Freaks

Vampire Owl: It has been very long since we had a German film to watch.

Vampire Bat: You could have always watched German movies at will.

Vampire Owl: Well, we should watch them together as part of vampire brotherhood only.

Vampire Bat: You know that I am not always available.

Vampire Owl: Still, you are here now and ready for films.

Vampire Bat: I have been available only as part of my requirement to sign into Dracula Castle.

Vampire Owl: You only need to be here as much as you can. We can always find some worthy vampire horror time.

Vampire Bat: You can still watch as many movies as you want at the castle with the Vampire Crocodile or the Vampire Alligator.

Vampire Owl: You know that they watch films underwater.

Vampire Bat: Well, you asked them to watch a movie with you on the top of a mango tree.

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

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with a quick flashback showing a destroyed area of a school, a crying child and blood as well as a destroyed building which seems like a school. The child is really upset, and we are quickly taken to the present where the rest of the action takes place. Now, Wendy Schulze (Cornelia Groschel) has grown up, and is living with her husband and son, while working at a diner. She seems to have some psychological effect of that incident as a child, and she is taking some pills which were prescribed by her psychiatrist, but mostly, everything seems quite normal. One day, she meets a homeless man named Marek (Wotan Wilke Mohring), and that brings a deviation to her life. His advice to her is to stop taking those pills which are prescribed to her, and he also reminds her that she is one of them, even though Wendy has no idea what is happening – she is quite shocked to see him jumping off a highway bridge only to be run over, but he is the same on the very next day, alive and seemingly even stronger.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Wendy does feel that there is something fishy about everything that has been happening around her, and decides to stop taking the pills, as he had advised. When she is attacked after leaving her shift, she discovers that she has some special powers, and uses them to get rid of the attackers with ease. Her colleague Elmar Mund (Tim Oliver Schultz) notices some of her skills, and as he also has similar powers, they have to work together to find the secret behind these superpowers – it seems that the government has been watching them, and there is more to it than what meets the eye. There could be a vast conspiracy behind all of these, and getting to the bottom of it would require more than one or two superpowers. Is Wendy good enough to live up to the new powerful lady reputation that she has gained, or will some sinister forces have the upper hand? What role does the other people with superpowers have to play, and why is the government so much interested in this?

The defence of Freaks :: Freaks acts as an origin story for a superhero franchise, like Gundala did in Indonesian, and it seems that there is a lot of scope in that. This movie does build up very nicely with that, and the first few moments are really good at doing the same. The music is really good here, and there is something beautiful about the same too. It could really support the superhero stuff when its at full strength with a sequel. The setting is also good, and very much suitable for the superhero stuff here, and there are some beautiful shots too support the same too. There is also some fine humour being added here, and this feels like something nicely managed with less special effects and graphics. New superhero movies are always welcome, and this one has an ending which calls for some more films to follow in a possible long franchise. The world has always been in need of its superheroes, and you even got Shazam! earlier and accepted the same.

The claws of flaw :: Freaks could have actually been more divergent, and there could have been the idea of bringing more variety to the superheroes. You do feel that you have seen this before, as you are aware of so many superheroes. There are similarities to Split and Glass which we can easily recollect, as superhero powers are suppressed, and the existence of such heroes are also not brought to light. There could have been some innovation in that, as going by the usual path seemed rather unnecessary. A few things are also too direct with this one, and even for an origins story, there is a certain amount of predictability being drawn here. The few moments before the climax are not that effective either, and one does wonder if this could have been better there. Some other superpowers could have also been unleashed here, along with more action. When so many of similar films have already been done, this one should have come up with the divergent ingredient, for it was also immensely possible – you learn from what you already have.

Performers of the soul :: Cornelia Groschel leads the way in the movie, as she does in the poster, and that is done really well. She is very good from the beginning, and her transformation is also worth it. She would make a fine superhero in a costume, and can come up with some fights if there is a sequel for this one – Freaks didn’t have that much of action to boast about. She could have surely used some of it though. At the same time, Tim Oliver Schultz does make a fine villain in the making, and if there is a sequel, that could serve his character really well, as changes to the same possible supervillain can be seen from a distance too. Wotan Wilke Mohring does some solid work as the experienced superhero, or metahuman as often referred to. Nina Kunzendorf plays the usual human antagonist going against humans with ease, and there are moments for her to be remembered too. The rest are lesser characters, even though we know that some of them are going to be very much relevant for a sequel, if there is one.

