Rurouni Kenshin

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

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

Vampire Owl: The name is quite tough here.

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

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

Vampire Bat: Japan is everyone’s dream country.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Night Teeth

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

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

Vampire Owl: They seem to drink blood really well.

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

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

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

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

Vampire Bat: You are acting like the Vampire Chameleon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Blood Red Sky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nobody Sleeps II

*Full title: Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight Part Two

Vampire Owl: I don’t sleep much these days at night.

Vampire Bat: Vampires don’t really need to sleep at night.

Vampire Owl: We have the right to sleep whenever we want to.

Vampire Bat: What about sleeping in the coffins during daytime?

Vampire Owl: We have evolved much beyond that, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but it is more than that. It is a custom.

Vampire Owl: Well, we are not people of customs and traditions anymore.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but at least during the blood moon, we don’t sleep.

Vampire Owl: I would partially agree to that.

Vampire Bat: Let us see how Uncle Dracula thinks about it. He is now holding on to traditions more than ever.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three glasses of oreo shake].

What is the movie about? :: Adam Adamiec (Mateusz Wieclawek) is a rookie police who has just reached the police station after completing his usual job of buying the groceries, after the terrifying events of Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight. There he finds Zosia Wolska (Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz) and the two monster-like big men locked up in separate cells. The men look like they don’t care about anything, and sits there peacefully, while Zosia is clearly disturbed. He comes to know that the girl came to the police station last night, bloody and dirty, with a strange look in his eyes, and she was also saying that the guys in the cell were murdered by her in self-defence, while also talking about the strength of a meteor or comet. She had also accused the guys of murdering her friends, and cops had found bodies out there. Special Forces were coming from Warsaw to investigate the matter. With one police officer dead, the cops really need the answers, and they take her to the crime scene to get some idea about what happened last night.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: When Sergeant Waldemar Gwizdala (Andrzej Grabowski), the police officer who is with her has a stomach upset, and returns from the restroom, the comet breaks, and it seems that he was brutally murdered. Nobody has any clue of what happened there, as he is not reachable on the mobile phone, and there is no reply of the police radio either. This means that Adam has to go and check there with the police officer at the desk, Wanessa (Zofia Wichlacz). Even though Adam wishes to go back to the police station and wait for the Special Forces to arrive, while Wanessa calls the Territorial Defence Force, and they slowly move to the location. Wanessa’s deduction is that the girl killed the police officer and escaped. But Adam feels that there is something more at work as the senior officer was ripped apart into two pieces. The two understands that more people will be killed now, as there is a killer running around, and the forest makes it easy for the person to hide without being detected. The earlier incidents could be repeated many times. But can they stop the seemingly unstoppable force?

The defence of Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight Part 2 :: The movie nicely uses the one probability of having a sequel, even though it seemed to have ended with the first one. It can also have another sequel as things seem to end here. The slasher elements of the first movie are carried over here, and goes on as a regular slasher with its monsters at work. The movie’s shorter length also comes as an advantage, as it gets into action very soon, and there is no time wasted. This film also seems to go a little bit divergent with its monsters, and even though the idea is good, it never really gets the strength with was required. It also provides some explanation to the transformation of people into evil monsters, and the dark atmosphere is interesting, even when not used to the best advantage. Even though it might look strange with the twists, they are there to make some impart. Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight Part 2 is surely having the idea of building a franchise, and for that more focus on the storyline might be needed, but I would expect that to arrive anyway.

The claws of flaw :: We have already watched Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight, as the first movie had also released on Netflix, and this one doesn’t have that much of slasher strength as it had. The previous movie’s quality as a slasher movie is somewhat taken away by this sequel which focuses on some strange things instead. The elements of fear are replaced by just random gory moments which also pales in comparison to the first movie. The shift of focus brings light into a few other things, but by doing the same, some other elements do suffer from a loss in quality – the basic slasher things needed more. Bringing elements of terror when least expected, required to be in focus too, especially with one monster wandering around through all areas. The killers from the earlier film could have also been used, as it doesn’t seem to work that efficiently by turning new people into monsters. After establishing something, the film seems to take it away, decreasing the strength of the franchise itself. There is also not much of performances here to elevate it otherwise.

Performers of the soul :: The movie misses Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz in her original state – she was more or less the perfect scream queen, and her work with action as well as emotions proved to be advantage for that particular film. Then there was also Aniela Turek and Michał Lupa, a group which could perform in a way that was suited for a slasher horror better than any other. Mateusz Wieclawek leads the team, but not as the leader. He manages to work on the character okay in the beginning, struggles later. Zofia Wichlacz plays the police officer with all talk about being brave, but is actually a selfish coward – it is established pretty well by the middle of the movie, and she does the job okay in beginning, but is wasted later. The performances don’t really raise the level that much at any point though, and with a shorter run-time, we don’t really get to know these characters much either. It is more or less like going through the usual slasher horror with gore as fast as possible instead of taking care of the characterization. There is also some trouble with how the transformed characters are dealt with.

How it finishes :: The movie should have kept itself very serious, because the whole thing has been established already. It seems to have the base, but from there, the deviation losses its effectiveness soon enough. There was scope for grandeur, but the same is not taken. One has to remember how Fear Street: 1994 came up with perfect sequels in the form of Fear Street 1978 and Fear Street 1666 – this required such treatment, for one never know when there are thoughts about coming up with sequels. Humour, when not used effectively, can only prove to be negative in a violent horror movie. Well, the fact that it still works is because it has tried well enough with the base set in the first movie. There can always be more to be done with this particular idea, and we can only hope that a sequel can make things better. After all, some sequels which was part of long lasting franchises have been very effective. This Polish film franchise deserves to make a comeback now, or later.

Release date: 27th October 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Bartosz M Kowalski
Starring: Zofia Wichlacz, Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz, Wojciech Mecwaldowski, Mateusz Wieclawek, Sebastian Stankiewicz, Andrzej Grabowski, Izabela Dabrowska, Lech Dyblik, Robert Wabich, Michal Zbroja

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<<< Click here to go to the other Polish thriller review.

<<< Click here to go to the first Polish film review here.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Pale Door

Vampire Owl: How pale is the door?

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

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

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

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

Vampire Bat: How can you be so sure about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hoax

Vampire Owl: I heard that they are going to search for Bigfoot.

Vampire Bat: Everybody knows that it doesn’t exist. Are they dumb?

Vampire Owl: Well, they think that even us don’t exist.

Vampire Bat: It is another reason why they are to be considered dumb.

Vampire Owl: We shouldn’t be searching for reasons why humans are dumb.

Vampire Bat: Well, a Bigfoot movie seems rather outdated, and not applicable to all areas of the world outside North America and Europe.

Vampire Owl: Well, they should have been running short of monsters.

Vampire Bat: Still, there are many other things you can search for, in a forest.

Vampire Owl: Yes, even serial killers can found out in the wilderness.

Vampire Bat: Let us see if they find this type of monster in the end.

