Peninsula

Vampire Owl: So, we do have the return of the zombies after a long time.

Vampire Bat: Well, Train to Busan always deserved a sequel.

Vampire Owl: We remember that it was the one movie which took us to Korea.

Vampire Bat: It led to our first Korean films on Movies of the Soul.

Vampire Owl: I remember that there are many other films which followed.

Vampire Bat: That was our entry into South Korean movies.

Vampire Owl: Only to have movies in many other languages follow.

Vampire Bat: South Korea should be among our dream nations too.

Vampire Owl: As far as Asian nations are concerned, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have visited only Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in the east so far.

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

What is the movie about? :: As a zombie outbreak occurs in South Korea, nobody has any clue about how it started, even though a particular bio-facility is suspected, and there is also no idea about how to contain it. There was pandemonium breaking loose in South Korea though, as people were believing in rumours circulating online, and traveling to safe areas further south – in the end, no place was safe, except for, maybe North Korea. As Captain Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won) of South Korean Marine Corps drives his family to safety, he ignores everyone seeking help on the way, suspecting that they could all be infected. But the infection has also spread in the ship, and more and more people are transformed into the zombie-like state. His nephew and sister are among the people who are bitten and lost to the disease. As they are re-routed to Hong Kong, while the world nations try to quarantine South Korea in whichever ways possible.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: South Korean refugees were no longer accepted in other countries, and the quarantine continued for four years, without any break in between. Later in Hong Kong, Jung-seok and his brother-in-law Chul-min (Kim Do-yoon) are recruited by some Chinese gangsters for a mission which includes retrieving a truck containing millions of dollars from South Korea. They would be paid half of the money if they come back with it alive. As they are certain that they won’t be given refugee status, and are going to be discriminated, they decide to take the offer. They go in at night hoping that they can stay undetected from zombies and most of the ships patrolling the peninsula, and for others, they can pay cash. With the help of the gangsters and their influence, they manage to get there and also find the truck, following it up with the murder of the zombie driver. But this mission won’t be that easy as they thought, as there is something else.

The defence of Peninsula :: Train to Busan was a favourite, and as Peninsula maintains the same spirit up to an extent, we can say that there is enough around here too – the focus on action would be the big change around here. The setting of the post-apocalyptic South Korea is also worth seeing with some fine visual quality. The devastated city is a scene to remember at night as well as the day. The film offers a lot of zombie action as expected, and the fighting sequences happen naturally, as it has always happened with Resident Evil and its sequels, even though this is a more believable one in comparison. The zombies remain as good as they were, even though the attention is less on them this time in comparison to the first film. Well, the world has changed, and we are into another environment now. There is enough action, and some emotions to be added here, and things work well. It is an interesting, thrilling ride from the beginning to the end.

The claws of flaw :: Peninsula wouldn’t get the appreciation that Train to Busan had gathered long ago, as there is not that much innovation being added here. It could have been stronger with the continuation of the original tale. We know that there is a lot that can get added to a post-apocalyptic world, much more than what is seen here. With all the vehicular mayhem that goes on in the end, things do get a little confusing with so much of fights between everyone. The graphics goes closer to a video game than the live action movie at times. It was surely built for the big screen, no doubt about that. The inspiration from other similar post-apocalyptic films to create this particular world cannot be ignored either. The possible messages about selfishness and sacrifice are mostly not there to stay, and are often lost. The focus on the story is not that much maintained when providing too many zombies to kill on the road.

Performers of the soul :: The cast here is led by Gang Dong-won, who manages to stay ahead with ease. He has his moments from the beginning stages itself, mostly emotional, even though that changes later. Lee Jung-hyun is the next one to catch our attention, as she plays the strong mother who has had to make some tough decisions, and lives with a purpose for her children. She goes strong with the emotional side, and becomes part of the big action very soon too. Kwon Hae-hyo adds a funny side at the same time too. Kim Do-yoon plays the brother-in-law role in a believable manner. Lee Re gets a lot of action with the vehicular mayhem, and its a glorious drive through the zombies as far as she is concerned. Those scenes could be taken right into a video game at some point. Lee Ye-won plays the young child in an interesting role. Kim Min-jae and Koo Kyo-hwan plays the two major antagonists, and they do the job well enough. Kim Kyu-baek also adds some humour here.

