Squared Love

Vampire Owl: I hope that blood drinking can also be squared.

Vampire Bat: Drinking blood does not work like that.

Vampire Owl: You should understand that there are many ways of drinking blood.

Vampire Bat: The act has its own value for the soul.

Vampire Owl: Well, that is only if you follow the procedure.

Vampire Bat: Nobody follows the procedure these days.

Vampire Owl: I was not talking about the Twilight vampires.

Vampire Bat: I was not referring to fictional vampires either.

Vampire Owl: I have heard that new vampire tales are not fictional, but related to the lives of humans who are too hungry.

Vampire Bat: Well, it means some fine creative imagination.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three cups of orange tea].

What is the movie about? :: Monika Grabarczyk (Adrianna Chlebicka) lives a double life, as she works as a school teacher as well as reputed model, with or without the wig and makeup. She also wears glasses, and changes the colour of her eyes to make sure that people don’t easily recognize her. She does not really like both jobs, as she is scolded by the headmaster due to the unruly children and all the exposing as the model in swimwear does not appeal to her either – but she still has to pay back her loans in time. Stefan Tkaczyk (Mateusz Banasiuk), also known as Enzo is a journalist who is also in multiple relationships with many different women – he remains popular with the women despite making some unwanted mistakes in his articles. His firm still keeps him due to his popularity. The company decides to make good use of his popularity in an upcoming ad, as things works the best for him with his face on the television. He is soon kicked out of his live-in relationship, the one which he was pursuing with many others at the same time, but this one makes him basically homeless.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He ends up living with his brother for the time being, as his wife is has gone on a trip from which she might not return to him, and there is the need for someone to look after the child. Even though neither Monika or Stefan wants to continue with that ad, the agencies are adamant that they are the ones suitable for the job. Monika particularly does not want to be seen with Stefan on the posters and billboards all around the city, which are already full of her pictures in swimwear. But her father’s debt keep following her even at school, and she is forced to go back to shooting the ad again. The company is looking for something for something special from the two leads of the campaign, and they feel that without it, they are done. They keep trying for something different, and they manage to get something working in their favour after a long time of brainstorming. Meanwhile, Monika is warned that her students have to score well, or she would lose her job. Now, what awaits both Monika and also Stefan who seems to be beginning to get along with her both versions?

The defence of Squared Love :: The one thing that you would love more than the other things is that the movie maintains its status as a romantic comedy really well, and it never gets melodramatic, even though there are those emotional moments – the feel-good elements maintain a certain amount of strength, and it can be seen at its best by the end of the movie. There is something about this light-hearted romance which will make you wish to watch it with admiration for the proceedings rather than the usual feelings. Despite the whole thing being related to modeling, we do notice a certain amount of cuteness related the proceedings – the leading lady remains differently beautiful in those avatars, as one would find it difficult to recognize one as better than the other; yet the teacher avatar is indeed more suitable to her. The movie is indeed a modern age fairy-tale which can be watched by everyone in the family; it is the kind of film which is good for everyone. The experience is indeed beautiful, without ever falling into melodrama or sadness at any point – we remain happy to watch this one, and remain so throughout it.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does keep us reminded that this kind of ideas have been used many times, and it does not really try to come up with any innovation with the basic idea. The subtitles might not be exact too, as some people seems to have commented about the film in different platforms; I would have expected some nice romantic dialogues translated with poetic beauty to English with the right use of words. It is also surprising that people are not able to recognize the young lady as the common school teacher and not the swimsuit model, but the situation is still better than some of the Bollywood movies in which the wife is not even able to recognize the husband – the students whom she teaches are able to know that both are the same without taking much of time. The role of the other protagonist is also not that well defined, as only his nature seems somewhat established – as about one quarter of the film is done, he is more of a model than a journalist; one would be forced to guess whether he is some Youtube, Instagram or Facebook influencer due to which he has the fans and admirers.

The performers of the soul :: The proceedings are led well by Adrianna Chlebicka, who is perfect in two identities of the character – there is excellence in her work as the model which she might have already been familiar with, and she does even better as the teacher who takes care of the children so well. She has her emotions expressed with beauty and quality like not many actresses have done in relation to such a role, and there are many close-up shots which seems to favour her. She should be part of some romantic flick in Hollywood at some point of time. Mateusz Banasiuk seems to suit the role well, even though the character is not that clearly defined related to what he does for a living, as he writes, models, lives with girlfriends and in the end, has a lot of fans, a number which only increases in time. Then, there is the chemistry between the two, which works like a dream – there is even a certain amount of cuteness related to it. Mirosław Baka as the leading lady’s father and Tomasz Karolak as the school principal have their notable roles. Helena Mazur who plays the child is also a lovely addition to the film.

How it finishes :: Squared Love feels like the usual romantic love story which one would like to keep watching again and again in different forms. I have not really been fans of romantic comedies, especially when they are not in Malayalam – the Bollywood ones with romance are the strangest and the dumbest of them all, with infinite ridiculous scenes and some really dumb music. It seems that without nepotism, acting also gets to a higher level. After all, there is nothing worse than watching a Bollywood romance with the so called superstars dancing and showing lust in the name of pure love; that would make this one a fresh breath of air in comparison. At least Poland knows knows how to make a fairy-tale kind of love story work. Bollywood could give it a match when it learns something from the Malayalam films, not just with the evergreen Romantic classics like Summer in Bethlehem, Niram and Aniyathipravu of the past, but also those which came in the modern age like Anarkali. Until then, we have the movies from Eastern Europe in support too.

Release date: 11th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Filip Zylber
Starring: Adrianna Chlebicka, Mateusz Banasiuk, Agnieszka Żulewska, Anna Smołowik, Krzysztof Czeczot, Mirosław Baka, Tomasz Karolak

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<<< Click here to go to previous Polish film review.

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Prakashan Parakkatte

Vampire Owl: I think that they are trying to make the light spread.

Vampire Bat: You are misunderstanding the title.

Vampire Owl: So, humans are no longer spreading the light.

Vampire Bat: They had stopped living in the light a long time ago.

Vampire Owl: You mean living in goodness.

Vampire Bat: Goodness has not graced humans for such a long time.

Vampire Owl: Well, I have always known that humans fall easily.

Vampire Bat: When they fall, they end up very deep.

Vampire Owl: I would say they would go as deep as hellfire.

Vampire Bat: There is no fire that could burn a fried evil human.

[Gets a Little Hearts biscuit and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Das (Mathew Thomas) is a plus two student who is not interested in studies, and spends time in other activities, leading to him missing classes regularly. He lives with his parents Prakashan (Dileesh Pothan) and Latha (Nisha Sarang) as well as his younger brother Akhil (Ritunjay Sreejith). Das’ best friend is Anwar (Govid Pai) who joins him in bunking class, a process which is repeated on almost all days. They often go to the local town of Mukkom and the city of Calicut without anyone noticing. Nobody believes that any of the two friends will pass the plus two exam, and even the headmaster is not bothered about them leaving the class too early, and encourages them to leave without bothering other students. Das also falls in love with another plus two student, Neethu (Malavika Manoj), but the problem seems that she belongs to a rich family which owns the bus which travels in the same route. She also studies in a private girls’ school, which bothers him. To get close to her, he also joins the tuition centre of Suni (Dhyan Sreenivasan) where Neethu also studies.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Prakashan owns a grocery shop in the village which is not that much of a profitable enterprise, but as there are not many similar shops nearby, things don’t get that bad for them. His brother-in-law Kuttan (Saiju Kurup) spends his time wasting all the money which is earned from the shop. He is also a youtuber who has a group of people who calls themselves vloggers, but are nuisance to the locals. It is then that things get more difficult, as according to the local leader Raghavan (Sreejith Ravi) warned him earlier, Musthafa (Aju Varghese) starts Madheena supermarket near the grocery shop. Kuttan also supports Musthafa, who is his childhood friend, and the supermarket becomes a grand success. It is then that Akhil meets with an accident, and Das is blamed for the same for his reckless behaviour, especially by Latha who had always preferred her younger son over the elder one. As Akhil requires a surgery and further care, Latha is further angry at Das. Prakshan is forced to take loans from different people as there is the emergency. This turns their lives upside down, with an uncertain future.

The defence of Prakashan Parakkatte :: The movie is set up nicely to bring a tale of the common people who have their own struggles within the family. It never ceases to make one feel like it is a realistic world of simple things. The setting is really good, and there are the usual kind of people which we see around. The movie’s emotional side remains relatable and the struggles feel very much real. The truth about the youtubers who do no constructive things in life is also brought to life here in opposition to people who work hard and still can’t have enough to keep their family going. People who are looking for easy money and their spreading the curse through videos can be seen here. The visuals of this particular world nicely contributes to the overall movie, as the highlands have never really ceased being beautiful in Malayalam movies which explores the common man’s lives and struggles. The songs are good, and the one depicting plus two romance stands stronger. The cast is a really good one, and we can only love these performers going through the realistic mode.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing new that the movie tries to bring around here. The formula has already been tested and approved, and there is no special ingredient to elevate the level of the film. Sometimes, the movie just seems to move forward without an idea about where it is heading – the direction should have been better planned here. Some of the emotional sides also feel overdone, and predictability is rather high. The ending doesn’t end the movie, but brings a continuation which seems to reflect the usual world. It could have chosen many different paths to reach the final destination, but here we see the safe path being taken instead. Taking risk doesn’t seem to be this movie’s cup of tea. The trailer and the choice of actors and actresses seemed to point to something bigger, but that much is not achieved here. There was the chance for bringing more humour here too, but without enough focus, it is not achieved. Sometimes, one does wonder what exactly the plan is. It could have added more feel-good elements, which had many opportunities to come to the scene – after all plus two life in school also becomes reflection of more opportunities.

