Space Sweepers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Madhuram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Konda Polam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vampire Bat: The world has changed with entertainment too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chhorii

Vampire Owl: More of interesting horror to be unleashed?

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

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

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

Vampire Owl: Unless we become the one true horror.

Vampire Bat: We are never truly into horror.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jai Bhim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dybbuk

Vampire Owl: I am surprised that they have come up with a remake of Ezra after four years.

Vampire Bat: Yes, four years is a long time for a movie like Ezra.

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time when we had loved a Bollywood horror movie so much?

Vampire Bat: I am also not sure about that. We have been into Hollywood and other foreign language horror only.

Vampire Owl: I would like to know where this one stands in comparison with the original.

Vampire Bat: We had watched the original too long ago. Therefore, I am not sure if we can compare these well enough.

Vampire Owl: I only hope that our memories are as sharp as the vampire manual says.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this one will have some difference, surely more than what the remakes like Drishyam have.

Vampire Owl: Ghosts need to be shown as somewhat different, because they are all not the same when at different places and affecting different people.

Vampire Bat: Well, maybe the demon of Ezra really needed another outing, and this one can serve it well, like vampires always needed.

[Gets some spicy tapioca chips and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is this remake of Ezra all about? :: The death of a Jew in Mauritius marks the end of a century old history of Jews in Mauritius – he was the last Jew around there, part of a group of Jews who had taken refuge in the island to escape persecutions and possible genocides. A mysterious box from the house goes missing, and soon, a local man is found dead without leaving any clues about the murder. It is indeed a strange case, and police hopes that something will lead them in the right direction. A newly married couple, Sam Issac (Emraan Hashmi) and Mahi Sood (Nikita Dutta) seems to be having a problem-free life until they move to Mauritius and the latter brings an antique box back to their new residence in the island. It is an isolated place, more or less like a holiday home, with no human to disturb them. But that would change soon enough, as what she brought back home as part of decorating the place turns out to be a Dybbuk box, which is supposed to be claimed by a Jewish demonic spirit called Dybbuk.

So, what happens next in this tale of horror out of a myth? :: Meanwhile, Sam is still working, as he is part of a company named Zayke, which deals with the disposal of nuclear waste from Europe. He feels that there is a certain amount of hallucination going on with her, as she had a miscarriage just some time ago. The spirit maintains all the qualities of the usual spirits, but is supposed to be among the most dangerous among them all. There is not much known about the same though, as there are not many Jews they know, with most of them migrating to Israel early enough. There would be strange things happening in the house very soon, and soon, a nightmare would begin for them. They think about getting rid of the box, but the spirit already has its place. To read the Hebrew inscription on the box, they contact a professor who gives them the translation. The same person also gives them the contact details of a rabbi who seems to be the only one who can help them. But are they moving in the right path against this particular evil spirit?

The defence of Dybbuk :: There is variety here, which this move inherits from its original, and there is quality in the looks too, with improvements there. The visuals are used well to create the horror advantage, and the darkness as well as the creepy elements are adjusted well with the use of sound effects, and these work really well in the first half to make us interested in a second half which promises further. The visuals of Mauritius nicely adds to the beauty in totality. There is also a lot in the story here, unlike the usual horror movies, and the creature that does the haunting around here is not among the usual ones, as the myth is comparatively new, especially for those who haven’t watched the original. There is the feeling of antiquity as well as a beauty not of this world being portrayed here. There is also that one twist that happens by the end, but that is not too innovative. But we do see that this one has a very slight edge over the original, and yet both remains the same in many elements as well as repeated scenes.

The claws of flaw :: It has to be noted that the evil spirit doesn’t have the terrifying presence that it had in the first half, being repeated in the second – the final exorcism, brings nothing huge, even though were always going for the big finish to lift the film in the end. There were so many possibilities with this movie with the new demon, and the unlimited number of chances are not used at all – it is kind of strange that the movie doesn’t take its opportunities as much as it could, just like the original didn’t. Dybbuk could have been scarier, and there is no doubt about that, with the original idea already being displayed on the big screen with the support of big sound systems – this one being released on Amazon Prime Video, there was the requirement of more power to keep the audience in fear and at the edge of their seats, but we see that such strength is not there, even though we can approve and appreciate the improvements which were made here. Yet, the background story of the spirit was better in the original.

Performers of the soul :: In a movie that has Emraan Hashmi as the protagonist, it is him who leads the way – in comparison with Prithviraj Sukumaran, one has to say that there has been some difference added to the role, but he has managed well, as he did the same in Chehre, the thriller which also released on Amazon Prime Video a few days ago. His affiliation with horror is here to stay, as it seems – there are a few other Malayalam films with certain thriller elements which could have him in the remake, one would feel. Nikita Dutta has come up with a very good performance as the lady in distress, being forced to be part of a demonic activity in which she is completely immersed. There is not much difference in her performance in comparison to the work in the original, but she does seems to have more emotions coming her way – there was the requirement to have a song like “Lailakame” for her too, with that much quality. The rest of the cast fills in well, and we have to look out for the Rabbis this time, and not the priests of the usual background – they have chosen the appropriate ones to play these roles too.

How it finishes :: There has a little shortage of horror movies in Malayalam movie industry, but Bollywood has chosen to remake this one, which is why, one can be sure that the Indian cinema as a whole, has the requirement is for more good horror. We do not have the need for more drama and more romance – there is so much of the same already, as well as those silly masala movies, and we need to move out of them whether with remakes or originals. Therefore, Ezra‘s remake is something which has to be appreciated, and the fact that there is no missing out here is a fine thing. Remaking a Malayalam movie can only mean good things for Bollywood, even though the exact opposite might not mean the same. As far as this film is concerned, the remake is done really well, and even with the limitations of the original maintained the same, there are a few moments which make this movie work as an improvement, with added visuals and special effects. So, Amazon Prime Video can be happy to have this one at a time when people are slowly just starting to think about choosing the theatres over OTT.

Release date: 29th October 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Jay K
Starring: Emraan Hashmi, Nikita Dutta, Darshana Banik, Pranay Ranjan, Denzil Smith, Ivan Sylvester Rodrigues, Vivana Singh, Sudev Nair, Manav Kaul, Yuri Suri, Vipin Sharma

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cadaver

Vampire Owl: I have got some doubt if they are talking about us.

