Rise of the Black Swan

Vampire Owl: I have missed the Vampire Swan for quite a long time.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that we haven’t really employed one.

Vampire Owl: There was the one which stood guard near the vampire canteen.

Vampire Bat: It was the Vampire Duck, on temporary service.

Vampire Owl: You had ducks as temporary vampire guards?

Vampire Bat: Well, there was the zombie threat and we were in short of troops.

Vampire Owl: Still, why didn’t anyone choose a majestic black swan instead?

Vampire Bat: Well, the ducks charged less, and zombies never know the difference.

Vampire Owl: They would have known if they had reached the castle during the attack.

Vampire Bat: Even then, the zombies would eat only the brains of a duck.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Black Swans is an American private military company owned by the family of William Lewis (Tom Wilkinson) and his children Grace Lewis (Ruby Rose) and Oliver Lewis (Owain Yeoman). British Army’s Special Air Service Commander George Clements (Andy Serkis) gives them the mission to clear a remote village somewhere in Georgia for a transnational gas pipeline. But the villagers are not ready to leave their homes, and the Black Swans brutally murder all the men, leaving the women and children to run for their lives. But the atrocities committed in the village were filmed secretly, and red notices are served following the accusations of crimes against citizens of different countries. The international law demands that the United Kingdom extradite the three accused – William, Grace and Oliver to the Hague for a trial. The Prime Minister Atwood (Ray Panthaki) asks Clements to kill William and anyone who comes against them so that the involvement of the government is covered.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: William had already become too rich and influential with his mercenary business, buying new homes and business. The team attacks the mansion of the Black Swans and Clements personally murders William, only to find that Grace and Oliver are not there anymore. It seems that they had all of these planned, and Grace always knew what was coming to them. Tom Buckingham (Sam Heughan) who is planning to propose to Sophie Hart (Hannah John-Kamen) is one of the special troops who attempted to raid the mansion, and fought off a good number of Black Swans who were guarding the area. He decides to go to Paris on romantic trip with her, as there is a doubt which remains among both of them about their love affair, and both do wonder if they love each other than much to get married. But that really doesn’t really seem like a good idea, as he notices someone who looks like Grace inside the Eurostream train going to Paris.

And what more is to follow in this dangerous journey of another king? :: Soon enough, the train is hijacked by Grace and her group of Black Swans with the support of Oliver. Tom manages to escape from the train and starts sending updates his good friend and fellow special troops officer Declan Smith (Tom Hopper), who informs the authorities about what has happened within the tunnel. Major Bisset (Noel Clarke) who is the commanding officer of the operation wishes to save as many hostages as possible, while this becomes breaking news in the television channels all over the United Kingdom, and many speculations arise as the news reaches world-wide. Clements is also sent to the location by the Prime Minister with only one aim, to finish off Grace who knows everything about their secrets. Tom is determined to save Sophie, but she refuses his aid and is not ready to leave the train as there are so many passengers in there who needs some medical assistance. Grace asks for a ransp, of $500 million from the company which wanted to have the villages cleared, Britgaz. But can she get that, and can the hostages be saved?

The defence of SAS: Rise of the Black Swan a.k.a. SAS: Red Notice :: As expected, this one serves as the action thriller which it was supposed to be. It provides some of the very engaging moments with so many lives at stake. Ruby Rose remains strong in another action movie role, like she had done in John Wick. She continues to excel in the action scenes, and remains strong with a certain psychotic side. Sam Heughan remains strong in the role that is about saving too many people. Hannah John-Kamen also does a fine job, while Andy Serkis and Tom Hopper remains good. The settings serve really good, and being caught in a train within a tube full of mercenaries ready to kill, serves the purpose well. The movie surely feels somewhat old fashioned, but maintains a certain amount of standard related to that, even though it never goes down to that level of those silly mass masala movies of Bollywood or some of those overrated high budget movies of the South. The world here surely keeps itself from going down from the suitable level.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does remind us of many other movies, even though it is not of that much strength as some of the others. For most of the film, people seem to reiterate the fact that the main character here is trained, and isn’t too much bothered about his presence on board the train. There is also a certain amount of silliness with the movie’s primary antagonist and her actions, and even though she is menacing, is not even. They surely had the budget to add some special scenes around here too, and also some spectacular action sequences which are not usually seen. A little bit of exaggeration, especially related to action scenes was expected, and the same is present around here. The predictability factor is also present without doubt, and we know mostly what is going to happen around here. You have the specially trained hero trying to save the people inside a train from a group of mercenaries led by a merciless maniac.

How it finishes :: As this movie is known as SAS: Red Notice, it is not to be confused with that particular movie which has the big names like Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot in the lead. This one is also an action movie, but surely more serious than that one. This is also an entertaining ride as much as that one though. As a movie based on the novel with the same name by Andy McNab, whether it satisfies the fans of the books is yet to be known. But as of now, we can enjoy the work done here, thanks to the lot of action that goes on around here. We are never short of a possibility of a terrorist attack happening at any part of the world, and so we are looking for a lot of saviours in action. It is the kind of movie in which we go with the flow of action, and get immersed in the adventure that we witness around. Well, after all, most of us might not be traveling in the Channel Tunnel in our lives, and a lot of us most probably won’t be inside a high-speed train or travel underwater – let us enjoy what we see on the screen in that way too.

Release date: 12th March 2021 (UK); 5th November 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Magnus Martens
Starring: Sam Heughan, Ruby Rose, Hannah John-Kamen, Anne Reid, Andy Serkis, Tom Hopper, Noel Clarke, Owain Yeoman, Ray Panthaki, Tom Wilkinson, Jing Lusi

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Raccoon City

Vampire Owl: We have all been the fans of Resident Evil franchise, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the franchise about zombies coming over.

Vampire Owl: Well, these are surely not the zombies that we know well.

Vampire Bat: The zombies of science, not the kind of our realm.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that the zombies of science might be even stronger.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they have the technology to make zombies that strong.

Vampire Owl: Yet, they are will never be as strong as vampires.

Vampire Bat: But, you have never really battled a pure undead zombie.

Vampire Owl: The pure bloods have been dead and buried for centuries.

Vampire Bat: You don’t see them that often. They are like the vampire elders.

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

What is the movie about? :: Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) returns to Raccoon City in 1998, where she and her older brother Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell) lived in an orphanage there which was run by the Umbrella Corporation. William Birkin (Neal McDonough) who ran the institute was using the children for his experimental research at the Umbrella Corporation, and Claire had noted a disfigured little girl in particular. Claire has returned to the city to find her brother, but Raccoon City which used to be the home of the Umbrella Corporation, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company had turned into a ghost town with the company moving to a new location. Only a small crew of the last few employees remained there. As Claire returns by hitchhiking in a truck, which accidently hits a woman in the middle of the road. But as the two argue over what is to be done with the body, the woman stands up and disappears without a trace. The woman seems to be walking strange, as if affected by some strange disease, and the trucker’s dog does drink some of the blood on the road and begins to act strange and bites him later.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Leon S Kennedy (Avan Jogia), a Raccoon City Police Department rookie officer who just got there visits a diner and finds the waiter having blood coming out of her eyes. The waiter dismisses is as nothing of significance, and is also not ready to see a doctor. She finds her brother Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell), who is a member of the STARS Alpha Team along with Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen) and Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper). Claire feels that there is something wrong with the city, and asks Chris to get out of there, but he feels that he owes to the Umbrella Corporation which looked after him after she had run away. Claire tries to convince him that there are many theories about what is going to happen to the city which has been abandoned by the corporation on purpose, but there is nothing that can make him change his mind, as he is also not happy about her leaving her as a child. Chris leaves for the police station after an alarm is activated by the Umbrella Corporation.

And what more is to happen in this world of some strange chaos? :: Claire is attacked by a strange woman who keeps saying “Itchy Tasty”. She manages to keep her away and escape on Chris’ motorcycle. At the police station, it is said that an earlier team had gone missing while investigating the Spencer Mansion which was owned by the head of the Umbrella Corporation – it is investigated by the team led by Chris. At the same time, the truck driver who was bitten by his dog is transformed into a zombie, and crashes his truck in front of the police station, soon dying. As the police chief tries to escape, Leon remains the only person in charge of the police station – he would also be forced to return to the police station as there seems to be no way out of the city now, with Umbrella Corporation guards trying to keep the people inside and contain what seems to be an outbreak. There is the zombie dog of the trucker and many zombie-like people outside the police station, and there seems to be no way out of there of the police station now. With the mansion also overrun by zombies, the team also struggles to find a way out.

The defence of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City :: I have always been happy about video games made into movies. As I was a gamer since my childhood, I would always feel some nostalgia when my favourite games of the past become movies of the present – it makes me go through the journey again. It is the same reason why I was only happy to hear about a reboot of this big franchise of adaptation. The movie does start well, and it does focus on Claire and Jill in the beginning itself – they are two of my favourite characters. There are some interesting shots of zombie attacks here, and a lot of shooting follows. There are some good-looking camera shots with the help of darkness, and some of the music also manages to come up with effectiveness, even though you know that there was the chance to do things better as we remember the original. The scope for a sequel is pretty much there too, but one might feel the need to add some more of interesting characters and have a better horde of zombies, as the audience has already seen so much. The performances are not that much, but fine.

The claws of flaw :: Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is not that heavy in action in comparison to the original movie franchise or the games. It is also not that scary as the movie which started the movie adaptations with a similar setting. The waking up of Alice in the bath tub and the lift scene are only a few of them. That movie had a lot of stylish and iconic moments which we continue to remember. There were also some memorable dialogues to add to it. Even the costumes of the main characters lets the fans down up to an extent. Releasing so many years after the first movie, this one could have had better special effects. Some more innovation to the tale and its presentation could have suited the present scenario better. There is not enough strength in the attempts made around here. There are movies in the earlier series which are worse than this one, but for a reboot which had all the chances to start again in style, this one lags – remember that the games were the kind which kept us so much immersed in them. One really seems to lose the way so much while trying to make adaptations of video games.

How it finishes :: We have already watched so many movies of Resident Evil, and have played so many games in the franchise. The games have been integral part of our childhood, and still brings us the nostalgia about those which CDs which we received with the computer magazines – those were the demo versions of interest. If we go back to the first movie of a very long franchise, it was also something of a lot of interest – things started to change only with the third movie, as the second one had also continued the proceedings of the world really well. The earlier Resident Evil franchise starring Milla Jovovich was indeed something of interest, even though losing its way with the story at times – yet, we are happy to have a reboot which can also come up with some interesting titles as it progress. Well, we know that we are all standing close to a biohazard created by human manufactured viruses, and corona virus might only have been the tip of the huge iceberg. As we heard in that original movie long ago, everyone is going to die down here.