The performers of the soul :: Mathew Thomas who had some fantastic performances in Kumbalangi Nights, Thanneer Mathan Dinangal and Jo and Jo has another work to remember here. He has always stood one step ahead of the other actors of his age. Govind V Pai of Parava fame is the one who supports him this time instead of Naslen K Gafoor who has aged a little too much to get back to his plus two avatar, and should be looking for the college roles or the elder brother roles to Mathew and Govind. Dhyan Sreenivasan plays the kind of role which Vineeth Sreenivasan had played with Mathew years ago, and this time, it is a cameo. Dileesh Pothan shines in the father role here, and the director turned actor is indeed the best choice for a role like this. Nisha Sarang of Uppum Mulakum fame joins and suits the role really well. Malavika Manoj is good addition to the role here, and she surely has a fine future ahead – she can join the new group of actresses like Mamitha Baiju and Anaswara Rajan who have had some strong presence early enough. Saiju Kurup nicely plays the typical new generation youtuber who tries the easy path without any hard work.

How it finishes :: Prakashan Parakkatte works just like those nice little feel-good movies following the trend which started with new life in Maheshinte Prathikaaram. The movie also serves as a coming-of-age story, the bildungsroman which works with the first half of life if we consider Premam as the one typical story in Malayalam film industry. The final message about money not being that important in life comes a little bit too late, and it is the kind of revelation which won’t work with people of this age where how much one earns and has in the bank account is considered to be the most significant thing, without which there is no life. One would wonder if the message of being a good person considered more important than money will work in this particular age when society depends on what lies in the bank account. But the movie attempts to provide that message and hope that thing will come together well. In the process, this becomes the usual movie with the common family problems, while being in control of the emotional side.

Release date: 29th July 2022 (ZEE 5); 17th June 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Shahad Nilambur
Starring: Mathew Thomas, Dileesh Pothan, Malavika Manoj, Nisha Sarang, Govid Pai, Saiju Kurup, Aju Varghese, Dhyan Sreenivasan, Sreejith Ravi, Ritunjay Sreejith, Nithin Sabu, Stevin Bijum

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Red Dot

Vampire Owl: It is nice to have a Swedish movie on the list too, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, we only have Norwegian from Scandinavia until now.

Vampire Owl: Well, Netflix knows how to choose the right movies.

Vampire Bat: We have known that the best with Minnal Murali premiering there.

Vampire Owl: So many interesting movies in foreign languages too.

Vampire Bat: Those are the kind of collections which Amazon Prime Video should have too.

Vampire Owl: They could always have more of those lesser known foreign movies.

Vampire Bat: Scandinavia is a fine area to build a castle right now.

Vampire Owl: There should be our kind already in existence there.

Vampire Bat: Why don’t you take a trip there and find out?

[Gets a sweet puffs and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: David (Anastasios Soulis) proposes to his girlfriend, Nadja (Nanna Blondell) in public on the day of their graduation at the university. She accepts it gladly, even though the proposal turns out to be very much awkward, despite having a certain amount of cuteness related to it. They make a promise that they will always be together, no matter what happens. But one year and half later, due to the need to study and work at the same time, they are no longer happy at their apartment in Stockholm, the busy capital of Sweden. Soon, she finds out that she is also pregnant, and she is not sure if they should be parents, as she is studying to become a doctor – this would not be helpful for her future either. She feels that if she has a child any time soon, she will end up being a housewife taking care of the kid, as David is working all the time. Despite being assured by their neighbour that they will be great parents, she doesn’t inform David about the pregnancy, and decides to keep it a secret as long as possible.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: David arranges a trip to the northern lights so that they can have some happy time together. This is also the one tour which they are having after a very long time. On the way, they meet two locals, Jarmo (Kalled Mustonen) and Rolle (Tomas Bergstrom) at the gas station, but are comfortable with their presence and their strange dialogues about the dog and the lady. While leaving too soon, David’s car also leaves a scratch on the pick-up truck of the locals, but they go on moving without saying anything about it. Einar (Johannes Bah Kuhnke) seems to be the only person who is friendly to them, as he runs the inn where they are supposed to stay. He says that the people there are not used to seeing interracial couples. Nadja soon finds their car scratched, also leaving few racists words, which makes her angry enough to leave a scratch on the truck of the locals which they earlier encounter, as she is sure that they are the ones who did it. But the two locals seem to be much surprised by the same.

And what awaits them with the northern lights in the wilderness? :: David feels strange about the actions of Nadja, but she feels that this is how one should deal with racists. After a long drive, they finally reach an area beneath the northern lights, and it gets really cold. There, she reveals to him that she is pregnant, and that makes him very much nervous, as he is not sure what is to be done next. But their conversation about it is soon interrupted by a red dot on the wall of their tent, which keeps moving. They first feel that it is a prank done by some local kids with a laser pointer. But with a jolt, they soon understand that it is a laser view from a gun, as they are shot at. Nadja is sure that it is the brothers who are attacking them in revenge for her action, and David remembers that he had seen a weapon in their truck. Their dog which tries to find the attackers, is killed and as they return to the camp after searching for it, finds its head, a trap, and their belongings including the mobile phone missing. With the snow coming down slowly, they have to somehow make it out of there, but can they? Is there hope within so much of cold?

The defence of Red Dot :: The movie uses its landscape to its advantage, and the locations here are all beautiful enough. Whether it is the beauty of nature or the terror of it, we have things going well. Scandinavia is the area which almost everyone wishes to wish to visit, and maybe spend most of the life – I would have done that if there was the opportunity, and there is no shortage of such motivation with the world for eyes within this film too. It also has some interesting twists in the last few moments of the film, and also leaves a message that many things are lost as people just randomly points a few actions as a result of racism, often because it seems to be the easiest thing to do, along with adding things as misogyny or part of religious beliefs – sometimes, things are just personal to the core, and nothing more than that. As the movie is less than one and half hours long, things don’t get dragged or slow down at any point of time. There is no loss of pace at any moment, and it takes the deviation from the usual well enough, but never turning to melodrama even when it could have used the chance.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have achieved more with a couple being hunted in the snow, with no hope seemingly around. It also seems that none of the characters are likable, with a mostly irresponsible couple, and the lady seemingly attributing most things to racism, and randomly blame the mentality. The snow as well as the red dots could have been used more, and there could have more twists over the incidents. There are times when the movie seems to be unwilling to take the risk with most of the things. The romantic side is often forced rather than having any intimate or lovable side to the same. When thinking about Vikings from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, we are always expecting an intense ride with the movies from there, even with the realization that it is not that age any more. There were so many moments for some horror to be added here and there, and this could have transcended the genres with ease. Some more red blood on white ice along with some shocks added here and there would be been worthy enough – more action too.

How it finishes :: The movie has the strength throughout its run, thanks to the performances which are appreciable – there are only a few characters of significance in this movie, and they had to do well, which does happen around here. With people being hunted, this would feel like Wrong Turn in the snow at some point of time, but that idea is lifted during the last few moments of the film. Maybe, we could also have a similar movie shot during the corona virus times, hunted in the lockdown, with nobody around to help. At least, the viral pandemic did provide us with opportunity to watch movies like this one on the OTT platforms. It is always better to have them on the laptop screen, as you can also type on another laptop at the same time. I would also like not to know how much the popcorns, puffs and tea would cost in a multiplex after the lockdowns. Yet, we all know that the rise in petrol price won’t serve the purpose at all, and hope is only with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Hotstar, Sony LIV, Manorama MAX and others.

Release date: 11th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Alain Darborg
Starring: Johannes Kuhnke, Nanna Blondell, Anastasios Soulis, Kalled Mustonen, Tomas Bergstrom

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Antlers

Vampire Owl: I haven’t seen a more interesting poster in a very long time.

Vampire Bat: Horror does need such posters to show divergence in fear.

Vampire Owl: Fear should always be the same, right?

Vampire Bat: Unless you are a vampire, or maybe zombie.

Vampire Owl: You are talking about a different smell of fear.

Vampire Bat: You should be aware of the fear potions of the witches.

Vampire Owl: Those potions never really work.

Vampire Bat: I know that you trust the pseudo-scientific elixirs of Mr Frankenstein better.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has opened portals with elixirs.

Vampire Bat: Those were ancient portals found hidden in the caves beneath the castle!

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

What is the movie about? :: In the beginning, there is a warning that Mother Earth has been pillaged, with her life’s blood taken away, and this terrible act has awakened a spirit which needs to be feared – it would seek the lost, frail and the depraved, and asks the viewers to hope and pray that it won’t take one among them. The scene cuts to Cispus Falls, a small town in Oregon which feels dark with an eerie feeling. There, in an inactive mine, Frank Weaver (Scott Haze) runs a meth lab within an inactive mine which used to serve the town’s economy a long time ago. Frank and his co-worker hears some strange noises from within the mine, and goes on to check the same. As they doubt that it is an animal and tries to escape, find themselves attacked by an unseen creature. Frank’s son Aiden Weaver (Sawyer Jones) waits for him outside the mine, failing to understand what has happened inside. His elder brother as Lucas Weaver (Jeremy T Thomas) is considered to be strange by his classmates and teachers, but Julia Meadows (Keri Russell) who teaches about myths and fables is determined to help him.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Julia remembers the abuse she suffered as a child in the hands of her alcoholic father who was also mentally ill – she feels that he is also suffering from something similar. Paul Meadows (Jesse Plemons), her brother is the local sheriff – she had abandoned him a long time ago, but has now returned home from California following the death of their father. She feels that she shouldn’t have left the place, and tries to help another person as she can, this time, Lucas. She tries to bond with him, but there is no success at all – she tries to visit his house, but leaves after hearing some strange noises from inside. Lucas seems to have some some mystery locked within his house, and also takes dead animals and birds to his home. He stays awake at night and makes strange drawings. Julia feels that she really needs to get to the bottom of this, and also informs her brother, who reaffirms that Frank was considered fit to be the guardian of the two children after the mother’s death – now, what would she do?

The defence of Antlers :: It can be seen that Antlers does take the deviation from the usual horror, and this divergence is taken seriously throughout its narrative – it lets the surroundings contribute to the same really well. The environment and the setting serve effectively for the movie too. The small town with its dark and wet weather really suits the situation presented around here, and there is enough of the woods to keep one going in the mood of terror. The idea of the “diabolic wickedness that devours humans”, the spirit that takes many forms, makes a powerful myth around here. There is also a connection made to the destruction of nature which the humans managed to come up with. One wouldn’t be able to blame the monsters considering how evil the humans happen to be at every point. We also have the moments of scares, and that gets stronger with the understanding that there is a seemingly unstoppable force of nature at work. Add the performance, especially from children, and things only get much darker and scarier in nature.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about the fact that Antlers had the premise to be something greater, but doesn’t use the same to the best of advantage. We do see the moments which we feel could have been better. When you have such a near-unstoppable monster at the centre, there are many things that can be done – it could have surely been designed better too. The emotional side doesn’t seem to work that much, even though we are waiting for those elements to be effective too. The myth could have also been given a boost with certain elements from the past, and a history to be remembered. One can generate enough fear out of that too. The scope for sequel at the end seems to be forced, as if there was a certain need rather than anything else. One can feel the need to remind the viewer of a myth that goes missing, but that requires more of a better origins story with roots in a mysterious past – let the horror run through there too.