Vampire Bat: This is surely not about the undead. You can have my assurance.

Vampire Owl: Well, dead people have no rights in the human world. So, we cannot be sure.

Vampire Bat: Such doubts that you have are usually wrong.

Vampire Owl: This is just our second Norwegian film to be watched.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the last one, Lake of Death was a good one, right?

Vampire Owl: There is something sinister about these movies. I can feel it.

Vampire Bat: You can reserve your feelings for later, after watching the film.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but I am a vampire of extreme doubt, you know that.

Vampire Bat: Yet, you remain the leader of a large vampire battalion.

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

What is the movie about? :: One of the big Norwegian cities was hit by a nuclear disaster, and people struggling to survive with devastation all around. There is no hope for future in this post-apocalyptic situation – food is very difficult to find, and there is also no electricity. Dead bodies could be seen in different parts of the city with devastated buildings, and the climate seems to be very rough, as news about nuclear disasters, conflicts and possible world wars are everywhere. Leonora (Gitte Witt) and Jacob (Thomas Gullestad) live in this particular city with their little child, Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman). The child has regular nightmares, as they live alone in what seems to be an abandoned apartment. They understand that they cannot just hang in there with nothing left other than each other. It is then that they find out that there is a theatre play happening nearby, with a free meal. They understand that it is their chance to have some food for the family, and decides to go there at night, even though they do have some initial doubts about the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Leonara hopes that these are the signs of things getting better, and her optimism leads them to the thaetre building – she feels that even if the meals are not enough, they could still have some fun, which the child desperately needs. Even though Alice is first refused entry, the hotel director, Mathias (Thorbjorn Harr), personally gets there and allows the child inside. The building seems to the one last thing standing tall in between all the destruction around. They are all happy to see what is like a new world for them, with a lot of food and it is more like a festival. Everyone seems starved, and they all eats as much as they want. There are other people who are also there for the first time. Mathias tells the guests that the play will be performed by using the whole hotel without curtain, seats and intermission. Everything during the night would be part of the show, with spectators given masks to wear, and the actors would be without the masks, as they move around.

And things can get only stranger in this world of chaos :: The performance starts all of a sudden, without a warning. The guests have the option to attend any performance at any part of the huge building with so many rooms and floors. Everyone keeps looking for things that would catch their interest, and there are so many different spaces without masked people. As everyone keeps walking around, soon Leonara and Jacon understand that Alice is not with them anymore. They remember seeing her just before, but now she seems lost. They keep searching for them, while others also seems to have lost people who were with them. Soon, it seems that there are no more spectactors, and all of them seems to have disappeared without trace. The show still seems to continue in the same manner, but without people. There are some strange trapdoors and creepy rooms around, while things only get more sinister as they keep moving on. It seems that we have more than what meets the eye with this particular building and the show – how dangerous is it?

The defence of Cadaver :: There seems to be so many mysteries hidden in this particular world, and after the initial introduction to the world of chaos hit by an apocalyptic world, we have a terrifying post-apocalyptic world outside, and we are then introduced into something even more frightening inside a building, that is two levels of horror unleashed without warning. The world inside is creepier than one can imagine. The structure, with its creepy corridors, rooms, paintings, darkness – this old-style building is something which will stay in our minds for a very long time. The terror that the movie brings feels much realistic than it is supposed to be, because it is more or less a reflection of humanity and the inherent evil that has led it for a long time throughout history. People have always been evil, as William Golding had shown in Lord of the Flies, a long time ago – it is the same reflection that we see here. As we look at where humanity has reached as of now, what happens in this film is only a little distant probability, for modernity has taken a part of everyone’s soul, as people go for riches above everything else.

Positives and negatives :: The film could have made itself a bigger blood and gore fest with terrifying secrets being brought to light on after the other, but it gains some remarkable ground in its current form. There were more opportunities in between, with all those strange acts being possible with this premise – the film could have used it for the better. The conclusion is pretty good, there are some moments in between that seems to stretch the movie rather than doing anything else. There is also a little bit of predictability, but we can go past that quick enough. Yet, when you are transported into this particular world, you are more or less in a mystery which seems to get thicker and thicker as time passes. When you have a horror thriller set inside a strange building which is part of a post-apocalyptic world, what can be there other than consistent scope of danger? Well, that much has been achieved really well with this particular movie which thrives on its atmosphere again and again. The idea of survival of the fittest, when applied here works remarkably well. The performances are pretty good, but that is not the focus here.

How it finishes :: This Norwegian film seems to rise above the usual horror flicks, as it rises above the genre which has depleted some of its strengths due to modernity and the lack of belief in traditions. The way in which Cadaver uses its scares should come as inspiration to Hollywood too, as one cannot always depend on The Conjuring, Insidious, Annabelle, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe among others to do the thing, and even come up with more and more sequels, for originality matters. Cadaver is innovative enough to create something special out of an already terrifying premise, and the ability to display some extra skills to keep the audience engaged makes sure that this is one of the most effective horror flicks of these times. The atmosphere, setting, situations – all seems to come together so well. If you haven’t watched this one, you are missing the opportunity to watch a well-made horror movie making unexpected impact. This is indeed a film to stay with you even after the whole thing ends – as effective as you can expect from such a world of mystery.

Release date: 22nd October 2020
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Jarand Herdal
Starring: Gitte Witt, Thomas Gullestad, Thorbjorn Harr, Tuva Olivia, Kingsford Siayor, Maria Grazia Di Meo, Jonatan Rodriguez, Trine Wiggen

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Manor

Vampire Owl: Are we talking about the Dracula Manor?

Vampire Bat: There is no such a manor. We only have the castle.

Vampire Owl: Well, this could be a manor which looks like a castle.

Vampire Bat: Well, Uncle Dracula certainly has some specific ideas about what a great vampire abode should be.

Vampire Owl: His ideas are as outdated as the castle dungeon coating.

Vampire Bat: We are not supposed to talk like that about the vampire elders.

Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula is still a few centuries away from being a true elder.

Vampire Bat: The elder status is not always gained by age.