Release date: 24th November 2021
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Johannes Roberts
Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Hannah John-Kamen, Robbie Amell, Tom Hopper, Avan Jogia, Donal Logue, Neal McDonough

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Yara

Vampire Owl: Another Italian film? This is very soon.

Vampire Bat: Security was such a movie of higher class.

Vampire Owl: A Classic Horror Story was also a movie of class.

Vampire Bat: I am very much interested in investigations more.

Vampire Owl: Well, not all investigations work well enough.

Vampire Bat: Some can still be Memories or Cold Case.

Vampire Owl: And the others are just lost without any trace.

Vampire Bat: Some movies deserve to be lost completely.

Vampire Owl: Yet, some dumb mass masala movies become blockbusters of a life-time.

Vampire Bat: The dumb human fans. We don’t really need them to watch good movies. They are bloody disgrace to any civilized society.

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

What is the movie about? :: In 2010, a 13 year old Yara Gambirasio (Chiara Bono), who is trying to be a rhythmic gymnast goes missing, after leaving Brembate di Sopra Sport Centre alone. On that snowy evening, she doesn’t reach her home which is less than a kilometres away. As she doesn’t pick up her phone either, her mother Maura Gambirasio (Sandra Toffolatti) goes searching for her in and around the sport centre, but is able to find no trace, except for the fact that she had left at 6:30 itself. Her father Fulvio Gambirasio (Mario Pirrello) is quick to report to the police station. All attempts to find her seems to reach nowhere, as if she had vanished into thin air. The police is not able to find any clue, as the signal of the mobile phone can’t be tracked, and nobody seems to have seen her on the way. She was actually not at the sports centre for her usual training, but to leave a radio there for practice.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Her friends tell the police officers that she didn’t spend that much of time there, and didn’t even stay to talk. The officer in charge, Letizia Ruggeri (Isabella Ragonese) decides to go to any extent to find the killer, even though there is not enough proof available. Then there is a story about a pervert who might have been spying on the girls, and therefore all male visitors were banned, even from visiting the boys who were practicing there. The police dogs seem to be on to something, but with no result – the CCTV all around the area is no exception. The family of Yara is disheartened, especially her sister who was very close to her. The police wonders if the family made some enemies, but that also ends without any positive results. They find the dairy of Yara which has some usual details, and no clue to someone who might be looking forward to kidnap her. Yara was never involved in anything terrible, as she was the near perfect girl in her actions. The people at the school and neighbours were also very happy about her.

And where does these search procedures lead as time is running out? :: Yara might be the one person who had the least probability of getting kidnapped, and the search goes on. Later, her dead body is found in the middle of nowhere, in an advanced state of decay, as if it has been there since the time when the girl had gone missing. This makes the situation more serious. Her head and body has blows with some blunt instrument, and the attacks feel to be continuous. But there has been so sexual violence, and that baffles the investigators. Letizia feels that the man who did this was insecure, and they should continue to be afraid of him doing the same thing again and again, unless they catch him soon enough. They have the DNA of the man who is supposed to be the attacker, but will that be enough? How big should the database would be in that case, as almost everyone who were in that area in those days needs to tested? Are these investigators good enough to find the culprit even then, as it has been too long, and enough time was there for the person to escape?

The defence of Yara :: The movie has an interesting investigation going on throughout its run, and there is no place for anything else. It is directly into the same, and any other incident or unrelated character won’t matter around here. In doing the same, Isabella Ragonese is successful as she portrays the main character, but she is all about the investigation only, as we look at the character. Chiara Bono’s presence as the teenage victim is small, but remains likable. Those who play the parents of the child, Mario Pirrello and Sandra Toffolatti also come up with some good work. Those who are familiar with the real-life incident might find the movie to be a lot more interesting. The ability of the movie to never go over dramatic can be appreciated, but that leaves it without emotions. A killer without a motive like in Forensic is always better than the vengeful fool in Anjaam Pathira – this film also gets that right with the reason. The murderer could be anyone, and the person should be found by procedure like shown here, and not by a psycho father with fascination for shades and coats like in The Great Father. Then you do love the locations here too.

The claws of flaw :: It is surprising that the police is providing too much of data about an unknown killer to the press – the murderer should be watching that, I would believe. When everything about a possible serial killer is left on the media, he should just be escaping or trying to murder the investigating officer in the usual movies. The film also goes slowly for any kind of thriller, and there is no real attempt to speed up things around here. At least decreasing the length of the already short movie would have been a fine choice – it is something that can go for a maximum of one and a quarter hours with this content before getting into the lagging level, without adding more moments of creative recreation. There were so many scenes which could have made the movie better, and they could have done that without making anyone angry – the small details can always come in, or some other unrelated, but still interesting incident could be of use. We know that the makers of movies don’t listen to us, but we the audience see the opportunities all the time.

How it finishes :: There is no doubt about the fact that Yara could have achieved more, as it already has the content ready with a real-life case – being inspired from real-life incidents do bring some restrictions on the creative imagination, but brings a better base to start working on. I would have expected the police department to do better in the early stages of working on the case too – being duped by a random person who don’t have that much of an intellect, money or influence feels rather strange; getting no clue is a little bit too much for any office. The movie’s closeness to a documentary might not be liked by everyone either – there is not much of a development of the main characters; one wonders if that is because of the feeling that there is the need to keep close to reality as much as possible. Even in a place where things can get controversial at all times, Virus based on real-life incidents did well, and so that can’t be an excuse. Still, this one goes through the procedures effectively, and comes out well out of the whole thing as a pretty well done investigation.

Release date: 18th October 2021 (Italy); 5th November 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Marco Tullio Giordana
Starring: Isabella Ragonese, Chiara Bono, Alessio Boni, Roberto Zibetti, Aiman Machhour, Mario Pirrello, Sandra Toffolatti, Thomas Trabacchi, Lorenzo Acquaviva, Donatella Bartoli, Andrea Bruschi, Guglielmo Favilla, Nicole Fornaro, Miro Landoni

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Photocopier

Vampire Owl: I remember taking the photocopy of the Vampire Deed of Blood.

Vampire Bat: It is originally called the Nocturnal Crimson Deed.

Vampire Owl: That reminds me of the movie, Nocturnal Animals.

Vampire Bat: Do you remember the other Indonesian movies we had watched?

Vampire Owl: Yes, two of them – Impetigore and Gundala.

Vampire Bat: They were some very interesting flicks with a divergence.

Vampire Owl: Yes, one horror film and a superhero flick.

Vampire Bat: It took us some time to watch another Indonesian movie.

Vampire Owl: Well, we can’t watch them all, right?

Vampire Bat: We never get to watch enough of them after the arrival of corona virus and the following warning.

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

What is the movie about? :: Suryani (Shenina Syawalita Cinnamon) is a college student who is also part of the theatre group at the campus, named Mata Hari. After the performance, she returns home to a very strict father and a mother who is always working, far away from the city. At home, she finds out that their performance called Medusa et Perseus in the Student Theatre Festical was accepted for the Asian Student Festival in Kyoto, Japan; her father asks her to focus on her studies. There is a party at the house of their leader Rama Soemarno (Giulio Parengkuan) to celebrate the triumph, but her father does warn her against it, especially related to consuming alcohol and wearing revealing dress. Another girl, a senior named Farah (Lutesha) also asks her not to go to the party, and advices her to instead focus on getting the scholarship that she had always wanted. She feels that Farah is saying so because he was kicked out of the theatre group. The group also finds the suitable sponsors for their flight tickets to Japan.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The party feels more wild than she had expected, and forgetting what her father had told her, she decides to have the alcohol, even though not without difficulty in drinking it for the first time. She also forgets the earlier decision to leave the party before it gets too late, as she enjoys a lot under the influence of the alcoholic drinks. In the morning, she wakes up very late, and arrives for the scholarship interview on the next day just in time. But she is embarrassed in front of the interviewers who had checked her social media, which had her pictures of drinking alcohol and enjoying the party. Even though she has good scores and attendance, they reiterate to her that drinking alcohol and attending late night parties are not Indonesian culture; they are looking forward to give scholarships to students who set good examples and not those who could go on to become nuisance for the society in the future. They also added that instead of doing work within her department which was Computer Science, she was wasting time with theatre. She had also attended the interview in party wear, and has to walk out of the room humiliated.

And what more is there for the girl in trouble right now? :: The teacher asks her to join the class only after paying her fees, which she can only do with the scholarship. Back at home, she comes to know that her parents had received the message that her scholarship was terminated due to inappropriate conduct. Her father throws her out of the house for breaking the religious laws by drinking alcohol, and tells her that everybody knows about it now, as some guy was carrying her back home, knocking on each door on the way to know her residence. That had caused a big mess in the neighbourhood as it was three in the morning, causing humiliation to the whole family. He asks her to leave and spend time in repentence. The leading performer of the theatre, Anggun (Dea Panendra), the party host Rama (Giulio Parengkuan) and the group leader Tariq (Jerome Kurnia), are all ready to help her, but nobody knows what exactly happened in the drunken state and who uploaded those pictures of her being drunk at the party. Now, she has to find it out herself, can she?

The defence of Photocopier a.k.a. Penyalin Cahaya :: Photocopier nicely goes through the adventure from the beginning to end, keeping us curious, and as a part of the whole mystery that is happening around here. Shenina Syawalita Cinnamon nicely goes through the role of the desperate student hoping to prove to everyone that she didn’t do what she was accused of doing, also desperate to get her scholarship back. The feeling of a curious as well as a sad and depressed girl is always there. Lutesha plays the next person to be of interest here, and her role is also worked out with quality. Dea Panendra as Anggun and Jerome Kurnia as Tariq remain strong parts of the work too. Ruth Marini and Lukman Sardi who plays the protagonist’s father are strong with the emotional side. There is no questioning the movie’s emotional strength as much as its strong elements of mystery, which seems to be almost impossible to solve, unless passed on as hallucinations or with a high dose of luck added here and there. Giulio Parengkuan and Chicco Kurniawan also have their moments.

Positives and negatives :: This is one of those movies which could have actually gone darker with its contents – instead it chooses the safe path. It still has its dark side hiding in plain sight, but strong enough. There seems to be a certain amount of hesitation in taking the risks with this film too. The movie has its fine setting in different parts of Indonesia, and this is a tale which could be put in the worlds of a few other nations too. With a few red herrings, it makes one feel that the innocents and the culprits and vice versa, while also making one wonder if there is actually any mystery about all of these or if it is already in the head. In a movie which feels close enough to reality, you won’t expect this many twists and turns, but there are many, and most of the characters here are not really what they seem. The movie talks about privacy in a world of mobile, CCTV and hidden cameras as well as the factors working on physical and mental health. The movie ponders on life, friendships, trust and betrayal at the same time. Still, there is the question about the uploading of the photos in social media that remains – the film seems to be too abstract about that.