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

What is the movie about? :: A group of young campers who goes to a remote area in the wilderness to enjoy some time alone, away from the city – they go missing, and they are supposed to be killed with some bodies found, and nobody is able to figure out exactly what actually happened at the site. It is then that an investigative team decides to travel all the way there and find out if this was a case of Bigfoot attacking them. These creatures which are also known as Sasquatch had a significant role in the North American folklore. These creatures are supposed to be like apes, and they leave giant footprints. They are supposed to be linked to some of the great apes, and are often considered to exist from a long time ago. There are people who have claimed to have seen the creatures, and some are supposed to have seen the marks of big feet on the ground. As this particualr incident is also related to some unknown, unidentified creatures, it becomes something that can have great news value.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Even though the existence of Bigfoot is dismissed by scientists as a hoax based on some strange old beliefs, the first person to join Rick Paxton’s (Ben Browder) team of Bigfoot hunters is a young doctor, researcher and primate specialist, Dr Ellen Freese (Cheryl Texiera) who gets attached to the dollars Rick had offered to shower on her. Cooper Barnes (Max Decker), father of one of the missing girls is also asked to join the team, because he needed someone who knew the mountains and wilderness – Cooper has been leading many search parties in the area hoping that he could find his daughter. Peter Moore (Schuyler Denham), a renowned cryptologist, also joins the team, and so does Justin Johnson (Hutch Dano), their camera man. John Singer (Brian Thompson) is appointed as the security personnel in charge of their safety. Danny Kent (Brian Landis Folkins) would be assisting, and Bridgette Powers (Shoshana Bush) is supposed to be reporting from the location. But things would be different than they think about it, and will they be able to survive it?

The defence of Hoax :: It is to be noted that Hoax does provide some welcome surprises, and it also has a nice twist in the end, and that is certainly a violent one. Well, there are not many movies which has Bigfoot with the scares, and there are not much that we know about, that is for sure – Bigfoot does need its movies too, for almost all the other creatures, from vampires and zombies to werewolves got them. You know how far they have managed to get in big money-making series like Resident Evil, Underworld and Twilight, even though we can only wonder about how the last one mentioned here made so much of money and fans. The setting of Hoax is really good, and the cast have managed to work through the wilderness really well, whether it is in the morning or at night – it is one beautiful, charming and scary setting, all at the same time. The special effects are avoided to give a realistic touch here, which we never fails to notice. The terrifying events actually come in the end of the movie, and one has the slasher effect in the beginning and the end, stronger than ever.

The claws of flaw :: Bigfoot is not really something which interests people around here, at this part of the world, and it is not even an interesting monster for those who are looking for some serious horror – the name itself provides that funny feeling which works against a movie which is attempted to be a horror thriller in the wilderness, at a location where people went missing or were killed. The creature is also not much seen around here, and therefore, what could have been the movie’s highest points go missing. It also struggles to make the best use of its characters, and the stylish reporter girl character suffers the most. Even they had the setting to do a lot, there is much less being done here. With the title being confusing with another movie which deals with an entirely different subject, this film tries to bring its Bigfoot monster, and it does that without much of a focus. Due to the same, they missed a change to elevate the tales on these creatures to a higher level.

Performers of the soul :: Cheryl Texiera plays the doctor in the team, even though her interest is more in treating the animals. She does a fine job, but it has to be said that her looks suit more of an explorer and adventure on the lines of Lara Croft Tomb Raider. The same can be said about her clothing too, which suits her so well. Brian Thompson is solid around here, with a certain Arnold style of action-love written all over him. Ben Browder’s character progresses as someone like that would do, and he moves through that lane without any problem. Max Decker’s character seems to be the mandatory father character, because he achieves nothing much there, and the mystery itself comes to that kind of a conclusion. We never really get to see more of Ryan Lucy as his lovely daughter lost in the woods. Shoshana Bush does bring some humour around here, but she is rather underused considering such a character’s potential. After a few minutes, she is completely wasted.

How it finishes :: There has been many forest-based slashers, and some of them have gone on to become legendary, including The Cabin in the Woods, one of the best horror movies of all-time with a pinch of satire, as well as the best known horror movie of all-time and its remake, Evil Dead. The lesser known movies like The Forest, and the divergent ones like The Witch also makes use of the wilderness nicely – we are always expecting Wrong Turn and The Hills Have Eyes franchises to explore the same better. Hoax doesn’t use the setting to its best of strengths, and maybe, if they manage to hunt Bigfoot next time, can correct the mistakes. As of now, Hoax makes a pretty good entertainer as a thriller, and there are elements of horror, along with the blood and gore – it is as if the movie is not one movie throughout its run, but has some breaks in between. You can choose to watch it as another usual movie which goes through the safe path throughout its run.

Release date: 20th August 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Matt Allen
Starring: Cheryl Texiera, Shoshana Bush, Brian Thompson, Ben Browder, Hutch Dano, Ryan Lucy, Matt Riedy, Adrienne Barbeau, Sabrina Stull, Maire Higgins

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Metamorphosis

Vampire Owl: Do you know that some of the vampires in our group are having a great metamorphosis these days?

Vampire Bat: Vampires are having metamorphosis nowadays? I thought that it was more or less of a werewolf thing.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it used to be. Only the zombies and witches had a small share of the same in the recent past.

Vampire Bat: So, vampires are becoming more or less similar to those people.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but our metamorphosis is rather different in comparison. We metamorphose into something greater, or rather magnificent.

Vampire Bat: Aren’t we magnificent creatures already?

Vampire Owl: Magnificence is no longed counter in the same terms. We are using a new unit to measure it.

Vampire Bat: But, a metamorphosis now is not something that we can afford.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but Doctor Frankenstein has discovered a different method which is cheaper and of a better quality.

Vampire Bat: Mr. Frankenstein! I know that there was someone like him behind all these happenings in the castle.

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

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with an attempted exorcism on a young girl who is tied to the bed inside her room. In the beginning, things seem to go on without much of a trouble, and the demon seems to be a weak entity, listening to all the prayers in Korean and Latin, not taking over the girl’s actions or words. But all of a sudden, it turns violent, leading the girl’s mother to come in, making the priest lose his control over the incantations as well as the demon, which takes the girl to the window, making her suicide. But before commiting suicide, the girl and the mother of the girl, both mocks the priest, and tells him that they are as old as God, and the Supreme Power has forsaken him, all these being the will of the Almighty. The priest who is originally named Joong-Soo (Sung-Woo Bae) decides to leave priesthood after being blamed for the girl’s death, but the diocese and his superiors do not approve of it.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As Joong-Soo who has struggled to keep the memories of the demons away, his brother and family moves into a new home in the countryside. Gang-goo (Dong-il Sung), his wife Myung-joo (Young-nam Jang) and the children, Sun-woo (Hye-Jun Kim), Hyun-joo (Yi-Hyun Cho) and Woo-jong (Kang-Hoon Kim) have a bigger home at the countryside with a lot of space both inside and outside, but things do not go as expected in the new place, as there is there is something strange going on there. The problem start with their neighbours itself, and there seems to be something weird going on with the person who is staying at the place too. There is undoubtedly a demon out there who is taking possessing people and taking the shape of humans. The family only has one person to turn to now, but if that person can do the exorcism or not is something that is to be seen.

The defence of Metamorphosis :: Being a movie about demons and exorcisms, it does have that, even though there is a certain shortage for sure. The power of exorcism is shown in the beginning as well as the end, and there is some fine display of creepiness with the neighbour’s house and the talk of the demons. It has blood nicely used, and having the evil entity more powerful than everything has more to be lost in this flick. Well, this time, the demons go personal, and it has more powers than one can imagine, making the idea of defeating it rather difficult and complex, especially with a failed exorcist trying to do the same. The scares are there, but there are limitations considering the fact that not many things scare people these days. The demons don’t have the belief in them coming from people in the modern world, but the movie does manage to rise above it, thanks to the visuals and the performances.