How it finishes :: It hasn’t been easy to find the best German movies, unlike the case with Spanish, French and Korean which were recommended by so many people. Movies of the Soul has had only three German movie reviews before this, the full-length Kidnapping Stella and Breakdown Forest, as well as the short film named AUFDRUCK. Freaks is a fine addition to that list, and is very much fun to watch. You don’t always need your Avengers and Justice League teams, for you can stick to the lesser ones which are also interesting enough. We have had our mutants, the X-Men who were too good. We can surely have more, and even though those from Bollywood have kept disappointing us, the others won’t. Freaks will serve as an example of the same. We could have superhero movies in all languages, for so much of budget is often not necessary – with Tovino Thomas starrer Minnal Murali also coming to Netflix, the Malayalam movie industry will not be that far away from the genre either.

Release date: 2nd September 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Felix Binder
Starring: Cornelia Groschel, Tim Oliver Schultz, Nina Kunzendor, Gisa Flake, Wotan Wilke Mohring, Frederic Linkemann, Finnlay Berger, Thelma Buabeng, Ralph Herforth

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Breakdown Forest

Vampire Owl: I see that we have another German movie here after Kidnapping Stella.

Vampire Bat: Well, good German movies have been hard to find from here.

Vampire Owl: You have found so many of such movies so far. You can find more.

Vampire Bat: Finding and watching such movies has been a programme of the COVID-19 lock-down, and it has been tiring.

Vampire Owl: We are not supposed to be tired as far as movies are concerned.

Vampire Bat: Well, you just can’t decide when to get tired.

Vampire Owl: Vampires don’t get tired that easily, especially the chosen ones like us.

Vampire Bat: It is fate. People used to believe that vampires don’t get infected with the Corona Virus, but that has been proven wrong.

Vampire Owl: That was just some random bat virus which was not named.

Vampire Bat: Well, you never know that!

[Gets a vanilla cake and three glasses of mango shake].

What is the movie about? :: A police officer Leon Kamarowski (Bartholomaaus Kowalski) wakes up to find himself alone and vulnerable in a dense forest, and despite making different attempts, is unable to find out where he is, and how he landed there. He meets another person very soon, and he is also suffering from the same situation. Soon, they are captured by a group of people, and they are also trying to figure out what has been happening around there, as there are many other people who have been forced to be there like them, with no clue how they got there. It seems that there is a plan to create an almost invincible superman from the genes of these people who have gathered in the forest, and someone is watching them. There is a pure racist ideology behind all of these, as they consider a number of people there to be subhumans with no hope or rights. There is also the presence of some unknown military out there, seemingly trying to make an example out of them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, people also pay to be in the forest to hunt down these people for entertainment. Samira Ribbeck (Micaela Schafer) who is part of the powerful Ribbeck family responsible for putting people into this situation, is also waiting for her chance. Sajoscha Petrosevitsch (Patrick Roy Beckert), an assassin also wakes up at another part of the forest, and comes up against different people who have no idea why they are there or where they are. Claude-Germar Wischnewski (Curd Berger) who leads a group of survivors tries to make sure that all of them survives, and finds a way out of the forest. But with so many strong and influential people around, the question remains if there is a chance for them to defeat the forces and find the path that leads outside. The people in control are sure that death is the only way out, and it has been proven before many times. So, is there a real chance for any of these people out there?

The defence of Breakdown Forest :: The idea of Breakdown Forest is established very strongly in the early stages, and it only gets even further strong in the later stages. We have an idea behind all of these, and there is danger prevailing at all times. It makes us wonder about how far a racist ideology based on the Nazi thoughts from the Second World War can go, even though more than seventy five years have passed since the suicide of Hitler and the surrender of the Nazi German Empire. The action also takes over pretty quickly, especially with the shooting and all. The setting helps the case really well too. Some of the one-liners are there to stay, and so is are some of those violent, bloody moments. It also gives us the feeling of a video game at times, as people with guns are left in a forest to be hunted by others. This is why Breakdown Forest can surely have a sequel – something which focuses on its ideology even more and finishes this forest practice of the movie without giving a chance for returning.