Vampire Owl: Yet, all our vampire elders are older than history.

Vampire Bat: Well, you will see how Uncle Dracula is an exception.

[Gets a pineapple cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Judith Albright (Barbara Hershey) had considered herself to be of perfect health, and enjoyed her life with family including little kids, until she suddenly faces a stroke. She decides to move into a famous nursing home, even though her family feels that it is totally unnecessary. Her grandchildren considers her to be young and healthy as anyone of a lower age, but she is adamant. In comparison to her, the other residents of the nursing home are not really that healthy, both physically and mentally. For the peace and quiet of the place, the authorities actually keep a no mobile phone policy, much to her dismay, as she hoped to text her relatives and find some interesting photos and news from the social media. Judith had chosen to stay at this place, as she didn’t want to be a problem for her family, especially if she gets bed-ridden at some point, and has the feeling that things might not be the same again after the stroke.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, she feels that there is something really strange about the manor and the people around there, even though she does make some good friends out there. The nights no longer allow her to sleep, as something is seen or heard all around. The surroundings around this particular nursing home is also pretty much spooky, as we look on. Her room-mate makes some strange noises, and doesn’t seem to be of good mental health. She also feels that there is a supernatural presence there, with nurses also acting strange, and wants to escape. But the problem is that it was her own decision to choose the nursing home – now she needs to act against it. For the same, she would have a lot of convincing to do though, as everything looks perfect from outside. There is a mystery to be revealed here, about what is it that haunts this particular world, but can it be known?

The defence of The Manor :: There are some fine moments of terror which comes out of nowhere, even though there are not many, and nothing much that we would remember for that long. The setting is really good, and they do use the environment to the best advantage, from the building to the surroundings. There is always something about the world around, whether having an enchanted feeling, or about being ready to unleash the terror at any moment. We also have fine concept behind this film, even though not at its full strength when executed. As expected, there is indeed the twist that awaits us, and there is a certain amount of deviation regarding that too. With Barbara Hershey in the lead, this was going to create a certain amount of impact, and one could be confident that the same was going to increase the positive effect.

The claws of flaw :: The Manor could have done a lot more, and we know that from the premise itself. The film is also very slow, and slower than any horror film would have wanted to move forward. When a horror film cannot go at a good enough pace, it affects the whole thing rather too much. Such a film is also expected to use what is required to keep itself in the genre. The idea here should have been executed better, and there could have been many paths to follow. The scares that it uses could have been manufactured in a better way. It also doesn’t try to build on a possible message which was standing so close out there. The structure could have been better as we look at it. As part of a bigger series, Welcome to the Blumhouse, this one had the chance to stand out, but really doesn’t try to do that. Well, it is our right to expect more here.

Performers of the soul :: Barbara Hershey plays the main role here, and she is also the old lady in distress around. She is the name that has been familiar the most for the supernatural horror film, The Entity more than anything else. It is also one film of those times which has had its presence well known. After so many years, she is part of another horror flick, and she blends in here really well once again. Bruce Davison is the next notable face here, as he has a bigger role to play here than what it seems in the early stages. Then there are actresses like Ciera Payton, Stacey Travis and Jill Larson who also contribute to the film naturally. Nicholas Alexander plays another significant role here, which becomes even more important in the later stages of the movie. Katie Amanda Keane and Shelley Robertson also drops in, along with Fran Bennett. As this is a nursing home, there are enough in-mates here to add to the characters, even though not all of them are used to the best advantage.

How it finishes :: The Manor is the latest addition to the thrillers added to Amazon Prime Video, and last month we did have The Voyeurs doing the job. It doesn’t use enough of horror to its advantage, unlike what was expected, and if it had done that too, The Manor could have had its own good fan base with its premise. In the world of films like The Conjuring, Insidious, Annabelle, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe among others, this is no grand horror fest, but a small one to be part of the group. The focus here is more on the mystery, and as we go through the environment, we are going to be part of this journey, at a lower pace. In a world slowed down by COVID-19 pandemic, there is always scope for some slow horror too. During these days when you cannot trust the people or the virus enough, all you need is some supernatural horror.

Release date: 8th October 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 81 minutes
Directed by: Axelle Carolyn
Starring: Barbara Hershey, Stacey Travis, Bruce Davison, Ciera Payton, Jill Larson, Mark Steger

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sunny

What is the movie about? :: Sunny Varkey (Jayasurya) has finally returned home from Dubai after a long time with his Logistics business failing, and these are the troubling times of COVID-19 pandemic. He used to want to become a successful musician, but left that idea much earlier. He gets a quarantine spot in Grand Hyatt Residency in Bolgatty Island, Cochin, and gets to be all alone there. SI Sadashivan Nair (Vijayaraghavan) is the police officer who is in charge of looking out for the people in quarantine there, and he keeps an eye on Sunny. He feels lonely, and is uneasy because he is not able to get any more alcohol, with the hotel changing its policies as people were creating nuisance after being drunk. Dr Erali (Innocent) tries to help him with his withdrawal symptoms and a stage of depression. Adithi (Shritha Sivadas) is in quarantine in the room above him, and they also have regular talks.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Nimmi (Shritha Sivadas) had divorced Sunny because he had an affair which he had confessed, much to her dismay. Sunny is as much disappointed about this, as he has been with his financial affairs. She is also pregnant, and it was for the second time, after their child had died a few hours after birth. He has to pay back a lot of money, as a result of his best friend making him an investment which he now regrets. Nimmi no longer wants to do anything with him anymore, and neither does his former lover Dr Anuradha (Mamta Mohandas). It also seems that some of the passengers in his flight were COVID-19 positive, and there is a chance that he might also be in trouble. But he moves on with his lonely life, which doesn’t seem to have much left for him. Yet, it is still to found if there is something more than what meets the eye. With COVID-19 around, you never know.

The defence of Sunny :: Sunny is quite a small movie when we consider its limited setting within a room. Among the classical unities of Aristotle, unity of place and action are maintained, and with a shorter quarantine, all of them could have been there. The setting is really nice, and it is good to see this particular world where parts of one’s life is revealed. There is a whole grand episode of life which is revealed here through small moments. The past, present and future gets intertwined in these incidents which occur in the grand quarantine centre. There is the usual life being reflected here, and the protagonist is very much human, trying to survive in a world which has descended into chaos for him. It shows the life of a depressed man in quarantine really well, and never does it lags behind in doing the same. These are indeed good times for emotional films, as we know what the COVID-19 affected world has come to. Amazon Prime Video has the right films for the same too.