How it finishes :: This is the third Indonesian movie that I am watching, and there was a certain interest in watching such a movie during our earlier trip to Bali too. This is that kind of a movie which doesn’t want us to skip forward even if it is not that quick – we do feel the need to be part of it. The negative effects of social media and lack of safety during night parties are the two things that this movie adds along with the interesting investigation that goes on here with the thrills and twists. It is also a reminder that people and things around are not the same as what we think they are. The movie reminds us that nobody is safe, and not everything that you hear from the most trusted people are true. Well, we know that those who are too rich and influential always gets away unless facing someone of a similar or higher status – in the case of celebrities, we have seen how people get away with everything. Well, not with Photocopier, as it does have the power of many. As it follows a realistic route, there is no stopping it from being something we can connect at points.

Release date: 8th October 2021 (Indonesia); 13th January 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Wregas Bhanuteja
Starring: Shenina Syawalita Cinnamon, Lutesha, Chicco Kurniawan, Dea Panendra, Jerome Kurnia, Giulio Parengkuan, Lukman Sardi, Ruth Marini, Mian Tiara, Yayan Ruhian, Landung Simatupang, Rukman Rosadi

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ghost Lab

Vampire Owl: Now, the ghosts are in need of labs too?

Vampire Bat: Well, even your favourite pseudo-scientist has a lab.

Vampire Owl: It seems that you are not done making fun of Doctor Frankenstein, the greatest inventor of them all.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein is not a true immortal. He will be dead soon.

Vampire Owl: He has prepared and drunk the elixir of immortality. He is sure to live forever, at least when he is part of this realm.

Vampire Bat: You think that a human can be equal to us.

Vampire Owl: He hasn’t been human for a very long time!

Vampire Bat: Well, you will know the true immortals after watching this film.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about the second Thai film we will be watching to be part of this website.

Vampire Bat: Yes, The Whole Truth then, and now this one.

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

What is the movie about? :: Wee (Thanapob Leeratanakachorn) and Gla (Paris Intarakomalyasut) are two doctors who are highly obsessed about getting some scientific proof that the ghosts are real, after they had witnessed a certain haunting occuring in their hospital. They were the kind of people who wouldn’t believe in the existence of spirits before that, but not anymore. They wouldn’t be making fun of the shamans or any ghost hunter after the incident. Wee’s mother has been in the hospital for a very long time, and it also one reason why he had decided to become a doctor. He would keep saying that if there was something like ghosts, science would have detected them early enough, like detecting those particles from space. Gla still thinks that it is absurd for someone like him to not to believe in ghosts as he believes in aliens. It was the apparition of man who was burned to his death that appeared with a body of burns. The two doctors were the only people who save the creature, and it didn’t appear on camera at all.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Wee wonders if that was a case of hallucination, but two people can’t hallucinate the same thing at the same time, which leaves many questions. Gla is only happy to have seen a ghost in the end, as he did have his own doubts about the supernatural existence. He feels that he had seen the ghost of his dad, a few days after his death, but as he was a child then and as it was for just a second too, he couldn’t be so sure. Wee decides to join his friend in proving that there are really ghosts wandering around the human world. They call it the Northern Lights Quest. They want it to be that great an experiment and discovery as Newton or Einstein had come up with, and people will study about them. It turns out that Gla has already done a lot of field work in secret, visiting all the famous haunted places as well as local cemeteries, accident scenes and mortuaries. The fact that cameras can’t record the mechanism doesn’t help them in finding the proof.

And more is to happen with this particular search for ghosts? :: The absence of cameras means that they have to make the ghosts appear to other people too, but there doesn’t seem to be any pattern to how the creatures appear. They understand that they just can’t write some fiction like the authors of the past and make people that it is close to reality; they won’t be able to share the realities of others who would say that they have seen something supernatural. Even the once popular vampires and demons don’t seem to have that market anymore. But it turns out that there are some invisible ghosts too, and they might be making things happen – maybe, a few random things in the hospital might be caused by them. Well, they feel that the best place to find a ghost might always be a hospital, and not anywhere else, as so many people die in the building, and the morgue has the bodies that might bring the ghosts out. But none of these would count as solid proof. With these late night experiments affecting the quality of work for the doctors, there seems to be the need to find a clue as soon as possible, but can they?

The defence of Ghost Lab :: This movie does have an interesting beginning that serves well to keep us engaged in the whole thing, as if something grand is worth waiting for. Thanapob Leeratanakachorn and Paris Intarakomalyasut come up with a good performance, especially a team. The former’s continued presence means that he would always have more to do on screen throughout the movie. Nuttanicha Dungwattanawanich only has a smaller role in the first half, in a movie which is so much about the two leading actors – yet she is there for enough time especially in the second half, and handles the emotional side really well, as she seems to be very good with those emotions. She surely has a lovely and serene way of handling the things around even with the overflow of emotions. There are also the mother-sister roles which are minute in length, but performed very well. The movie makes one wonder about the borders which one is not supposed to cross, especially in the name of ambition or pride. There is something innovative about how it tries to get the ghost world to be in contact with the humans.

The claws of flaw :: The film doesn’t make the best of use of the ghosts which appear around there, and the horror itself is not strong enough, as we move forward. Some scenes don’t seem to make much of sense though, even within a movie about the supernatural. With some science involved people would always be looking for a certain amount of logic though. Even though the protagonists are trying to cross the line with all that they have, the movie is not trying enough especially with the possibility of further divergence always present. The film was never supposed to go that much normal – it should have brought the mysterious and the spectacular to a high level instead. There could have also been so much to think about, and different things to have as messages, but it pauses with that thought. Some of the terrifying moments in the end could have done more for the film, and it seems to try to end without that expected blast, as if they are already tired of what has happened so far. The seemingly unnecessary deviation from the genre and subgenres have done it no good, as we look closer.

How it finishes :: There are some interesting points being made here in the form of the different horror movie here – Ghost Lab is a search for ghosts that goes on and on. We are not strangers to experiments in horror, and the movies like Malignant, It Follows, A Quite Place, Don’t Breathe and Lights Out are fine examples of the same. This movie from Thailand does shows the divergence which our usual Hollywood movies are often not sure about. It comes from the beautiful country, a mixture of magnificent modernity and charming natural beauty which I had witnessed during my visit to Bangkok and Pattaya, two years before the Corona virus pandemic had its viral say about tourism. During our visit to the malls, I did want to give a try to one or two of the Thai movies, as there was enough time to spend in Bangkok during the last two days of our presence there. The film did have the possibility of going the The Lazarus Effect way, but that path is not taken. Instead, it has a life of its own, and manages to make things working well with a certain amount of mystery always present.

Release date: 26th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Paween Purijitpanya
Starring: Thanapob Leeratanakachorn, Paris Intarakomalyasut, Nuttanicha Dungwattanawanich, Suquan Bulakul, Pearachanee Siralert, Natthawut Jenmana, Chaleeda Gilbert, Jinjuta Rattanaburi, Alanta Potjes, Prem Fakseemuang, Sombat Inopast, Pranya Sakiyalak

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rurouni Kenshin

Vampire Owl: Isn’t this the second Japanese movie that we are watching?

Vampire Bat: Yes, they were mostly overshadowed by Korean and Chinese films.

Vampire Owl: The name is quite tough here.

Vampire Bat: Your soul will get used to such names.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Japan is my dream country?

Vampire Bat: Japan is everyone’s dream country.

Vampire Owl: Except for the common vampires of our times.

Vampire Bat: Are you talking about the never-ending need to go to Romania?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the holy land dedicated to Uncle Dracula, especially on Halloween.

Vampire Bat: That trend had come down since the Russia invaded its neighbouring country, Ukraine. We, vampires are supposed to stay kilometres away from any terrible war caused by human kind. We are not violent people.

[Gets a porotta roll and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 1864, and Japan is now open to foreign trade. This means that a few people seek to end the rule of Shoguns and bring back the authority of the empire, with some of the being ambitious and the others filled with ideals. They are forced to face each other, and fighting goes on only to make the situation worse in the island nation which seeks progress with trade and commerce. Himura Kenshin (Takeru Satoh) who is also known as Hitokiri Battosai serves as a political assassin to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate which would eventually lead to the Meji Restoration and the later rise of Imperial Japan, finally leading to their participation in the Second World War and fall with the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The history goes a long way, and this is more like a civil war which will begin the events which will finally lead to a detailed epoch in the Japanese history with no security or value for human life. The young man of concern here, who is a skilled fighter with swords, joins the clan of Choshu, and begins to work with Katsura Kogoro (Issey Takahashi), their leader.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: During one of the fights in which he kills all the men, a member of the opposite gang refuses to die, and despite being impaled by sword multiple times, gives the assassin a cut on his face. This has Himura clearly disturbed instead of being cold with all the killings. Katsura understands that even after so many years of killing hundreds of men, his assassin is still not comfortable with killing people, a process which he keeps repeating. He feels that the young man hasn’t really grown up yet, and remains pure at heart, which means that there is no peace at heart. He is still the best fighter that he has known in years, but that wouldn’t change the heart. When Himura had earlier joined the group in a bid to overthrow the Shoguns, he hadn’t killed anyone, but the promise that he had shown was immense, unlike anyone whom he had seen among their fighters. He would keep on wondering if the man has finally has had enough of the fights and the brutal killings.

And what can bring a change to world which has only gotten worse with the civil wars? :: Katsura feels that there is the need to find a solution, as there is the need to end this continuous war, for which he needs as many hands holding the swords with expertise. Himura is still haunted by the memories of the man who refused to die, citing the reason of love in his life. One night, he goes on to have a drink of his own, and interferes when a lone woman named Yukishiro Tomoe (Kasumi Arimura) is bothered by a group of men who demand that the woman treats them with respect, and consider them as their heroes. After leaving the tavern, he is almost attacked by two drunkards from the tavern who are killed by an assassin with a chain. He manages to kill the assassin, but finds Yukishiro who had come to thank him, drenched in the blood of assassin, and she soon faints as a result of the shock from what she had just witnessed. He takes her back to his hideout, a place for the revolutionaries. The girl who feel thankful, decides to stay, much to his surprise, as he wonders why.