The performers of the soul :: Keri Russell has been among my favourite actresses from a long time ago – she carries a certain amount of charm with her roles, even though horror hasn’t been the genre we would remember her the most for. She would make it to the list of performers who don’t seem to age much as years pass. She blends in really well as this protagonist who has her own problems from childhood itself. Jesse Plemons supports her really well as the brother figure and the policeman. Jeremy T Thomas gets his moments as the struggling child who is forced to make too many decisions at such a young age. Scott Haze gets into the terrifying moments around here well. Sawyer Jones plays the other child of significance in a role which brings a fair challenge to him. Amy Madigan ends up having a smaller role to work with than what was expected. Rory Cochrane’s work is another thing of support here. The monster when shown, works as a performer by itself.

How it finishes :: Antlers keeps on moving the world of horror forward in a different path for a change, and the world of fear continues to make its points in one way or the other. One does feel that the Malayalam movie Odiyan could have learned a few things from this one with the creature attacks and the atmosphere to make it darker – if you see the looks, there seems to a visual connection. The earlier divergent horror movies like Malignant, Lights Out, It Follows and Don’t Breathe had scored better, but this one tries to make it count. Maybe, something like the creature in this movie is the need of environment itself to take care of the humans who are destroying nature as we have known it. Well, Corona virus did try, but they were not successful in getting rid of humanity and its use of science to destroy environment. It does make us feel that there can be the moment when nature can get it back running – The Blackout surely made us think about human extinction. Until something like that happens, let us enjoy this horror out of nature.

Release date: 29th October 2021 (Theatre); 15th December 2021 (Hotstar)
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Starring: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, Amy Madigan

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Transformania

Vampire Owl: Do you know that they made Van Helsing the bloody scientist here?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I am completely aware of that.

Vampire Owl: They have replaced Doctor Frankenstein. How evil is that?

Vampire Bat: Doctor Frankenstein was never really a true scientist.

Vampire Owl: You should stop saying that. We know his inventions.

Vampire Bat: Your list of his inventions is flawed.

Vampire Owl: But they have been very useful.

Vampire Bat: Van Helsing has always been a real doctor.

Vampire Owl: You cannot support that evil former vampire hunter.

Vampire Bat: Well, you have to appreciate the fact that he is not into hunting again.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Count Dracula (Brian Hull) has the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Hotel Transylvania happening with almost every guest attending the party. His human son-in-law, Jonathan Loughran (Andy Samberg) almost ruins everything though, as he continues to be the moron that he has always been. During the celebrations, he was planning to retire and leave the hotel to Jonathan and Mavis (Selena Gomez), but as Jonathan continues to be the most foolish person on Earth, he decides to pretend that there is a clause that the hotel cannot be transferred to anyone who is not a monster. Jonathan who has no inch of smartness in his small brain decides that the only solution here is to change himself into a monster. It is then that Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan) provides him an opportunity become a monster, as he has the device to change people into such creatures. He does successfully test it on a guinea pig, and becomes proud of his grand invention, boasting further about it.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: So, Jonathan a.k.a. Johnny is transformed into a dragon-like monster which breathes fire, and has huge claws. Dracula tries his best to make sure that nobody gets to know about it, and tries to reverse the action, but ends up making himself human in the process, also destroying the device as a result of the events that follow. Abraham Van Helsing tells them that there is a way to change them back, and it is by finding a crystal in South America, which can take the place of the one which was destroyed, and get the device to work again. Dracula’s good old friends Frankenstein (Brad Abrell), Wayne (Steve Buscemi), Griffin (David Spade) and Murray (Keegan-Michael Key) also turn human, as they drink from a fountain contaminated by the ray. Even though Frankenstein feels good about it, as he is now a handsome human being, the others are not really fond of their transformation, and neither is the other monsters who find it to be very strange and unacceptable.

And how can the transformation be reversed now? :: Dracula and Johnny have already travelled all the way to South America, and as Ericka Van Helsing (Kathryn Hahn) sees some news about an old tourist being rescued by a monster in a Latin American country, they figure out that this is related to the father-in-law and son-in-law. They find Abraham Van Helsing hiding from the guinea pig monster, and understand things better, finally deciding to travel to South America and find the two. Meanwhile, Dracula does face the problems of being human again, as he is now old, and much weaker than his original state. They are forced to go through a jungle which seems to have enough dangers in store for them, but the monster finds it easy to go through them. The whole team from the castle are also in South America now, searching for the two. But it won’t be easy to find the two in the forest. Now the question remains if the transformation can actually be reversed, and whether things can now go back to the strange way of being normal. Well, you have to hope for the best, but not always when monsters are involved.

The defence of Hotel Transylvania: Transformania :: The Hotel Transylvania feeling is maintained here again, and the usual stuff gets going once again. The characters do continue to be interesting, as we look at them, and we have always wanted the monster world to be more relevance. The animation remains a thing of quality, and the world within Latin America is also nicely created, and would have looked much better if watched on the big screen with 3D, but we know that Amazon Prime Video is the best option with most of us not having the desire to sit in an air-conditioned hall with possible infected people for one an half hours. Well, the short run-time is still a positive thing, as we look at it. The message is surely given, even though there is the feeling of repetition, making us feel that we have seen all of these already. There is also some humour present around here, even though there is not much around. Well, you have vampires, the mummy, werewolves and the Frankenstein monster in an animated movie and you have to enjoy it up to an extent every time, doesn’t matter what the flaws are.

The claws of flaw :: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is the fourth film in the franchise, and there hasn’t been any improvement, that is for sure. As we are watching this on Amazon Prime Video, we cannot really know if there is that much of a grandeur set for the big screen. The one young human here continues to be a complete moron, and a character whom we hate more than ever – the fact that he doesn’t die in this movie is the biggest disappointment of the whole franchise, the daughter vampire could have also been dead to add some beauty to the whole thing. The movie’s whole point should have been the end of humans and the rise of the monsters who are less evil, but the franchise still struggles to get to that point. It should take in some ideas of innovation from other successful animated movie franchises and get the creative imagination working – after all, it is about vampires and other interesting monsters, and you can never really have enough of them. You do have the premise to work on, don’t you?

How it finishes :: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is just another addition to the grand list of similar movies which are part of a franchise, and has dealt with similar things for quite a long time. The first movie was among the very first animated films to be reviewed on this website, and there has been many animated movie reviews which followed. This one is surely a step backward from the original, and I cannot say about the other movies of the franchise as I haven’t watched them yet. With the lack of inspiration to create something better, and lacking further in creative imagination, the movie only continues what it has been doing, and does provide the feeling of repetition throughout its run. Still, it is some fun, and more entertainment for those who haven’t really watched the previous movies. Well, you can just start with Count Dracula who is running a hotel, trying to transfer it to his daughter and son-in-law, for there is not much lost related to it. These are the kind of movies which can always stand alone, as they are supposed to cater to the younger audience better and keep them wanting a sequel or two. Well, not every movie can be Frozen and its sequel.

Release date: 14th January 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Derek Drymon, Jennifer Kluska
Starring: Brian Hull, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Fran Drescher, Brad Abrell, Asher Blinkoff, Richard Blevins

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Come Play

Vampire Owl: Strange people calling us to play at this point of time. Why?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I think that they are the brain-repaired zombies.

Vampire Owl: So, zombies now have their brains repaired?

Vampire Bat: Yes, they manage the repair with the brains that they eat.

Vampire Owl: I am still not sure why they would want us to play with them though.

Vampire Bat: Well, they want our vampire brains for further repair.

Vampire Owl: In that case, I would tell them to find some of those evil humans.

Vampire Bat: Well, evil humans are easy to find. We can refer them directly.

Vampire Owl: Yes, almost every one among them qualifies as evil according to the definition.

Vampire Bat: Let the zombies and humans meet each other soon enough through the next viral apocalypse.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three glasses of oreo shake].

What is the movie about? :: Oliver (Azhy Robertson) is an autistic boy who cannot talk either, and uses a smartphone so that he can communicate with people. One night, he finds an app on his mobile named “Misunderstood Monsters” which talks about the story of a monster named Larry who is different, and therefore nobody wants to be his friend, even though the only thing that the creature wants is friendship. He does have his own episodes of screaming at night, and his mother Sarah (Gillian Jacobs) has some tough time with it. She also feels that her husband and the child’s father Marty (John Gallagher Jr) is just not doing enough for the troubled child, as he is almost always working. Oliver is troubled by his classmates who don’t like him as he gets special treatment due his disabilities. They also try bullying him, and also takes away his mobile phone, throwing it into the field near the school. At the same time, the relationship between Sarah and Marty only gets worse.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Sarah is not happy because she feels that Oliver only likes Marty, because he is the earning member of the family, and always brings the child the presents. As the tablet which Marty brought for him as a present identifies someone else with Oliver in the room with its face recognition software, there seems to be something wrong. The tablet actually starts talking to him using the same app which he was using to talk to others, and it identifies itself as Larry, who just wants to be a friend. As Marty who is bothered by Sarah’s talks finally decides to move out, the latter organizes a sleepover to help Oliver to become more social. But the chosen friends are the boys who had earlier bullied Oliver. Oliver hides the tablet as he is afraid of it, but the other boys find it, with a boy reading the story. It leads to Larry appearing, and things, as expected, can only get worse. But who would believe that Oliver is not responsible for all that is happening in house, and that there is a supernatural force at work?