The claws of flaw :: Sunny doesn’t live much beyond the scope here, and it is indeed predictable. A lot of things that we see here, follow the expected routine, with not many surprises to come around. The movie also maintains its slow pace throughout its run, and it is also something which doesn’t come as a surprise when we look at this particular world. It should have had more, even with life being restricted to a room – there is a lot more to be shown with the scenery and the world around, as well as what is inside. It could have also had more events for the main character, as being in quarantine in such a grand space always has more to be added – it is not like being locked in a small room. There could have been more from other characters, even with their faces not shown, as some of them are not really there, exploring their best possibilities. We wished for the sun to shine brighter with Sunny, even though we are okay with what we have around here.

Performers of the soul :: Sunny is a fully Jayasurya movie, as one would expect it to be, from the trailer, and also with the talks regarding the same. There are only a few others who have faces at least inside their masks, or have part of their faces revealed in one way or the other. This is also Jayasurya’s 100th film, and might be his best film to come to Amazon Prime Video. He has come up with a fantastic performance, as a man who doesn’t have any hope in life, and as the only one character which truly performs on the screen, has the whole canvas to himself – we can do nothing more than just applaud the same. We see different phases of his life in the quarantine room itself, and this is a character that shows a certain amount of evolution, which he reflects really well. There is not that much of a challenge provided here for him, but there is indeed something.

Further performers of the soul :: The other characters are introduced through their voices, as they call the main character or sometimes the other way around. There is something to be revealed from each character whom we identify through their voices. Some of the characters have part of their faces being shown, and the voices are those which we identify with ease, especially that of Innocent, Aju Varghese and Vijayaraghavan. They are all part of the tale, even though we don’t see them. All these phone calls play significant roles to keep the film going forward. It is nice to see people like Shritha Sivadas whom we have loved for her early works, and had gone missing for some time. Mamta Mohandas’ voice is heard for much shorter time than we would have expected.

How it finishes :: Sunny nicely sets itself during the COVID-19 and quarantine times, and has the same feeling running through it. There is the loneliness of a quarantine that runs through it, and as we know that we are going to live with COVID-19 with more and more waves supposed to come at some point, this one is closer to reality than one might think. As a movie which has only one face completely shown, and with one person having the chance to come up with all the performance. This is basically the one man film that we don’t usually see around, and it is one risk which has been taken on with success. Amazon Prime has already provided some fine experiences during the Corona virus times, and this one goes the divergent way with ease. There is always more about smaller films like these than what meets the eye, and this one is also that drama which goes feel-good and does that with effectiveness.

Release date: 23rd September 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Mamta Mohandas, Vijayaraghavan, Innocent, Vijay Babu, Shritha Sivadas, Aju Varghese, Sivada Nair, Purnima Krishnan, Binoy KG

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

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

<— Click here to go back to some intense film experience.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Home

What is the movie about? :: Oliver Twist (Indrans) is leading a normal life with his two sons, Antony Oliver Twist (Sreenath Bhasi) and Charles Oliver Twist (Nalsen K Gafoor), his wife Kuttiyamma (Manju Pillai) and father (Kainakary Thankaraj) who has memory problems. Oliver and Kuttiyamma are also feeling the problems of their old age. Antony is trying to be successful in the film field, but he is too busy with social media that he doesn’t complete the climax of the script, much to the dismay of the producer, Baby (Maniyanpilla Raju) who keeps asking if something can be done about it. His time is running out, as it has been two years after he started writing – he had directed his first film to a grand success, and this time, nobody is sure that he will finish it in time. At the same time, Charles’ interest in social media only, and nothing else is on his list of interesting things. He keeps putting Instagram stories at all times, and during the rest of the time, he is mostly sleeping.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Finally, Antony decides to return home to finish his script, and for the same, he returns home with a seven day deadline to complete his script. There he finds out that Charles is vlogging at all times, and doing nothing else. His life is highly digitalized, and he is happy to keep himself online instead of talking to anyone in the family. Antony is no different, even though his parents remember that he used to be a different person before leaving them for the city. Antony is in love with Priya (Deepa Thomas), a relationship which has lasted very long, but now he is too bust to return her calls. Her father, Joseph Lopez (Srikanth Murali) is a very rich and influential man, popular at all places. Oliver hopes to be friendly with his sons, but they don’t have that much of an interest in talking to the elders. Often, they even ignore Oliver as if he is not a part of their life. Oliver hopes that things will change, and he goes on with his life, with that wish, but Antony has very low opinion about him, and is often hostile towards him too.

The defence of Home :: There are many things which are reflections of real life incidents in the film, and one often wonders if they have come across such incidents before. Social media addiction has been an effective theme, and these days, anyone is a vlogger on Youtube, and with many followers, they think that this is life. People have been bothered more about what happens online rather than offline, and in the same the real world is forgotten, a reflection of the same is reflected here. The message about mobile phones stealing our valuable time is also provided nicely. It adds a few things about loss of relationships and health due to the use of smartphones and social media among the youth. The film, even though set most in a home and its surroundings, is visually too good, not just inside the house, but also during the outside moments. There is a lot of beauty on the screen that surrounds everything, and occasional humour adds on well. Then, there is the ending that conquers all, emotionally as strong as it could be.

The claws of flaw :: There is a lot of repetition which happens in the film, and it is surely a slow work, as we look at it. Some of the emotions are added here and there as if it was just there for the sake of it, and some incidents just become random part of the same. This comes from the man behind Philips and the Monkeypen and Jo and the Boy, and we can see similar elements being repeated here. It still doesn’t have the charm or quality of the former, which was one of the best movies released in the year, seemingly bringing a certain amount of magic to the screen. It also has its length extended a little too much, and with too many songs being added here and there, it does feel a few minutes too long. There are moments in between when we feel that this was going nowhere nowhere, and it was going to go on with the same kind of thing again and again. There are so many things coming up, and often it does seem to miss the main point, but there is the ending that brings things together.