The claws of flaw :: It seems that the Korean film industry is trying a little too hard to find its perfect exorcist movie, just like the zombie movie was found in Train to Busan – the signs can be seen in this movie, where it struggles at times to keep it as what the flick was supposed to be. When you have a shape-shifting demon in your pocket, you are supposed to make more out of it, especially with the scares regarding who is who, and more like who is the demon and who is not. It was that demon who could have had its origin stories and had the strength to keep the whole thing creepy throughout its presence, but that is not done here. The movie also doesn’t use the protagonist’s guilt that much, and comes up that creepy scene in the shower, another one over the bed and another one in the dining room, all of them needing a boost to rise above the usual. Yes, cliches are going to be found here, and repetitions too.

Peformers of the soul :: Metamorphosis, as many other horror movies, has to depend on its demons and exorcists more than anything else. With the demons, it remains safe as usual, as they never stops doing what they were to do in a world of horror and demonic presence. Sung-Woo Bae plays the priest and the exorcist, and we see that he makes a fine priest in the movie, working through the terror very well. Dong-il Sung plays the father figure really well, with the concerns over his daughter worked nicely. Young-nam Jang plays the mother, and that is also done well enough. Among the children, Hye-Jun Kim stands out, as she plays the responsible elder sister, and she also gets to be part of more of the exorcism – she is the believer and the one with most faith than anyone else. Yi-Hyun Cho plays the younger sister who is not the kind of person who is happy with the family, and that also works out well. The rest of the cast adds on well too.

How it finishes :: Another interesting movie about demonic possession comes into the picture with Metamorphosis, and it is something which you can depend on, because it mostly follows the usual pattern, but is not without some divergence here and there. It can be considered as that kind of a movie which stays close to Hollywood flicks like The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun, Insidious and The Vatican Tapes, but still manages to bring something which the regular English movie won’t dare to bring, unless it is something like It Follows, Lights Out, Don’t Breathe or The Autopsy of Jane Doe – the movie which could show full divergence. Metamorphosis is the kind of movie which can at least give the usual horror movie with demonic possession horror, even if you don’t like the deviations brought about here, and so the movie makes a safe title to watch among the rest. But you are most probably going to find it to be something more, depending on your taste.

Release date: 21st August 2019
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Hong-seon Kim
Starring: Sung-Woo Bae, Dong-il Sung, Young-nam Jang, Hye-Jun Kim, Yi-Hyun Cho, Kang-Hoon Kim, Se-hee Kim, Jeon Mi Do, Kwi-seon Kim, Dae-han Ji

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Tattooist

Vampire Owl: The title here is something that caught my attention early.

Vampire Bat: It rarely happens related to short-films, right?

Vampire Owl: I stopped differentiating between short-films and long films some time ago.

Vampire Bat: This is actually a micro short-film, much shorter.

Vampire Owl: That saves a lot of time then.

Vampire Bat: So, you are going for the shortest of them now.

Vampire Owl: Why not? It is best to show the most, within the shortest period of time.

Vampire Bat: Everyone is too busy these days.

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why they won’t be. The challenges are too many. Shorter movies are thus helpful in saving time.

Vampire Bat: It is a competitive world. Let us take that option of saving time then.

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

What is the movie about? :: The Tattooist (Wang Yanhu) is a very popular man in the town who gets many customers, as his skill as well as the resulting work is something which has been widely appreciated. Most of his clients are young men and women who are enamoured by what he does. His reputation in his field is so high that it is near impossible for anyone else to work and gain such popularity. But there is something sinister behind his much acclaimed work. There are people drugged, imprisoned and tortured in a secret lair under his tattoo studio. Can at least one of these people survive and escape to tell the tale of brutality to others? Or will the tattooist continue to have more victims, and enjoy his run as the best of them all in the field – the grand villain? Is there hope in between the chaos, or will it be all about evil and extreme violence?

Similar Dark Legends from the Past :: The first thing that came to my mind while watching this was regarding Sweeney Todd. This tale which we literature graduates have studied as part of Victorian age literature had a barber who makes his customer victims fall down through a trap door by pulling a lever on the side of the chair on which they sit. The people who land in the basement usually dies which broken necks or skulls, and the rest are finished off. He also has a partner in crime, Mrs. Lovett, who assists him in getting rid of the bodies by making meat pies from the corpses and selling them to the u customers at her pie shop. The two shops are also connected through an underground passage. We had also heard about the same as a movie, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter as the main characters. Such dark legends of villainy never ceases being amazing.

More about The Tattooist :: We are quickly taken through this vision of the director, which keeps us asking for more. We begin by seeing the tattooist at work, and it seems like some elegant work being done there – all of a sudden, the mood changes, and we are taken to the bloody, gory side. We also see how the music changes, and the sound effects are used to a fine effect. We see what the tattooist actually manages to do, and there is that transformation from a paradise-like atmosphere to inferno. There are people imprisoned inside cages and cells, people being dragged away, corpses, and a lot of blood and gore. Then we are back to what is happening in the world of beautiful tattoos – it has us expecting the terror which is to come for the customer who is having her tattoo done by the same person. This is exactly how our imaginations are made to run far, and how we are made to wish for a longer version.

The Beauty of The Tattooist :: The charm of the movie lies not in just one element, as this creates a perfect collection of things, something that would make a near perfect horror movie if the same tempo is maintained. There are movies like American Mary which talks about body modification and the horror that comes related to that. It had one of the queens of horror, Katharine Isabelle playing a medical student desperate for money ending up taking clients from the body modification community to solve her financial troubles. Well, tattoos can have the same effect as long as the right elements are added, and we can see that Michael Wong has succeeded in doing exactly the same. Well, as of now, tattoos have come to this part of the world very rarely in movies, like in some funny sequences like the fainting moments in the Malayalam movie Aanandam.

How it finishes :: Watching The Tattooist as a full-length movie will be a horror movie lover’s dream, as this one could serve as a fine trailer about what can come. Michael Wong’s directorial debut short film The Story of 90 Coins was a lovely flick which dealt with an entirely different topic, and extreme opposite if we look at it. It had picked up more than sixty accolades from different international film festivals including the Best Direction and Best Cinematography. The Tattooist hasn’t been far behind in creating some grand waves all around. As he has easily gone through two different genres, creating two interesting movies with ease, we can be sure that there is more to expect from him. Until then, enjoy watching this micro short-film, and the same can be found at the bottom of the review. Along with the same, enjoy the summer vacation going on at this part of the world!

[Returning after the movie and snacks].

Vampire Owl: You can see that my opinion about having a micro short-film remains the same.

Vampire Bat: I see that you have enjoyed watching this short-film, and at the same time, keeping your valuable time to make a good use of the same.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and still we have watched what we needed.

Vampire Bat: It is an idea which stays and expands further in our minds, after we finish watching the movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, we can even contribute with our own version to add to the already existing idea through imagination.

Vampire Bat: It makes me wonder what the tale of each victim would be.

Vampire Owl: This is certainly worth a longer version too.

Vampire Bat: I would keep my hope high about that.

Vampire Owl: I am recommending this for the whole vampire community.

Vampire Bat: I would be doing the same thing too.

[Takes a long walk into the darkness].

Watch the film here:

Release date: 9th June 2018
Running time: 2 minutes
Directed by: Michael Wong
Starring: Yanhu Wang, Li Lu, Myra Mala, Mayela Magrou, Dan Litza, Simon Shiyamba, Chase Lichtenberg

<— Click here to go to the previous review

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Void

Vampire Owl: I have always liked the Void. It made sure that there was nothingness in our realm. It was beautiful.

Vampire Bat: There is more than void that brings the nothingness.