The defence of Come Play :: There are some interesting scares added here and there in the movie, and some of them are more effective than the rest. The darkness and the sound effects are used well, as the visual effectiveness gets only better at the later stages of the film. The demon at work here is pretty good, and the idea that it can be seen in its original form through the tablet opens another dimension for horror very well. The idea of loneliness being spread through technology feels real, and as part of our present world. The demons from inside the technology – social media and the internet, mobile phones and laptops, they are all more real than ever. They might not be having an exact form these days, but they are present at all times, and even in the absence of the supernatural, the human evil shows its presence. Come Play’s monster can also be seen as a reflection of such evil humans, and the film also scores with a fine emotional side. It is not that easy to escape from such realistic monsters.

The claws of flaw :: Come Play could have added more effective creature horror rather than focusing more on those quick scares, and use of divergent creatures is nothing new, as we know from movies like Lights Out and It Follows. One does feel that something better could have been added with the creature detail, as better design only means the possibility of something better around here. With such a premise, it is not ready to take the risk, and that is surprising, because there was a lot that could be done with this particular monster. It could have gone beyond one family, and maybe it could have also had a background story – instead, we go for the safe zone with singular focus around here. An appearance of the monster at school, or at shops would have also been useful. The ending of the film also seems forced, and it doesn’t try to take a peek into the other dimension. All the build-up surely required more than this, as we look close here.

Performers of the soul :: Gillian Jacobs is very effective in becoming the motherly figure in a horror movie, and seemingly suiting the horror genre well. She is the one person who is there throughout the film as a mother who tries to understand, and is also the kind of person who would suit a horror film with younger cast, as she looks very much young. She does shine as the mother who has made some mistakes in the past, but does love her child and is ready to make all the sacrifices for him, as she also gets certain emotional moments which are of quality. John Gallagher Jr joins as the father figure well enough too. There are some moments for him too, especially with the creature making it to him. Azhy Robertson plays the child in trouble well, and Winslow Fegley plays his friend without much trouble. Some good performances from children also means that the horror story has better strength. The monster here is a fine performer all by himself, but a creature of electricity is surely capable of more – maybe the creature required a face too.

How it finishes :: Come Play might be a lesser known horror film in comparison to others, but is one effective work anyway. When children are involved, and when there is a monster from another dimension trying to come in through technology, one knows that this cannot be of lesser horror, especially with so many more people getting into technology due to the Corona virus pandemic and the related lock-down, work from home, schooling from home and more. Another film, Chathur Mukham has also dealt with the same thing, in Malayalam. Demons as part of technology can only get worse – we have watched Pretham and its sequel too. Let us have as many monsters are we need, because humans and the one virus spreading all over the world has made it much worse for the world. At least these monsters stick to a routine, but not those whom we see in real life. If you are looking for a similar movie with children and demons, you might also want to watch the Spanish film, Don’t Listen and the Korean one, The Closet.

Release date: 30th October 2020
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Jacob Chase
Starring: Gillian Jacobs, John Gallagher Jr, Azhy Robertson, Winslow Fegley, Rachel Wilson, Jayden Marine as Mateo, Gavin MacIver-Wright, Eboni Booth, Dalmar Abuzeid

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Swarm

Vampire Owl: I can feel the presence of some vampirism in here.

Vampire Bat: You are not talking about vampire locusts, are you?

Vampire Owl: Well, all kinds of vampiric creatures are welcome to our realm.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that locusts need any special welcome.

Vampire Owl: Everybody needs to be welcomed to the realm.

Vampire Bat: Except for the Corona virus.

Vampire Owl: Who is going to welcome a virus at this point?

Vampire Bat: We cannot be sure about that. Humans are crazy enough.

Vampire Owl: Humans can always be crazier.

Vampire Bat: You can trust them to do that every time.

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

What is the movie about? :: Virginie Hebrard (Suliane Brahim) is a widowed mother who has been unsuccessfully raising locusts for proteins, and it is not something which brings her favourable returns. Their family used to have goats around earlier, and her children, Laura Hebrard (Marie Narbonne) and Gaston Hebrard (Raphael Romand) are pretty much embarrassed by the business of locusts, with people ridiculing the same, including people at their school. As the locusts are not active enough, and with a lower level of health and reproduction among the insects, the family struggles to go on. Soon, she becomes more and ore frustrated, as people wouldn’t buy the locusts at even lower rates. As she trashes the locust enclosure and passes out there, she finds out that locusts are eating from the wounds on her arm. Soon enough, she finds out that the locusts are now more active, and lets the locusts feed from her wounded arm.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Laura is not happy about how things have turned out though, as with everything going well out there and locusts doing better, they will have to continue to stay there. Her hope that they can finally sell the farm and get away from the place is no longer there. She tears open one of the greenhouses, leading for a swarm of locusts to escape. This escaped swarm would make sure that there would be enough supply of blood for them. That wouldn’t stop her from being more and more obsessed about the locusts. The need to feed them more blood comes to the picture, and she is ready to take further risks for the same. At the same time, all these affect her relationships with people around her, including her children. But is it too late for all of these to change now? How much more the locusts will take out of relationships and in the form of blood and flesh?

The defence of The Swarm :: The drama side of the movie is okay, even though they haven’t really tried too much with the characters. There is the feeling of melancholy that runs through the movie, and most of the characters do have a certain amount of the same. There is just enough CGI and gore to keep the interest going. The setting is very much suitable for such a story, and we know that this is even more possible these during the time of Corona virus pandemic, where there is always mutation and people also get to live more alone than ever, facing even more financial crisis than ever. This is not a full insect attack movie, and people will have to remember that while choosing the same – for those who are looking for such full attack films, there are others from the second half of the twentieth century which was never short of such horror attacks from different creatures. Otherwise, you do watch this one as a drama with some insect horror added.

The claws of flaw :: A problem with this particular movie is that it losses its power as a thriller and horror flick, and gives in to the drama all the time – whenever there is a chance to make this one a horror thriller, it goes down to the state of a common drama about a widowed mother looking forward to make a living by farming. Well, a single mother with two children and financial struggles always make drama rise over any other elements of any genre. There could have been more interesting moments related to locust horror, or at least have some connection to science fiction. The characters and their relationships are also not that much explored, especially that of the daughter who could have had some life at the campus, even if not a positive one. It is certainly not what you expect when you go to watch the film, and the ending is also not that strong by any means. You can see some horror ready to go through the rails, but there is never the green flag, as we see a hesitation to let it go, while the movie slows down and drags at times.

Performers of the soul :: Suliane Brahim handles the role of the widowed mother in grief, trying to make her business do better, quite well. The attraction and the later obsession to the locusts which are shown by her, has something unique about it, even though it should have had more terrifying images than she presenting her body to feed for the insects in between – imagine the amount of horror which just that idea could have brought, but has been missed. Marie Narbonne is a lovely addition to the movie, and she plays the confused younger sister who hopes that things can get better if they leave the locust farm and home attached to it. The melancholy that she goes through is reflected on her face at almost all times, and the way she looks at people even with smiles, reflects a certain amount of sadness. Raphael Romand’s character remains a memorable one too. The one character who stands apart is Sofian Khammesas’s, as he plays the man who is always willing to help, a rare one during this age without faith.

How it finishes :: It is still a thing of wonder that this movie doesn’t redeem itself with thrills and horror when there was so much of an opportunity. While the drama goes on, the other elements lag, even though we feel that it scores a family adventure throughout most of its stages. It is the kind of movie which has the elements to confuse us about the genre in which it stays. One would feel that it could have worked even without focusing on the locusts, and maybe even after replacing them. It would have done fine enough by growing some of the more common things in the farm, as we look at them. On another day, this could be a full-horror movie with insect attacks, a thriller which has a family hunted, or a science fiction flick with mutated insects bringing something further terrifying. But it chooses to focus on the drama, and it suits one kind of audience much more than the others. As we are now in fear of the next mutation of the virus and wonders if everything has to go back to lockdown again, enjoy this one outside the theatres.

Release date: 1st August 2020
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Just Philippot
Starring: Suliane Brahim, Sofian Khammes, Marie Narbonne, Raphael Romand, Nathalie Boyer

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Meander

Vampire Owl: I remember having met an elf with a similar name.

Vampire Bat: Well, this is certainly not a fantasy movie.

Vampire Owl: Elves are as real as we are. None of us are fantasy.

Vampire Bat: Well, for humans, we are all fantasy elements.

Vampire Owl: The girl on the poster does look very much real.

Vampire Bat: You surely cannot say the same about her surroundings.

Vampire Owl: The poster here doesn’t seems to mean anything.

Vampire Bat: It could be a reflection of the useless lives that the humans lead.

Vampire Owl: Well, with the terrible mindset that they have, what else can they do?

Vampire Bat: They could always choose to be extinct and save the planet and the other life forms that live without hate.

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

What is the movie about? :: Lisa (Gaia Weiss) who works as a waiter is seen lying in the middle of a road in the countryside until a car arrives from a distance. She starts walking, but the man in the car, Adam (Peter Franzen) who works as a night watchman offers her a lift, as there is nobody nearby, and there is no hope of finding civilization soon enough. They seem to get along well enough, and Lisa is disappointed about her daughter’s death – she realizes that the girl would have been nine years old on that day if she was alive. There is the feeling of melancholy that runs through her, and she hopes that she could die one day and unite with he daughter again. It is then that it turns out that the man who is with her is a murderer, and the police is in search of him, as she realizes the same from the news on the radio. But the realization comes a little late, as he slams her head against the dashboard of the car, leaving her motionless.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Lisa wakes up in a small room which seems to have no way out. She is clothed in a strange suit which tightly fits her body, and a strange light-emitting device is attached to her wrist. Later, a door on the side opens and reveals a narrow tunnel through which she crawls with great difficulty, and the door closes right behind her, leaving her trapped inside on her all fours. She has no option, but to continue crawling, trying to find and exit which could lead her to freedom. The device on her wrist also seems to have a timer and alarm, as it seems to remind her of time running out, as she has to go squeeze through extremely narrow passages, as she moved towards light. As the roof of the tunnel comes down, almost catching her buttocks stuck within, that would be only the first of the challenges that she would have to overcome, soon to be followed by a rotten body, water, acid and others.