Performers of the soul :: Indrans was earlier seen in two very serious roles this year with two films, Malik and Yuvam, playing the roles of a police officer and an advocate respectively. This one is a light-hearted, but yet emotional role for him, and having come out of fully comic roles, he has been doing this really well. This is indeed a very heartfelt performance from him, and with him at the centre of a family movie, this will be remembered as he celebrate forty years in Malayalam cinema industry, in his 341st movie in the long career. We are finally able to see him throughout a mainstream film in the lead role, and also with the most emotional touch, as he basically lives through here. Sreenath Bhasi had some very serious roles in Virus and Kumbalangi Nights not too long ago, and he now has a rather lighter version here – he had come out of that earlier “freakan” image a long time ago, and this one has him in a controlled role. Nalsen K Gafoor who was last seen in Kuruthi with all the seriousness, and earlier in Thanneermathan Dinangal with all the humour, can be seen in a realistic role of a youngster in this film, and he once again scores big. The simple comic side that he adds here brings more life to the movie.

Further performers of the soul :: It is also nice to Manju Pillai having a good role to play in a film, as we have been seeing more in the television series and comedy shows of Mazhavil Manorama. She has blended into this role really well, and one would wonder why she was not that much in similar roles before. We have always loved to watch her in Thatteem Mutteem for a long time. There are also some nice dialogues that reflects the mood of the film. Deepa Thomas has her first leading role, and she has comes up with a memorable performance too. She has indeed provided a natural performance, and we look forward to seeing her in more roles, and with more screen space in comparison to what is seen here. Srikant Murali also has a role to remember here. Anoop Menon’s act is also a good one, while Maniyanpilla Raju also drops in here and there. Vijay Babu’s role might seem very small, but is still one role that also makes a difference, with a lovely touch of humour. Johny Antony, as usual adds more humour here, while KPAC Lalitha who comes in the final stages of the movie has something special to add. Priyanka Nair also has a fine role in the flashback.

How it finishes :: Home is a movie for the present families, which are not short of this kind of a situation at different homes, due a new generation of kids who are addicted to gadgets and moving away from parents both physically and mentally. It will be remembered for some moments for the heart. The feel-good elements from the director’s earlier films can be seen reflected here, and the same kind of reflections can be seen visually too. Vijay Babu has provided us with so many of similar movies, and we have always stayed close to most of them. During COVID-19 times, having a feel-good film to watch with family was always going to be good. The messages that the film provides are effective, and leads to that one final message which raises the level of the film. Do look out for the final scenes with credits too, and it is where the movie brings a little more for the soul. So, we have our Onam movie on Amazon Prime Video, and as you watch the same, I wish you a Very Happy Onam in advance!

Release date: 19th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Rojin Thomas
Starring: Indrans, Sreenath Bhasi, Kainakary Thankaraj, Naslen K Gafoor, Manju Pillai, Deepa Thomas, Vijay Babu, Srikant Murali, Johny Antony, Anoop Menon, Maniyanpilla Raju, Aju Varghese

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Atlantics

Vampire Owl: Have you tried flying over the Atlantic Ocean?

Vampire Bat: Why would we do that when we have so many portals?

Vampire Owl: Do all these portals serve as gateways now?

Vampire Bat: Not everyone. But the rest are also being repaired by Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: I don’t know why you keep calling that inefficient person for repairs.

Vampire Bat: Well, you don’t get many undead doctors with multiple skills.

Vampire Owl: But most of his qualifications are fake, and I am sure about that.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that all of these will be important related to this movie.

Vampire Owl: There seems to be something strange about this film though.

Vampire Bat: It is not set in France or even Europe, and that does make a difference.

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

What is the movie about? :: In a popular suburb of Dakar, the capital and largest city of the African nation of Senegal, people are forced to work on the construction site of a futuristic tower, without payment even after long hours of continuous toil. The high-rising ultra-modern tower is exactly the opposite of the rest of the city which is seen around there. The tower keep getting taller, but there is no hope for the people working there, as they go on for days without getting paid the proposed wages. As there is no hope for people like them, the only option remains running away from there and finding a job elsewhere, maybe in another nation. Adding to that, the climate change has led to a consistent decline in rainfall and a certain increase in temperature. The climate change and further environmental concerns also greatly impact the very weak economy and the already struggling population. The city no longer remains an option for the young man Souleiman (Ibrahima Traore) who is in love with the charming young lady, Ada (Mame Bineta Sane) who is from the same neighbourhood.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The workers decide to leave the nation by sea, in search of a brighter future in Spain, and Souleiman accompanies them so that he can come back and try to marry his lady love who is to be married to Omar (Babacar Sylla), a rich man who seems to be the better option for Ada in the eyes of everyone. Ada’s family has almost everything set for the big function, which they hope to arrange in a few days. Spain is quite far away, and it is to be a tiring and risky journey, but that doesn’t hold Souleiman back from making the choice. Ada is highly disappointed about the fact that Souleiman decided to leave without giving her an idea. Her friends like Mariama (Mariama Gassama) does try to console her, and even for her friends, Omar is the right person for her, while Souleiman is just a hindrance in front of her objective of marrying the right man. But would he choose to wait for him for years instead of getting into wedlock? Would that be the right decision, or is it something that would go as far as eternity?

The defence of Atlantics :: There are two sides to this movie, one being the social commentary which is not far away from life, and the other one is something which you wouldn’t expect from a movie like this, a supernatural drama which is rather unpredictable. Unlike what the posters seem to suggest, this is a movie which cannot be restricted to such smaller displays. The problems of poverty, unemployment, class divide, forced migration, lack of hope and many others are shown in the movie, even though they are not always staying in the front. The visuals feel different, and beautiful even in the absence of any spectacular scene being made. We do feel the culture of the area, and there is also that feeling of inherent terror of not being among those who are supposed to be born into the advantage. It also reminds one of the 2013 Tamil movie, Maryan, the Dhanush starrer set in Kanyakumari and parts of Sudan, which had the habit of growing on you, after watching the same, a reminder that the tale of the subaltern remains the same at all places.