How it finishes :: We have waited for very long to have a sequel to Train to Busan, and here we have it – that film along with The Wailing are the two first Korean movies which I had reviewed, and that was indeed a game changing moment, the next Korean film reviewed being The Divine Fury coming much later. When Peninsula makes sure that the same zombie feeling returns, there is the similar feeling. We get to see the zombies in Korea yet again, and during the time of Corona virus pandemic, we are seeing the viral apocalypse again. It does feel different when we look at it now, after going through the COVID-19 pandemic, and seeing the viral outbreak unfold before our eyes. The movie continues the journey through the world of zombies in a way that keeps us interested, and I would recommend this film for all fans of the first one too. After all, what is better than a group of fully powered zombies in this world of quarantines and lock-downs? Especially when they come with so much of action on the streets. Well, zombies are forever too, just like vampires and werewolves.

Release date: 15th July 2020
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Yeon Sang-ho
Starring: Gang Dong-won, Lee Jung-hyun, Lee Re, Kwon Hae-hyo, Kim Min-jae, Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Do-yoon, Lee Ye-won, Jang So-yeon, Moon Woo-jin, Kim Kyu-baek, Bella Rahim

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kuruthi

What is the movie about? :: Ibrahim (Roshan Mathew) lives in the pain of having lost his wife (Navya Davy) and daughter (Aiza Hassan) to a devastating landslide which killed twenty four people during the heavy monsoon rains and the resulting floods in Kerala. He hopes that he would be united with his wife and daughter in heaven soon enough, while his community is blaming the United States, Israel and the North of India for their plight while trying to recover from the remains of the earlier destruction. Most of the local people including Ibrahim’s good friend Kareem (Shine Tom Chacko) has moved to an area further away from the devastated area, but two families have remained at the same place, and Sumathi (Srindaa) who lives with her brother Preman (Manikandan R Achari) at the nearest house is only happy to help them whenever required. Is then that on a usual night, the town Sub Inspector Sathyan (Murali Gopy) comes into the house with a young murderer, Vishnu (Sagar Surya) whom he hopes to protect from religious violence, as this murderer himself was part of a similar religious crowd long ago.

So, what happens with the events here? :: But for the same, he has to fight the biggest religious fundamentalist that he has ever known, Laiq (Prithviraj Sukumaran), who had already attacked the police earlier with his violent group of religious fanatics. He is also the son of the man who was earlier killed in the violence, and he seeks revenge in the name of religion, community and family, while Ibrahim finds it difficult to understand the neverending hatred in his eyes. He makes a grand entry with his friends, and knows that his prey is there. He had come back from Paris earlier after getting into trouble there, and now he only knows vengeance. Laiq gets into the house with the help of Kareem, and with another helper, they manage to outsmart the police officer, ending up stabbing him. As Ibrahim sees the violence, and takes the policeman’s gun and forces Laiq and his friends to go outside, the dying policeman makes him swear an oath on his holy book that he will protect the man at any cost. But that wouldn’t be acceptable to those who just went outside.

The defence of Kuruthi :: Thrillers have been the need of the COVID-19 times, and here, one more gets added. With just above two hours of run-time, this movie manages to go through the thrills in the darkness. What is striking about this film is that it deals with the hatred which has always existed in the mind of man, something which has spread in the minds over humanity, leading to the idea of the “other”, thriving through the world. But the characters in the film are not just motivated by the same, and are instead having their own reasons for what they are doing during the one fateful night. Due to the same, there are some unexpected twists along with those which people can guess, and we also have some very strong dialogues going on here. Some of them might be very much memorable too. The performances also fuel the film really well, and it often comes from those characters who are considered to be lesser, but with less number of characters here, they all have roles to play in what happens in an eventful night.