The defence of Meander :: Almost whole of the movie has just one setting around here, and it has also dealt with the same effectively. There are some fine traps in here, and the more terrifying thing is that they are all within a crawlspace, with the chance of escape being really minute – I wouldn’t give most of us any chance with this, but we root for the lady in distress here, as we are more confident about her getting through, even though not as much as Prince of Persia or Tomb Raider would. Here, in between, we come to know that there is more to all of these than what meets the eye, and that there is something beyond our comprehension, most probably supernatural or paranormal at work. The same is revealed in the end, and it means that we have further scope for a sequel here. After all, this kind of a premise, like that of Prometheus and Alien Covenant, even though lesser in grandeur, can have many different paths to follow. The mysterious feeling never really leaves us.

The claws of flaw :: Meander is surely not the usual kind of a movie, and it goes divergent from even any other possible film who can deal with a similar circumstance. It doesn’t have much more than what it provides here, and leaves us with minimal settings. People who don’t wish to see one person trying to fight it all to make the way out of a long crawlspace won’t find this one to be of their type. Even though this is supposed to be science fiction, the same type of elements show less of a presence around here. We also feel that this could have been better, more direct in what it does, because you know how these have worked really well with the video games. There could have been direct ideas provided here, and even though there could be symbolism being connected here, there is not much that we can use directly. We do have many films with one actor getting all the focus, and others being almost absent – Sunny is a recent example, and this one could have done more with the one character other than the trap escape acts.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has only two actors, and it is more or less about Gaia Weiss, who is there for the whole of the movie, and works through it very all, as her character keeps trying to survive against all odds. She nicely fits in here, and one would feel that if there is a full action film coming soon, she could be right in there, doing a great job. She plays the character that has do the impossible, and she does some fantastic work as the one person who goes through all of these. To add to it, there is also an emotional side to her character, which is also portrayed well. Peter Franzen also has some work to do, but he has a very less time on the screen. Basically, we can say that everything is left to Gaia, and she becomes the sole pillar on which the movie depends on, as far as performances are concerned. She never looks like she is going to lag with that much of a weight on her. Not many people could have handled the same so well too.

How it finishes :: Meander makes a fine French movie that has different elements coming together even with almost everything set in one particular place. It is all about survival, set in a seemingly difficult situation, much scarier than The Shallows where we know the enemy, and much hopeless than The Platform in which there was at least the certainty of food and a possible companionship. Unlike the rest which has some hope for its protagonists, this one is at an advanced level of leaving almost no chance to survive, like a hopeless level of The Maze Runner. As a film which gives you claustrophobia, this one is surely an experiment which you might want to remember for long. As the lady moves through this particular crawlspace world, you are into some slow and effective moments of thrills, unlike the ones that we usually see elsewhere. It is that tale of survival which once again has the protagonist fighting against all odds, and we are all hoping for her to survive.

Release date: 11th October 2020
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Mathieu Turi
Starring: Gaia Weiss, Peter Franzen

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

<— Click here to go to the first French film review on the site.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Madres

Vampire Owl: How many horror movies can one watch in a small gap of a few hours?

Vampire Bat: We vampires do not have limitations in horror.

Vampire Owl: During the Corona virus times, there should be restrictions.

Vampire Bat: Not in the case of films, for we are not watching them in theatres.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that vampires should go back to horror.

Vampire Bat: We were always in horror. You didn’t know that?

Vampire Owl: This is not the horror that we were born into.

Vampire Bat: You should remember that all kinds of horror are connected.

Vampire Owl: Not in the watch of owls. Maybe that works for bats.

Vampire Bat: Still doing better than the Vampire Crocodile.

[Gets a choclate cake and three cups of Munnar special tea].

What is the movie about? :: In the 1970s, a Mexican-American couple are expecting their first child, and during this time period, they move from Los Angelos to a migrant farming community in the nineteen seventeens, and he would be working as a manager in a farm. The area chosen for the same is in California, and the place seems to be quite peaceful and quiet enough for the baby when it arrives. Diana (Ariana Guerra), the pregnant lady is American, while Beto (Tenoch Huerta) is Mexican, and had migrated to the United States. The small town where they move to, seems to have more of a Spanish influence too. The first person that they meet in the town is Anita (Elpidia Carrillo), who provides them with a blessing of Holy Mary, and assures them that the town can be a wonderful place to live in, much to the dismay of Diana who wonders why it is not already such a place. Beto doesn’t work much about the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: As Beto goes for work, Diana feels that there is something strange about the place, and that doubt leads her to the outhouse building near the house, and she finds a few things which might have belonged to the previous owners. She also gets locked inside, and after somehow getting out, finds a severed eye being hung on tree outside the house. Beto feels that these were not things to be worried about, as the door might have closed due to the wind and the severed eye might have been there for a very long time, and maybe it meant something for the previous owners or the locals. They also meet the locals who seems to be friendly enough, but don’t get much of information, even though they end up having more acquaintances. Still, they remains more of Beto’s friends, as he is Mexican and good at Spanish. Diana only gets more and more disoriented during her time there. She wonders if there is more than what meets the eye about the place.

The defence of Madres :: The one advantage that this film has over the others is that it really has its creepy world going strong during all times. The environment here is really good, and very much notable. An ancient curse in the background seems through run through here, and adds to the creepy atmosphere really well. Even though there seems to be something supernatural around here, we soon come to know that it is not all, and we soon face the mystery being revealed. Some of us might be able to guess the final twist, but it also has its own small changes related to the same. It also leads to a few things which really happened, and it does remind of a few things which can happen if we are not aware. It leaves the message that with or without the presence of the supernatural, the world and its people are not what we feel they are, for people will always have their hidden agenda and a good dose of hatred inside. The music here is also very much suitable for the same.

The claws of flaw :: Just like the case of The Manor, this film also has the problem of being classified completely into the category of horror, as this one is also no fully something that focuses on the scares. It could have used the horror, as well as the grand atmosphere that it possesses with the house and the town with maximum effectiveness, for these days, many horror films are on a continuous struggle to be what it really should be. It is actually not restricted to one location with scope for here, as there is a lot more in here, for the town itself has something in store at different parts. A faster movie could have dealt with all of these with better strength, but this one hesitates to pick up the pace. The movie also released without much of a hype, and not many people know about its entry into Amazon Prime Video – the title also has people confused about the language. The movie came silently, and it is still there, but not many people know about the same.

Performers of the soul :: Ariana Guera plays the one character who seems to be fully English, and she is also the upcoming mother in trouble, here she is acting as the main protagonist, as well as the centre of attraction. She achieves the same really well, as we look at the scenes here. She is not that much of a believer in the supernatural, and we see her knowing things the hard way. Tenoch Huerta gets into his role really well too. The next important character is played by Elpidia Carrillo, and you will remember her from Predator, fighting the monster with her newly discovered American allies. She has blended into this role, even though one does feel that it should have been better written. The others are just part of the usual process, and they just blend in here too. Most of these characters become relevant at some later stage of the movie, and we are not to avoid them – there is the twist about this particular mystery that awaits us later.

How it finishes :: This one has some similarities with The Manor with how it progresses, how it deviates from its genre, and how it joins different things in a building as well as with an environment that catches our attention. Instead of the old age home and the strange surroundings, this one has one home and a lonely enough world around it. As far as the whole atmosphere is concerned, and related to the progress that happens in each minute, Madres has the advantage. This is also part of the Welcome to the Blumhouse film series, just like The Manor. I would suggest this movie to those who are interested in some slow, atmospheric horror, with a strong base on ancient legends and curses, and this is not your Annabelle, The Conjuring, Insidious, Don’t Breathe and Lights Out. You just need to live through this atmosphere rather than trying to be scared at all times, for there are different things of interest here.

Release date: 8th October 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 83 minutes
Directed by: Ryan Zaragoza
Starring: Elpidia Carrillo, Ariana Guera, Tenoch Huerta, Jennifer Patino, Kerry Cahill, Evelyn Gonzalez, Britton Webb

<— Click here to go to the previous big hype movie released on Amazon.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nizhal

What is the movie about? :: John Baby (Kunchacko Boban), a district court judge gets into a car accident after being in a fight with rash bike rider. After the accident, he begins to see things, and when there is sunshine, he keeps seeing dark clouds and rain. His psychatrist Dr TP Basheer (Rajesh Hebbar) tells him that it is just post-traumatic stress which will be over in a few days. He is also forced to wear a mask to make sure his damaged nose wouldn’t suffer any more damage, and will stay stable. He is not able to continue with his job as he used to, and his senior, Ajith Kumar (Saiju Kurup) is doubtful about his mental status. His best friend Rajan (Rony David) and wife Shalini (Divya Prabha) helps him, as latter is also a psychologist. From Shalini, he gets to know about a boy named Nitin (Izin Hash) who had written a story of murder when teachers had told the students to do some creative writing exercise. The teachers are concerned because as a child, he was supposed to write about things less terrifying by a long way.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As this has him interested, he meets Sharmila (Nayanthara) the boy’s mother with the help of Shalini so that he could get rid of the feeling that something is wrong. Even though she doesn’t agree in the beginning, she lets them into their home fearing the police getting into the act. Nitin seems to be a happy little boy who lives with his mother in a luxurious flat in the middle of the city, and his only contact is Megha (Aadya Prasad), a college student who comes regularly to teach him, and is his only real friend. Nitin gets close to John easily, especially due to his mask which reminded him about Batman and Robin. Soon, things take a turn, as they understand that the murder which the boy had talked about, is something which had really happened. The body which was supposed to be hidden in the area which he mentioned actually existed, as they fnd a skeleton which was about thirty years old. Now, the boy has another story, and things begin to get serious with police involved.

The defence of Nizhal :: There is a certain amount of quality that we can witness as far as b is considered as a mystery thriller – this is the style which some of the Prithviraj movies had possessed, those belonging to the same genre. The technical department is quite strong here, and we see some fine visuals and the background score as well as the other sound effects are of top quality. The mystery is well maintained throughout the film, and there is the suspense which is not revealed that easily. The movie, as a thing of mystery has that Hollywood touch in different areas. It never lets the slowing down of the tale to hurt it, because there is the artistic quality which makes everything feel relevant and running. The first half is surely better than the second, and the interval punch is of top quality, as it is where you get your expectations to the highest point. From there, the movie travels through the safer zone in comparison.