The defence of Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning :: The stylish action sequences begin the film’s progress very soon. The fights with the swords remain memorable, as there seems to be so much of speed and control related to them – it is like you take your eyes away from the screen for less than a second, and still you end up missing something. You are going to find it difficult to follow the pace of the very thin and agile swords which keep moving in all directions, but you enjoy what happens around. The characters remain interesting, and there seems to be something about almost everyone out there. The performers seem to be chosen with care, and the way they come up with the action scenes makes one wonder if they are really that well trained in all of these. Takeru Satoh leads well, Kasumi Arimura does the job with integrity. The movie nicely takes the fictional world and combines it with history. The emotional side also gains strength at times. The visuals are nice, not just with the big towns, but also with the nice little villages and the small homes surrounded by nature.

The claws of flaw :: The movie might feel to be too violent for at least a few people who are expecting more fights on the scene with blood and gore being hidden, but this is not really that martial arts or superhero movie to go through that route. This is also a little bit too long, considering the fact that the story is very much a predictable one, with not that much of innovation added here by looking at the possibilities in history. When action becomes the first and the one great choice, the plot suffers – it is quite a natural thing as we have seen in other movies – you just can’t satisfy everyone, and then the makers would prefer to go with what the crowd would like to see here. It seems to be very much hesitant to take the risk in different areas, when the challenges were present. The romance, even though present there, feels somewhat forced, even though the performers make it work without any trouble – after all, a love affair changing people all of a sudden is a stereotype which has been used for too long that we don’t really care about that anymore; then the ending which we can feel good enough to make a guess.

How it finishes :: This is not the franchise that we are familiar with, even though people of Japan should be very much familiar with the same. It is also based upon the manga series of the same name, which means more Japanese familiarity for sure – films inspired by comics have its own space like the video-game based works of our times. The movie takes the old style sword-fighting action to the next level, within its own charming setting – there will be no shortage of such action here. This is supposed to the fifth and final installment of this particular franchise about a nineteenth century assassin. But as it is also a prequel, it serves as a stand-alone movie which can be watched first, in the middle or last, and there is the placing in history which makes things easier to understand. Historical setting serve well when used with clarity and skill. We do feel that this a usual tragic tale about friendship and love in a world of war and chaos, but as we have the same arranged really well with the setting, the idea works effectively.

Release date: 4th June 2021 (Japan); 30th July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Keishi Otomo
Starring: Takeru Satoh, Kasumi Arimura, Issey Takahashi, Nijiro Murakami, Masanobu Ando, Kazuki Kitamura Yosuke Eguchi

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

12th Man

What is the movie about? :: A few friends from college come together at a resort far away from civilization – Zacharia (Unni Mukundan), Mathew (Saiju Kurup), Nayana (Sshivada) Shiny (Anusree), Merin (Anu Sithara), Sidharth (Anu Mohan), Jithesh (Chandhunath), Sam (Rahul Madhav), Fida (Leona Lishoy), Aarathy (Aditi Ravi) and Annie (Priyanka Nair) come together with their families after a very long time. Zacharia and Annie had just found out that they are going to be parents. Sidharth and Aarathy are going to get married soon, and this particular party is on them. The resort is fully booked only for them, and a lot of facilities are available for them. As they play cricket, Siddharth’s big shot ends up hitting Chandrashekhar (Mohanlal), who is angry that he lost his bottle of liquor when the ball hit him. He asks for a replacement, but there are not bars or beverage shops nearby. To avoid him, the resort arranges some local toddy, but in the final stages, that also becomes becomes unavailable, and the group has to provide him with the alcohol. He accepts it and leaves.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: After Chandrasekhar leaves, the group decides to take it to the next level. There are too many calls attended by the participants of the programme, and they decide to make all calls and messages which reach their mobile phones during the time period public, in a game of trust. But it is not that simple a game as they had thought, despite Nayana and Fida supporting the same very much. In the first phone call itself, the problems between Zacharia’s mother and wife is revealed, as the former talks about latter’s pregnancy and related issues. Now, Zacharia is in support of the game, saying that let everyone go through the same situation. Two phone calls go on without creating much of a problem, but soon, Mathew’s financial problems are revealed to everyone. But that will not be the biggest revelation, and soon, there would be a revelation that would affect their friendship. Then, soon enough, there is a murder in the premises. Now, the question remains about what can happen next in this small world in the middle of nowhere? Who is the trouble maker here?

The defence of 12th Man :: What interests us the most here is the visual setting, and the atmosphere that it provides the catalyst to help the whole story. This is the kind of world where murders could happen without a trace. The beauty of the place is another thing, and that would surely make one want to visit the area, The twists are really well built in the movie after the death happens. There are different viewpoints being nicely explored around here. Most of the film keeps close to the three classical unities, and maintains its effectiveness using the short time period of the tale. The voice cast is also strong around here – Mallika Sukumaran, Kottayam Pradeep, Soubin Shahir, Aju Varghese and Murali Gopy. Mohanlal can be seen as nicely taking over control here from an environment in which there was nothing like that. He has played a different police officer, and excels in the second half. The movie does a fine job in exposing the fake friendships going on with masks always present there. It reflects how friendships over drinks are the quickest to break apart, and that those built on lies have no existence at all.

The claws of flaw :: Playing games in a building was earlier seen in the Bollywood movie Chehre. This movie takes a lot of times to get there. The final conclusion with the killer is not that conclusive. Some of the revelations are rather too predictable, and with a setting like this, they could have tried more to keep things smarter – this is not the same audience that the makers are facing, or OTT has changed their world by a long way, and the expectations won’t be the same. The initial moments with silly jokes based on the protagonist surely feels more dumb than ever; maybe it would have worked in the theatres with the fans sitting all around. The fans are known for making the nonsense a case of brilliance, but when a movie is releasing on OTT, it has to be smart, as the fans can’t create that kind of an influence, and there are people around the world who are judging this. The movie could have also used the environment in an even better way. Each character could have also been explored further, for there was a lot of talent out there. The film is also too long.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal is not present on the screen when a lot of interesting things happen around here. He has a terrible, mostly dumb entry in the beginning, which falls flat on its face, while going on becoming more and more irritating. It seems to be fashion to show drunk people becoming heroes. But later, after a murder happens, things only get better, and the character is finally given a true existence outside alcohol and talking nonsense. Mohanlal is completely in control of things in the later stages, as he leads the journey with efficiency. It is always nice to see the two sides of him – Bro Daddy was there on the other side. The next person to catch our attention is Leona Lishoy, the actress who has been seen as someone with different dimensions, always notable in any role that she plays, whether it is the mother in Annmariya Kalippilaanu, sister in Maradona or the investigator in Anveshanam; often rising above the movie itself. We knew how she fared in Mayaanadhi, and she comes up with the divergence here too. Some people do their roles rather too perfectly and she is one of them.

Further performers of the soul :: The next person who catches our attention is Anu Sithara, and she has played the good girl image really well – she does look different around here, and that also suits her. Anusree does the job of the most irritating female character of last few years after Srindha in Sherlock Toms. It does feel like a little too much at times. Priyanka Nair and Saiju Kurup are here after that interesting thriller called Antakshari, and both of them once again proves to be solid performers, even though not seen as a pair this time. Unni Mukundan does nothing heroic like in Meppadiyan, and has only a role which is at par or at times, a little below most of the others. Sshivada seems to be playing the one respectable character out there, who doesn’t keep secrets to save herself. Anu Mohan and Chandhunath comes into the picture strong enough. Rahul Madhav plays another character with more than what meets eye well, and that actually applies to all of them. Nandhu and Siddique gets rather smaller roles which they go through with ease. Aditi Ravi supports well within the group.

How it finishes :: When the name Jeethu Joseph is associated with any movie, we know that it will have something of relevance as far as the thrills are concerned. Even though Oozham did have a struggle to go through its nonsensical world, Memories and Drishyam were the biggest thrillers of the industry at that time. This movie attempts to get into that particular group of greatness too. Yet, the journey is not of that high quality, and never does it provide the innovation to feel that this is not something we haven’t seen before. The best movies are indeed the ones which have Jeethu Joseph writing and directing all by himself, but this one doesn’t have the script from him. Yet, this one surely goes on an interesting journey, with its own twists and turns in a setting which adds to the overall mood. I am always in support of a murder investigation mystery in which everyone is a suspect – with the perfect surroundings, things have a minimum guarantee.

Release date: 20th May 2022 (Hotstar)
Running time: 163 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Mohanlal, Unni Mukundan, Saiju Kurup, Anu Sithara, Leona Lishoy, Sshivada, Aditi Ravi, Priyanka Nair, Anusree, Anu Mohan, Rahul Madhav, Chaghunath, Nandhu, Pradeep Chandran, Chali Pala, Siddique

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Security

What is the movie about? :: Roberto Santini (Marco D’Amore) is at the head of a security surveillance company, which takes care of the safety of some of the wealthiest people in the area. As the whole area is more or less like a beach resort, there are lots of tourists around, and due to its proximity to sea, there is also the possibility of having some ilegal immigrants running around, which makes the installment of security cameras rather necessary. His daughter, Angela Raffaelli Santini (Ludovica Martino) doesn’t listen to her parents. His wife Claudia Raffaelli Santini (Maya Sansa) is running for the post of mayor, and vows to make the place a safer area. But on an eventful night, a local girl, Maria Spezi (Beatrice Granno) is found with a bloody face on one of the cameras. She also seems to faint soon. The girl lands in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder, while Roberto’s marriage is not going great – their daughter, Angela is in a relationship with her much older creative writing professor, Steffano Thomassi (Silvio Muccino) who is recently divorced. Roberto is also in a relationship with Elena Ventini (Valeria Bilello), a single mother.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: As Roberto spends most of his time with the security cameras, even in the night, he rarely gets any sleep at all. Claudia is a conservative candidate, who is determined to become the first female mayor of the town, whatever it takes. Walter Spezi (Tommaso Ragno), Maria’s father is considered to be the man who was responsible for beating her up, but as she comes to her senses, she tells everyone that it was someone else, and a boy was involved. Walter is freed, but he does have a history of sexual assault and other abuses. Roberto doubts if Elena’s son Dario Ventini (Giulio Pranno) who was found drunk and driving was involved in the crime. Roberto and Claudia understand that Angela is in a relationship with an older man, and they feel that she is sleeping at his place while telling them that she was studying with her classmate (Lavinia Cafaro). Roberto tries to find out the secrets of Angela and Maria, while trying his best to keep Elena out of it, but can he really do that?

The defence of Security :: This is the fourth Italian movie on this website after Piranhas, Pinocchio and A Classic Horror Story, and my venture through the movies from Italy has only gotten more and more interesting – this movie should be a high point in that case. The thriller in this movie works smoothly, and even when slowing down, maintains its strength very well. The emotions are really strong, and there is an effective picture of individuals as well as their relationships, portrayed with efficiency around here. The visuals are nothing less than stunning, and that makes this particular beach town a place we should visit for sure. The pain, grief and regret in this movie can be felt, and at times, even seen. Marco D’Amore surely reflects the same, and it is a similar reflection that can be seen on the face of Valeria Bilello, but nothing matches the suffering of the character played by Tommaso Ragno, who seems to have no way out even at his old age. The movie is a poetry of grief set in motion, even though there is something to be relieved in the end.