The claws of flaw :: There were many routes for this particular thriller to follow, and the trailer had suggested many. The film follows its own, and not every moment of the same seems to go in the right direction. It does misses many opportunities to create the elements of fear when the protagonist is locked inside the house with other characters, and when it could have done better, it tries to go without taking risks. There is also a scarcity female characters in the movie, and other than Srindaa, there is only a new face, Navya Davy in a flashback along with a child actress. It also seems to be in a hurry to finish things, rather than using the atmosphere in the best possible ways. Being caught in an area like this would have brought the chance for more thrilling and scary circumstances, but while looking at philosophy, the movie seems to forget the same. It could have done that at least with the total run-time being increased by a few minutes. Well, we know where vengeance can lead a movie when there is something more to fuel the same.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran who was last seen in Cold Case, another thriller which released in Amazon Prime Video, is once again strong, and even though menacing from the beginning, he could have shared this more with Shine Tom Chacko. The purpose seems to be more or less as adding the star value rather than getting him more to perform. The evolution of Roshan Mathew from that very small role of Adi Kapyare Kootamani and the student role of Aanandam has been a thing to remember, and the same will be much talked about after this film too. He is the protagonist in the film, and how the film moves on, depends on his actions. He has that pain in his eyes which is reflected in his actions. It is nice to see Shine Tom Chacko getting some nice roles, but as he was last seen in a smaller work in Operation Java, this is also a comparatively smaller screen-time, even though he has a presence throughout the film. Murali Gopy has a role which is quite easy for him, and even though he is there only for a short period of time, he leaves a mark with his actions and dialogue as he has always done.

Further performers of the soul :: It is also good that Srindaa is doing roles like these instead of silly stuff like Aadu and minute as well as useless things like in Sara’s, as her work was becoming more and more of clichés. Here, she is amazingly strong in her character, and she is the only female character in the whole movie’s present. After the grandeur of Kammattipaadam, we have seen very less of Manikandan R Achari when we think how much he has been capable of doing, and he contributes well too. Then, Mamukkoya in a serious role is memorable here with a touch of humour, and we have seen the same effect with so many of actors who were focusing in comic roles in the past – he also gets the best dialogues here. Sagar Surya whom we recognize from his light-hearted comic role in Thatteem Mutteem series in Mazhavil Manorama is also here, doing the serious role, which he does in a fine manner. It is nice to see such names familiar to families coming to the big screen. Naslen K Gafoor whom we remember from Thanneermathan Dinangal also has a strong role here to play, further away from the funny side which he had then, and the same is done effectively here.

How it finishes :: Kuruthi, even though feels like a full thriller, it is surely more than just that. It seems that during COVID-19 times, ideas of making a good thriller has also been worked on, really well. Along with the same, it also takes on a society which is driven by hatred rather than anything else, as people are divided on different lines here. It shows the people who acts differently under strange circumstances, and it also has a little bit of humour in between the bleak times, and that is a nice surprise. Kuruthi is indeed a film that tries to speak about how people have been divided, and it ends without hope for the future – the bleak times of our world, with its uncertainties get reflected here, and the same is done without COVID-19 being the villain. Well, you don’t need a virus to end the world, as you always have humans. If you have seen the Russian film, The Blackout, you will have an idea of what a virus really would be, if an alien was to look at Earth before planning a full-scale invasion of the planet. Well, the only war which you win with hatred, is that which the future generations will lose, and you can see the signs if you look backwards in history. Back to the present, you fight on social media, you battle on those Youtube comments like you are brain-dead. What is the point?

