Castle Freak

Vampire Owl: This is certainly not the castle that I know.

Vampire Bat: Not all castles are related to vampires.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but I was expecting at least this one to be related in some way.

Vampire Bat: I wouldn’t question your right to be disappointed.

Vampire Owl: Disappointed at the time of Corona virus. It is two levels of sadness.

Vampire Bat: Well, all viruses will have to meet the end, one day or the other.

Vampire Owl: Yes, except for those viruses which makes people zombies.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that the apocalyptic event was postponed until further notice.

Vampire Owl: We might see it coming as a Corona virus variation some day.

Vampire Bat: You can surely use a computer virus in your head as of now.

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

What is the movie about? :: Rebecca (Clair Catherine) and her boyfriend John (Jake Horowitz) used to have some good time wasting their time, until a terrible car accident which was caused by latter leaves Rebecca blinded, and things wouldn’t be the same any more. But things seem to change for the better, as she is contacted by a real estate agent, Marku (Genti Kame) who tells her that she has inherited a castle in Albania from her mother Lavina Whateley (Kika Magalhaes) who had left her for adoption. Rebecca is interested in solving the mystery behind the death of her mother, who is supposed to have whipped herself to death, while John looks forward to selling the castle, and earn a good amount of money which would help them to have a better future. There seems to be sinister secrets about the castle, as she begins to have terrible nightmares, while the two also find out strange memories of a forgettable past within the stone building.

So, what happens with the events here? :: John also invites their old friends to the castle, even though it is not something Rebecca needed to see, considering their past which was full of alcohol, drugs and that one fatal accident which had her losing eyesight. What they don’t understand is that things are not that easy or direct as it seems, as they are being stalked by someone who seems less human, and more like a creature. Rebecca does realize that early enough with her ears set on the walls, but it is not easy for anyone else to believe in the same. They also find Necronomicon, the book of spells around there, and it only points out to the possibility of something too old and beyond their understanding in there. Shelly (Emily Sweet) who is still in love with John wants to claim him back as she returns with his friends who find out connections of the castle with monstrous entities from the past known as the Great Ones. Now, things can only get worse, as they understand.

The defence of Castle Freak :: The best advantage of this movie is its setting, which is beautifully Gothic in nature, with scope of horror being placed almost everywhere – the beginning scene itself is a sign of what can follow later. There is the idea of creepiness which is follow here, and the scenery is also as beautiful as the world is terrifying. It is also nice to have everything coming together towards something which we hadn’t imagined in the beginning, as the sinister plans quickly turn into more than what had met the eye before, towards something not of this world. The similarities to Lovecraft’s The Outsider are there, and in the end, the movie also seems to connect to a world of terrifying creatures reminding us of his own tales of horror. The movie makers seem to have made this with a low budget, and it has certainly been managed really well. The first flogging scene, murder of Shelley and the open space ritual can be considered as the three scenes of unexpected quick shock.

The claws of flaw :: There was surely some scope for improvement around here. We have such a grand setting in here, and it is only fair to expect more out of it. There could have surely been some more scares in here, as many occasions seem to be all prepared to come up with something, but suddenly leaves that behind. We also see that the blood and gore stuff go a little bit over the board with the violence really climbing over the usual limitations. There are many occasions when this one doesn’t seem to be the movie for everyone, with it taking many steps to make the film more and more weird. The quality of graphics is also quite low when we consider all those demonic elements coming into the picture. The movie is also quite slow in getting into the action after that first scene, as we get to the present – the party moments and the initial moments of the couple at the castle take a little bit too long to get things going here. The ending could have also been more polished with bigger and more terrifying moments supported by possible twists.

Performers of the soul :: Clair Catherine leads the way as the blind protagonist really well, and it is a controlled, realistic performance, something which is not easy to find in a horror movie. She can be seen here as more or less a stoic one, accepting her fate without complaining, but still can’t help being curious herself. One would want to see her in more horror flicks or thrillers. Jake Horowitz provides pretty good support too. Genti Kame suits the mood of the place really well, as the story moves forward. Kika Magalhaes as Lavinia Whateley is the one who sets things in motion in the beginning, and she does that really well with a very creepy start that might bring the early shock to some – she has that kind of looks which suit her character’s background. Emily Sweet plays the usual kind of role in a horror movie, but she makes it interesting in her own way – she could have more of the genre and be the perfect scream queen, even though stereotypical in nature. The unknown entity also has the creepy performance to do, which is indeed the usual thing.

How it finishes :: Castle Freak is the kind of horror movie which comes out of nowhere to score above expectations, and it comes out of the usual horror movie list, deviating on the repeated style. It has the Lovecraftian influence, and there is another movie of the same name which came in the 1990s, which people around here seems to have missed. The movie is somewhat disturbing with its content, and therefore not recommended for all types of audience. This is not for those people who get disgusted with such content, and are looking for those flicks to watch with family members. If you feel aversion for any kind of the usual old style slasher horror content, you would have to keep away. Otherwise, it is certainly an interesting watch for people who are tired of these usual movies on ghosts, vampires, zombies and werewolves. These have been the years of one freak virus, and so we can take this particular freak too.

Release date: 4th December 2020
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Tate Steinsiek
Starring: Clair Catherine, Emily Sweet, Kika Magalhaes, Chris Galust, Jake Horowitz, Klodian Hoxha, Elisha Pratt, Genti Kame, Klodjana Keco, Omar Shariff Brunson Jr

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the first Portuguese movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Italian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Latin movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Polish movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Russian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Serbian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Russian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Ukrainian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Indonesian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Norwegian movie review on the site.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mortal Kombat

Vampire Owl: Do you remember us watching Mortal Kombat on VCR a long time ago?

