Sung-min whom we have known from Hit-and-Run Squad leads the way as the man who is part of different missions, having violence and non-violence on two different sides, none of them leaving him, as he serves as the guardian. He has moments as he comes out of the past to face the present, in an attempt to the save the future for everyone in this world. It is a solid work that suits the personality that we see here, strong and with better different abilities than an average monk would possess. Park Hae-joon plays the detective, and he does that in a convincing manner, even though he remains a foolish believer in science and logic only. A detective in a movie dealing with magic and myth might feel out of the place, but he does make sure that it is not the case here, and there is a lot to be done from his side too. Kim Yoo-jung plays the female character with most screen presence, and she makes another interesting character of significance. Choi Jin-ho plays the man who begins all of these, and one can only wish that his scenes were more chaotic in nature too. Nam Da-reum is the usual apprentice who doesn’t know enough until he changes in the end.

How it finishes :: The 8th Night has the ability to rise beyond the typical horror story that we have, with all the monsters coming out of hell, as it establishes the myth, and follows it up with enough horror to go with it. With an investigation which is nicely managed, this one goes forward in an interesting manner. There is the message about destiny, and the roles that one is supposed to perform in this world, as well as something about where conscience comes into play. With the visuals adding to the mystery and horror, we know that this could be another classic horror flick like Train to Busan and The Wailing, which could rise above the rest many years ago, and the later arrivals like Svaha, Metamorphosis an The Divine Fury. You are never really short of some interesting Korean movies to watch, and The 8th Night is the film which you can add to the list of what can be recommended to the horror fans. This is also not to be confused with the Malayalam movie, 7th Day which deals with another investigation of murders.

Release date: 2nd July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Kim Tae-hyoung
Starring: Lee Sung-min, Park Hae-joon, Kim Yoo-jung, Nam Da-reum, Choi Jin-ho, Park Se-hyun, Lee Eol, Kim Han-sol

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oxygen

Vampire Owl: I had earlier heard that vampires no longer required oxygen to survive.

Vampire Bat: Is this a result of one of the experiments of Doctor Frankenstein?

Vampire Owl: Yes, he has actually found a substitute this time.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t really trust him about controversial inventions.

Vampire Owl: You have been talking about our best scientist for so long.

Vampire Bat: I wonder why you are not able to understand the difference between a scientist and an alchemist.

Vampire Owl: Well, alchemist degree is no longer a valid one.

Vampire Bat: He has passed only BSc. Alchemy, I am telling you.

Vampire Owl: When he cleared the degree, it was a valid subject.

Vampire Bat: You are going to be struggling for survival, if you go with what he provides.

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

What is the movie about? :: Elizabeth Hansen (Melanie Laurent) wakes up in a medical cryogenic unit with no memory of who she is, and how she got there. The Artificial Intelligence machines which was supposed to take care of the system informs her that the oxygen level is low, and her request to go out of the unit will not be accepted. She is also informed that despite the failure of the unit being reported, nobody has come up with a reply. The advanced Artificial Intelligence with which she communicates is named MILO (Medical Interface Liaison Officer) tells her that she is identified as Omicron 267, and is not known by any other name. Her medical report is not available, even though she is there to get better after being sick after some point of time. External communication is not available, but she is finally able to transmit the details of her situation outside the unit through emergency services. The police are confused as she can give them no information of use about herself or her present location. She is able to provide them with the unit’s model and serial number, which are printed on the interior. But she is told the unit was destroyed three years prior.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: A DNA analysis provides a match for her though, and it shows pictures of her, which helps her to identify her name as well as an an idea of her work, and up-to an extent, some idea about her family. She is told that she has forty three to seventy two minutes remaining with her Oxygen level. When her medical report finally becomes available, she is shown as perfectly healthy, much to her dismay. She does find the number of her husband, but another woman answers, and that doesn’t help her cause at all. Some of the memories seem to come back to her, but she is not certain about them. Soon, palliative care is ready to be deployed, but she stops the same, even though threatened against doing the same. She tries to cause destruction to the unit, but gets an electric shock in return. With only a few minutes of oxygen left, how long can she stay strong enough, and alive? Is there something sinister behind her being locked in the cryo unit? Who could be find all the trouble that she has to face? Is there some secret which only she knew before being locked in there, or is there an even bigger mystery that involves many people?