The claws of flaw :: The climax could have surely been better, instead of seemingly taking everything towards what seemed to be a rather convenient ending – not really appropriate for a movie which had taken itself out of the comfort zone in the early stages making one feel that this was going to be something divergent beyond expectations. There are also those situations which could have been more twisted than what is seen on the screen, and moments when it could have taken a big leap. We could have also seen better reasons for what has happened on the screen, but that is also not here to be taken. The comic relief, even though is pretty good, disappears too soon, and the seriousness is not transformed into that next level as it was needed, when we see the final moments of the film. One can’t really blame that as the biggest mystery and fear has been about the Corona virus for some time now. The movie also needed better advertising because there are still people who don’t know about this one.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchako Boban has been winning with his thriller movies, from Anjaam Pathiraa to Nayattu, the first one being an investigation thriller and the second one being a survival thriller against all odds. With all these movies, it is clear that he is getting rid of that romantic hero image once again, as this works really well for him. I would expect to find many more of similar movies with him in the lead, as we see how well this has suited him. After Love Action Drama, Nayanthara makes another return to Malayalam cinema, and this time it is into another genre, even though this time, we don’t have the whole thing centered around her – there is no real romantic side to this tale, and it is indeed a positive thing in a mystery thriller based on murders. Her character is also limited in comparison, and maybe it could have had more dimensions rather than being important as the mother of child causing trouble.

Further performers of the soul :: Izin Hash who plays the kid does the usual job quite well too. Saiju Kurup does things well in a role which suits him. Lal makes an appearance in the end, and it is the kind of role, though significant, stays on for the last fifteen minutes or so. Maybe, he could have had something to do earlier in the film too, and that would have made the whole thing better. Rony David who is best remembered for Aanandam, plays a significant role here too, and Divya Prabha who were among the nurse characters in Take Off has a nice role here, as a child psychologist, which she does to perfection – another case of finding the right support cast. We also see Marimayam‘s Vinod Kovoor and Star Magic‘s Kollam Sudhi in smaller roles, and we can hope for more of them later too. Among others, Aadhya Prasad seemed to be a notable newcomer, and we can find out that the lesser roles are given to those who are suitable for the job.

How it finishes :: Nizhal is the latest in the list of those Malayalam movies which were forced out of the theatres due to the COVID-19 complete lock-down being brought on the state. It is a fine choice, as nothing reaches viewers like Amazon Prime. After Drishyam 2 became a huge success and Joji received some high level critical opinion, it was already too late for a movie like this to have its release in the OTT platform. So, finally it arrived, and one can be sure not to be disappointed with this mystery thriller, as it is more than the usual mysteries which you see everywhere. It was also nice to see parts of UC College, Aluva being included in parts of the movie – the college had its biggest appearance in Premam, but here also, we are happy to see that grand educational institution which only recently completed one hundred years since its beginning. Nizhal, as a mystery thriller wins its battle, and lets hope that we win ours against COVID-19 too. Stay safe, everyone.

Release date: 9th April 2021 (Theatre), 11th May 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Appu N Bhattathiri
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Nayanthara, Lal, Rony David, Saiju Kurup, Izin Hash, Divya Prabha, Vinod Kovoor, Aneesh Gopal, Siyad Yadu, Sadiq, Aadhya Prasad, Rajesh Hebbar, Kollam Sudhi, Sreelatha Namboothiri

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

It: Chapter Two

Vampire Owl: Have you met the vampire clown?

Vampire Bat: We have a vampire clown now?

Vampire Owl: Yes, even the zombies have their own clowns in a zombie-infested theme park, and it was necessary for us to arrange one.

Vampire Bat: Now we have to pay him too. Being a clown is not even a real job in the vampire world with base in horror.

Vampire Owl: It is okay, because he will be playing the It clown only.

Vampire Bat: It clown is a creature that vampires shall not accept as their own.

Vampire Owl: But he has become a trend, and we have to accept him as our own too. This is not child’s play.

Vampire Bat: Well, I am sure that he was not the kind of clown the vampire elders had approved.

Vampire Owl: But he is trending on Vampire Twitter, and it has been so for the last one year.

Vampire Bat: What? Even the vampires are letting a clown trend when we have pure non-vegetarian vampires!

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

What is the movie about? :: In 1988-1989 time period, in the streets of a small and lesser known town Derry, a his six-year-old child was taken into the sewers and eaten by Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard), and a team of children had forgotten their fears to destroy the creature, and send it into hibernation for twenty seven years, hoping that it would starve and die during the time period with no option available. The team of children known as the Losers swears a blood oath that they shall be returning to to the town of Derry as adults if It returns to haunt the place ever again. Twenty seven years later, a young man is murdered by a clown which is said to have eaten his heart. A young girl who was watching a match in a stadium is also lured by It, and murdered under the seats of the gallery. Derry town now has more than what it can handle.

So, what happens with the events here? :: This ancient cosmic evil which preys upon children and possessing a large variety of powers including the ability to shapeshift, manipulate and create illusions has gone unnoticed by the police and the people in charge there, but the same cannot be said about Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) who discovers clues to the presence of the creature. As the only person left in the town out of the children’s team serving as the town librarian, he decides to call the other members of the gang. Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain) who has been going through sexual and physical abuse in the hands of her husband is only happy to come to the town, while the successful novelist Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) is quick to respond. A frightened Stanley Uris (Andy Bean) commits suicide and a lonely Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan) is only happy about a get together. Others, Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone) and Richie Tozier (Bill Hader) also reach there, but are they good enough to face this advanced It?

The defence of It: Chapter Two :: Even in the absence of the quality of the first movie, the second one manages to stay floating against all the ice it had created in the water as hurdles including the dumb humour, silly bonding among friends and the not so scary frightening scenes. There are moments of horror which works in the movie, and in the final fifty to fifty five minutes of action, almost everything works as far as the scares are concerned. The adult replacements are good, but not that much as the children, and not all of them works accordingly. The clown remains a fantastic figure of horror, and it is only when the creature comes out there with all its glory that we realize that there is something special in this movie – whenever It is there, the movie raises its level, and the so called adults don’t really live up to the quality of the clown. Among the scary scenes, the most notable one might be the creepy old woman thing, and then the murder of the two kids.

The claws of flaw :: It can be seen that It: Chapter Two fails to meet the standards of the first movie which had that first scene of the child taken into sewers being among the best scenes ever in a horror movie. It also had a projector scene to stay in our memory along with others. Yes, the old woman scene is creepy, and there is some continuous dose of horror in the last few minutes, but they are more or less for the quick scares rather than being there to stay for long. There is no scene as in the first movie to remember in this second film in comparison, and it also drags a lot. There is a lot of slow movement inside the movie during the first half, and it is during the last one hour or so that the movie picks up its pace. It should have had that kind of horror which keeps us awake at night in the darkness like Lights Out could do when lights were turned off, but this second movie focuses too much on other things, as the bonding is too much and the humour is dumb.

Performers of the soul :: With its flashback, this movie is more or less drama than horror, as the children keep coming back to this film too, with its flashbacks. The young generation of the cast continues to score over the older ones, especially Sophia Lillis who becomes Jessica Chastain as an adult, and stay pretty well throughout the movie. James McAvoy is also very good, and is the next notable character in the flick. Jay Ryan is the one who seems to be completely different from his childhood avatar, and manages to be just okay. James Ransone provides the fun here, even though the humour itself is not that much working. Bill Hader with the comic side is also only somewhat working. Isaiah Mustafa does a good job as the one who brings them all together, the confident one among the Losers. Andy Bean is wasted while Bill Skarsgard as the clown continues to entertain – maybe some more kids would have added more here.

How it finishes :: It: Chapter Two is too long a movie, and has most of its best moments directed to the final one hour. A lot of the movie was rather not needed, including the first scene and the hallucinations when the protagonists come together. The collection of artifacts could have also been shortened to make this a one hundred and twenty minutes movie, which would mean an accurate movie filled with horror at all spaces. Still, with whatever we have, rooted in the Stephen King novel of the same name, the film takes the scary elements to the screen well enough. The predictable moments, silly jokes, and the overdone friendship can be avoided though, and we can quickly move towards the last few minutes to enjoy this movie at its best. After all, an evil clown like this is not to be left behind – for terror is real, whether there is Corona virus or not.

Release date: 6th September 2019
Running time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, James Ransone, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, Bill Skarsgard, Andy Bean

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Wretched

Vampire Owl: These humans often refer us by this name.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is clearly wrong, as we are not in a wretched condition yet.

Vampire Owl: I am pretty sure that the humans are in a more wretched situation now.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the Corona Virus has gotten into them pretty badly.

Vampire Owl: I believe that they have always been wretched enough.

Vampire Bat: I wouldn’t say that for every one of them.

Vampire Owl: You have always been too kind of the humans.

Vampire Bat: And you have always been the cruel one.

Vampire Owl: Nobody in the known world are as cruel and wicked as the humans.

Vampire Bat: Now, this is something you don’t even say about the werewolves or zombies.

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

What is the movie about? :: A young girl names Megan (Sydne Mikelle) has a babysitting duty, only to find a creature feeding off the little girl, and as she tries to escape, it seems that Megan also meets a similar end in the hands of the demonic creature. Later we see Ben (John-Paul Howard), a youngster joining his father Liam (Jamison Jones), as his parents are in the middle of having a mutually agreed divorce. Ben gets to work in the local harbour in the countryside with his father on a temporary basis. At the same time, Liam is getting too close to his co-worker, Sara (Azie Tesfai) while Ben becomes good friends with a local girl working there, named Mallory (Piper Curda). Ben also can’t stop himself from noticing their new neighbours, Abbie (Zarah Mahler) and her son Dillon (Blane Crockarell). They do get lost in the woods, and Dillon gets called by a tree into the hole underneath, but they do manage to bring home a deer which their car had hit and killed, much to the dismay of Abbie’s husband Ty (Kevin Bigley). She tries to cut the animal for a dish, but messes it up.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Later, we see that a certain creature is coming out of the body of the deer through the cut which was made earlier, and Ben also sees something sitting on the rails of Abbie’s home – seemingly human, but something else in reality. It does disappear when the light goes off, but makes appearances inside the house of Abbie. Ben tries to mingle with the young people in the neighbourhood with a party, but is publicly embarrassed by the most desired girl of the locality JJ (Gabriela Quezada Bloomgarden). As he returns home, he finds Abbie walking into the woods with her toddler, but is interrupted by Liam and Sara, leading to a dispute. Even though Abbie returns from the woods, she doesn’t seem to be the same. It doesn’t seem to be the usual trouble that haunts the small town, as there is more to it than what meets the eye. There is a force beyond one’s understanding, and if someone tries to solve the case, that person might be considered a lunatic. How many lives will be lost before such an evil vanquished?