Vampire Owl: Void is actually better than the rest. It is quite harmless, unless you use it to tamper with the wheel of time.

Vampire Bat: You can’t manipulate the wheel of time with just the void.

Vampire Owl: Well, you can’t just manipulate anything like the humans do. They just lie, cheat and steal as they want to.

Vampire Bat: These days, they are busy spreading the same on the internet, right into the social media.

Vampire Owl: Maybe, we can put them right inside the Void.

Vampire Bat: The Void doesn’t take anyone who tries to get in – it chooses people with quality.

Vampire Owl: What about the Shadow Domain?

Vampire Bat: The humans might be capable of entering that domain, because they are that evil. We can keep this in the list of suggestions.

[Gets three cups of Wayanad tea with Patanjali Doodh Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A man named James (Evan Stern) is seen running away from two people who shoots him, but misses. They hope to continue the chase and find him, but he reaches the main road and stumbles across a police car which is parked on the side. The police officer Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) gets him to the nearest hospital which only has parts of it working after a fire, and will be closing down soon. There are only the minimum number of staff present there including Doctor Richard Powell (Kenneth Welsh), nurses Allison (Kathleen Munroe) and Beverly (Stephanie Belding), along with the inexperienced intern Kim (Ellen Wong) who was supposed to leave much earlier. Other than them, there are only a pregnant girl Maggie (Grace Munro), her grandfather Ben (James Millington), and the only patient admitted there, Cliff Robertson (Matt Kennedy).

So, what happens next? :: The hospital is not the best preference for anyone who is looking for the best of treatments, but its proximity makes it a good choice for the people living around. It is the only reason why at least three people from outside are already there for treatment. The state trooper Mitchell (Art Hindle) also follows there, as there has been a blood bath in a farm house, and he is also looking for James, who could be the one responsible for the same, as the is known to take drugs. Meanwhile, Beverly murders Cliff and attacks Daniel, who is caught with surprise by her skinless, bloody face, but manages to shoot her dead. Mitchell attributes this to James and some drugs which he was taking, which the nurse could have used for herself. Daniel who goes out to use the radio in his car finds things getting complicated as he is attacked by a cultist wearing a hood having the picture of a triangle.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: An escaped Daniel manages to get himself back into the hospital, but two strangers are also inside (Daniel Fathers and Mik Byskov) who wish to kill James – in the confrontation, the doctor gets killed. As more and more cultists gather outside the hosptial, they understand how messed up the situation is, and tries to have some control. But it turns out that Beverly has come back from the dead, and she doesn’t even come close to looking the same. After failing to get hold of James, this animated version of her takes Mitchell, and kills him. They survivors finally manage to kill the creature, but there seems to be some more evil lurking under the hospital. They can’t get out as the armed cultists are waiting outside, and something threatens to come up and finish them off from the hospital’s basement – what will they do? The pregnant girl’s time is running out, and Daniel himself was stabbed – will they survive the night?

The defence of The Void :: Without wasting any time, The Void is ready and right into action, and this one keeps building on what it has in the beginning, bringing more horror into the material. You can feel the evil present throughout, and there is almost no way of how terrible it is; we just keep knowing its existence, and understand the chance that it could be fully unleashed at any moment. The scary moments work really well, and we see the effective use of terror in the form of undead creatures which are not zombies by definition. There is one nice scene where the heroes are caught between the creatures seemingly right out of hell rather than becoming walking undead in the form of zombies. There is scope for unleashing the most ancient and the most powerful of evil around here, and we know that death is only the beginning, once again. The cast is also pretty good, even though there is nothing big done. Caught in a half-burnt hospital, it is a nice setting for all.

The claws of flaw :: The blood and gore in this movie is going to keep some people away, as the movie gets violent early enough, only to get a few steps further as it moves forward. The Void might also be a little late in its arrival; if it had come a lot earlier, we could have enjoyed it as the first flick of a franchise which would have a fine cult following. The movie could have also used some fine, detailed creatures for its horror rather than those half baked ones, which surely adds to the horror, but not as whole. There could have also been better clarity with its story, and it could have made up a grand one with its proceedings – with this kind of a premise, there are so many places that its tale could go. But its chances are not fully explored here, as it ends in just an ordinary way instead of making it a big terrifying finish to a journey resembling the idea of hell.

How it finishes :: The Void will get more of interesting horror, and there is not that much of delay for this movie to take you on the terrifying ride. Even if not as good as those divergent horror movies like Don’t Breathe, A Cure for Wellness, Get Out, Lights Out, The Autopsy of Jane Doe and It Follows, this one has also has its own variety in treatment, as horror gets its dimensions explored yet again. There will be those haunting tales about ghosts on one side, and then there are these stories, which takes it to a different level – we will always love those movies like The Conjuring, Insidious and Annabelle, but we want things to bring more twist like this one, even if it is not a perfect story with all things coming together. Maybe, there could be a nice sequel to this one, working on its established origins, and making things better. We can only hope and wait for that though.

Release date: 7th April 2017
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Steven Kostanski, Jeremy Gillespie
Starring: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong, Mik Byskov, Grace Munro, Evan Stern, James Millington, Art Hindle, Stephanie Belding, Matt Kennedy

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mrithyumjayam

Vampire Owl: I am sure that they are talking about us.

Vampire Bat: Why would you think that when going through a non-vampire movie?

Vampire Owl: Because it seems to be about someone who defeated death.

Vampire Bat: We haven’t defeated death; at least not yet.

Vampire Owl: Dude, we have come back from the dead. Anyone would coming back from the grave as a miracle and a victory.

Vampire Bat: It might be a case of victory for us, the same is not the defeat of death.

Vampire Owl: Why wouldn’t death be defeated by our victory?

Vampire Bat: We haven’t left the world of the dead. We are still connected to it. We never came back to the living, and we are just undead.

Vampire Owl: Does that really make a difference?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it surely makes a lot of difference. Death is only a passage, and we went through one of it to another stage – it is different from coming back.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The idea of becoming a respected gangster is to kill the most feared gangster of all-time. But the question remains about what would happen if that man of terror is considered rather immortal? The doctors had told him that he would die in a few months, and he has gone one to live for so many years, and that too at the top of the food chain, doing his business with ease. He was stabbed multiple times, and has so many scars on his body. He was also shot so many times, and people say that he even took bullets on his head and still managed to be what he is now. There is also a tale which goes about twenty years back, about him being surrounded by fifty people armed with weapons, and he murdered them all without even a stick in his hands. He is also known to possess special weapons which are so sharp and poisoned that he can deliver the fatal blow in a second or two.

So, what happens next? :: The movie tells the story of a young man named Appu (Jitin Puthanchery) who has always wanted to be a gangster. He was born into a mafia family, and had grown up listening to their big tales of crime. These tales were talked about a lot of the common people who feared them, and there were even books and movies in their name. All these has made the young man want to be more and more like them. For the same, he takes on the mission, and it is to murder the man, Mrithyumjayam (Selvaraj Raghavan) known more to everyone as the the gangster who can’t die. It is his uncle (Sudhish Gopinath) himself who gives him with this objective even though he and his people have the doubt if he is really ready. But he decides to take it on – but the question remains if he can kill the man who can’t die? Can he accomplish what so many people and diseases couldn’t, and thus rise above the legend of the immortal gangster?