The claws of flaw :: Breakdown Forest is not a movie which keeps a high level at all stages. It has an interesting idea behind it, even though not a new one as we look back at many movies including the historical as well as the superhero stuff. The movie could have developed same in a better way. There is so much to talk about regarding the film’s path forward, but it never really focuses on the same, and instead chooses to go on without that innovation which was there to be taken. The characters are also not focused well enough. There are moments when we feel that this is when the movie gets to a higher level, but that doesn’t happen, and it stays where it has always been. This experience in the forest could have surely been terrifying, and we wanted some ideological horror and bloody sequences with heavy action sequences, but the flick chooses to stay usual.

Performers of the soul :: The movie doesn’t focus on its characters enough, especially when we were expecting the same. Most of the characters seemingly played by some actors and actresses who would be able to make a bigger impact on other day, goes away too easily and too quickly. The fire that seemed to be ready for them is just not there. Bartholomaaus Kowalski and Claude-Oliver Rudolph are pretty good in leading the way here, and you see that they are capable of doing the same in so many occasions. Micaela Schafer was the one who was supposed to bring the grand twist, but she doesn’t really get any of the action as she is killed soon enough – the character was supposed to be the difference maker, but is done soon, and that is the biggest disappointment in this film. Maybe, the film needs a sequel to explain some of its actions which works against it. The support from the cast is pretty much okay, and there is just some trouble here and there.

How it finishes :: Breakdown Forest is a movie with an idea which stays behind the gunshots and all the action. With such an interesting setting, we are always expecting a lot. One might end up feeling that it doesn’t deliver up to that expectations, still the film manages to be entertaining enough with everything that comes together. During the time of Corona Virus, watching good movies from other languages has been a fashion, and you can also add this film to that list, as it entertains as much as most of the other movies. I would suggest some of the movies in other languages too, as you reading about this particular flick. There are some interesting Romanian, Serbian, Russian, French, Korean, Dutch, Spanish and Chinese movies on this site too, and you might want to take a look at those COVID-19 special films. As you read about those movies, let us hope that this pandemic will also come to an end, and things will go back to us watching all the cinema at the theatres!

Release date: 20th June 2019
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Patrick Roy Beckert
Starring: Bartholomaaus Kowalski, Claude-Oliver Rudolph, Curd Berger, Patrick Roy Beckert, Micaela Schafer, Ralf Richter, Mathieu Carriere, Martin Semmelrogge, Elena Carriere, Philipp Berka, Heiko Bender, Alessandro Alex Ali, Uwe Choroba, Jannik Duren, Askim Ali Erdogan, Uwe Fellensiek, Sandra Schmidt, Jasmina Rode-Kircher

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kidnapping Stella

Vampire Owl: So, these people have made a movie about just one kidnapping?

Vampire Bat: You are saying that one won’t be enough?

Vampire Owl: No, I am saying that it can be like a vampire movie made out of one blood-sucking event, which won’t be enough.

Vampire Bat: It is a remake of the 2009 British thriller movie, The Disappearance of Alice Creed.

Vampire Owl: Okay, the one starring Gemma Arterton, the lady vampire from Byzantium.

Vampire Bat: The whole vampire team is indebted to her for the work in that movie.

Vampire Owl: It is my second favourite vampire movie after Interview with the Vampire.

Vampire Bat: If you add Let Me In, it could go to the third spot.

Vampire Owl: Do you realize that you haven’t reviewed a full-length German movie yet?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but there has been a short-film which left enough for us to think about.

[Gets an vancho cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: There is some big preparation going on with the two former convicts named Vic (Clemens Schick) and Tom (Max von der Groeben) getting something ready inside a building, just before they get prepared to commit some crime. Stella (Jella Haase), the only child of a wealthy businessman is their target, as they hope to become rich with the money of her father. This act and the resulting ransom is supposed to make sure that they won’t have to go to work for a long time. For this, they come up with some very careful planning, and leave no chance for them to escape, as they undress her and keeps her in a red tracksuit, blindfold her, tie her to a bed, and keeps her in a soundproof room, with no chance for her to even move more than al ittle. To conceal their identities, the two also wear masks while talking to her. There is a certain amount of risk involved with her knowing their identities, because she is pregnant with Tom’s child, as they were in love some time ago.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Stella tries hard to escape from her bondage, but there is no positive result for those attempts, as far as she is concerned. Tom does have a soft corner for her as he comes to know that she is pregnant only at a later moment when they threaten to cut off one of her fingers in front of the camera, while making a video which is to be shown to her father so that he would finally agree to give the ransom money to them. But the problem here is that during one of those vulnerable moments, she finds out that one of the kidnappers is Tom, and almost manages to overpower him to get hold of the gun. But Tom handles that situation as well as a few others which follow. Soon, Vic starts to have some doubts about Tom and Stella, as he is no longer the person whom he met in the prison – he is not sure if Tom can be trusted either. Now, it is to be seen how the two manage to keep the situation going. Can they get the money, or will the girl end up being dead? What will be the priority for Tom now, as he knows that she is pregnant with his child?