The defence of The Wretched :: There is no doubt about this particular movie’s ability to score with the ambiance, as the setting as well as the neighbourhood where the people are living, can all be considered to be very much perfect. We have the small town where people are denying the existence of evil, but there has always been one in the woods, and a tree has been central to everything. To get to the depth of this evil, we have even more twisted ideas in there, and more of terrifying suspense will be revealed in the end. There are also some scares to support the same, and the nature around the place is indeed beautiful. It is more or less like a dark fairy-tale, as there are elements of a dark fantasy which runs right through. The characters are the kind of people whom you can relate to, and that makes the transformation caused by the witch feel even more real. After all, it is always nice to be taken back to the idea of that witch who used to haunt us during the childhood and reached as far as The Witch – until you had the older version of Evil Dead to scare you in the best possible way.

The claws of flaw :: It has to be noted that the movie does try to have a little too much than a regular witch story, which doesn’t always work in its favour. The mixture doesn’t make the best use of its elements, especially as there are so many things which a witch possessing a lady or two can do. The terror could have had even stranger forms, and it also takes some time to make one feel the seriousness of the same. Some scenes are also not needed, even in a movie which goes just above one and half hours. Some people can even find this movie to be confusing in parts, and the creepy poster doesn’t come up in there, which is also disappointing. The mask does come though, and just like the other elements related to the witch, there could have surely been more. The ending has also been left open, maybe for a sequel, but that would need more, and not just the type of material that we have here. There are also some characters who could have done more – some are just left not explored well enough, and we feel the need to see them more.

Performers of the soul :: It is to be noted that the main characters are driven by a terrifying feeling – if you die, and nobody remembers you, where you really alive? That existential crisis is first discovered by John-Paul Howard who plays Ben well enough, but the truth is that it is not just his neighbour who has forgotten his son, as the darker secrets are there to make him realize the terror further. He plays the curious youngster who understands things happening around better than the others, and he does that well. At the same time, Piper Curda remains very cute and brings a lot of charm to the movie – not your usual leading actress, she brings a few joyful moments here and there in what really is a dark movie as it progresses. Zarah Mahler is really good as the young lady next door who is possessed by the witch, as she makes some really scary appearances, and there are scenes with her skin ripping off, which takes it to another level. Azie Tesfai with that deer-skull mask on her face is joy to watch, even though it is only for a short period of time to make a good enough bad witch. Gabriela Quezada Bloomgarden could have been there for more though.

How it finishes :: We have always had the supernatural creatures running around in different movies, but the witches have always struggled to keep it going in comparison to vampires, werewolves, zombies and other creatures of the dark who have been competing well with the demons and ghosts. But The Wretched does manage to bring some of such interest back to us during these days, as the witch gets her due, without a broomstick, staying close to an evil tree in the forest. It has enough surprises in there to keep the whole thing going, and with such a setting to help its cause, The Wretched is sure to take you to a world of forest’s witches whom we have known since childhood. You can always expect more, but this is indeed a good beginning to a type of horror cinema which hasn’t made that much of success in comparison to the others. After all, elves and similar creatures of light are not the only ones you keep finding in the middle of the forest.

Release date: 19th July 2019
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Brett Pierce, Drew T Pierce
Starring: John-Paul Howard, Piper Curda, Zarah Karen Mahler, Kevin Bigley, Gabriela Quezada Bloomgarden, Richard Ellis, Blane Crockarell, Jamison Jones, Azie Tesfai

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vivarium

Vampire Owl: I have heard that Vive la France is an expression used in France to show patriotism. Does the title have anything to do with it?

Vampire Bat: Well, I think that they have chosen an interesting name. It means an enclosure made for keeping animals in semi-natural conditions for observation or study.

Vampire Owl: It is strange, but I will agree to it. The name does catch one’s attention.

Vampire Bat: Do you wish to rename your vampires quarters with this name?

Vampire Owl: I haven’t even come close to renaming it. The present one is a highly intellectual one.

Vampire Bat: There is nothing intellectual about naming a home as mansion.

Vampire Owl: You will not understand. I have always wanted to have a mansion.

Vampire Bat: I will not understand such foolishness, ever.

Vampire Owl: I would rather be anywhere other than a vivarium.

Vampire Bat: Well, lets see where our main characters here happens to be.

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

What is the movie about? :: A young couple, Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots) want to purchase a house and move in. Both are not married, but looks forward to start a new life together soon. For the same, they visit an estate agent, Martin (Jonathan Aris), who seems to be acting strange, but comes up with a special offer for them. According to him, a new development known as Yonder might be perfect for a young couple who is trying to begin a new life far away from the busy city life. The place which as a series of homes looking almost the same, seems to be beautiful, and at the same time, silent, empty with no house seemingly occupied, and also giving the feeling of being out of the world. Martin shows the couple around house number nine and then they cannot find him around. Gemma and Tom try to leave Yonder, but however they keep moving, they end up in front of the same house. The car eventually runs out of fuel and they are forced to stay in house number nine.

So, what happens with the events here? :: They try to go up to the roof of the building and see if they can have a better look, but there is only an unlimited of series of similar houses to be seen, and nothing else. All houses seem so perfectly identical, and even the sky looks the same everywhere, with the clouds also being perfectly shaped. As they looked towards infinity, they decide to follow the perfect sun-like thing by jumping over walls of the houses, going in a straight line. But that also leaves them at the same place. Then at home, they find food items and groceries being delivered. But soon, they find a little boy being delivered – “Raise the child and be released” – the message written on the delivery box said so, and they begin to think that it is their only way to escape. At the same time, Tom also begins to dig of a pit hoping to escape underground, as there is no other way to go. Can the couple escape from this seemingly impossible situation? Or will they be stuck there forever? What is with this child who seems to be growing up faster than normal?

The defence of Vivarium :: The movie keeps its mystery elements strong, and it arouses the curiosity of the audience with ease, and as it gets into such an environment very early, we are also into it guessing soon enough. This time, it is a kid who is at the centre of everything, and you remember the other kids who were indeed dangerous, including Orphan and The Prodigy. Lord of the Flies proved it with a group of kids, while The Room had another kind of child, with The Influence having a child becoming a nightmare. The movie shows the dream of buying a villa, and shows how the protagonists are trapped by it. There are many points in the movie which become classic, and its idea of the aliens is nicely divergent. The creepiness here is not in frightening people, and the maze-like structure which the villa becomes, is going to make even a Minotaur proud. After all, we are in such a structure, with no chance to escape, as each and every day brings the same routine, while we are caught in it.

The claws of flaw :: There are areas where Vivarium goes unexplained, and even though it does try to live up to its name, there is not really an attempt to go into that further, or give a stronger feeling about it. The aliens seem to be a little bit clueless about what they are doing too, at a time when all these could have had better explanation that showing a cuckoo growing up – this doesn’t exactly become the same. As the two protagonists have been alone for a long time, there were more that they could have done, and further methods of escape could have also been attempted. The boy here could have also been a little bit threatening rather than remaining annoying all the time – you remember the boy of The Room who was surely developing into a genuine threat. More additions could have been done within the neighbourhood to make it further creepy or rather scary.

Performers of the soul :: Imogen Poots is a highly underrated actress, and she proves to be fantastic yet again in this movie. The audience from this part of the world might know her from Need for Speed, the game-based movie which had her as heroine, looking kind of like Anushka Sharma from an angle or two. There has been many movies with her name with it, but I don’t think that any of them had a theatre release around here, except for, maybe the A-1 cities with big malls, like Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad – maybe cities like Pune and Ahmedabad had them too, but that wouldn’t have attracted much of the audience. The British actress takes this role to perfection, and you can see many situations reflecting the same. Jesse Eisenberg will be known for the audience here for Now You See Me and its sequel as well as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which were the last big movies of him widely released here, and he also does a fine job. The rest of the cast just gives some good support.

How it finishes :: At a time when people got caught in their homes, or at times the neighbourhood with nowhere to escape, Vivarium becomes a fine reflection, as the protagonists are also facing the same situation. They are left with a house in the neighbourhood, and they can’t go into any other houses around there, and are to spend their time inside with whatever food is being delivered from outside. It does feel like a certain kind of quarantine, but this is the kind from where there is no escape. There is no network coverage on the mobile phone, and the television only shows some strange lines and grains all around. Vivarium doesn’t seem to reach that greatness that it intended, but it is so much close to it. The movie makes us feel our emotions, and make us think about the usual themes about humanity and other species well enough. It is a movie that we should watch, and will like more or a little less according to our tastes. You can feel an experiment, even though not exactly in the form of The Belko Experiment or The Platform.

Release date: 18th May 2019
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Lorcan Finnegan
Starring: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Danielle Ryan, Jonathan Aris, Molly McCann, Senan Jennings, Eanna Hardwicke, Come Thiry

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Impetigore

Vampire Owl: This should be one strange case of gore.

Vampire Bat: The original title in Indonesian is rather too long.

Vampire Owl: Well, at least we get to review an Indonesian movie this time.

Vampire Bat: Yes, after that visit to Bali last year, it was needed to happen at some point.

Vampire Owl: Corona Virus did make sure that it was one final foreign trip.

Vampire Bat: Well, we are now more distant from other parts of the world than ever.

Vampire Owl: At least the human pride in their technology is now crushed.

Vampire Bat: Yes, now they know that science cannot bring them everything.

Vampire Owl: You cannot take science to attack nature, for it is too dumb an action.

Vampire Bat: Well, the vampire elders have made that clear too.