The claws of flaw :: You do have so much scope as far as this movie with such a setting is concerned, and the movie doesn’t use its core elements well enough. It is also quite slow, especially in the beginning stages. There was enough with this idea to speed up things, but the movie decides not to take it. The handling of pace would have a much bigger role to play inthe middle stages of the flick. The idea itself could have been clearer, and it might have helped to add some extra polishing here, but the movie doesn’t use the same either – you feel that there could be something bigger at moments, but that is not provided here. They could have also made sure that the story-line made more sense for everyone. The strange feeling of this movie might not be interesting for everyone, and it makes very much a subjective experience leading to polarised opinions among common men despite winning it completely with the critics. It is also quite surprising that their possible destination is Spain, as the location makes it a difficult place to reach by the sea.

Performers of the soul :: The cast is an unknown one, even for us who watch a lot of movies, including English, and those multiple foreign languages. But it is to be noted that they are often better than most of those so called superstars who are sons and daughters of those bigger superstars who bring them into the movie industry just because they can do whatever they please – the terrible plight of Bollywood; but here, we have a skilled cast. Mame Bineta Sane who plays Ada leads the way with ease here. Amadou Mbow also follows the procedure well to make his role memorable enough. The characters played by Aminata Kane and Mariama Gassama are also memorable as you look at them. Babacar Sylla as Omar makes a usual character which you see in the romantic movies with separation as a major theme, and he does his job quite well. In this movie, you feel more or less like the setting itself becomes a character, especially the tower and the sea, which reflects the human situation there in an interesting manner, as you look deep.

How it finishes :: As a movie which was selected as the Senegalese entry earlier for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards, this movie does make a pretty good impact, as it already did in the Cannes Film Festival. It is also said that the former United States President Barack Obama had named this film among his favorite films and television series of 2019 in Twitter. It would be difficult to bring the supernatural even in the normal situations, and this one tries to do the same against all odds in a situation which is based on multiple real life themes, but manages to come through well enough in the end. You are sure to feel that there is more than what meets the eye, as far as this movie is concerned. It is surely not your usual kind of film, and this divergence definitely sets it apart. This is the time when we celebrate the variety, and for the same, the movie becomes the kind of flick that one should watch and take the ideas back home.

Release date: 29th November 2019
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Mati Diop
Starring: Mame Bineta Sane, Amadou Mbow, Nicole Sougou, Aminata Kane, Traore, Coumba Dieng, Ibrahima Mbaye, Diankou Sembene, Abdou Balde, Babacar Sylla, Arame Fall Faye, Ya Arame Mousse Sene, Babacar Samba, Astou N’Diaye, Khouda Fall

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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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Svaha

Vampire Owl: Another Korean movie. You are going international very often.

Vampire Bat: Well, there is the need for more movies for lock-down as far as vampires are concerned.

Vampire Owl: You still haven’t watched everything from Hollywood.

Vampire Bat: That can surely wait. There are many types of movies in different languages, from all parts of the world.

Vampire Owl: You have become a movie explorer beyond borders, haven’t you?

Vampire Bat: Exploration is a pure vampire trait, driven by blood. It is either a place or a movie, and it won’t matter what.

Vampire Owl: The quality of the wanderer and explorer has been inherited by all vampires in and around the castle.

Vampire Bat: About this movie, I feel that we are going to be reminded about another Korean movie, The Divine Fury, as this one also has demons.

Vampire Owl: But I do see a difference in pattern here.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they are not the same in soul, as the type is different.

[Gets a whiteforest cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: In the beginning, a few minutes show the existence of evil in the countryside, as something strange begins to happen there, making people worried. Back in the city, Pastor Park (Lee Jung-jae) is someone who spends his time trying to expose those religious groups which are involved in illegal activities, and he specializes in finding similar cults which have deviated from the main-stream religions, and are using the name of religious denominations to achive something sinister. He is paid for doing this by the heads of different religions, and the latest one is a cult group known as Deer Mount, supposed to be a Buddhist group, but does not worship or adore Lord Buddha, but others. This makes the Buddhist leaders interested, and they ask him to find proof, because it is certain that they might be having some kind of scripture, which will be the key to understanding where they stand, and how much they are different from Buddhism.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The result of the search is that they found out the existence of some edited versions, and also those parts which are never heard of before, giving a strange feeling with its content. There is something like a Book of Revelation, talking about beasts trampling the snakes and protecting the light. The Buddhist monk who is with them is not able to find the exact meaning, and what all these are about, and need to contact an expert. Meanwhile, Chief Hwang (Jung Jin-young) investigates the murder of a child and the main suspect might related to the same Deer Mount cult. As the suspect commits suicide, there seems to be no link to take this case forward. There is a much darker secret related to whatever has been happening around. It can now be traced and moved to a village where a family had two children, a girl and a thing, the latter being kept outside the house, locked in a shed. So where does all these lead?

The defence of Svaha: The Sixth Finger :: A Korean movie with a difference never stops being interesting, and this movie is no different. This one is also a complex tale regarding a series of murders of young school girls, and it is as interesting as the mysterious and spiritual side which it deals with from the other side, connecting to the killings which has been occuring through years, not being a new thing. The movie has its thrills regarding the same, and there is also a philosophical side to the movie, as the main character does have things to wonder about. The scary elements are there, but they do not run throughout the movie – they can be seen in moments though. The Divine Fury, another Korean movie was cent percent direct about the whole thing, but this one takes a divergent path to reach its destination, and therefore leaves some ambiguity, even while catching the interest of the viewers in style.

The claws of flaw :: The complexity of Svaha: The Sixth Finger will not be that appealing to everyone, as it throws in more characters into the mixture of things, making things even more complex. Everything just gets too tight at times, and some characters just seem to be there for the sake of it, not being defined well enough. The diverging story-line also has some problem in coming back together, and we are bombarded with one thing after the other, which makes us struggle to follow it at times. The characters provided for support are too many, and we do forget a good number of them, even though they don’t come up with a bad performance or anything. The movie should have also known to present its idea in a better way, even though it is entertaining and exciting as of now – after all, there seems to be a lot of things going in the background, and everything needed to be in the front, strong and clear in soul.