The defence of Kidnapping Stella :: You will notice that Kidnapping Stella, just like The Disappearance of Alice Creed and its earlier remake Reckless, doesn’t waste its time in getting into action. There are a few minutes when nobody talks about anything, and then we are quickly into the action when the girl is kidnapped and tied up without any chance to escape even from the bed where she is tied up. We do not have any subplot to take the focus away from the main thing, and even though there is a possibility of some flashback, we never really go towards it. You do have some twists, even though not used to the full effectiveness. A kidnapping scenario is also shown without any pretensions, and without showing it as someone who is locked in a random room giving them an easy journey throughout the abduction. The kidnapping programme is quite a solid one, and even though becoming only the third version of the same tale, you have to appreciate them doing this situation well enough here along with maintaining the thrills.

The claws of flaw :: If you have watched The Disappearance of Alice Creed or its Dutch remake, there is nothing much that you can find here to keep you interested, because you have seen all these in more critically appreciated movies, and the performers who have gained better applause not just in one film, but also many others. This movie also doesn’t seem to have gathered that much of an attention or appreciation as those movies which released much earlier. This one is also quite slow at parts, and for a movie which doesn’t have that much of a run-time, it is definitely a strange thing, no matter how you look at it. The movie could have used some more intense moments to make things feel better. As most of the movie is set within a small area, there was scope to bring more. When you have a film with kidnap as the main thing or rather the only thing, you would expect that something else would be there to be taken. There is always the chance for improvement as far as remakes are concerned, but we doubt if that chance was even thought about here.

Performers of the soul :: One cannot deny the fact that this movie misses someone like Gemma Arterton who has been one class actress in different roles, the best of them that we remember being Byzantium, the highly underrated and under-watched vampire movie coming from the director of the highly appreciated Interview with the Vampire. We can only guess that it would have been a fantastic performance. Jella Haase is pretty much okay as the kidnapped girl, but she doesn’t seem to raise that bar that much. The two kidnappers are actually very good though, and Clemens Schick as Vic, the tougher one comes up with a work that will make us attached to the situation here. Max von der Groeben as Tom, the guy who is caught between two sides also have our attention – he wants to do more than one thing, as there is the need to save his former lover and their unborn baby along with getting all that money from her father. There is no other character here, and these three makes the performers list fully.

How it finishes :: The movie originates from The Disappearance of Alice Creed, a 2009 British movie, which also had another remake in the form a Dutch movie named Reckless. From the reviews which we have read about this version here might be the film with the lowest rating, while the other two movies seem to be quite ahead. But for most of us who haven’t watched those two movies because we never really had much of an experience with Dutch movies and as the British movie was released a long time ago, Kidnapping Stella is going to be an interesting experience. There are enough thrills around there, and it surely feels more than the usual hostage movie. Matching The Disappearance of Alice Creed was always going to be a tough task, as it had Gemma Arterton who has been in all kinds of movies with all the glory, a performer who is difficult to match. You are free to watch all the three versions in different European languages and decide the best for yourself if you feel the need to disagree. Otherwise, you can just enjoy this newer version.

Release date: 12th July 2019
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Thomas Sieben
Starring: Clemens Schick, Jella Haase, Max von der Groeben

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

AUFDRUCK

AUFDRUCK

What is the movie about? :: Beginning with a quote from Heimito von Doderer, the movie features two women, Pansen (Mary Krasnoperova) and Schluppe (Kira Mathis) who are having some talk about various things as they sit facing each other at a cafe. These two young women who are somewhere in their twenties will talk about anything under the sun, and the focus also remains on the cup of coffee and the cigarettes which they are having; they don’t seem to ever end up with enough of these and they are of the opinion that people should be better. They don’t seem happy at all with what happens around them, and have that kind of opinions which are not just strange, but also too direct and won’t be really acceptable to many.