The defence of Oxygen :: The movie keeps us interested in the protagonist, as we hope for information about her, and it moves between optimism and pessimism at regular intervals, with more and more knowledge about the person coming to light. There are questions being asked here, about life, what is means to be human, and how memories make a person or destroy one. There is always more and more doubts about the nature of humanity and its existence, and one is reminded of minuteness with one grand shot of the whole space with the chamber unit – it is a thing of glory, well-designed and of quality. We do make many guesses about what is happening out there, and where the protagonist is, but there are twists which are good enough to bring another series of guesses – only a very few of those guesses come true in this case. There is the mystery to be solved and revelations to be made, as we look forward to finding the truth and hoping that our protagonist is saved. The progression of this movie a reminder to many people on how to use the minimum materials to the maximum effect – as long as you have a leading actress who can do wonders.

Positives and negatives :: The movie can feel a little too long because all the action is set in the chamber unit which feels like a coffin. Some of the initial moments are the ones which provides that particular feeling, and the rest has us discovering more and more about the protagonist well enough. The pace is never really increased as we look at it, and there are similarities with other movies, even though this has the feeling of a perfect new space which is not explored as it is, ever before. People might have also wanted this movie to progress in some other ways instead how it has gone forward. There could have also been more visuals of the world by the end, but I would guess that they didn’t want the scenes to move outside much at all. One also feels the need to see the life on the new planet instead of just one scene – there have been many films which have people traveling to another planet, but there is not even one which shows what happens after they reach there and start a civilization. Well, we are the fans of Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, Warcraft and others – we need to see that one in another world, and we are yet to see the same on the screen with effectiveness.

Performers of the soul :: We know Melanie Laurent the most from two movies, the critically acclaimed Enemy and the crowd favourite Now You See Me, both being films which can be watched many times. She has been part of other movies to remember, and this one is going to have bigger status among such films, with a performance which is focused on her. Even though there are some people being shown in flashback memories, the present is all about her, and she makes sure that there is perfection when it is about her. The other people whom we notice are one in the form of the Artificial Intelligence and the other is the person who are regular in the flashbacks. The success of this performance from Melanie lies in the fact that she makes us go through the different emotions of her with ease. We are able to relate to the person and what she is going through, thanks to her perfect run through the emotions, the journey from not knowing to what she comes to know, as well as what she comes against, as wrong information. We also have the doubts that she has, and sometimes even more than what she comes up against, in a small world resembling a coffin. It is not just her character battling out there, as we are also part of the same.

How it finishes :: The director of this movie is known for some of the most memorable thrillers, with the last one being Crawl, with one crocodile on the hunt – you remember that his first English film was The Hills Have Eyes, and movies like Mirrors and Maniac provide further testimony to his skills, even though those were closer to horror rather than any other genre of significance. This one comes as a science fiction thriller, and it is also one effective thing in the genre, adding to Gravity, The Interstellar and The Martian from one angle, while it is also a survival thriller like The Shallows and Buried. Yet, one movie which this one reminds us of, is Meander, considering being locked in small spaces, and having almost no idea of what is happening around. Related to these movies, our movie here also has a solid status for sure. With its surprises, and possessing a fine performance from one person at the centre of all of these, the movie is a thing of quality. It might feel long due to being located at one place at all times, but this is one film which you feel the need to keep going as you hope for a person’s survival against all odds.

Release date: 12th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Alexandre Aja
Starring: Melanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Blood Red Sky

Vampire Owl: Now, this is the type of title that I would prefer for a movie.

Vampire Bat: You are planning to make a movie too?

Vampire Owl: Yes, Doctor Frankenstein will be directing it.

Vampire Bat: Well, not the best director for our kind of a movie.

Vampire Owl: He has assured us that this movie will be the highest grossing vampire movie in the history of our realm.

Vampire Bat: I assume that it would be science fiction then?

Vampire Owl: You know that Doctor Frankenstein doesn’t talk science outside the laboratory anymore.

Vampire Bat: His type of science is the best when not talked about.

Vampire Owl: You are talking ill about an award winning scientist.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that he paid a million for that particular award.

