Honeymoon

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Vampire Owl :: I was planning for a Honeymoon with Lady Death myself.

Vampire Bat :: But you are not married yet.

Vampire Owl :: Yet, but it has to happen some day. I am preparing my soul for the same. I have even bought a Suit of Death from Vampire Best Deals.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that the suit is supposed to prevent death for a few hours?

Vampire Owl :: What? It is not supposed to bring death closer?

Vampire Bat :: No, it is not. The original prototype was used by Uncle Dracula to travel to twenty seventh dimension of eternal death. Vampires and the rest of the undead can’t go through the realms of death without permission from the dead, as it can cause slow disintegration of the vampire body. This suit prevents the same.

Vampire Owl :: What? It is totally unfair. This is going to prevent my Honeymoon from ever happening. Mountain of Death brings death, Isle of Death is known for dealing with death, Valley of Death causes more deaths than any other place, and why is this Suit of Death so much the opposite?

Vampire Bat :: Well, you should have read the full description before buying it. Vampire Raven once bought something and didn’t speak even a word after that.

Vampire Owl :: My honeymoon plans are ruined. You could have at least given me false hope by not letting me know.

Vampire Bat :: Well, we will watch the movie Honeymoon instead.

[Gets a cup of tea].

What is it about? :: A newly married couple, Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) finds the right place to celebrate their honeymoon, and it is a cabin in the woods. It seems to be the perfect and extremely peaceful are as they enjoy their time and explore the surroundings. In a small restaurant, they meet Will (Ben Huber) who seems to act strange and his wife Annie (Hanna Brown) who is acts even more weird. One night, Bea goes missing, and later she starts showing some strange behaviour which upsets Paul. She forgets things and write down even basic facts about her life. She often acts opposite to how she had been earlier. Paul sees strange lights at night and feels that a third person is involved. But he finds no real clue anywhere as things don’t get any better.

The defence of Honeymoon :: The movie uses its environment related to the cabin in the woods to come up with the much needed advantage. The two main characters are also made a lot more interesting by the cast. There are a lot of interesting moments between these two characters, and the performances are excellent throughout. The time before the major incident and after that are actually presented in different ways, and it makes us feel the change with a powerful psychological impact. It also leaves a lot of things to our imaginations, and it plays on our mind to know what is wrong, and who is the one actually in trouble here. You feel caught between the two characters, thinking and imagining to recreate what could possibly have gone wrong between the two lovers who seemed so happy and energetic just a few moments ago.

Claws of flaw :: Honeymoon surely drags, and it takes quite a lot of time to get into its more interesting part. Even between the thrills, it goes rather slow. There is a certain amount of beauty about this slowness at times as it adds to the mystery elements, but at some other times, it is not there. The ending is actually a little bit of a let down [A little bit of spoiler stuff to follow even though nothing of heavy dosage] considering the fact that this was going so nice as a psychological thriller-horror movie until the finishing line doesn’t really justify the same, but attributes things to unknown creatures. Even with surprises thrown in here and there, it finally comes to those moments which are rather more predictable, and things become what a good number of people might have thought in the beginning.

Performers of the soul :: The movie needed its performances because it uses them more than anything else due to being a psychological thriller on one side despite being known as a horror movie – may be that ending confused the genres and even added a certain amount of sci-fi to the same. You have to love Rose Leslie in this one, and you once again get to see Game of Thrones‘ own Ygritte doing what she does best; giving the feeling that her husband knows nothing as her character undergoes changes. She has managed two sides of her character so well that we can see the changes clearly and impressively managed. Lets see what she can offer in The Last Witch Hunter – wait for it. Harry Treadaway does a very good job, and the chemistry between them in amazing.

Soul exploration :: The movie asks the basic question if you really know the one who is close to you – it is something that is worth feeling scared about. Well, people do pretend to be someone else, and acting comes naturally to a lot of people. You see those people with profiles on the matrimonial websites with descriptions being God fearing, non-alcoholic and never smoking, but do you think that it is true? Well, even in the case of love marriages, people are blind in love and can’t see through the masks. If people missed this idea, that makes an opportunity gone for this movie. Will someone whom you love undergo so many changes that one day, that you won’t be really sure who he or she is? Well, it is a point to think about, and something that this movie could have focused further on. It is not that the same is not in the movie, but it is not that clear.

How it finishes :: The first movie that comes to my mind when thinking about this, is Under the Skin. They are surely not the same, but some moments do feel similar from a distance. Well, this one keeps the audience wondering though; couldn’t this have been a lot better with the premise? It is good with its stress and intensity, but is this all that this movie could come up with after showing a lot more promise? May be they could have stuck to the psychological side throughout, and in the end, we could have had a minimum of one psychopath or even two. It could have surely achieved better ratings with that. It already has a powerful drama side to power the same. The horror that this movie required was purely psychological, and with the same not being fully there, Honeymoon could have really been the true honeymoon.