So what are the points of discussion about? :: The exact translation of AUFDRUCK is “label”, and LABEL is also the English title of the fourth short-film directed by Jaschar L Marktanner, who have taken six films so far; this is also his first work as an editor. Each dialogue in the movie reminds us of the labels, the symbols of those miserable conclusions that the society come across related to what we do; something which is often declared by our own relatives themselves. A “label” is something from which there is no escape, as it has been pasted on us with so much ease, as the repetitive words work as the glue. There are times when we wonder if the society had already made a decision on us when we were little kids; sometimes we feel that the relatives always knew what to label us according to certain factors which we know nothing about. It is really difficult to get rid of the labels.

Soul exploration :: The movie is shot in black and white, except for the little colour in the end, and there is a certain piano sound playing on the background. The subtitles are in colour though. The language used won’t go on well with everyone, especially a lot of people from this part of the world. But it can be seen a reflection of the new generation types which we see all around these days. Even around here, we can see such abusive language being used in local languages throughout the social media. It has become part of our lives, and people just randomly use it against people whom they don’t like. The two lady characters in the video are reflections of such people who can do nothing much other than being disrespectful and abusive to the strangers about whom they come up with random opinions in a negative way. The funny thing here is that they even brand the aliens!

More soul exploration :: Such opinions which become nothing less than labels, are put upon people based on just random thoughts. It is clear from the opinion about waitress job that is said with such clarity and confidence that it will make one wonder how people can so easily have a personal opinion regarding people just based on their jobs. The case of dignity of labour is still not there, even after so many years of modernity, and even with the teaching in schools that no job inferior. The teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, never really maintain any influence on most of our countrymen as we have a look around and see how the labels fly and how some people are mistreated. The class divide has only increased with the new millionaires, and so many people still living below the poverty live a miserable life.

Further soul exploration :: If it is looked at directly from the point of view of a common man here, the points are that the two things here coffee and cigarettes have been considered as more of the capitalist matter. The replacement for cigarettes have been beedis, which were the common man’s cigarette for quite a long time, and has had a relationship with the socialist and communist movements here. Nationalists also used to support beedi in favour of the home-made products. The situation is even more radical in the case of tea. Coffee became popular here because of the IT companies and call centres which have the machines offering free coffee to which the professionals are addicted. The common man’s drink has always been tea, as it remains the cheapest available drink in the country.

And a little more about it :: Tea has been considered the socialist drink, and the communist parties here have used them through the ages, with some movies featuring the same providing tea with the title of being the drink of the masses. Tea still remains the most consumed drink here, and is also the national drink. India’s ruling nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also successfully used tea as part of its campaign, with “conversation over tea” idea for the common man. So, the idea of having coffee and cigarettes and being abusive towards the working class is a symbol of the class divide which has been widening, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The poor gets the labels put on them by the rich and the successful people – even the parents of the successful men and women comes up with such labels, don’t they?

How it finishes :: But these people who belong to the higher class can actually act very well, and they will pretend to be good. They can hide their contempt as much whenever they want to because they are trained to pretend. They will just blame the society which consists of the working class, and as they are the more influential ones in the society, this society will take over the labels which these people create, and paste them right on the common man. When they see people who are different, they are even quicker to come up with the labels; it is the depressing state of our society. It has the first leading role for Kira Mathis and the first role for Mary Krasnoperova, and the two ladies have done some excellent job in reflecting the true nature of the society – the latter is my favourite here. It is an interesting work from Jaschar L Marktanner, which will work for you depending on how you think about it, and what you decide to take from it. I consider this flick as a representation of the class divide and the basic human contempt/vanity that leads to labeling others. You will also see the reflections of the online trolls and abusers who do nothing, but keep talking in an abusive tone. The message here which you can take home is to stop judging people, especially based on money and job! If you get deeper into it, you will want this short-film to be at least a little bit longer. You can watch the trailer of the short-film below, and the full movie will be available online soon.

Release date: 10th October 2014
Running time: 4 minutes
Directed by: Jaschar L Marktanner
Starring: Mary Krasnoperova, Kira Mathis, Steffi Charlotte Fluri, Jaschar L Marktanner

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.