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

What is the movie about? :: Maya (Tara Basro) with her best friend, Dini (Marissa Anita), are trying to survive in a city without family or relatives to support them, as they work at expressway tolls. But they never really earns enough money to keep them going in the big city. On a fateful night, Maya is attacked by a man who had been stalking her for a long time, and as he discovers a mark on her right thigh, tells her that he should kill her to keep a curse away, but the police arrives in time and shoots the man. A few days later, the two girls leave their jobs and start a small clothes store in a corner of a market, and nobody really visits their place. The business is making them no profit at all, and they keep thinking about a way out. It is then that Maya comes up against a photo from her childhood which shows her standing with her parents in front of a big house, and she also manages to get an address at a remote village which is not in the Google Maps, but is part of the territory.

So, what happens with the events here? :: They travel all the way there, and finds out that not many people wants to go to the village area, except for one young man who charges them a lot. When they reach the village, they find the house to be locked and deserted, with nature taken over parts of it. The lack of maintenance was surely there as far as the house was concerned, but it was indeed a lot spacious inside, and it also had all the furniture there, as well as some lighting which could be used along with the option for getting some water. Yet there is something wrong with the village and the house where Maya had lived with her parents. The villagers believe that the house belonged the demons and there was a curse associated with it from a long time ago. There are also deaths happening in the village, and it seems to be children who are facing death. The two girls are afraid that if they tell the truth, it might be troublesome, and they pretend to be research students from a nearby university. But who long can they keep the lie going against terror awaiting to unleash on them?

The defence of Impetigore :: There is a talented cast which makes sure that this movie never losses its strength, and the lead Tara Basro seems to be that king of an actress who would be part of a horror movie instantly if it was in Hollywood, and Marissa Anita as well as Asmara Abigail also maintains such qualities. If you have a look at it, you will know that Indonesian movies are also superior in horror, and among the East Asian movies, you just can’t give all the credit to the Korean movies only, with the level being consistently increased with those from different languages. The atmosphere of the movie is just too good, and we feel that mystery and horror running through the stylish, abandoned, rural world. The setting is such a big advantage that you are going to get immersed in it. The visuals are really good, and you can see the environment coming up with natural beauty as well as the horror of the world that lies at almost every corner.

Positives and negatives :: As a stable mystery horror thriller, Impetigore is that kind of a movie which is difficult to find faults with, having the same level maintained for most part of it. Still, people can always find some problem with horror movies, and here also they would wonder about how the main characters are acting when facing certain terror being present all around there – but, that kind of a judgment has always been flawed in the soul itself because people are basically supposed to be like that, being evil as well as dumb whenever the emotional side takes on. The building can be considered slow, but it is more or less expected because the grandeur of terror had to rise step by step to create the best of impact. The familiar horror contents have more additions here too. The superstitions and the beliefs in curses and spells also gets a place, and it stays close to more of Indonesian style as we look at it, and we feel that it is nice to understand a different folklore. The beautiful shots along with the shadow puppetry can make some people strange with its beauty, but they add to this being one of the best shot movies of all-time.

Performers of the soul :: We do have our focus on how well Tara Basro is handling her work here as the protagonist, the grown up child who is supposed to be cursed with something which she has no clue about. Marissa Anita who plays her friend also has her moments which make a difference, and she even has a funny side here which brings a smile on the face as humour strikes against the horror which is always present. It is still a shame that we don’t see her throughout the movie, or at least until the last few moments of the tale. Faradina Mufti also has her charm in the flashbacks, and we see that added to the beauty of the visuals of the grand past. You would also love Asmara Abigail who might be the best noticed supporting character who seem not important in the beginning, but elevates the level when she gets a part to play in the final stages. Then you have Ario Bayu who has the best role of to play among the male characters in a female dominated movie, and he does very well, and so does Christine Hakim here.

How it finishes :: Among all the common horror movies in Hollywood and its lame partial adaptations in Bollywood, Impetigore stands apart. It shows how horror can be done using the local legend and after building a flashback out of possible folklore which might have always been there. A number of Malayalam movies from the past had successfully attained success with the use of local legends and myths, and Impetigore is one Indonesian movie which does the same, maybe in a more effective way than any other horror movie has done in the last few years. You are taken into the atmosphere of the movie, as you become part of that setting, which is not just strange, but also terrifying even without showing that much of horror on the screen. What is seen might be scary, but what is not seen or implied feels even scarier in this film which is also about what doesn’t meet the eye. This is the first Indonesian movie that I ever watched, and it is highly effective indeed. I am watching this movie an year after my visit to Indonesia too!

Release date: 17th October 2019
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Joko Anwar
Starring: Tara Basro, Ario Bayu, Marissa Anita, Christine Hakim, Asmara Abigail, Kiki Narendra, Zidni Hakim, Faradina Mufti, Abdurrahman Arif, Muhammad Abe Baasyin, Mursiyanto, Aura Agna, Ahmad Ramadhan, Devona Queeny, Sindris Ogiska G

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dark Almost Night

Vampire Owl: And, we are getting some dark movies.

Vampire Bat: This is only the second Polish movie that we are watching.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and it should be a really dark one, as seen in the title.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that it could be related to the vampires in anyway though.

Vampire Owl: Who else can have the darkness around them without fear?

Vampire Bat: Ghosts, witches, demons, dark elves, orcs, goblins?

Vampire Owl: Okay, but there can still be something vampiric about it.

Vampire Bat: I am actually sensing a serial killer around here.

Vampire Owl: Well, there are heroes being made out of such killers.

Vampire Bat: Actually, we are not at that part, just not yet.

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

What is the movie about? :: Reporter Alicja Tabor (Magdalena Cielecka) returns to the city from her childhood, Walbrzych after a long time. A series of mysterious child kidnappings are occuring in the city, and nobody has any clue about what is happening. Using her skills as an experienced reporter, Alicja tries to solve at least a part of this strange mystery which has become quite baffling for the police department. She would have to meet the families of the missing children and solve a mystery which puzzles even the smartest, but at the same time, she also has a past which strangles her reasoning skills, as her childhood has that kind of memories which won’t let her sleep in peace. There are some of dramatic events which started decades earlier, at the same place. Now, she will have to face whatever she had been running away from during her earlier life – the terrifying secrets of her family and the horrors of her own childhood. Everything seems to be linked in one way or the other, and can she go beyond her own demons to solve the mystery?

The defence of Dark Almost Night :: This is one atmospheric movie like no other, as the setting and the environment that we see around raises this movie to a much higher level, better than any other quality. You can feel the invisible terror at all times, even though it is certainly not the kind of danger that is shown that much on the screen to bring the horror. Magdalena Cielecka nicely fits into that atmosphere, as the blending is perfect as far as her highly vulnerable character with a troubled childhood is concerned. Adapted from a much appreciated novel of the same name by Joanna Bator which is supposed to be a satisfying version, the movie does focus on the visuals really well and has found the perfect actresses to bring it to the screen. With such quality adaptation, we can say that the trauma and the emotional side are strong even when we don’t see them shown as melodrama – it is here that the beauty lies, as we can feel the same even when they are not focusing on it, for the movie has the feelings running through at all times.

The claws of flaw :: The movie lacks enough dialogues of significance to keep the tale going forward. There is also the presence of some confusing elements, and as the story keeps on going here and there, we will find the requirement for better explanations. There are moments when the movie should have been more direct with things, and as we are from another distant part of the world and another culture with no knowledge about the language, we do have some trouble, especially when the subtitles are not that great either. A good number of scenes are shown, and suddenly, they disappear, leading us to the present, past and the lives of different people without having enough focus on the necessary moments. The final moments could have also been stronger, as we just get there all of a sudden, and things end too fast. Instead, the focus should have been on the protagonist, and she should have been facing her demons in a highly emotional moments which could have no parallels by any means – the slower moments earlier could have been thus justified.

Performers of the soul :: Magdalena Cielecka, the almost fifty year old actress plays her role to perfection with such passive energy which would make the younger generation of actresses feel weak – Virginie Efira who is a little younger than her did the same in Sibyl, and her passivity was also stronger than a much younger secondary female character played by the lead from the much acclaimed Blue Is the Warmest Colour. Both are actually vulnerable characters, but don’t really show that to others, with some extreme feeling lying deep inside them which forces them to take some strange decisions. Magdalena actually shows that on so many occasions, and the melancholic reflection which can be seen on her face as well as a body with scars, in a believable manner. Eliza Rycembel who plays Ewa as well as Helena Norowicz who plays Rosemarie also gets into the creepy mystery really well, even though the film is very much Magdalena-based. The atmosphere itself is a fine performer, as you look around here.

How it finishes :: Dark Almost Night is not your usual kind of movie, and therefore, won’t satisfy all kinds of audience. The value of the film as an entertainer might be questioned by many people due to the divergent way in which it deals with the subject. Magdalena Cielecka has things in control, but the pace will still trouble people. But you are sure to love being transported to this particular dark world of mysteries and possible terror. This is the kind of atmosphere which Hollywood should use, as they already have the special effects to take the best advantage of it. Maybe, The Conjuring universe can combine it with the supernatural to create magnificence. We can wait for that, and for now, it is up to us to enjoy Dark Almost Night, something of visual quality that we will remember. I am surely hoping to watch more Polish movies after this, especially those which have the same leading actress. We are never that short of such a need during the COVID-19 crisis.

[Gets a vegetable puffs along with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: This movie could have scored better in things other than atmosphere.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they could have better used the potential which was there.

Vampire Owl: This is a movie which was surely not watched by many people, and so, not many people know about it.

Vampire Bat: But the leading lady here is perfect fit for such a mystery, don’t you think?

Vampire Owl: Yes, and she needs a usual type of horror movie to add to her list.

Vampire Bat: The melancholic emotions that she display has a certain amount of beauty.

Vampire Owl: There are so many talented actresses whom we never knew about.

Vampire Bat: She is just one of the many such actresses with high quality skills.

Vampire Owl: There are so many performers we should know about.

Vampire Bat: As knowledge doesn’t come with immortality, we need to look forward to other areas including books.

[Vanishes into the shadows behind the teak tree].

Release date: 22nd March 2019
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Borys Lankosz
Starring: Magdalena Cielecka, Rafal Mackowiak, Modest Rucinski, Eliza Rycembel, Antonina Litwiniak, Roma Gasiorowska, Aleksandra Konieczna, Wlodzimierz Dyla, Jerzy Trela, Nikola Karwowska, Helena Norowicz, Malgorzata Hajewska, Mateusz Czulowski, Marcin Dorocinski, Piotr Polak

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.