Release date: 7th March 2014
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Leigh Janiak
Starring: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Hanna Brown, Ben Huber

honeymoon

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Evil Dead

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It was a long time ago that we witnessed five college students having their vacation in a cabin the woods. They manages to find an audiotape which releases a large number of demons, and as the creatures possess the people, there is complete chaos all around. It was just last year that another story of five friends travelling to another remote cabin for another vacation becoming victims of the same stereotypical horror movie plot came in the form of The Cabin in the Woods. This time, in 2013, we have the right remake of what scares us more than most of the things during our childhood, and what formed the basis of that 2012 horror movie starring Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams. The two sequels of the movie, Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992), along with all the comics and the video games had combined with the first movie to make a powerful horror impact which has been almost uncomparable. It is towards that legacy that this movie is making a claim. So this can be considered as the fourth installment of that terrifying series, even as the story is completely new with the same premises. As there are so many things in common, this could be a reboot, but as the possiblities are endless with a story like this, any guess made would be an ineffective one.

The success of the original was due to the fact that it wandered through the fears of our minds with that simplicity which can create a direct impact. The tree scene might have been a bit radical, but other than that, everything else have been perfectly clear horror supported by blood and gore. Being demonically possessed and creating the atmosphere of fear with the power of sounds than anything else, The Evil Dead (note the “The” as with The Invisible Man and Invisible Man) is the legend among all horror movies, and this one has to fit into that wonderful space which has been created and maintained by the same. It was a favourite of the greatest kings of horror, like Stephen King. It continues to have great critical acclaim from the modern critics at 98 percent in the Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDb having a 7.6/10. It is 62 percent and 6.6/10 for this new version though, and it is still much expected, as greatness of the original has been creating problems for the remakes in the form of Total Recall and Conan the Barbarian earlier. The objective of surpassing greatness is not always a choice, and this time, greatness has to be forced upon them, and this 2013 has reacted well, but not on par with the original. This is still very good, and nobody can question that – but still it is the case of a legendary cult movie.

Our new Evil Dead begins with a good strike, as an injured girl (Phoenix Connolly) is tied up in a basement, and in spite of her cute little pleas begging to untie her, they keep her tied to a pole. When all the pleading and crying seems ineffective, she takes another route with curses and bad words, and it is revealed that she is demonically possessed. Her father is forced to set fire on her and shoot through her head. The present situation involves a group of friends, Mia Allen (Jane Levy), her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez), his friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas), and his girlfriend, Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore), arrange a journey to a remote cabin in the woods, in order to assist Mia in getting rid of her severe drug addiction which had almost killed her. The rest is predictable for most of the horror fans, as they find a Book of the Dead, and Eric reads it out aloud. The dead evil has been summoned right there. It is Mia who becomes the easy target for the released demons as she wanders in the woods alone in a weak state; one demon enters her body after she is ravished by a number of possessed tree vines which come out of a demon’s mouth. She manages to get her way back to the cabin and begs the others to leave, but they just see it as an excuse to get back to her ways of drugs. They feel that it is rather psychological and she is just hallucinating. David and Elizabeth are determined to make her completely drug-free.

After killing David’s dog, Mia burns herself by standing under boiling hot shower, which fulfills another one of the prophecies from the book, following the tree attack which was also predicted. David rushes to get her to a hospital, but a flood has blocked all the roads. Mia gets worse, and the demon takes over her body further, and she shoots David in the arm with a shotgun. Her human side disappears almost completely, and her demonic side takes on the group until she is locked in a cellar. She manages to possess Olivia and Natalie, both of them continuing the work of the demons, attempting to fulfill the further prophecies of the book. Meanwhile, all the attempts to destroy the book fails, and the demon needs to devour five souls in an attempt to free the Abomination from hell and unleash inferno on Earth. After killing the two possessed girls on the outside, there is no other way left for them than to burn her, bury her alive, or dismember her body. Now David has to come out his affection towards his little sister for whom he never really was able to do anything. With the demonic side using the human side to gain the advantage over the big brother, can the responsible elder sibling finish her sister off or find another way to save her, themselves and the world from the demons? All of these would sound practical in such a movie.