Soul exploration 1: Desire to follow the wrong path to fame :: Well, what people want is more about fame and money, and for the same, young people tend to take the wrong path, as they just seem easier – there is no need to study, and there is absolutely no need to follow the rules. This quick need for money and fame are driving forces behind them taking the terrible path. Once they take this path, there is no changing, and there is no coming back. We can see the protagonist in this short-film too, taking the same road, inspired by his own people and also by movies. Well, considering the state of our own movie industry, there seems to be too much criminal activities there too. It is a sad thing, as common people tend to lose their interest in movies too – you can see that the theatres are not that full as they used to be, and there are shows getting cancelled, or movies getting completely removed from a theatre. In the end, the wrong path can never be justified, and it all comes together to haunt you.

Soul exploration 2: A new generation lost in desire for more :: The new generation seems to find these things rather cool – there is the glorification of violence in the movies like Django Unchained, Kill Bill and many others which seems to show the same as the only solution to problems. This has made the youth choose the same to get what they want to have. The inherent evil in man just makes things easier – it is only that special push that most of them need to go against law, and you will feel such things happening with ease when you read the newspapers these days. The need for becoming the gangster which the protagonist in this movie has, does seem rather foolish and due to dumb reasons; he doesn’t even seem to be ready, but we see that he is ready to kill when there is the need. The most terrible acts of violence seems to be ready to come out when there is a chance – the question remains if it is how our new generation is turning into!

How it finishes :: Mrithyumjayam is taken in such a stylish way that you will have the feeling of this being more global in character – the black and white on the screen works nicely for the movie, and throughout the movie, it provides that kind of a feeling which keeps us immersed right inside. The only colour used otherwise is red, and that is nice to see – the only exceptions are the colours shown on a television screen and on the protagonist’s shades. The first thing that the movie reminds us of, is Sin City. It is actually nice to see that our own people are capable of making short-films like this – it is actually worthy enough to make a full length movie, with this particular gangster’s legend going on, leading the rise of a new one, and showing how things change, but the core remains the same while history repeats itself without any kind of remorse as it sheds so much of blood.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: Throughout my life, I have never wanted to be a gangster.

Vampire Bat: It is a good thing because Werewolf Anger would have killed you otherwise. He hates gangsters.

Vampire Owl: Do they make him angry too? Like vampires, zombies, wood elves, dark elves, high elves, satyrs, orcs, goblins, halflings, witches and centaurs do?

Vampire Bat: He is always angry. He just hates the gangsters.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that he hate them so much that no gangster will ever see the light of the day in his territory?

Vampire Bat: Yes, something like that, but only until the Lich Queen re-animates their remains. She raises the undead from such people.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the gangsters never really die either?

Vampire Bat: As long as the Lich Queen gets her hands on them.

Vampire Owl: So, there is really the defeat of death.

Vampire Bat: As I said earlier, this is not the defeat of death either, but the opening of another passage while traveling to the other world.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 30th January 2016
Running time: 15 minutes
Directed by: Dominic Arun
Starring: Rafeeq Aman, Dominic Arun, Ananthu Balachander, Sudhish Gopinath, Anil Narayanan, Jitin Puthanchery, Selvaraj Raghavan, Shabin, Nandhan Unni, Balu Varghese

Watch the movie Mrithyumjayam here:

PS: Check out the reviews of the latest movies in the theatres, Kadam Katha, Sunday Holiday and Basheerinte Premalekhanam.

<— Go back to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Vampire Owl: They once tried to do an autopsy on me, these humans.

Vampire Bat: You mean after you died on that wonderful day.

Vampire Owl: Yes, they wanted to know the cause of my death.

Vampire Bat: And then what happened?

Vampire Owl: I didn’t allow them because I was not dead anymore.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that your vampire transformation was rather too fast.

Vampire Owl: It is because I transformed myself into a vampire. I had chosen my next life.

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about? There has to be a vampire to make one out of you.

Vampire Owl: I was bitten on the soul, as it passed to the other dimension after death, and with the same, it returned to get back to my body.

Vampire Bat: It is very much interesting and impossible. Only a vampire assassin can confirm this.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with paneer paratha].

What is the movie about? :: There is the location of a terrible homicide, and the police officers are left with no clue. The clues are of people trying to escape from the house and not of anyone trying to break in. There are also no prints of anyone who are not part of this home either. Then in the basement, they find the body of a beautiful, unidentified woman, completely naked and it seemed that someone had tried to bury her. They refer to her by the name Jane Doe (Olwen Catherine Kelly), a name which is commonly used to refer to a dead body or a hospital patient whose identity can’t be found out that at the time. Sheriff Sheldon Burke (Michael McElhatton) is left clueless, and has no idea how to face the media with one unknown naked dead body and all the people in the house dead. So he decides that in one way or the other, the identity of the naked corpse had to be found by the morning so that the investigation can proceed.

So, what happens next? :: Meanwhile, a coroner in the town, Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) and his son Austin (Emile Hirsch) who is a medical technician who has been assisting for a long time, are having just another day with a corpse. The experienced Tommy is quick to find the cause of death of the man, and as it proves once again to Austin that things are more than what meets the eye, with the burns not the real cause of death even though fire did cause all that was to follow. Austin’s girlfriend Emma (Ophelia Lovibond) arrives at the location, and is curious about everything that happens in the morgue including a bell tied to the ankle of a corpse – it is revealed that the bells were used to signal if someone was not really dead even though proclaimed so. Austin was supposed to go for a movie with Emma, and they are planning move away soon, but their plans are spoiled by sudden, unexpected arrival of the sheriff.

So, how does the mystery reveal itself in the morgue? :: With the need for cause of death by morning, Austin decides to stay and help his father and join her later, much to the dismay of Emma who asks him to tell Tommy about them moving away to another city. With her and the sheriff having left, they are left in charge of the corpse which looks perfect from the outside. There is not even a scar on the body, and there is visible mark to indicate what might have casued the death. There would be nothing more than a beautiful sleeping beauty without clothes, if the eyes were closed. Despite her body looking so fresh, the eyes do look as if she has been dead for very long. But as they checked further, they found that her bones were broken from the inside and her tongue was removed. The soil on her body also seemed not from that area. But it is not all, with more strange things being found and stranger things actually happen in the morgue.

The defence of The Autopsy of Jane Doe :: The success of this movie depends on that feeling of curiosity and uneasiness that it successfully builds on its viewers, and also plays with their imagination to keep them guessing about what this particular naked body might be all about, and what kind of mystery and horror that it holds inside it. There is that certainty of terror that awaits to be unleashed inside this unblemished body, and the beauty that is seen outside hides something more than a secret, which is to threaten humanity – it has our attention right from the beginning itself. You feel the discomfort, and at the same time, you are the edge of your seat, and it is a perfect setting at this morgue, and the perfect mystery has the claws and the fangs to make your fear come at you with all the needed strength. The performances are also good, from those who are there whole the time to those who just come and go – the girl chosen to play the corpse is also rightly chosen with all the features. There is also vengeance and sacrifice to go with it, as we get to know an ancient evil with a twist.

Positives and negatives :: There is a lot of gore here, and people can feel uncomfortable, especially with the autopsy being performed on the dead body along with the details also being talked about. But what you get here is the closest to some original horror, far away from those which you keep watching all the time. Maybe something bigger could have been made out of how the movie began, and with where the tale goes, but as it is, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is one smart horror movie like Don’t Breathe and Lights Out in the last year, and divergent in its core like It Follows, The Witch and Occulus. Some people will also find the movie to be slow at parts, but one has to admit that certain slowness helps in building all the pressure to come to that revelation by the end. There is also no walking corpse in this one, and that is new, for a horror movie which centers around a corpse to have it staying on the table all the time – but the evil is unleashed without having to do that. One location, one corpse surrounded by others, two people, and all the horror is here for you!