Peformers of the soul :: Lee Jung-jae as Pastor Park is the main character in the movie, and one person whom the audience is supporting from the beginning itself. He gets the special focus once he is introduced, and never does anyone rise above him. Park Jung-min as Na-han gets the significance later, but soon becomes a very important character that stays for long. Lee Jae-in’s character is also a notable one, and we see her at many points of the movie, which are all moments that will remain in our mind. Jung Jin-young as Chief Hwang gets a little less as far as the time spent on the screen is concerned, even after being introduced much earlier, seemingly with more importance. There is also some good support from Lee David as Joseph, the one who supports Pastor Park throughout, even though he is a bigger believer than the pastor is. There are so many other characters and all of them do manage to contribute by their own.

How it finishes :: Svaha: The Sixth Finger is that kind of a movie which has so many ideas, and brings them all from different directions on you, without pausing at any moment. It never losses focus in doing that, and only gets richer in ideas as it moves forward. As it gains in complexity, it doesn’t really use its strengths to the advantage, and it is where the movie losses control in some parts, but that is not a problem here, with the movie coming back stronger when needed. What runs under the movie is surely strong enough, and the variety in treatment of the subject also comes into the picture – it never ceases to be interesting, as we all need to unveil this mystery and understand the terror which has been going through here, underneath everything that is clearly seen. The result is that we have one more Korean movie which brings something different for us to watch, from many kilometres away from that nation.

Release date: 20th February 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Jang Jae-hyun
Starring: Lee Jung-jae, Park Jung-min, Lee Jae-in, Jung Jin-young, Lee David, Jin Seon-kyu, Ji Seung-hyun, Min Tanaka, Cha Sun-bae, Hwang Jung-min, Jung Dong-hwan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Platform

Vampire Owl: Have you walked through the platforms?

Vampire Bat: Which one are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: The moving platforms which have been introduced inside the castle.

Vampire Bat: Now we vampires have moving platforms? Why?

Vampire Owl: Come on. This is supposed to a haunted castle with many vampires. Such attractions are supposed to be there.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that Uncle Dracula is planning to make Hotel Transylvania, a five star hotel with special attractions.

Vampire Owl: No, the castle a historical place. We can only add some attractions which supports its status as the monument.

Vampire Bat: They are going to destroy another historical monument. Do the vampire elders know about this?

Vampire Owl: They will know when the platforms are introduced. We are giving them a sweet little surprise.

Vampire Bat: They are so old that such a shocking surprise can make them former elders, and bury them in the vampire underworld.

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

What is the movie about? :: Goreng (Ivan Massague) wakes up in a concrete room with another man on the bed opposite to his, and Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor) is a man who seems to have different opinions on world compared to him. The room is marked by the number 48, and there is a hole in the centre through which he is able to look at a large number of similar rooms going up and also going down towards infinity. Trimagasi explains that they are in a tower-style building that goes a long way to the higher and lower levels, at which food is delivered through a platform that travels from the top, stopping for a fixed period on each floor – each floor below gets only the left over of what the higher floors eat, and the amount of food decreases as each floor passes. If they try to keep some food with them for later use, the room gets heated or cooled towards the extreme ends until the food is thrown down. Each month, the imprisoned people are randomly reassigned to a new level and it seems to happen randomly.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The prisoners at the building were allowed to take one item which they really loved, or wanted to keep, into this building, and Goreng had taken a copy of Don Quixote, one of the best known and the most influential novels in Spanish, something which has been an inspiration and part of syllabus in many colleges all around the world teaching English Language and Literature course. One day, a young woman named Miharu (Alexandra Masangkay) rides down on the platform with food, and Trimagasi tells Goreng that she goes down the hole every month searching for her lost child. Goreng sees that she is being attacked by two men, but is relieved to see that she manages to kill both of them using a knife she had with her, and she continues to go down with the food, seemingly searching for the child that she needed to find.

And what is to follow here as time passed in the pit? :: While Goreng had volunteered to spend six months in what was known as the Vertical Self-Management Center to earn a special diploma, Trimagasi is someone who is serving a one year sentence for manslaughter, and he is surprised to see that someone would volunteer to be part of such a programme just for earning a diploma degree. Even though Trimagasi is not someone who seems to be so friendly, the two somehow manages to be pretty good friends, but only until they are transferred to the next cell, which is numbered 171, a place which is on the lower side, and would get none of the food, because 170 levels above and 340 people in there would need a lot more than what is moved on a platform. So, this is up to the two friends to figure out how to survive in this terrifying situation with no food. Will they find a way to survive until the next change to a better space, or will they end up killing and eating one another? Os is there a way to go to another room or escape from this experiment?

The defence of The Platform :: There are some relevant ideas being discussed in this movie, some directly, and most them indirectly. There is some violence, and it is shown as part of human need, and we also have survival of the fittest, with the certain support of luck, as the residents of this building shows life itself in another way, but the core remains the same. There is a display of how higher social order, or people of a better economic status will look at others, even those who were at their same status earlier. The idea at the base goes like this – if you only take what you need, there will be enough for everyone else; it thrives on the need rather than the want, because the desire for more than you need is the root of all evil. It is not just the case of food, but also of other basic needs like clothing and water among others. Along with food, the one thing that people have more than they need is surely clothes, and water is the one thing which is wasted the most. The movie nicely touches these elements with action and thrills to go with them, and the performances from everyone is good.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have been more accurate with how it presented its ideas, because some are being lost here. There are also some repetitions, even when considering the fact that this is a movie which is just over one and half hours in total run-time. It is also to be noted that more elements could have been included in this movie in that run-time itself, or by adding a few more minutes, because the movie remains a short one considering the idea which it is trying to convey to the audience of our times. The characters could have also been more interesting, and the ambiguity regarding what was happening above could have been removed, especially with one of the people in the office also becoming a prisoner. The movie is also pretty much violent, and often makes some people feel disgust and shock – this is not really a movie for everyone, as the film doesn’t choose to go through that safe path to bring in the audience, making this a much lesser known Spanish flick.