If you are ready to take a little bit of the spoilers, and won’t make that much of a fuss about it, there is one thing that you can be sure about, that is, David (Shiloh Fernandez) doesn’t go on to become the new Ash and create the Bruce Campbell effect. He leads the attack against the undead for most of the time though. But as we near the end of the second half, it is Mia who comes back from her possession and put up an awesome show, and that should make this a Jane Levy horror spectacle. Right from the beginning itself, Mia shows the signs of the victim and survivor. Along with being ravished by a tree and possessed by a demon in her soul, even after saving both her body and soul from the demonic powers, she forced to rip off her hand when it becomes pinned under David’s Jeep with the Abomination chasing her. When she uses the chainsaw on the creature, it clearly gives an impression about who might be the next Ash, this one’s a girl – a Lady Ash who is ready to finish off whatever the demons has in store for her next. She has gone through the worst with both with her body and her soul, and being the last one of her family and the last woman standing among the group of friends, there is a lot of scope for her character in the next movie in the series, for she is the female Ash, and she has a chainsaw with a place to fit it into. The demons won’t like it though.

As we notice Amber Heard, Briana Evigan and Odette Annable with all their attractive existence in some of the most interesting horror movies, there is this Lady Ash who scores big time. These three names, or Elisha Cuthbert would have been great to have been in a movie of this series, and Lily Collins dropping out due to a scheduling issue was sad, but our leading lady has carried on with this very well. But, it is still not something which can be expected to match Bruce Campbell, and this story of expectations got to move on to the next movie of the dead evil. Mia has surely made the dead evil more dead than undead, and ended the misery for now. Now the question would remain if she has done it well enough, or there is something of that evil which still remain in her, as she was the first to be infected, that too in a brutal manner. As she is left alone in the wilderness, with one hand and a chainsaw, there is surely a lot to expect. We know that the evil cannot stay dead, and the demons need to possess; they needs those souls as badly as the vampires require blood and the zombies seek to devour brains. Now, who can deny them their dinner and upset the demon lovers? The Twilight fans might not complain about it, but the fact remains that they are all the same in their roots, and the need to feed would continue and give rise to another movie which can provide more for the viewers.

With the help of the new age technology and all the techniques that is in the pocket, this version of the movie has more scary elements, but considering the time when the original was released, that one is indeed the legend – this one uses a huge amount of blood and gore, and almost depends on it completely to create an impact; the only area where it restricts itself and tries to make it lighter in effect is with the tree scene. Otherwise, the movie is a collection of everything which is related to blood and gore; it injects that big dose of terror into the minds of the readers less through surprises and more through flowing blood, horrifying wounds and dismembered body parts. This is quite high for this kind of a movie, unless this becomes a part of Hostel or Saw series. Therefore, it is a red signal for those who are looking for horror without being a little disgusted. There is also nothing funny about this one, as this is pure horror using all the elements of slasher movies combining it with the good old terror policy. A little more carefully done special effects could have added to the score of this movie, as we know how far it can be stretched. Well, Evil Dead without the “the” is almost everything that you would expect from this movie, and it has to be watched in the dark – the absence of light in the theatres or a big LED television when it comes in a channel; even with some edits, this can prove good. Meanwhile, do use your “willing suspension of disbelief”, and try not to complain.

Release date: 5th April 2013
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore, Jim McLarty (cameo), Phoenix Connolly (cameo)

evildead copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mama

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This one goes back a little to the past in this year itself, and this is one of those movies which could easily initiate such a sequence in the eternal time machine. This is rather more of the present than the past, as it doesn’t really go back that far if there is an intellectual consideration in depth. It was different in being different, and therefore its influence had to be such a lasting thing. There is one point where all the interest about this movie begins, and that is when one reads these lines from its cover – “Presented by Guillermo del Toro, creator of Pan’s Labyrinth“. He serves as executive producer, and as far as it is known, the movie is based on a 2008 short film of the same name in Spanish, about which there is nothing more to shoot in the quiver which is short of its crossbow bolts from that part of the world. The movie comes up with the dark tale of two little girls left in a seemingly abandoned cabin in the woods, taken care of by an unknown person or creature that they call Mama, and the same entity even follows the girls to their new home to which their father’s brother takes them after finding them as two feral children.

During a financial crisis, a disappointed and depressed man, Jeffrey Desange (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), kills his business partners and wife before taking his little children Victoria and Lilly away from home. Driving too fast on a road paved by snow and upset with all the thoughts about his failures and the crimes he had committed, the car slides off the path and crashes in the woods. Jeffrey takes the children and walks away from civilization, finally reaching something that seems to be an abandoned cabin. He plans to murder his daughters and commit suicide with a gun, but then a mysterious figure arrives in time to instantly kill him and it also feeds the two children. Victoria talks about the figure as a woman whose legs don’t touch the ground. Then the scene shifts to five years later, with Jeffrey’s brother, the kids’ uncle Lucas Desange (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), living with his girlfriend Annabel Moore (Jessica Chastain). They don’t live under good conditions, but Lucas haven’t lost hope about finding the children of his brother. He still sponsors search parties hoping to find some trace of his brother and children.