How it finishes :: There are those usual horror movies which depend on the usual tale, the usual settings and the usual kind of proceedings with scares, and then there are movies like The Autopsy of Jane Doe which decide to think differently. It is indeed a must watch for all horror movies, specifically those who are tired of going through the same tales about ghosts haunting people and houses all the time. In between all these horror movies which seem to be so close to each other in material, The Autopsy of Jane Doe becomes the movie that thinks differently, and is surely the kind of flick that a real horror fan would watch without any delay. This might be a lesser known horror movie, and surely won’t be the big horror franchise that The Conjuring and Insidious series of movies had gone on to be contribute and become; but our movie here is certainly a flick that will be remembered for long, and might even become a horror classic a few years later. Andre Ovredal’s first English movie here is the one that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Release date: 21st December 2016
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Andre Ovredal
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Olwen Catherine Kelly, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Parker Sawyers, Jane Perry, Mary Duddy, Mark Phoenix, Sydney

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Raman Raghav 2.0

What is the movie about? :: The movie makes it clear that it is not about Raman Raghav a.k.a. Psycho Raman who was a famous serial killer, who unleashed terror in the city of Mumbai in the 1960s. About fifteen years later, another serial killer named Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who seems to follow the same kind of methods, starts his work in the same city. His way of operating is rather strange, and the police has not much clue about what his operations are. His list of victims only get longer, and it also includes Ramanna’s own sister, Lakshmi (Amruta Subhash) who is living with her husband (Ashok Lokhande) and their only son. She reluctantly lets him stay and cooks him food, only to get into an argument with the family. She leaves the place and comes back to take their money as well as kill them all one after the other.

So, what happens next? :: Ramanna is not the kind of person who has any kind of remorse for his actions, and he is surely not the kind of man who thinks twice about what he is to do. He is the worst kind of serial killer whom one could have on their trail. Even after being caught by the police and questioned, there is nothing that comes out of him, and he even escapes with the help of some local boys, thanks to the natural acting that comes to him. ACP Raghavan Singh (Vicky Kaushal) is in charge of the investigation, and has no real clue until finding the photo of Ramanna on the scene of crime, where Ramanna had murdered his sister. He figures out that the man whom they had apprehended a few days earlier has some kind of connection with these brutal murders which have been happening all around the city, keeping the residents terrified.

And, what is to follow next in this tale of terror in the streets? :: Even as he puts a tough cop act all the time, and seems to be righteous cop looking after criminal when someone looks from outside, Raghavan Singh is a a troubled person in his mind, having an unparalleled addiction to drugs, and has an even more terrible anger management issue. He is in a relationship with Smrutika Naidu (Sobhita Dhulipala) at whose place she is staying. It is another terrible relationship that they are having, with him forcing her to have more than one abortion after she keeps getting pregnant as he has his way as he likes. He also has no shame in beating her, but she stays faithful to him, and refuses to go home even after her family hopes for her return. Raghavan gets obsessed with catching Ramanna to such an extent that his issues deepen, and Ramanna at the same time, keeps an eye on the investigating officer – where does this game end?

The defence of Raman Raghav 2.0 :: The dark and terrifying avatar is given more and more life as the movie progresses, and then there is the other side which gets rather scarier. You feel the power of darkness in this movie, and there is so much of energy throughout the flick, thanks to the two main performers. It successfully makes you depressed and leaves you disturbing, with not much hope in the world of chaos. Humanity is surely capable of terrible things, and a lot of these capabilities are there right from the beginning, and are further powered by upbringing and the society. We keep wondering what is to happen next, and we are always interested to know how it all ends, or reach a new beginning. It takes only one serial killer to inspire more, and lets hope that Ramanna becomes our Hannibal to bring more of such movies which can prove to be even better. The final twist is something that breathes life like no other.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that we had expected more from a movie like Raman Raghav 2.0 with its cast and the people who are the helm. We feel that a certain amount of hollowness do exist at times, and this one isn’t that much focused on what we would have been hoping to see with a police officer after a serial killer – this one has almost nothing about the investigation about the murderer. More focus could have been on the characters, and they could have had origin tales, even at the cost of the movie going longer – there are some parts of the movie which could have been cut down to provide space for more of the tale. This kind of movies should have more action, thrilling sequences and deeper story-line which should make us wish to remember the tale more than once; but the focus of Raman Raghav 2.0 seems to be rather a little too much divergent. Then there is the violence – nobody is a role model here.

Performers of the soul :: There is Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal doing a fantastic job in this movie, which surely keeps things going strong. We keep wondering when we will see more of them with movies which get the wider release here. If it was more about the former in the beginning, the latter of Masaan fame takes it to the next level in the second half towards the end. You will also notice Sobhita Dhulipala and Amruta Subhash, as two actresses who brings some great performances in two of the best sequences of the movie. The one thing about Bollywood is that these names which are not regularly talked about as superstars are the real actors and acting stars – I really hope that their movies get release in every theatre here rather than those which brings the crowd; if I was running a theatre, I would run a special show for sure, no matter how much of box-office collection such movies are to bring.

How it finishes :: The movie leaves one with the message that everyone has the tendency to be bad, or rather evil, as it is the inherent evil in man which has more certainty to it than anything else. It is the situation that brings the worst out of people, whether they are branded good or bad. The hopeless state of humanity is directly or indirectly reflected in this movie, which struggles to find goodness which seems to fade away further and further as the flick progresses, and by the end of this, we have lost almost all hope in mankind – it is the ultimate truth, right? We do our best, and still we live in a society which is all about money and power, and the need for it as well as the possession of it, will only turn more people against each other. Evil is so easy, right? Being good is so difficult, especially with a new generation caught inside more than one kind of addiction. Raman Raghav 2.0 has that kind of protagonists, and we know that there is a good chance that we are all going to die an early, terrible death considering where the world is going.

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala, Amruta Subhash, Vipin Sharma, Ashok Lokhande, Harssh A. Singh, Anuschka Sawhney, Hitesh Dave, Rajesh Jais, Kalidas Parthitan, Rhea Pagar, Arun Singh

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Mexican Aparatha

orumexicanaparatha-1

What is the movie about? :: Paul (Tovino Thomas) is a happy going first year student in a famous arts college in the city who doesn’t think that much about many things, and is in love with Anu (Gayathri Suresh) who also seems to be in love with him until she reveals one day that she isn’t. Paul is highly disappointed about it, but finds solace in something else, which is mostly about going against the ruling paty of the college which is lead by their super senior and the angry young man, Roopesh (Roopesh Peethambaran). There is no shortage of violence whenever this man is concerned, as he would go to any extent to sieze victory. With the leader of the left party in the campus, Subhash (Neeraj Madhav), Paul decides to contest against the man who had lead his party to victory last year and looks forward to do the same again in one way or the other.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The campus itself has a violent flashback, with a student leader Kochaniyan (also Tovino Thomas) being murdered during the time of emergency. Even though Paul begins the battle for chairman post out of frustration, more comes out of it eventually, including a revolution and the desire to bring a positive change for the next generation. Bringing the revolution seems to be too difficult though, as the opposition party seems to have be ready to even finish off Paul and Subhash. They get beaten regularly, but they don’t back off. With Paul contesting for the post of president and Subhash contesting to become the general secretary, Roopesh decides to contest for the president post himself so that this threat can be dealt with directly. With sparks flying all around, blood is certain to flow.