Positives and negatives :: For those people who fail to get immersed in this world, this can feel slower and complicated – the attention is required. Some people might also want an exaggerated ending, but for everyone else, this feels close to reality. As the film stays close to one’s emotional with never overdoing the drama, the audience can easily go through what these character go through. Even when the movie shows that relationships are fragile, and pain and suffering becomes part of one’s life for no reason, there is always a chance for healing and redemption; but only those humans who take the right step can provide assurance about the same. The movie knows that lives can be ruined for no reason, or redeemed with care. To show the same, the movie has performers of different age groups, which serves perfectly – they let things unfold and come together in the end, and that works beautifully. There are not many movies which caught my interest like this in a long time other than the Chinese movie, The Soul, and this also serves as a reminder to me to watch more Italian movies – maybe even to visit the beautiful town of Forte dei Marmi in northern Tuscany of Italy.

The performers of the soul :: Marco D’Amore has a solid performance to his credit around here. The whole thing finds some good time resting on his capable shoulders. He goes through the whole situation in a very much believable as well as emotional manner, as the less celebrated hero whom the small town has always deserved. He plays a hardworking commoner whom we can recognize as our own. Even though not forced to go after truth, he becomes the truth seeker. Valeria Bilello and Maya Sansa plays the two women in the life of the main character. The former is the symbol of the protagonist’s future while the latter belongs to his past. Maya Sansa who plays his wife as part of a marriage which is breaking apart, depicts the ambitious and adamant lady well enough to leave an impression. She is the kind of lady who would do anything to reach the top of the food chain, no matter what loss she has to suffer in the process. The two makes the not-so-suitable marriage seem to work to the outside world, but it is evident that they are not even trying in reality. They do have a number of intense and emotional moments together.

Further performers of the soul :: Valeria Bilello has a perfect act performed here, as the struggling mother with two children, one of whom not liking or listening to her, and the other one not able to live without her being around him. She might also be playing the one character with whom we will be connecting with a lot of empathy, but is still left with less screen time in comparison to others. She seems to be the main character’s future, and has close and intimate moments with him – the protagonist is also very much serious with her. Ludovica Martino who plays the daughter, is the one girl who keeps feeling that she has been wronged by everyone, a job well reflected in her performance. It can be seen that her acts of rebellion means something in the end too. Beatrice Granno plays the girl wronged here, and she displays the pain that she always had to go through, really well, even though she could have been given chance for more. Silvio Muccino and Fabrizio Bentivoglio plays the roles with negative shades effectively. Tommaso Ragno is memorable at the man who is always in trouble, and wronged regularly.

How it finishes :: There are not many movies which serve as a perfect package like this one – you won’t be missing much with this film, and there is not much to complaint about it. Whatever you expect from a movie like this, can be seen here, worked out efficiently. An emotional adventure of a thriller with suspense and twists on one side has further reflections on the drama of humanity which it also has running. This is not that much of a well-known movie, and I was also not expecting this to be that good; but it serves something grand, which means that we have a film of quality here. There are so many characters with which you can relate, especially with grief and remorse like in the Spanish film Adios – we also see a lot of things happening with the characters, and none of them are exaggerated or beyond our grasp. As this tale unfolds with beautiful people in an even more beautiful landscape, you are always immersed in this one, no matter how much the pace changes. This is the kind of movie which Hollywood should also try, with all those ingredients including the special one.

Release date: 16th June 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Peter Chelsom
Starring: Marco D’Amore, Valeria Bilello, Maya Sansa, Ludovica Martino, Beatrice Granno, Silvio Muccino, Tomasso Ragno, Giulio Pranno, Anna Della Rosa, Antonio Zavatteri, Lavinia Cafaro, Gaia Bavaro, Doris Von Thury

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lamb

Vampire Owl: I think that they are talking about the Vampire Lamb.

Vampire Bat: A Vampire Lamb from Iceland? That is new.

Vampire Owl: We never had any Vampire Lamb so far?

Vampire Bat: Lambs do not usually go well with the vampires.

Vampire Owl: What about a black lamb with fangs?

Vampire Bat: We already lost the Vampire Wolf to the werewolves. We don’t really need another animal.

Vampire Owl: Wolves belonging to that side of the border. It is not the case of others.

Vampire Bat: You think that every creature other than a wolf would declare allegiance to the vampire kind?

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why they wouldn’t do that.

Vampire Bat: Well, what about the reason that they don’t really need that?

[Gets a paneer paratha and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Somewhere in the remote area of Iceland, a strange entity seems to make its way to a barn which is located a long distance from the traces of civilization. With the terrifying climatic situation, things seem to get worse. The owners of the barn, Maria (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snaer Guonason) soon finds one of their pregnant sheep giving birth to a creature with a lamb’s head and human body, along with its other children. The two takes the creature into the house and names her after their dead daughter, Ada. The creature’s biological mother keeps trying to contact her, and as she is later found with the sheep, Maria shoots the mother sheep and buries it in a grave further away. Despite having some nightmares about sheep, Maria takes very good care of Ada. Ingvar’s brother Petur (Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson) who arrives at the barn witnessing the incident feels that this newly found creature is only an animal, and wishes to get rid of it, to which the couple doesn’t agree at all.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Petur who always had certain love interest with Maria, decides to get rid of Ada for the best interest of everyone in the house, even if other won’t recognize the same. He takes her on a morning walk in the early morning, hoping to shoot her dead and bury the body far away. But he has a change of heart decides to become the uncle-figure to her – Ada also gets along with him really well. But soon, things seems to get different, and something creepy seems to make its way home, which Ada seems to notice. Petur is still fond of Maria, and after drinking a little too much that he should have, makes sexual advances to her, even using the secret that he knows, that she killed Ada’s real mother. She sends him away on the very next day. With only Ada and Ingvar left around there, the strange entity makes its first appearance. What does this creature want, and how can Ingvar and Maria defend against it? What are the secrets that Ada holds here? What fate awaits the couple and their half-sheep child?

The defence of Lamb :: Powered by the performance led by Noomi Rapace who is one of the best actresses of all-time to be part of movies like this, this film can be considered as thriving on the atmosphere on which it builds its pillars. It is indeed a strange movie when we look at it – there is a creature with a lamb’s head and a human body, and it is raised as a child by humans; not the usual kind of story that you keep seeing around. It has a certain horror side, but also an emotional one, all of them being present there, often in an indirect manner. It deals with the strange nature of people, and their lack of understanding of the realities which they face. Providing the feeling of a pastoral world well enough, it provides a certain amount of haunting experience with the slow movement forward too. It wouldn’t have been that easy to work on this material, but with the right cast and the visuals that work perfectly with the atmosphere, the movie manages to march on. It is a reminder that almost everything in life comes at a price.

The claws of flaw :: Lamb is one movie which has decided to go very much divergent, and there is not that much of horror to celebrate it. The film deviates from the general idea about the genre which comes out from movies like The Conjuring, The Nun, Annabelle, Ouija, Insidious, Sinister and others which work on a formula which has been tested and appreciated by too many people who have identified themselves as fans of the category. Moving away from the original horror ideas, and leaving less to be scared, this wouldn’t be that much appreciated by such fans. Along with the same, the ending doesn’t bring that huge effect which was expected. The movie could have been better marketed as a drama thriller indeed, as one creature which does so less has its limitations. Also, the movie slows down a little too much for anyone’s liking, and it is only right to feel that the movie could be twenty or thirty minutes short in length. The grief in this movie could have been also more evident.

The performers of the soul :: Noomi Rapace is one actress whom we can always rely on. The Swedish actress might be best remembered by the people in this part of the world for her work in Prometheus, and she is no stranger to playing motherly figures, as we have seen the same in Angel of Mine. She has a similar mother role here, and she is as determined as she was in that movie. As we miss seeing her in Alien Covenant, and as a good number of her movies didn’t come here, we can only be glad to watch this particular performance from her, which deserves the appreciation too. Most of you might still remember her for the Millennium series: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. Well, as the mother who takes care of her lamb girl child, this is another work which you are going to remember her for. Hilmir Snaer Guonason plays the father figure very well too – after all both parents are part of this lamb love. Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson makes a good contribution in between too.

How it finishes :: The movie seems to have similarities to another flick, Sacrifice, with the atmosphere which is seen around. Even though an English movie, it is also set in such a Scandinavian world. The themes of loneliness and depression, as well as a reflection of people who treat their pets as kids also seem to have some say around here. The story seems to have taken something from the Icelandic folklore too, and the one other movie which seems to stay close to this one is The Witch. The film doesn’t use that many dialogues to make its point, and that would mean that even without subtitles, you can understand most part of the flick. The movie surely had the positive opinion of critics, and was selected as the entry from Iceland for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards which took place in Los Angeles in 2022. So, you know that this movie surely has enough to make an impression – it is a mystery set far away from the everyman’s busy world that will have your attention early.

Release date: 24th September 2021
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Valdimar Johannsson
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Hilmir Snaer Guonason, Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson, Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Red Dot

Vampire Owl: It is nice to have a Swedish movie on the list too, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, we only have Norwegian from Scandinavia until now.

Vampire Owl: Well, Netflix knows how to choose the right movies.

Vampire Bat: We have known that the best with Minnal Murali premiering there.

Vampire Owl: So many interesting movies in foreign languages too.

Vampire Bat: Those are the kind of collections which Amazon Prime Video should have too.

Vampire Owl: They could always have more of those lesser known foreign movies.

Vampire Bat: Scandinavia is a fine area to build a castle right now.

Vampire Owl: There should be our kind already in existence there.

Vampire Bat: Why don’t you take a trip there and find out?

[Gets a sweet puffs and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: David (Anastasios Soulis) proposes to his girlfriend, Nadja (Nanna Blondell) in public on the day of their graduation at the university. She accepts it gladly, even though the proposal turns out to be very much awkward, despite having a certain amount of cuteness related to it. They make a promise that they will always be together, no matter what happens. But one year and half later, due to the need to study and work at the same time, they are no longer happy at their apartment in Stockholm, the busy capital of Sweden. Soon, she finds out that she is also pregnant, and she is not sure if they should be parents, as she is studying to become a doctor – this would not be helpful for her future either. She feels that if she has a child any time soon, she will end up being a housewife taking care of the kid, as David is working all the time. Despite being assured by their neighbour that they will be great parents, she doesn’t inform David about the pregnancy, and decides to keep it a secret as long as possible.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: David arranges a trip to the northern lights so that they can have some happy time together. This is also the one tour which they are having after a very long time. On the way, they meet two locals, Jarmo (Kalled Mustonen) and Rolle (Tomas Bergstrom) at the gas station, but are comfortable with their presence and their strange dialogues about the dog and the lady. While leaving too soon, David’s car also leaves a scratch on the pick-up truck of the locals, but they go on moving without saying anything about it. Einar (Johannes Bah Kuhnke) seems to be the only person who is friendly to them, as he runs the inn where they are supposed to stay. He says that the people there are not used to seeing interracial couples. Nadja soon finds their car scratched, also leaving few racists words, which makes her angry enough to leave a scratch on the truck of the locals which they earlier encounter, as she is sure that they are the ones who did it. But the two locals seem to be much surprised by the same.