One of them find the children alive in the same cabin, but dirty, half-naked, horribly thin and with an animal-like behaviour – walking on four legs and talking like making some strange noises. The girls are put under the care of psychatirst Dr. Gerald Dreyfuss (Daniel Kash). They keeps talking about someone called “Mama”. He feels that it is just a creation of the girls’ minds as they were alone in the woods without help. But soon, Lucas is attacked by the same shadowy figure known as Mama and enters a comma. Annabel is forced to take care of the girls all by herself even as Mama’s visits continue. Annabel does get close to the elder child, Victoria, but Lilly remains hostile and highly attached only to Mama. Meanwhile, Gerald finds out something about this mysterious figure from the clues which Victoria gave away. Mama is a mother separated from her child – she used to be Edith Brennan, a mental asylum inmate in the 1800s. He also finds a box containing an infant’s remains from that former mental asylum which was kept as her belonging there. Meanwhile, Annabel has a nightmare revealing Mama’s past which reveals more about her. Lucas also has a disturbing dream of his dead brother Jeffrey telling him to save his kids.

But there might have been more about Mama that what met the eye. She is undoubtedly supernatural as well as tormented. The problem remained if she is normal and thus if she is reasonable. The psychatrist might have thought so, but the experience doesn’t go well for him. Even Lucas and his wife has to go through near-death experiences. So the question would be more about “why mama why?” rather than “who is mama?”. Well, mama is undoubtedly a former mother who no longer exists as a human mother. The nature of her strange love for her child is evident from her asylum background. The question might be about how much torment a mentally unstable ghost can cause to a group of normal, living people. That would be a lot of it, much more than what the mentally unstable father of two little children could do. How much is the chance of one making peace with her? It wasn’t possible when she was alive, and considering the fact that she is more motivated by the love for children rather than anything else, the solution becomes even more complicated in the human world.

Mama is a visual treat of a horror film, and not part of the gory ones which take over in the usual style. There is a well-created world of horror right in front of you all the time, and then suddenly there is a scene that takes your breath further away and then it goes back to normal to await the next thing. Welcome to this story of old-style less bloody horror movie of low gore level. There are signs of Guillermo del Toro’s magical extravaganza Pan’s Labyrinth or El laberinto del fauno, are evident in both the characters as well as the environment. There is the feeling of a dark fantasy through out and there is the lack of sunshine which is more motivating than the depressing thing which it might have become, which is a success in all ways. It’s just how horror films should be, without using any cheap or low class tricks. The looks of Mama is also a revelation, as she emerges from the walls or closet, sometimes suddenly and on other occasions as if part of all the horror that surrounds them. The use of moths to show Mama’s presence is a further effective thing, as it shows more of her tormented sould which is not completely evil, thus owl, crow or bat not chosen; neither is the wolf or cat given a chance at it. Mama is more of a butterfly rather than anything else, but a fierce one.

The movie’s dark world move along the path of Pan’s Labyrinth, but it is still not of that class of ultimate perfection and awesomeness, and still is close enough. It meets Hansel and Gretel in its witch-like creature who is less of a ghost and more of an undead freak of nature. There it shows the qualities of The Orphan meeting The Grudge and The Ring in a good way. Mama could have even made a good creature in Alien or The Exorcist, and the creature’s success is in its strange, but “suitable for almost every genre” looks. She is a dark fairy, the nature’s spectre, the tormented undead mother and the dark elf. She belongs to nature and as a creature to the living, she is more moth or a group of moths rather than anything else. They signify her presence, and if she takes the children with her, there will be more moths for sure. There is the positive thing – the innovation, for how the ghost is treated around here with a difference. The movie is fresh in its treatment of a new ghostly creature with heavy parental instincts. Such a creature is not onne would expect in such a movie, and until it appears everything might look more psychological than supernatural, even if the signs are already there from the beginning itself.

While Mama is a benevolent spirit when it comes to two children, but she is a malevolent and even a death-dealer with everyone else. She hasn’t yet become pure evil, even as her allignment away from goodness and sanity is clear by the climax scene. Even her unseen presence suggests the same. Her moths symbolize the little beauty that she has lost to death and decay and the beautiful world which was lost to her more due to the people around rather than her own madness. There are no usual suspects of the common supernatural, as there is only the variation which is Mama. The movie is very much dependent on your taste to survive, but the fact remains that it is more close to being suitable for all people with not that much blood and gore, or the display of any kind of nudity – well, this one never needed it considering its content and presentation. There is not much of a male gaze or a possible female gaze working out in this one. It is story of an undead mother’s love and with the addition of insanity to it, there is a lot to think about. There is no compromise in being spooky or creepy enough though.

Release date: 18th January 2013
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Javier Botet, Jane Moffat

mama copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.