The defence of Oru Mexican Aparatha :: The debutante director has chosen a subject that would work for a lot of people who have witnessed the politics in the campus in one way or the other – whether it is the good side or the bad side. He has brought the same to the big screen nicely too. There is no more of the usual kind of campus movies, as this one focuses on one side which is not that beautiful, and this is one campus which gets lot of life with this movie. The film also have some elements of comedy, and in the end, you will know that there is only one purpose for student politics, even as it is not so these days – to stand for what is right, and to gain the freedom that has been denied. Well, with so many parties into the fray, one can’t be sure if it can be achieved together by all these parties, but we all understand that there will always be the need. The stylist shots help a lot here, and so does the extremely talented cast.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have been shorter though, and it could have surely cut those early moments in the hostel, which serve nothing much. The songs are not that interesting except for the “Kalippu” song which serves as the one thing that brings more to the whole setup. It is the first half which could have used some checking, especially with a rather forced romance angle that disappears. The basic idea could have also been shown without the shades of political parties – for all these elements have been there before the campus politics and the college education itself; the parties could have existed but not on the front like they are now. This could have been a perfect political movie if the focus was more on the idea than politics, and the story more than style – it works as of now, but the immense scope is somehow restricted here. The flashback could have also been shown in a better way, even though the looks never cease to amaze us. We can have more comedy and less insignificant moments in a movie like this.

Performers of the soul :: Oru Mexican Aparatha actually continues the rise of the star in Tovino Thomas who had already shown what he is capable of in the main role in Guppy as well as that memorable supporting role in Ennu Ninte Moideen, and add one horror movie, Ezra to to the list of memories. He also does get to do a flashback role, but it is all about the present for most of the movie. There are moments from him that will give keep the audience on the toes – keep looking out for him with the red flag which he will raise with or without the stains of blood. The rise of the new stars like him, who has no family background in cinema, is something that we can all be glad about, for cinema is not the private property of families; it belongs to people, and each person as a separate individual who makes the same better with their ideas and opinions. He owns one moment in the end, that is sure to give you goosebumps, despite which political party you support. We all want him in bigger thrillers and we keep asking for the same, don’t we?

Further performers of the soul :: The one who stands tall against the protagonist, is the man who brings the fire as the antagonist – the man who hails from Perumbavoor, Roopesh Peethambaran. He has the intensity which is matched only by Tovino, and we have him to display the best of campus villainy that has been seen in a long time. Coming back from the 1995 movie Spadikam which had him as a child actor, he burns the coal for further intensifying the energy here, after directing Theevram and You Too Brutus. Neeraj Madhav comes up with a realistic character here, and he is the one with the principles and discipline here – he also gets some of the best dialogues for a college campus – these three are more than just actors, they are right there as the energy sources for this movie. Gayathri Suresh gets the scope limited though, and with the romantic angle sent to the abyss by a radical change of the favourite colour from violet to red, she has nothing left to do with a character which is not fully developed – she looks good in that role for sure though. Well, not all characters are significant in this one.

How it finishes :: Oru Mexican Aparatha is the kind of movie that works on many levels, and will do nicely to bring a better understanding to the people on the bloody side of campus politics, and also the need to bring a revolution when freedom is denied – this brings the two sides which even those who haven’t studied in an arts and science college needs to witness, and know. Even when it has its protagonist on a certain party, it doesn’t support the same cent percent. If you wonder what Mexico is about in this movie, there is one locked up room in which the hero from the flashback was murdered by the police during the emergency. There is evolution and revolution that follows, and change arrives and waits at the door. You see the entertainment and you feel the excitement – a must for all who have studied in an aided arts and science colleges of Kerala, and also appealing to the rest at different levels; it is what Oru Mexican Aparatha is about.

Release date: 3rd March 2017
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: Tom Emmatty
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Roopesh Peethambaran, Neeraj Madhav, Gayathri Suresh, Kalabhavan Shajon, Jino John, Sudheer Karamana, Sunil Sukhada, Sudhy Koppa, Hareesh Peradi, Jaffer Idukki, Anjali P Nair, Megha Mathew, Vishnu Govindan

orumexicanaparathaa

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Don’t Breathe

dontbreathe

Vampire Owl: Does this movie ask its viewers not to breathe?

Vampire Bat: Even if it does, that would be okay for us, because we are dead already.

Vampire Owl: But we do breathe, all the time.

Vampire Bat: It is an unnecessary thing though. Actually, we can live without that.

Vampire Owl: But I once told my a zombie girl that she took my breath away. From what you said, I realize that what I said then was of no real significance.

Vampire Bat: Why did you have to talk to zombies about life and breath?

Vampire Owl: That wasn’t a planned meeting. I wished to talk about knife and death, but things happened too fast.

Vampire Bat: Where is that zombie girl now?

Vampire Owl: I think that she has joined the army of the Lich Queen.

Vampire Bat: Your adventures are really disturbing, I have to admit.

[Gets three cups of tea with jackfruit chips].

What is the movie about? :: Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette), and Money (Daniel Zovatto) spends their time breaking into houses and stealing things which they sell to make money for their living. Even as they keep doing the same without regret, what they earn by stealing is just not enough, as they are not paid that much money for the stolen goods. Rocky has the worst case, as she wishes to move away with her little sister from her mother and her new boyfriend who are alcoholic and too much bothering. As usual, they look for the easy way out and they find one in a blind Army veteran who lives in the neighbourhood who has a lot of money after a settlement which followed an accident which caused the death of his daughter. Cindy Roberts (Franciska Törőcsik) who had caused the accident had disappeared, and he was left with a lot of money and the house in an abandoned area of the neighbourhood.

So, what happens next? :: Even though Alex is heistant to rob a defenceless blind man, they finally decide to do that as it was supposed to be so easy and there was so much money involved. After looking at the surroundings during the daytime, they finally reach the house at night. After drugging the blind man Norman Nordstrom’s (Stephen Lang) dog, they try to get in, and with all entrances firmly locked, Rocky just manages to squeeze in through a small window and open the door for all of them. But things are not like they had expected. The blind man wakes up, and there are secrets hidden inside the house. There is also someone in chains in the basement, and in the darkness, it is the blind man who has the advantage over them. He is just not the man they thought he was, and they finally realize that they had picked the wrong house to steal from – but not before the death of Money. To add to it, the dog which they had drugged is back on four legs.

The defence of Don’t Breathe :: The success of Don’t Breathe lies on the fact that it is a home invasion movie at the first look, but manages to provide much more than that, as a horror-thriller. With the best use of the atmosphere, the darkness as well as the sounds make sure that we are watching something more than a thriller inside a house. We know what might be coming from the first shot itself, and there was sure to be blood and twists, and they are present for sure. All its elements are cleverly used, and we know that never does this movie misses out on its skill to be brilliant and entertaining. It is not easy to find a horror movie where you struggle to find the flaws, and Don’t Breathe is one of them. The movie is smart and we are satisfied; we had many home invasion thriller, but this is surely the one which you are going to remember longer than any other.

Positives and negatives :: One might still feel that the blind man’s secret is not used to that twisted advantage which the movie could have had and that would have made sure that this movie would stand the test of time for an even longer period of time. Yes, Don’t Breathe could have surely given the viewers an even more twisted experience which would have stayed for all groups of people, but it chooses to stay safe – that might be the smarter decision considering the fact that there are different age groups from different parts of the world watching this, but that was a chance that they could have taken. Instead, this one works with less dialogues and more thrills. The result is that this one makes one holds his or her breath, thus making its title really relevant, even though the name of another horror movie, Lights Out would have also been suitable for this one.