How it finishes :: As The Platform asks some questions relevant during the time of Corona Virus, with COVID-19 spreading throughout the globe, and it is the time to help others, we cannot deny its significance against a world of chaos as well as selfishness. With only a few main characters, the movie manages to bring its point during the season of crisis, even though it did release much earlier, but not many people had heard about it then. It is the kind of movie which will come to the light during different types of similar problems in the world, and it can be considered as a movie standing on its own, with similarities more with its other elements, and not with its core idea. The Platform is the movie that you need to watch during the season of quarantines, isolation and lock-downs, so that as a part of humanity, you can ponder over whatever is happening in a world which has been taught to be the fittest to survive in a cruel world full of inherent evil that William Golding talked about in his novel, the much studied Lord of the Flies. You can also watch another similar lock-down social experiment with The Belko Experiment.

Release date: 6th March 2019
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Starring: Ivan Massague, Zorion Eguileor, Antonia San Juan, Emilio Buale Coka, Alexandra Masangkay

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Divine Fury

Vampire Owl: We are certainly not used to watching Korean movies.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but we make exceptions with some of those films

Vampire Owl: I think that the last two Korean movies reviewed around here were The Wailing and Train to Busan.

Vampire Bat: They were the only two movies of that particular language which were reviewed here. The other big movies were Chinese.

Vampire Owl: Yes, The Mermaid and The Monkey King 2. I remember them. There were two short-films too, I guess.

Vampire Bat: After that, the total number of movies watched itself was decreased, and there was no chance for Korean and Chinese films.

Vampire Owl: Well, we are back here watching them though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is always more movies to watch, except at the theatres during the time of Corona Virus.

Vampire Owl: That time too will pass, and we will be back to watching the latest movies at the theatres.

Vampire Bat: I shall display no doubt regarding that statement, so that I can hold on to some more optimism at the time of crisis.

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

What is the movie about? :: Yong-hoo (Park Seo-joon) is a martial-arts champion who keeps winning all his fights as if he is seeking revenge for the death of his father, who was murdered while doing his duty as a police officer in the city, and his mother who had died even earlier. He feels that God didn’t listen to his prayer when he was a child, and left him an orphan, and the wrath which he possessed from the same feeling helped him to become the fighting champion he ended up to be. But one day, he has an injury on his hands, which he shows at the hospital, but after a number of days, it only gets worse with the doctor confirming that it is not an infection, and he should show it at a bigger hospital in the city. Finally, he decides to meet a new shaman, a blind young girl who has a connection with the spirit world. The girl finds out that there is something evil about him, and refers him to the priest at a local church.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There he meets Father Ahn (Ahn Sung-ki) who is performing an exorcism, and with his wound, he is able to help him. The priest reveals that it is stigmata, the bodily wounds which were imposed on Jesus Christ while he was undergoing crucifixion. He also added that it would appear only on those people who have strong faith. It surprises him though, as he has never known faith after his father died. But, as time passes, he gets involved in what the priest has been doing, including getting rid of the demons, as there is nobody else who is willing to help him in the dangerous exorcisms. He slowly and steadily begins to regain his faith in God, but there is a bigger evil in existence in the city, and soon enough, they need to find it. When they exorcise a demon from a young girl Soo-jin (Park Ji-hyun), the priest comes to know about it. Can they do it early enough, or will darkness envelope the city? What would be the key to defeating the demons they don’t know much about?

The defence of The Divine Fury :: There is something about The Divine Fury that you will find different, or rather many things, as you approach it as a horror movie, but that is only one side of it, while having your journey through the film. The movie basically blends many things, including action sequences, mystery, thrilling moments and others of emotional bonding. The emotional side to the movie also remains strong between all these action and horror. The movie has a run-time just a few minutes more than two hours, and we get through that quickly, as there is no slowing down the action here, for the demonic presence is always there. The final action sequence somewhat reminds one of Constantine, even though not that much well done, and there are some nice punches and kicks being landed in the end. The final shot of moving hands from the well is really creepy, and so are the exorcisms which are well done, especially that of the young girl and the kid.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t really begin so well, and it gets interesting with the first exorcism which the protagonist partially witnesses. There are many other approaches which this movie could have taken too, but it often chooses the easy way, especially with some parts giving the impression that we have watched all of these before. People might think that there is a little bit of too much speech about God and faith going on right through it, but it is a necessary part of the movie. The final action scene could have been made somewhat like the John Wick fights between the lights, and the demon in the end could have also been scarier. We could have also used more exorcisms, and the philosophical dialogues could have been quickly done with. The villain could have actually had a better background and backstory too.

Performers of the soul :: Park Seo-joon plays the main character, and he has some interesting movie titles under his name. We can witness the changes that come across him clearly, as we see the journey shown nicely. Ahn Sung-ki as Father Ahn also makes a perfect priest, and his dialogues about almost everything catches our attention – there are words of wisdom from him which we might miss, if we are not careful enough. From the first moment he is seen in the exorcism scene, we know that he would be the right priest. The two also share some funny moments too, even though the seriousness of the situations stay as it is. Woo Do-hwan doesn’t really fall behind much either. It has to be noted that the movie has managed to have some fine performances from the supporting cast, especially those who plays the possessed, starting from the young girl played by Park Ji-hyun. You have to look out for them every time.

How it finishes :: The Divine Fury is the movie that deals with exorcism and the demons in a very different way compared to what we have seen in many different movies, from The Conjuring, The Nun and Annabelle series or the good old Insidious franchise. There is also the hope for a sequel known as The Green Exorcist. I will surely be looking forward to it, as this is the kind of movie which Hollywood will find difficult to make, and the Korean movie industry has nicely made one movie which could stand apart, even though not without its flaws. Do not get fooled by the comparatively smaller rating given to it when we consider some other popular Korean movies, because this one is not a pretender, and it goes through things directly. If you want to watch a good action horror movie with martial arts and exorcism running through it along with some philosophy, do watch this one.

Release date: 31st July 2019
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Kim Joo-hwan
Starring: Park Seo-joon, Ahn Sung-ki, Woo Do-hwan, Park Ji-hyun, Jung Ji-hoon, Sim Hee-seop, Seo Jeong-yeon, Jo Eun-hyung, Kim Seon-min, Jung Eui-soon, Kim Bum-soo, Lee Chan-yoo

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.