Release date: 11th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Manu Warrier
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Roshan Mathew, Shine Rom Chacko, Murali Gopy, Srindaa, Manikandan R Achari, Mamukkoya, Sagar Surya, Navas Vallikunnu, Naslen K Gafoor, Navya Davy, Aiza Hassan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Scary Stories

Vampire Owl: So, we have Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

Vampire Bat: Did you notice that it is the name of one movie with a very long title?

Vampire Owl: Yes, do you think that there will be stories which are that long?

Vampire Bat: It doesn’t seem to be about separate movies, not something like an anthology.

Vampire Owl: But the impression given is that of an anthology.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but this seems to be a story in which there are stories written about real horror which happens.

Vampire Owl: Horror has always been real. It is the only original genre in the world. The rest are not that close to reality.

Vampire Bat: Yes, who can expect thrillers and romance in life?

Vampire Owl: But horror happens to everyone, and is very much real.

Vampire Bat: Yes, if it is not present, we can always volunteer to provide them.

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

What is the movie about? :: It is the later 1960s, and three teenaged friends, Stella Nicholls (Zoe Colletti), August “Auggie” Hilderbrandt (Gabriel Rush), and Charlie “Chuck” Steinberg (Austin Zajur), prank play a Halloween prank on the bully Tommy Milner (Austin Abrams) who had been bothering them for a long time. Tommy is not someone who would take this lightly, as he and his gang chase them with baseball bats, they run to a drive-in movie theater, where a young drifter Ramon Morales (Michael Garza) hides them in his car. As he makes sure that Tommy doesn’t get them, he promises to have revenge on all of them sooner or later. Ramon becomes good friends with the kids, especially Stella with whom he has an instant connection, with a special interest in horror stories, and also connecting to her troubled past when her mother left her.

So, what happens with the events here? :: They decide to visit a haunted house for Halloween, where a girl named Sarah Bellows (Kathleen Pollard) had committed suicide. After a kid had gone missing, the place was locked down by the local authorities, but the group manages to get in, only to be locked in by Tommy along with his own girlfriend who is Charlie’s sister, Ruth Steinberg (Natalie Ganzhorn). Stella finds a book which seems to be writen by Sarah who was mostly a recluse, and considered by people to be mentally unwell. She decides to take it home, but on that night, she finds out that the book starts writing all by itself, and it is done using blood. Soon, they understand that Tommy has gone missing, and by finding his t-shirt on a scarecrow, she realizes that he had become the new scarecrow after being attacked by the former scarecrow according to the book. Now, before it starts writing again, she has to stop it with her friends. Can she do that in time?

The defence of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark :: The movie is well-structured, and each death here becomes a special tale of supernatural murder when we look at them, connected by one which gets written by a supernatural entity which has terrible past behind it, that needs to be revealed. The idea is a really good one, and we are immersed in it, even without it trying to do the extraordinary. Everything here is kept pretty much simple, and you can always have time to admire some simple horror. The monsters are nice, beginning with the scarecrow coming alive, and going on to add more which relates to the worst fears of the victims. The Halloween setting is a fine beginning to the tale, and it continues to score well through the haunting in the middle, reaching to the end which is pretty well done, and leading to the option of a sequel being kept open. In the end, you have more than one story in your mind.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much unique being added here though, as this does remind us of other tales, and the predictability does come in, at times. There is not much of a character development around here, and the beginning moments are kind of drag, which could have been shortened to give this movie a better pace at the start. Even though the movie is based on Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, a series of three collections of short horror stories meant for children, this could have had some special additions because this is the movie version, and visuals mean a lot of horror. The book is supposed to have drawn heavily from folklore and urban legends, and so anything more can fit in here and there. Then there is the Academy award winner Guillermo del Toro’s name flashed as a producer, and your expectations are even higher, keeping this movie’s level below that. Well, I still want a sequel to his Crimson Peak as soon as possible, just like Dredd always needed.