And what awaits them with the northern lights in the wilderness? :: David feels strange about the actions of Nadja, but she feels that this is how one should deal with racists. After a long drive, they finally reach an area beneath the northern lights, and it gets really cold. There, she reveals to him that she is pregnant, and that makes him very much nervous, as he is not sure what is to be done next. But their conversation about it is soon interrupted by a red dot on the wall of their tent, which keeps moving. They first feel that it is a prank done by some local kids with a laser pointer. But with a jolt, they soon understand that it is a laser view from a gun, as they are shot at. Nadja is sure that it is the brothers who are attacking them in revenge for her action, and David remembers that he had seen a weapon in their truck. Their dog which tries to find the attackers, is killed and as they return to the camp after searching for it, finds its head, a trap, and their belongings including the mobile phone missing. With the snow coming down slowly, they have to somehow make it out of there, but can they? Is there hope within so much of cold?

The defence of Red Dot :: The movie uses its landscape to its advantage, and the locations here are all beautiful enough. Whether it is the beauty of nature or the terror of it, we have things going well. Scandinavia is the area which almost everyone wishes to wish to visit, and maybe spend most of the life – I would have done that if there was the opportunity, and there is no shortage of such motivation with the world for eyes within this film too. It also has some interesting twists in the last few moments of the film, and also leaves a message that many things are lost as people just randomly points a few actions as a result of racism, often because it seems to be the easiest thing to do, along with adding things as misogyny or part of religious beliefs – sometimes, things are just personal to the core, and nothing more than that. As the movie is less than one and half hours long, things don’t get dragged or slow down at any point of time. There is no loss of pace at any moment, and it takes the deviation from the usual well enough, but never turning to melodrama even when it could have used the chance.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have achieved more with a couple being hunted in the snow, with no hope seemingly around. It also seems that none of the characters are likable, with a mostly irresponsible couple, and the lady seemingly attributing most things to racism, and randomly blame the mentality. The snow as well as the red dots could have been used more, and there could have more twists over the incidents. There are times when the movie seems to be unwilling to take the risk with most of the things. The romantic side is often forced rather than having any intimate or lovable side to the same. When thinking about Vikings from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, we are always expecting an intense ride with the movies from there, even with the realization that it is not that age any more. There were so many moments for some horror to be added here and there, and this could have transcended the genres with ease. Some more red blood on white ice along with some shocks added here and there would be been worthy enough – more action too.

How it finishes :: The movie has the strength throughout its run, thanks to the performances which are appreciable – there are only a few characters of significance in this movie, and they had to do well, which does happen around here. With people being hunted, this would feel like Wrong Turn in the snow at some point of time, but that idea is lifted during the last few moments of the film. Maybe, we could also have a similar movie shot during the corona virus times, hunted in the lockdown, with nobody around to help. At least, the viral pandemic did provide us with opportunity to watch movies like this one on the OTT platforms. It is always better to have them on the laptop screen, as you can also type on another laptop at the same time. I would also like not to know how much the popcorns, puffs and tea would cost in a multiplex after the lockdowns. Yet, we all know that the rise in petrol price won’t serve the purpose at all, and hope is only with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Hotstar, Sony LIV, Manorama MAX and others.

Release date: 11th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Alain Darborg
Starring: Johannes Kuhnke, Nanna Blondell, Anastasios Soulis, Kalled Mustonen, Tomas Bergstrom

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nightmare Alley

Vampire Owl: This could be the name of one of the halls in the castle.

Vampire Bat: There are already enough alleys with nightmares around here.

Vampire Owl: You think that vampires are affected by nightmares.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we just consider them as dreams.

Vampire Owl: Nightmares are just small part of the dreams.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t use the word “nightmare” anymore. It is overused.

Vampire Owl: We are the true nightmares, the living dead ones, right?

Vampire Bat: You feel that the nightmares can be true?

Vampire Owl: Now, you are acting like Dr Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: You mean, like Mr Frankenstein! No, never!

[Gets an aloo paratha and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 1939, and Stanton Carlisle a.k.a. Stan (Bradley Cooper) wanders around different cities of the United States of America, and while going on as a free guy, a drifter, gets a job at a big carnival which seems to have lit up the world of night beautifully. There, he notices a geek show in which he sees a man eating a live chicken. This performance which is also known as freak show, is always about a single man called a geek who chases live chickens and finally has him killing the bird and eating it alive. It was something common among circus and carnival professionals to be part of a troupe that included geeks. The geeks were often heavy alcoholics or drug addicts, and instead of money, liquor was used to pay them for the performance. In this case, the man who was part of the performance is seen to be further deranged than he is supposed to be. While he is working, Stan is told that the geek is now running around within their attraction, and they have to somehow catch him before he ruins the performances.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The geek seems to be hiding in a scary attraction, and attacks Stan, only to be taken down. He is taken into a cage, and he seems to be too violent and mentally disturbed to be fit for any show, seemingly getting close, but being out of death for now. But they keep him locked up with the feeling that people will love to look down on him and forget their own misery. It seems that many people like to enjoy that particular show, and is a major attraction which nobody wishes to miss, even though it is indeed costlier. After helping them to find the geek, Stan is offered a full time job at the carnival instead of that temporary one which was provided to him earlier. He is only happy to be with them as he has nowhere to go anymore. After using their tub, he begins working with the clairvoyant performer known as Madame Zeena, originally Zeena Krumbein (Toni Collette) and her alcoholic husband, Peter Krumbein a.k.a. Pete (David Strathairn). Zeena definitely feels that there is more to him than what meets the eye.

And what more is to follow in this interesting world? :: Mary Margaret Cahill a.k.a. Molly (Rooney Mara) also helps them at times, as Pete often losses control after drinking too much. But Molly also performs as the “Electric Girl Unforgettable”, seemingly taking electricity through her in one of the other star performances. Stan seems to be falling in love with Molly slowly, but steadily. The team of clairvoyance uses gestures, some coded language and certain cold reading tricks to make their work more effective. There are some fine guesses which work out of effectively at times, even though Pete is not fond of her pretending to speak to the dead. Pete shows the methods to Stan too, and he seems to be a very quick learner. Stan understands that the geeks are originally alcoholics whom he has forced to stay with opium-laced alcohol which has been affecting the minds of the geeks terribly. Most of them were affected by the First World War one way or the other. These geeks are nicely taken into the carnival where they become nothing less than slaves due to their addiction gone terribly wrong.

Then you look forward further in this movie, and what awaits us? :: As they are going on with the carnival, Germany has just started the invasion of Poland, setting the beginning of the Second World War. Things still seem to go normal at the carnival, as a new geek takes the place of the previous one who is dead. Stan asks Molly to leave the carnival with him, and start a new grand performance with him, which everyone in the United States of America, and all around the world will remember forever. But she is not ready to leave with him, as she has been a part of this performance and this particular place for quite a long time. Soon, Pete who keeps drinking more and more, finally dies out of alcoholic consumption. It is then that a sheriff comes there and threatens to close the illegal performance which has cruelty to humans and animals, while Molly who performs her act in her undergarments is to be arrested for too much of cleavage and thighs, thus enough indecency to be in the prison. Stan saves her and the whole carnival from the sheriff using the skills he had learned from Pete. As the sheriff leaves, Molly agrees to leave the Carnival with him, but what would the future hold in that case?

The defence and flaws of Nightmare Alley :: The movie has a beautiful world belonging to the past in store for us. Even though slow at times, it is an effective movement forward, which we are all going to enjoy. The time period during the Second World War is beautifully created, and we become a part of it. Even though there is the common idea that this is a psychological thriller, the movie is more of a drama rather than anything else. It might be due to its jumping through the genres that the movie feels slow, and the over all length does feel as a little too much for our liking. It is not the kind of world with which the director, Guillermo del Toro is at full strength – this could be the same reason why the director’s other movies continue to stay a few levels above this one. But the performances from Bradley Cooper and Rooney Mara are too good, and they have us interested here throughout the movie. The others who don’t have a full run in the flick, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette and others also have a fine run when they are around here. The movie also has a fine message running through here about what awaits an over-reacher who find evil to be okay.

How it finishes :: Nightmare Alley does have that feeling of watching the movies of Guillermo del Toro like before. Still, it doesn’t have any haunting creatures like in Crimson Peak or the huge robots fighting giant monsters like in Pacific Rim. This is also no Pan’s Labyrinth or The Shape of Water. The director does take a divergent path with ease, and successfully goes through the whole thing and keeps us engaged in the same. A movie without any supernatural element for him, and he still continues to be the visionary director like nobody else. The movie is based on the novel of the same name written by the American writer William Lindsay Gresham published in 1946, and how well it has taken the spirit of the book will be known only to those who have read the book. The movie was nominated for four Oscar Awards, including the Best Picture, at the 94th Academy Awards held in Los Angeles in March 2022. Well, one would only feel that this is only deserving, as this is a film is a world which is for us to be immersed in, at all times.

Release date: 17th December 2021
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, Mary Steenburgen, Ron Perlman, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, David Strathairn

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Matrix: Resurrections

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the first time that we watched The Matrix?

Vampire Bat: Yes, you understood twenty five percent of the movie then.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that I understood more than fifty percentage of it.

Vampire Bat: You still had to read details about the story a hundred times.

Vampire Owl: I don’t remember having read the plot even once.

Vampire Bat: I remember that you did the same for the makers’ other film, Jupiter Ascending.

Vampire Owl: I don’t even remember watching that movie.

Vampire Bat: It was on the same day that you attended Mr Frankenstein‘s Grand Exhibition.

Vampire Owl: Dr Frankenstein has thousands of exhibitions every year.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about that many fake science exhibitions.