[Gets a strawberry cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: An airplane which was supposed to have been hijacked, lands at an RAF base in Scotland. As the soldiers try to get the people out, Elias (Carl Anton Koch), a little boy is the first person to come out, and he is taken into a room, where he recollects the happenings during the flight, seemingly in terror. Back to the past, Nadja (Peri Baumeister), a widow from Germany, is taking a flight to the United States, where she could be treated for blood cancer better, and Elias, her son, joins her at the airport. They come up against Farid al Adwa (Kais Setti), a physicist, who helps them with their luggage. Nadja continues to look really ill, and taking her medicines doesn’t seem to help at all. As the passengers begin to sleep, a group of men supported by the co-pilot Bastian Buchner (Kai Ivo Baulitz), find and attack the three air marshalls in the flight, murdering them. Soon, the gang take over the flight, after getting rid of the pilot.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The team tells the passengers that their requirement is monetary, and if nobody tries to do anything nasty, it will remain safe for everyone. They also re-programme the black box, after which they deviate the flight towards another path. As Elias tries to run away to a hiding place in the plane, one of the attackers shoots Nadja, and leaves her behind, considering her as dead. But it seems that Nadja has secrets of her own. Nadja, even though weakened, manages to access the cargo hold, and removes the contact lenses and dentures that conceal her mutated eyes and fangs before managing to kill and feed on a dog. It is revealed that she was bitten by a vampire which also killed her husband on a winter night when their car broke down. She regains her strength, and attacks one of the hijackers who come that way, killing him. She realizes that her vampirism is coming back to her, as she also feeds from the hijacker. Now, the hijackers have an adversary that they don’t want. But is she good enough?

The defence of Blood Red Sky :: The idea is good, as there is a vampire on the airplane, and we don’t usually get that – there is a certain amount of creativity in bringing a different vampire world unlike what we usually have. It brings a dangerous situation, and then makes it even more dangerous from multiple sides. Each minute, there is no real relief, as the situation only gets worse for the living characters. The movie has no real heroes, and it doesn’t claim to have some supernatural being saving the day, for the bloodbath won’t leave many people behind if it was a real thing. There are some moments which stand out, including different transformations, and quick as well as gory attacks. The mother-son bonding is also good, especially in the beginning stages. There might not be many other movies which connect motherhood and vampirism, and here, the vampire has its own divergence, even though not by that much of a distance. You are never short of blood and gore with vampirism around.

The claws of flaw :: This premise could have developed into something bigger, and there could have been some fine action sequences as well as moments of horror which would bring the shock and stay for long, but that chance is not taken here. You have a vampire on a flight, and also a few hijackers – things really need to get bigger. While holding on to many elements, it sometimes losses grip on its most valuable asset, the vampire mother who has just unleashed the creature in her. Sometimes, the action doesn’t get the attention that it deserves, and during some moments, horror just takes the backseat, leading to the movie losing the advantage. The hijackers here could have also had better motives, and some of them could have actually had specific characteristics as well as a background tale – here, only one of them seems to have the same. Turning more people into vampires is not always the best option to make a movie better – this film seems to like the idea of having a vampire full-house airplane though.

Performers of the soul :: Peri Baumeister leads the way in this movie here, and she does that in a way that catches our attention a lot in more than one mode. She is strong as the motherly figure, and as a vampire, she takes the creature’s features with ease. It is a performance that many others playing vampire characters can note. She goes through the motherly love and vampire thirst for blood at the same time, or interchangeably. Among the villains, it is Alexander Scheer who gets the most of the villainy, even though the vampire-thing doesn’t work well for him. Dominic Purcell who plays the leader doesn’t get his due at all, as death comes early for him. Roland Moller also has his own different moments, and he could have made one smart villain – leaves a mark as he does now though. Carl Anton Koch who plays the son has his moments, but there are a few which doesn’t suit. Kais Setti is there from the beginning to the end, and he also has some fine job to do. Another one to be noted is Kai Ivo Baulitz.

How it finishes :: Like Train to Busan, this one is Flight to New York, and with vampirism spreading quicker than ever, one could actually replace the vampire here with a zombie, and still have the film working – with a little concern about the slower pace of zombies. Placing vampires on the airplane is an idea that can hold on strong, better than placing them in ships or trains. This film seems to have finished the idea though, without scope for a sequel, but we know that sequels can come out of nowhere. We are never really short of vampires, for we have placed them with werewolves in Underworld series, as mother-daughter duo wandering around the world in Byzantium and at many other places. Anne Rice, the author of The Vampire Chronicles who recently died, had brought some fine works which could be made into movies, taking some fine form in the form of Interview with the Vampire starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas. We have had so many vampire novels, films, series and others in quick succession – this one also adds on. Netflix surely has the better vampire flick, as what Amazon Prime could get was Black as Night.

Release date: 23rd July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Peter Thorwarth
Starring: Roland Moller, Peri Baumeister, Chidi Ajufo, Alexander Scheer, Dominic Purcell, Rebecca Dyson-Smith, Graham McTavish, Kai Ivo Baulitz, David Hurten, Kais Setti, Nader Ben-Abdallah, Jan Loukota, Florian Schmidtke, Jacqueline Macaulay, Holger Hage

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.