Performers of the soul :: Zoe Colletti plays the protagonist, and leads the way in a horror movie amazingly well, leaving us hope for a scream queen many years later. From the beginning with silly Halloween pranks, she is someone who leads the way through the murders, and does that without doubts. Michael Garza who plays the next important character also does well, from the very moment he gets to meet the other characters. The other kids who are being hunted by the ghost with a past includes Natalie Ganzhorn, Austin Zajur, Gabriel Rush and Austin Abrams, and they all provided good support. Gil Bellows who plays the police officer also has his moments. But as usual, the ones who scores the best are the monsters, and even the book is a fine character enough. When you make good monsters, you inspire better work from the cast, unless you have The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun group, which works anyway.

How it finishes :: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark shows that simple scary stories do come alive, and when it does, there is great scope for horror. There is no usual anthology here when you hear that it is about stories. There are no different tales coming together from different directors this time, like they have been doing for a long time. It does take an amount of such terror, and use it pretty well, with a cast which is not much known, and it works well enough with some interesting moments of monsters to go with it, as well as a past which is worthy enough for a good haunting. The idea to bring these tales and monsters are also nice, as it becomes not a usual horror story with spirits haunting us. It makes a fine thing for Halloween, and maybe you can watch it during the witching hours, with one monster after the other, as you even feel the need to write a horror story by the end of this movie.

Release date: 9th August 2019
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Andre Ovredal
Starring: Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn, Austin Abrams, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, Lorraine Toussaint

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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.

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.

Polaroid

Vampire Owl: I have heard about this case of a vampiric camera.

Vampire Bat: There is no such thing as a camera for vampires. We don’t even appear on the mirror unless we take the necessary measures.

Vampire Owl: I have heard about this camera which kills people.

Vampire Bat: It could be a werewolf thing. They are the ones who are really interested in cameras, posing for photos all the time.

Vampire Owl: What about the zombies?

Vampire Bat: They haven’t really invented the camera yet. The zombie lands are just trying to come out of the stone age.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that they won’t be able to do that any time soon.

Vampire Bat: Stone age actually suits them, but surely the camera won’t.

Vampire Owl: So, what are your thoughts on a camera which kills the people whose photos are taken on it?

Vampire Bat: It is a good way to kill those people you don’t like, I would say.

[Gets a paneer dosa and three glasses of mixed fruit juice].

What is the movie about? :: Sarah Dawson (Madelaine Petsch) and her friend finds a polaroid camera among the items left her mother, the former takes a gorgeous photo of her friend to show to her boyfriend, but the friend finds a shadow standing at her back, and is hunted by a mysterious entity which keeps coming for her at night, and it finally twists her neck and kills her. Much later, the same camera is found by Tyler Drew (Davi Santos) who gives it to Bird Fitcher (Kathryn Prescott), a shy teenager whom he has a crush on, and also lets her take his photo to test it. Bird, who goes home, decides to go on a party with her best friend Kasey Walters (Samantha Logan) who gives her a Little Red Riding Hood costume to attend the programme which is hosted by Avery Bishop (Katie Stevens), one of the much adored girls of the school. On the way, Bird sees a shadow behind Tyler in the photo, which she considers to a problem with the print.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the party, she takes the photo of Avery and Kasey, along with some other friends including Mina Rodriguez (Priscilla Quintana), Mina’s boyfriend Devin Lane (Keenan Tracey), and her own high school crush Connor Bell (Tyler Young), offering a better quality printed photo in an instant which they can keep instead of getting lost among the thousands of photographs on a random mobile phone. After the party, Bird is informed by Sheriff Thomas Pembroke (Mitch Pileggi) that Tyler was killed inside the antique shop where she was also working. During the same night, when everyone else had left, Avery is killed by the same entity which murdered Tyler, and Bird who finds the shadow no longer in his photo, but in the party pictures, gets tensed, and tries to destroy the camera, but fails. Nobody seems to feel the need to believe her. Now, she has to find a way to save them all, but will she have them in time before everyone gets killed one after the other?