[Gets a paneer fried rice and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a game designer and the creator of a very popular video game series called The Matrix, which already had three games in the franchise. The game is based on his memories as Neo, which is not clear, but he does feel that there is a lot in his head which feels real. He is mostly happy with his life, as living as a famous game designer seems like a pretty good option. He keeps coming across a woman named Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss) who is a married woman with two kids, and she seems to be based on a main character whom he had designed for the video game, Trinity. He becomes friendly with her, and he likes him, but doesn’t seem to remember him at all, just like he is not sure how she became a part of his game. He struggles to separate his life and these strange memories, and his therapist gives him some strange pills in support. A young lady named Bugs (Jessica Henwick) finds this game simulation which is running an old code in a loop based on the time when Trinity had found Neo. With the help of a programme which has embodied Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) in a new form, she starts searching for answers, as Neo was supposed to be dead. Two of them combine the forces looking for Neo and finds him in the end.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The machines sent by Bugs save him, and he is taken to her ship known as the Mnemosyne. He is taken to the new city of the human resistance, where a lot older Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) awaits them. She is not happy that Bugs brought Neo to the area which is now a safe house, and tells her that she and her crew of Lexy (Erendira Ibarra, Sequoia (Toby Onwumere), Berg (Brian J Smith) and others are now grounded with the ship. It turns out that sixty years have passed in the real world after the war between humans and machines had ended. Except for Niobe who now takes the decisions around there, mostly adamant and foolish, while everyone else from the original human resistance are now dead, including Morpheus as he was known, and had led the resistance earlier. She tells them that there was some peace achieved through his sacrifice, which lasted for some years, but eventually, things got worse. Now, can Trinity be freed? Can there be peace again?

The defence of The Matrix: Resurrections :: You know the thing about The Matrix, which means that you mostly know what can happen with this version too – the trailer had set the expectations going well. There is a lot of action for sure, and you do enjoy it, even though these are not things which you haven’t seen before – the fights go on in a stylish manner within the movie, and there are also some nice worlds built around here. The advanced special effects and computer generated imagery means that this particular world looks even better than how it used to be earlier. Here we have Keanu Reeves doing what he has been doing the best again, which is always a thing of quality – outside the world of John Wick, Neo is indeed an iconic character and we are never tired of watching him around there. The new additions of the cast are very much suited to this situation of post-apocalyptic science fiction action. After all, we know that this is the kind of situation which could happen at any point of time, with machines taking over being the best option for any apocalyptic event – the extinction of human kind is not something that we can resist. Then, this is a world which has no shortage of style.

The claws of flaw :: The Matrix: Resurrections which comes as the very late addition to the list of movies in a franchise which was far above the others of that time, doesn’t manage to live up to that hype or the grand expectations which were always present. When Neo is coming again after a long time, you expect that this is going to be something above all, but with the lack of innovation, they try to share the qualities that makes Neo with a female characters, which is pretty much the dumbest decision that they can do with some dumb romance added to a film which could have stopped that with the third movie and a few deaths. Actually, the third movie of the franchise served as such a fine ending, and this often keeps feeling a lot unnecessary. One has to wonder if any action sequences in this movie will be remembered much in comparison to the earlier movies, among which all of them had some special moments of fight scenes. The beginning is also too slow, leaving the film too long with so much of initial moments good enough to be cut. One would guess that this one is more intended to make some quick money on the fame which those classic movies had, but that attempt seems to have failed in rising up to the expectations too.

The performers of the soul :: We know that this has been the movie which made Keanu Reeves the huge star all around the world, even though I have always remembered him facing the devil in Constantine and Devil’s Advocate more than any others as well the vampire as Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s Dracula of 1992, and maybe a few older people might go for Speed as the initial big thing from him. The new generation surely had John Wick with its sequels, and I do like his science fiction works like Replicas too. Yet, this is the one role in which almost everyone of my age would have wanted to see him again, and he is here, with the same strength that he had at that earlier point. Carrie-Anne Moss is someone whom we remembers for this franchise itself, and it is always good to see her back – she has become part of this world again really well. Yet, the actress who makes the most impact is Jessica Henwick, who played second fiddle in Underwater nicely, and she is indeed lovely – the baton should be passed on to her soon enough. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II doesn’t stand up to Laurence Fishburne, but remains okay. Erendira Ibarra also has a notable role. Jonathan Groff and Neil Patrick Harris are villains for the sake of being, as machines rule over them. Priyanka Chopra Jonas is there for the sake of being there.

How it finishes :: The big question about this particular movie is whether it was actually needed at all, for these are not the times when the first three movies came into existence, and the adaptation to the new audience who have witnessed all of these already, and then again through other movies would have had some strange feeling about watching this one. You are coming up with a sequel so many years later, and it would require something more than what was already seen, and this one falls flat on innovation. But, there is a lot of entertainment with the action happening all around, and nostalgia is something that sells, which means that we can always watch this version of The Matrix too, and hope that a great worthy sequel will be made at some other point of time. Until then, let us be happy enough with this one, and hope that the Corona virus would stop coming again and again, as watching movies like this at the theatre can mean more, even though I would always prefer the OTT versions. After all, becoming poor by paying so much for the movie tickets, parking and food after being in a traffic jam for such a long time, followed by dumb fans in a theatre is terror, no matter which one is the flick.

Release date: 22nd December 2021 (Theatre); 12th May 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Lana Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jada Pinkett Smith

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Escape Room II

Vampire Owl: I am not that fond of the rooms from where one can escape.

Vampire Bat: Yes, you want those rooms from which escape is impossible.

Vampire Owl: You know that vampires have always wanted to make the best use of their dungeons.

Vampire Bat: The dungeons from which there is no escape; I have heard about them.

Vampire Owl: Almost all those dungeons below the castle are like that.

Vampire Bat: There is one exception though.

Vampire Owl: You are saying that there is a dungeon in the castle which allows people to escape.

Vampire Bat: Well, I don’t see why there wouldn’t be a loop hole.

Vampire Owl: So, there is always a small chance to escape.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is always that hand of God.

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

What is the movie about? :: It is shown that a woman is locked within a hot shower room of a huge mansion and is burnt to death as she expresses her desire to leave her husband. She was left with clues to escape while showering, but was too late to use them to her advantage, leading to a painful death. This husband is shown as the man who is responsible for the escape rooms, and is certainly obsessed with the same. Zoey Davis (Taylor Russell) and Ben Miller (Logan Miller) are the only survivors of these escape rooms which were built by the Minos Corporation, and they plany to confront them after finding the coordinates to its headquarters in New York City. Zoey is aeorphobic, and therefore decides to find the corporation by driving all the way to New York, thus getting rid of the uneasy encounter. They do have nightmares about being in escape rooms whenever they are in closed spaces. When they reach the place where the headquarters of the corporation is supposed to be, they don’t find any workers our there, and there is only a vagrant who manages to steal Zoey’s necklace.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: As they chase the thief, they end up in an underground train which has its doors locked and the vehicle on a journey to the next station. The thief manages to get down before the door closes though. Their train car separates from the rest, and finds themselves being redirected to a remote station, as the two along with a few others are trapped in the carriage. They meet the other passengers Rachel (Holland Roden), Brianna (Indya Moore), Nathan (Thomas Cocquerel), and Theo (Carlito Olivero) inside, and it turns out that they are all winners from previous games in escape rooms. As the passengers understand that they are in trouble again, being locked in the train car which also gets electrified, not allowing them to touch anywhere. Now, they are forced to find the subway tokens which will open one of the doors. They keep looking for clues until it almost gets too late, and Theo is killed by electrification. The others do manage to find the clues and the tokens to escape.

And what more is with another escape room or more around here? :: The team finds out that all these survivors were part of groups which had their own type of people, like full of influencers, priests etc. Their next level is a bank which has a deadly laser security system that almost kills Brianna. There is a vault in the end of the bank’s room which seems to be the only way out, but they have to go past the lasers. They do find a certain clues out there, but it seems that they won’t be enough. There are references to a person named Sonya, but none of them are able to find all the necessary clues. Nathan decides to make a walk of faith in between, but that doesn’t seem to work either. This won’t be anything close to the final escape rooms, and getting out of the room is only going to be a small problem in comparison to what is to come next, including some seemingly outdoor rooms well designed in 3D. They are all upset about not being to crack the codes, but that is not going to lead them anywhere in a complicated world of mazes. Can at least one or two of these people make out of these rooms in time? Can anyone if not Zoey can bring this corporation in front of the law?

The defence of Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions :: There is the continuation of what we had witnessed in the first movie, and we all know that the levels of the first movie was never enough for the eyes. Here, we have some more interesting rooms to escape from, and there is some fine detail related to each of them. There are multiple endings to keep one interested in a sequel, as there is scope for one or two in both of those finishes. The close battles that the participants have with the rooms assigned to them remain engaging, and with the time limits, things only get more interesting. The setting is there for another movie to continue the franchise and the performances are pretty good too. Taylor Russell leads well to continue the franchise, while the others provide support nicely. The special effects are used effectively to add to the efficiency of the rooms too. There are some twists added here and there, and there are indeed some different ones with those multiple endings that we see here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t feel that new as we have already seen the establishment of the escape rooms well in the first movie, and it was an interesting venture indeed. There is not that much of an improvement on the design of the escape rooms – the same could have helped better with further innovations; we know that even the computer games need better levels every time, especially those dealing with puzzles and traps like Prince of Persia and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider series. It doesn’t use the possibilities to the best advantage in that case. As this is the second movie in the franchise, we were expecting to see that one grand level design which couldn’t be easily copied. The puzzles of escape could have also been better planned, for some of them don’t really feel interesting, with too much of absurd calculations there – things can be made difficult without adding too much of mathematics, the thing that we all have hated since school days. There can always be some hidden trapdoor or item; even a thing from the past to replace it.

How it finishes :: Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions does remind us of the world that we are in, with no escape – that is one a philosophical note, even though there is a lot of truth in such a statement which serves more as warning than anything else. The movie does have more than version, which leads to different endings and divergent possibilities which can come later in a possible sequel. It does feel difficult to wonder about the better ending without watching both of them. This also makes one wonder which sequel we are all going to have at some later point of time. If the corona virus is not going to come back that strong again, maybe we are going to see a sequel of this franchise in the theatres too – after this rush of movies looking for screens end at a later point. With the puzzles leading to and beyond danger with twists, this is the kind of franchise that we are all looking for. After all, there are lots of puzzles and riddles that we face in every day life, as humans are all creatures of their own dangerous rooms of the mind with intrusions.

Release date: 16th July 2021 (Theatre); 20th September 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Adam Robitel
Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Holland Roden, Indya Moore, Thomas Cocquerel, Carlito Olivero, Isabelle Fuhrman, James Frain

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Stowaway

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Doctor Frankenstein had a stowaway on his Ultimate Machine of Nightmares?

Vampire Bat: Why would someone want to have a ride of nightmares?

Vampire Owl: I guess they wanted to witness the greatness of this invention by the greatest scientist of all times?