Performers of the soul :: Jane Levy once again establishes herself as a queen of horror, as she once again teams up with the same director after Evil Dead was remade with them being part of the team in the year 2013. Whenever we see a horror movie, we wish for her to be there; a few other names might be there too, but she is someone who comes as a lovely choice. Meanwhile, Stephen Lang is just too good – from the first moment his character is introduced, to the end, we are so much impressed by his work – and we are also looking for a sequel with the ending that the movie brought. There are not many characters out here in this movie as most of the action is restricted to the moments of terror inside the house. Then there is Dylan Minnette who is also there as the third significant character, and stays there for most of the movie for the good. Daniel Zovatto has a rather smaller role, and Franciska Törőcsik is another person with a short role, but we still remember her.

How it finishes :: This movie comes from Fede Alvarez who had given us Evil Dead, the remake of that cult classic movie which we had all watched while growing up. The fourth installment of the franchise was very much an interesting one, and Don’t Breathe successfully overtakes that one. The Uruguayan filmmaker surely knows how a horror movie is made to bring the best effect to us. If you love the genre, you are surely not to miss this one; even otherwise, you can go for this one, as it is that good. This is the kind of movie that we have been looking for since watching The Cabin in the Woods; for this is not the usual horror movie with ghosts, demons and times of haunting, as this is much more. It brings the good news here, as we get back to the ones that matters the most with their immense potential for evil; the humans. You want to see ghosts jumping out of nowhere to bring the cheap scares? Then you should travel another path. Choose The Conjuring or Insidious on another day; this time, go for Don’t Breathe!

Release date: 26th August 2016
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Stephen Lang, Franciska Törőcsik, Emma Bercovici, Christian Zagia, Katia Bokor, Sergej Onopko

dontbreathe

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Raven

theraven (3)

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore — While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door”. These are the first few lines of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous poem, The Raven, which we had to study as a part of our American Literature syllabus for the partial fulfilment of the Masters Degree in English Language and Literature. Even as I found the process of doing seminar about Emily Dickinson more fascinating in this particular paper, my favourite work of that one paper was undoubtedly this poem about this black creature. Later in the poem, we have a better sight of the magnificent dark bird: “In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door — Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door — Perched, and sat, and nothing more”. The poem created such a great supernatural environment with the raven’s unexpected visit to a man who is mourning over his lost love.

Even as this movie takes the title from the same poem, and carries over the same darkness which the poem had in itself, the movie is not directly related to the poem, as it rather fictionalizes the final days of Poe’s life until his mysterious death instead of taking the poem’s imagery forward, and at the same time, gives our poet the powerful image of a crime solver. The use of the image of a literary figure can always be interesting, and as this one poet is considered, he was that big an influence in our question papers that it was quite difficult to take a decision to skip his poems – for that would leave us with not much to score in the exams. There might be many differences between a crow and a raven even as they look the same; as we consider the two movies The Crow and The Raven, they also belong to two different worlds, united only be the presence of murders, deaths and the dark side in both the movies. As the 1994 supernatural action movie is concerned, it remains one of my favourites, but I can’t say the same about The Raven with its investigative thriller atmosphere even as I have my own reasons for liking it.

The story takes us back to the nineteenth century, when Poe (John Cusak) lives his life filled with alcohol claiming to have used up all his literary abilities, and the only other thing he is interested in is the love for one woman, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve). He is loathed by the lady’s rich and influential father (Brendan Gleeson) though. Meanwhile, a group of cops find two dead bodies of a woman and her daughter, and detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) finds out that the crime resembles a murder in the short story The Murders in the Rue Morgue written by Edgar Allan Poe. As more incidents follow, Poe is called to the police station and is asked to help the cops in solving the strange case. At the same time, Emily is kidnapped by the killer who asks Poe to publish a new story. The murderer keeps leaving Poe clues until he gets to that one final clue which would reveal what has lead to this situation, and also that mystery behind the killer should be removed. But as Emily is buried under the ground in a coffin and time keeps running out, Poe is left with less to think and more to act.

I might have to agree that this didn’t work as well as I supposed it would, even as John Cusack and Luke Evans have come up with very good performances and so did the villain who shall not be revealed here. Cusak plays the man who invented the detective genre and blessed us with the best of the supernatural, with so much ease, even as the question remains about how much the character in the movie has deviated from the original person except for the mustache. May be the movie tried to bring too much of the characteristics of the man into one movie which is a suspense thriller with an unnecessary romantic background, thus making it a little too much of a mixture. Poe might not have liked it, but as an admirer of his work, I do; and there is no suspense about it. Alice Eve once again gives her best along with being out of the league, making her way towards the character as she should have. She plays more of a lover of Poe as a poet and his ideas, and plans to marry him despite of the disapproval of her father; and this is one love story which doesn’t have a good beginning or a happy ending.

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! — Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted — On this home by Horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore” – the lines from the poem matches with the depiction of Poe in the movie too, as he accepts his dark imaginations in the movie, and asks if imagining is also a crime. He is shown as a man with no money or fame left, even as The Raven remains one of the most famous works. He finds solace in alcohol as well as his love, and attempts to publish articles instead of fiction which both the editor and the admirers want, and would be something which can bring him fame and fortune again. As he says “Nevermore”, we can see that his character mostly reflects the same man who is the protagonist in his most famous poem. He is there to prove his lines, “And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted – nevermore”! So as the title is concerned, we can identify the man more with the protagonist of the poem of the same name, which is more Poe than anywhere else.

The Raven has its own collection of blood and gore, with even a huge mechanical axe-like device used by the murderer to cut a man into two halves, as the machine swings to and fro like a pendulum coming down towards the victim second by second – from Poe’s another work, The Pit and the Pendulum. The whole atmosphere is full of shadows and darkness creating the much needed creepy world. The villain is someone who knows Poe’s imagination more than he himself does, and his characters and stories too well. There is even that question about Poe inspiring those murders. The inspiration for the movie might be many slasher movies which came earlier, that is for sure. There lies the agony, and the sadness which arises due to the fact that this is just a random fictionalized story with lots of areas which could have been better. There could have been further logic and strong connections, but The Raven has taken the easy way out, with three of the skilled leading actors and an addition of the dark atmosphere supported by blood and gore, trying to work the mystery of a literary figure and his works. It does work in parts most of the time, but as a movie which requires that standard of the poem whose title has been taken, there should have been a lot more.

Coming from the man who directed V for Vendetta this is surely a let-down. May be the movie confuses itself a bit about what it tries to achieve, but this is still a good flick for the literature enthusiasts, especially fans of this one poet and his works, even as there can be disappointment about the changes in depiction of the poet, and the lack of anything amazing in the story that made him a crime solver. There was a lot more scope to this idea of the fiction which has been explored here. I liked this movie because I could connect it with Poe’s works which I had to study and it was easy to remember more about him with this movie, even as it would have helped me much better if the movie had released in 2011. This movie is my nostalgia, of my time reading Poe at college. I can’t say the same about others though, and for those who don’t know Poe or haven’t read any of his works, this is better to be avoided. The other choice for you is to read his works, something which might be a tough ask in a world which is ruled by fiction of no real quality. Still, I would suggest you read the poem The Raven, about which I managed to write a lot in my exam, and a reading of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s The Blessed Damozel with it might prove further interesting.

Release date: 9th March 2012
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: James McTeigue
Starring: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jimmy Yuill, Kevin McNally, Sam Hazeldine, Pam Ferris, John Warnaby, Brendan Coyle

therav copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.