The defence of Polaroid :: There is not much that Polaroid doesn’t try to do, as it is sure that the focus has to be on the camera, and it establishes the same in the beginning stages itself, starting the killing spree, just a few minutes into the movie. The idea here is really good, and there are moments when the movie seems to be struggling, and then it comes up with something more. It manages to put some twists and turns in there, related to the antagonist, and the incidents which had happened before this ghost came into the scene. The visuals are good, and the surroundings are nicely chosen – the darkness is used well, and so are the sound effects. The evil spirit is nicely established as the one thing which cannot be stopped, early itself, as trying to destroy the camera and the photos taken on it won’t work. With a short run-time less than one and half hours, the movie handles everything directly and without confusion.

The claws of flaw :: With a camera at the centre of everything, like the tape in The Ring movie franchise, this one could have achieved more. After all, those who get their photo taken by the camera dies, and there is a serial killer past behind it – such a case is certainly worth more. It does leave the feeling that we have seen all these before, on many different occasions. Also, even after getting a pretty good cast to work with, they are not used that well. If it was another movie which had such a young talent, a more dramatic tale might have came into existence. Even when there is a party, there is nothing much happening there, except for a photo being taken here. It has an antique shop, just to take a photo, and to kill a person. Some of the deaths also happen without much of an innovation, as a person gets chased, and just gets killed, failing to impress.

Performers of the soul :: Kathryn Prescott surely is a talented actress, as it is her who manages to lead well throughout this movie. She does looks younger than her age, and so she suits the role well – her expressions also make it work better. Madelaine Petsch is limited to a small role in the beginning, even though we were given the feeling that she was the one who was to play a major role here – she is limited to that introduction to the polaroid camera programme. Tyler Young and Samantha Logan who plays the next supporting role manage to come up with an okay job. The other friends played by Katie Stevens, Priscilla Quintana and Keenan Tracey are just there to fill up the list of people to be killed by the camera because of being a part of photographs. In a movie like this, it seems that it is death that defines these next line of friends.

How it finishes :: Polaroid could have had you scared about taking photos, but it doesn’t rise to that much of a scary level – still, it is worth watching for some fine moments which are there, and the innovation does come into picture at times. If you are looking for another movie to watch for lock-down, this one is there. It is not the kind of movie which will appeal to all horror lovers, as we have been bombarded with multiple sequels and spin-offs of The Conjuring with movies like Annabelle and The Nun coming up with some more demons and spirits. Polaroid can also provide you with a spirit with a past, and you can watch it to add another one to the list. You are sure to enjoy it in parts, and the last few moments are quite good – therefore, it is fine to wait for the same. It is not a movie watch by many, and so, you can’t go with the critical opinions with just very few reviews.

Release date: 17th September 2019
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Lars Klevberg
Starring: Kathryn Prescott, Grace Zabriskie, Samantha Logan, Katie Stevens, Madelaine Petsch, Priscilla Quintana, Tyler Young, Javier Botet, Davi Santos, Keenan Tracey, Mitch Pileggi

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Anjaam Pathiraa

What is the movie about? :: A policeman is murdered, with no clue being left behind for the cops to follow. The dead body is soon found, and it was supposed to be a case of revenge from one of the criminals whom he had locked up earlier, but it doesn’t end there. A second policeman is found dead, with the killer following the same pattern of murder, including the corpses of the men being left without their eyes and heart. This leads to a crisis in the police department, and a team being formed to investigate the case lead by Catherine Maria (Unnimaya Prasad) and Anil Madhavan (Jinu Joseph). The latter also includes in the team, Anwar Hussain (Kunchacko Boban), a psychologist who is serving as a consulting criminologist for the police department. He has been studying the psychology of criminals on the way to a doctorate. As the CCTV cameras are also hacked, a hacker and Anwar’s patient, Andew (Sreenath Bhasi) is also forced into the team.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The series of murders doesn’t seem to stop though, even though all the policemen of the city works twenty four hours, and are put on high alert. Anwar, with his wife Fathima (Ramya Nambeeshan) and children are also under the eyes of the serial killer who also seems to have a helper. The killers seem to be masters of disguise, and has everything planned from zero, with each step leaving nothing behind for the police. The clues that seem to lead to them only ends up being misleading. As death lurks around the corner, it is up to law and enforcement to take back control and make the civilians feel safe. But that would need taking more than the usual path, and this divergence might be a red herring left by the killers – can they rise above this at some point and stop the killing spree?