Vampire Bat: Why are you not understanding that he is not a real scientist at all?

Vampire Owl: You are saying this because you studied arts only.

Vampire Bat: I am well aware of the way of science. Mr Frankenstein has no role in it.

Vampire Owl: You should understand that he can teleport you in a second or two.

Vampire Bat: Even those witches of the north can do that.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about teleportation to another realm.

Vampire Bat: He just creates a virtual reality within his laboratory and pretends that it is another realm. He cannot even teleport Uncle Dracula’s lost fangs.

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

What is the movie about? :: A two year mission to Mars has been approved for the spaceship, MTS-42, which has the mission commander Marina Barnett (Toni Collette), biologist David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim), and the ship’s doctor and researcher Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick) on board. They are taking the first steps to call Mars the second home, and each of them is very good with the needed abilities and extended training. Everything seems to go fine with the launch, and they are all glad to be on the way to a great expedition. Soon after the takeoff, they discover a launch support engineer, Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson), an unexpected traveler who seems to be caught and fallen unconscious between the two modules of the ship. As he falls down, the device that scrubs carbon-di-oxide from ship’s air is destroyed. They use use emergency lithium hydroxide canisters to get rid of the carbon-di-oxide from the air, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Marina is not sure about what has happened here, and wonders if something strange is going on in the background.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Michael wakes up and wants to go home, but everyone knows that a return is not possible now. He slowly adapts to the situation, as the company promises to help his sister to go through her life in his absence with guidance and monetary support. David begins cultivating his algae experiment of the ship before reaching Mars, as there is the need for some extra oxygen, but it is also not that much effective. The damage done to the carbon-di-oxide scrubbing device seems to be permanent, and their life support seems to be in trouble. If they are not able to find another method for the supply of oxygen, they are going to fall short of breathable air. The only option seems to be a spacewalk to climb the tethers of the spaceship and recover liquid oxygen from the upper stage of the rocket. Even though the other two are okay with it, Zoe is not ready to sacrifice Michael to make sure that they have enough oxygen for their journey, and the commander decides to wait for ten days to come up with a solution. But can they have one in time?

The defence of Stowaway :: The space and the spaceship around here are indeed well-detailed, and there is one final adventure to be done as the movie gets near its end, which provides a charming view of space. The world here has good detail, both outside and inside the spaceship. There is always the question about the significance of life of a person when it would mean the death of three others who are more important not just for one mission, but for the entire humanity. This something about the talks here, as there seems to be no clear solution for a problem. There are many routes which this movie seems to take too. The movie does talk about the importance of faith, belief and hope in life, even though it is indeed a double-edged sword which can end up ruining everything like a person too much motivated by a motivational speaker. Well, after all, we know that the life itself is about some tough choices that we make, and in the end, we are all just going to die a terrible death and lie a few feet under.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is surely slow, and never does it even try to get any faster, which is rather strange, as we look at all those possibilities which have been avoided. It doesn’t try to be that entertaining either, as the speed is never that much to keep us that much engaged with the possible thrills. There is that drag which is felt because the film has too many moments and dialogues which could have been avoided – a two hour movie was not needed to deal with this kind of a theme which never chooses to go bigger. The movie’s question does feel strange too, about humanity and all, because science has already brought extinction upon humanity, and most of the human beings do not deserve to saved. And, we all know that humans are not going to make that much of a sacrifice after thinking too much – so much of thoughts better lead to brutal murders. We don’t know that much about mission being undertaken here either, except for where it is headed, and related to some of the possibilities after reaching the destination.

The performers of the soul :: Among the performers, Anna Kendrick is the only one face that we seem to recognize at first sight. We have seen her in very less number of movies in the last few years, but as we see her again, she seems to be another actress who seems to get younger as time progress – we recognize her as almost the same as in those much earlier movies. Despite not being the commander, she is the true protagonist and heroine of the movie, and the one who is ready to make a different at any cost – she does the lady with the most conscience in a wonderful way. Toni Collette has been there for longer, but most of us have seen her in movies which are rather too old, which means that recognizing her would be difficult. She says good as the commander who has to take some very difficult decisions. Daniel Dae Kim plays the man with his own assumptions about success of the mission quite well. The only other character and the one who brings the change to the mission is Shamier Anderson, a job quite well done.

How it finishes :: There has been no shortage of interesting journey through space which Hollywood has undertaken – it was at times complicated like Interstellar, with great visual splendour of space like in Gravity, hope for colonization of another world like in The Martian, horror inside the spaceship like in Life, terror in space colonies like in Doom: Annihilation, searching for secrets of humanity like in Prometheus, more on drama and romance like in Passengers or even going the fully entertaining in Star Trek way. The Chinese had The Wandering Earth and the Koreans had Space Sweepers, now we have this one. Stowaway is closer to the genre of drama instead of becoming the thriller. It still has enough of the engaging moments, and also has the moral questions running through. Even though most of us will not get to space and will face the human extinction event, we will clap to the rich people going to space and living happily ever after, following the discoveries similar to that in this movie are made. Until then, we will watch similar movies again and again, adjusting to the interesting moments that they provide, as the apocalyptic event awaits with a terrible beauty ready to be unleashed.

Release date: 22nd April 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Joe Penna
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson, Toni Collette

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Outside the Wire

Vampire Owl: The area beyond the Greater Cemetery is now considered outside the wire.

Vampire Bat: Do you feel that there is a war coming soon?

Vampire Owl: Well, humans are building more weapons of war.

Vampire Bat: You are thinking that those weapons are meant for us.

Vampire Owl: After they are done with most of their own, yes.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that most of their weapons will have any effect on us.

Vampire Owl: The weapons of mass destruction will erase the world as we know it.

Vampire Bat: Such a destructive and disappointing species.

Vampire Owl: I will ask Doctor Frankenstein to come up with an invention which can go back in time and brutally murder all those human scientists whose inventions led to these new generation of weapons.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein‘s time machines made of vampire steel are as much fake as humanity’s love for each other.

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

What is the movie about? :: The year is 2036, and there is a violent civil war going on in Eastern Europe between pro-Russian fighters and the local resistances in Ukraine, a struggle which seems to be nowhere close to reaching an end. After years of war, the United States has finally deployed their peacekeeping forces, and among them are the robotic soldiers known as GUMPs. But the team is ambushed, much to the dismay of the human soldiers. While disobeying a direct order, a drone pilot, Lieutanant Thomas Harp (Damson Idris) deploys a Hellfire missile against a suspected enemy missile launcher. The commander on the ground wanted time to save two marines who were caught in the danger zone, but Harp had felt that if he choose to delay the drone strike, all forty of them would die, and an attack would actually save thirty eight of them. But the senior officers do not believe in the same and considers him responsible for the death of those two soldiers.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Despite not being court-martialed, Harp is redeployed to on-site combat duty at Camp Nathaniel, where the United States military forces have set a base of operations for the war in Ukraine. He is supposed to work with Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie), who seems to be very strict as well as experienced, but turns out to be a very advanced android super soldier, the first of his kind – experimental, but a seemingly perfect prototype machine masquerading as a top level human officer. At the base, this is a secret known only the the commander of the camp, Colonel Eckhart (Michael Kelly), and now Harp. Leo has come into existence only five years ago, but is already programmed to be an effective killing machine. Their ultimate aim is to stop the terrorist known as Victor Koval (Pilou Asbaek) from gaining control of a vast network of nuclear missile silos which were left in the Ukrainian SSR possessing most of the nuclear weapons of the Soviet Union.

And what more does the future hold in a world of chaos and destruction? :: Russia has lost any control which they had over the rebels, and the new powerful terrorist is very close to controlling most of Ukraine and also those missile launcher facilities – it would prove lethal for world peace as much as it would mean for Ukraine and its remaining resistance. It could be the end of the world with nukes in the hands of such a terrorist who doesn’t even have religion or any of the morals to control him. They come across a reported attack on a truck with was providing aids, leading to a stand-off between the United States soldiers and the local militias. But the armed locals and the pro-Russian insurgents are the least of their problems as the trained spies and snipers of Victor Koval are there, which means that the possible event which could lead to the end of the world is closer than they thought. Then, what if the most dangerous man in that part of the world also manages to get the secret codes to the nuke? After all, he would do anything to get them – paying in billions, using brutal force or anything.

The defence of Outside the Wire :: We notice that Outside the Wire has created a fine world for the science fiction elements to start working effectively, early enough. The visuals are really good in this war-torn world In the beginning, there is the feeling that this one would go through action-war mode, but that idea which was earlier challenged with a few machines and later made clear, has a few interesting points for everyone to ponder about. It talks about war and the human need for the same with effectiveness, and we do understand that all sides are almost the same and loves to see collateral damage with the death of so many civilians. There is the fine display of hidden hatred being displayed around here, and we see a lot of the true nature of humans, even the machines who are created by them. These are also the kind of things which would happen at some point of time in future, and we are all with knowledge about the world descending into chaos sooner or later. The action is very good for most of the time with melee combat and gunshots being there, and we are glad to see different elements coming together. Anthony Mackie and Damson Idris do some good work here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t make the best use of its resources, as we see a world in not so distant future, with advanced technology and interesting weapons. The war machines could have been used with more effectiveness, as we see a lot of fights struggling to go big on different occasions. The world of war which has been created here could have more of similar products of science and technology at work. The basic idea that the movie was trying to prove could have been clearer, but here they choose to make things rather easy. There is no big action moment that stands out around here, even though there are so many human and machine soldiers around here. At times, the movie just seems to move around without much of a clue, and the ideas about the use and effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence never really gets as strong as it should have been. It does keep one wonder about how well Will Smith has performed in so many science fiction action movies in the past, the one man who would have fit in here so well, and even brought a lot of audience to this lesser known film.

How it finishes :: When we look close, Outside the Wire seems to be a movie which has predicted the Russian invasion of Ukraine in another form. The movie deals with the interesting scientific concepts and also talks about the human greed and their never-ending need for more wars, even though the fact that the film has focused only one side feels rather strange – humans have always wanted war, and they have always hated each other, which means that this is not something restricted to a nation or two and their allies. We have always been looking for science-fiction doing their best, as we never stop wondering about a post-apocalyptic future with science playing a major role in ending the world as we know it. As science has been continuously contributing to making the global warming worse and developing enough weapons of mass destruction, along with helping the Artificial Intelligence and other machines to take over, we are all looking for the apocalyptic event, and this one surely has shades of the same.

Release date: 15th January 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom
Starring: Anthony Mackie, Damson Idris, Emily Beecham, Michael Kelly, Pilou Asbaek, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Henry Garrett, Enzo Cilenti

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✠ The Vampire Bat.