Vampire Bat: Yes, a long time ago for humans, just a little bit earlier for us.

Vampire Owl: Yes, immortality has an effect on the perception of time.

Vampire Bat: Yet, those were the days when humans had tapes instead of CDs.

Vampire Owl: Mortal Kombat had also inspired many grand stage fights between vampires and werewolves.

Vampire Bat: Yes, thanks to our special powers, we won most of them against brutal strength.

Vampire Owl: Our battles were more or less immortal combats though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, immortality makes sure that death is near impossible.

Vampire Owl: Actually, having such tournaments are good options in our realms too.

Vampire Bat: Well, tournaments no longer have value among elders.

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

What is the movie about? :: In Japan during the seventeenth century, a group of assassins ruthlessly attack a family, and their leader Bi-Han (Joe Taslim) murders everyone except for their child, who is taken by the God of Thunder Lord Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) to safety. Back to the present, the terrifying realm of Outworld has defeated Earthrealm in nine out of ten competitions of Mortal Kombat, and with one more victory, they could claim and rule Earth. The Outworld has never felt that they have come so close to gaining the ultimate victory. But, an ancient prophecy says otherwise, asserting that the blood of the family which fell centuries earlier could unite a new group of warriors who can defeat the fighters of Outworld. Aware of this, Shang Tsung (Chin Han) sends his warriors to make sure that there are no warriors left to fight them, and Bi-Han who is now known as Sub-Zero is assigned the job to find certain people who have a certain mark to identify them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The identification mark happens to be a dragon tattoo which has been on these people for a long time. A former professional MMA fighter called Cole Young (Lewis Tan) has such a mark, and a person named Jax (Mehcad Brooks) meets him and his family who are attached by Sub-Zero. Jax fights valiantly, but losses his arms to Sub-Zero’s cold, and is considered dead by the Outworld. Another person who is on the hunt is Mileena (Sisi Stringer) who wants Earth to be captured at any cost. Outworld is ready to break all the rules to make sure that they win this last battle. Cole searches for a woman named Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) to whom Jax had pointed much earlier, and upon discovering her, he learns about something sinister which has been going on in the background. She talks about Mortal Kombat, which might be a reality soon, and assures him that they have been chosen to fight for Earth against some unknown species from another world. But that might not be all.

The defence of Mortal Kombat :: This film is nothing less than a return to nostalgia, not just as the adaptation of a game which we have been playing so much from the early days of Windows, as it also contributes as the reminder of that movie which came to the cassette shops, and had us cheering for each action move on display. Well, this film is not that much far away from what we had seen then, as far as action sequences are concerned – we also have the superior computer graphics and with the better cameras, we have some visual grandeur on the screen as expected; a case of higher quality return of childhood as we look at it. The locations are nicely shaped using the special effects. The final battle with Scorpion and Sub-Zero around brings some quality final moments. We can consider this as a beginning, and hope to see more of the fights, with some real tournaments happening in different worlds. The origins of the new age adaptation has been set well, and with one fine sequel, the level of the whole thing could be raised.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about that fact that Mortal Kombat could have been better, especially with so many of options being available. There are so many characters in the game who could have been taken into this film, but only a few were used. Some of the very interesting characters are also killed too early. The individual battles could have actually lasted much more, and some special and unexpected moves could have been added around here. A little bit more of attention could be taken in the clothes of the characters too, and they could have stayed close to how they were in the game. GI Joe had also experienced similar problems, but that franchise never really had this much of variety and worlds to be displayed on the screen with grandeur. It is a shame that some of the battles finish too easily, when we know that there are so much to be done with fighters keeping on battling each other without holding back. You could have always added some game elements according to the requirements.

Performers of the soul :: Lewis Tan as Cole Young leads the way well, even though Jessica McNamee playing Sonya Blade seems to be the real leader around here throughout the first half of the film, as she nicely suits the role so well. Bridgette Wilson would still be the perfect Sonya, as we are all fans of that older version and go on to miss Kitana and Johnny Cage characters for now. Mehcad Brooks as Jax is another determined character who keeps his moments, and Josh Lawson as Kano adds to the same from the other side. The best looks still goes to Mel Jarnson playing Nitara, even though she is there for only a short period of time. We would have loved to see more of her around here, as the winged creature is a thing of Gothic beauty rather than anything else. Sisi Stringer as Mileena brings a side of horror very well. Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero makes the right antagonist, and the ice-filled moments of action are joy to watch. Chin Han and Tadanobu Asano leaves us something to look out for with another possible movie based on the same video game series. Ludi Lin and Max Huang are good additions as the trained warriors too.

How it finishes :: Mortal Kombat does have some special place in our hearts, as it was one of those earlier games which we played and continued to enjoy for a long time. Among these games, it was Mortal Kombat 4 which had our best attention, as it had high graphics requirements, and we actually had to go somewhere else to play the game. The characters of Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Quan-Chi and Raiden were among the favourites then, and it was only later that characters like Mileena were of interest. Among the games, this one does have a legendary status, even though just like the other game adaptations including Need for Speed, Hitman, Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider, Warcraft, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Doom, Blood Rayne, Max Payne, Assassin’s Creed and many others, this one also failed to gather much of critical appreciation. Yes, Resident Evil has grossed so much that nobody can question that particular franchise, but we know that adaptations require more.

Release date: 23rd April 2021 (USA), 11th September 2021 (Amazon)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Simon McQuoid
Starring: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, Joe Taslim, Hiroyuki Sanada, Matilda Kimber, Laura Brent, Sisi Stringer, Mel Jarnson, Nathan Jones, Daniel Nelson, Angus Sampson, Damon Herriman

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.