The defence of Anjaam Pathiraa :: The movie nicely brings the tale of serial killing together, and the elements of shock and twists are nicely brought into the tale, especially in the first half. There is a certain amount of suspense at work here right from the beginning. To bring the terror to the screen, the movie nicely uses the darkness, even the quick return of lighting is used to bring a startling effect. The creepy masks and their quick appearance out of nowhere could provide something new. By the interval, we have enough to know that this is a game in which the serial killers will be tough to beat, and it is here that movie has its full strength – nobody would want to leave during the interval as the need to know further is always there. It also has to be noted that the movie does have some funny moments in store in between the serious moments, and all the tension which has been ruling the big screen from the beginning to the end.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s strength in the first half is not maintained in the second half, as the latter part of the second half is rather predictable, and by bringing the element of a planned revenge, it losses out in the psychotic side. Such a predictability which seems to be like finding unnecessary meaning for the lotos eaters is rather unnecessary. Having a smart psychopath without a clear motive for the rational human was always the better choice, as that would bring chaos to darkness, and keeps the lights away all the time. After all, Anjaam Pathiraa is no Memories either, as such a brutal strength is not there, not with the protagonist or with the antagonist. The movie could have also had a better background score, even though at some points, it is good – at that point, it could have been there for longer. The sequence involving the ripper could have also been there for more time.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban leads the way well here. There is no heroic style entrance with heavy background music for him here, and it is the beauty of his work here – there is no pretending to be the superhero star anymore unlike what was shown in another movie’s trailer which was showed in the beginning in an absurd state. It is certainly not the usual kind of role for him, but there is no staying behind here. He doesn’t play the police role, but this role of the psychologist assisting police is no less investigator. There are some interesting dialogues in store for him too. His previous work, Virus was a different kind of a thriller in which he was only playing a part. Ramya Nambeeshan is someone whom we don’t see in Malayalam movies much these days, and it is nice to see her in the movie, playing the wife of the protagonist. She was one actress who could have been in more movies, and it is something I felt long ago.

Further performers of the soul :: Unnimaya Prasad who is best known for two short time high impact characters in Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Parava also comes up with some of the best of moments leading the investigation team. Jinu Joseph plays a rather calm police officer with a twist in store, and this avatar definitely feels different. Sreenath Bhasi has a good run here as the hacker always looking for something more. There is also a funny side to his character, which comes out at times. Indrans’ screen time felt rather less, as his ripper character steals the moments in the beginning with ease. Mathew Thomas, even though there only for a short period of time, leaves a mark, after Thannermathan Dinangal and Kumbalangi Nights. We also have a good number of supporting actors who has contributed to this movie, which needed a lot of it.

How it finishes :: The director Midhun Manuel Thomas has been known for light-hearted movies like Ann Maria Kalippilaanu, Aadu and Alamara, but it can be clearly seen that the feeling has changed now. Anjaam Pathiraa could find no difficulty in going on to become the first interesting Malayalam movie of the year, and it was clear from the dark shades of the trailer too. This is not just the first movie of the year 2020, but also the write-up about the first movie around here that deserves your attention. May the best of films be there in the theatres this year, and let us have some of the best of the decade as it comes to an end with 2020. As far as this movie is concerned, I would say that those movies which deal with horror and thriller elements have a lot of work to do, and it is to be noted that these have worked very well, and is worth the appreciation for the effort.

Release date: 10th January 2020
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Midhun Manuel Thomas
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Ramya Nambeeshan, Unnimaya Prasad, Jinu Joseph, Mathew Thomas, Harikrishnan, Indrans, Sreenath Bhasi, Sharafudheen, Divya Gopinath, Sharafudheen, Jaffer Idukki, Abhiram Pothuval, Sudheesh

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Odiyan

What is the movie about? :: Manikyan (Mohanlal) is the last among the odiyans, a group known to know sorcery and had shape-shifting abilities. The skill is passed to him by his grandfather after his father and mother were not ready to stand it, and left the village with their daughter, hoping for a better social and economic status elsewhere. Manikyan is one of the most well-known figures in the village of Thankurissi in Palakkad and also beyond the borders in the Tamil-speaking areas near the Western Ghats – some people consider him to be famous, and the others feel that he is a notorious figure. He is known to lurk in the shadows, with darkness as his ally. As it was the time when there was no electricity in the villages, it was easy for him to induce fear into the minds of the victims. He would take different forms, most commonly that of a bull or a buffalo, to torment those who are given as targets by people who pay a fair amount.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manikyan’s biggest enemy in the village is Ravunni Menon (Prakash Raj) with whom he has had his problems since childhood. Ravunni’s interest and unrequited love for his cousins Prabha (Manju Warrier) and Meenakshi (Sana Althaf) only makes things worse as Manikyan has been working in their family household and taking care of them for generations. Ravunni decides to make things troublesome for his cousins as well as Manikyan, and with the death of Prabha’s husband Prakashan (Narain) and Meenakshi’s husband Ravi (Kailash), he succeeds in putting the blame on Manikyan. With electricity coming to the village, and almost everyone blaming him for the two deaths, Manikyan is forced to leave for Varanasi. As he is wandering around there, something changes, and he feels the need to return. What would that mean for everyone in the small village?

The defence of Odiyan :: The legend of the people from Kerala folklore with shape-shifting abilities deserved a movie, and it is always nice to have such an adaptation which has its roots in our own historical fantasy. The action scenes are nicely done, and the scenes involving the titular character in the darkness will make sure that we are interested in the whole thing. The setting nicely helps the progress of the movie, and all locations provide some nice visuals. Compared to the 150 crore grand movie Pulimurugan with Mohanlal fighting the tiger, Odiyan is surely a better flick which has a nice background as well as setting – there is also no bad jokes, and the acting itself is of a superior level when we compare the two. Odiyan has moments of class, and it is the quality which that highest grossing Malayalam movie missed in more than one way.

The claws of flaw :: The trailer as well as the hype created with the information provided regarding the movie, might be the one thing which works against the movie more than anything else. The expectations had gone so high that greatness was expected without excuses, and that was one thing which caused so many of early negative reviews. There is no denying the fact that this legend could have been used in an even better way, reducing the mass elements, and adding more mystery, sorcery, twists and horror. The movie is also too long, and the first forty-five minutes might be the least interesting part of the flick. A better beginning would have helped to keep the interest going, and the non-linear narrative disrupts the flow. Flashbacks are good, but not when they are used at inappropriate timings. The final fight could have been better edited. The background music might catch our attention, but the songs never really manage to do so.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in more than one avatar during two different ages, displays top form as usual. There are not just the action scenes that make an impact, as the emotional side is also strong with him – the strength as well as the helplessness of the main character is shown nicely here. We remember how he could be both in Villain having the same pair in the lead. Maybe, he could have had more with the shape-shifting idea, resembling that of a werewolf, but that much is not there for him to use his full potential. His last movies Drama and Neerali didn’t make that much of an impact, but I would say that they were better than the common opinions; the case here is also not so different, as Odiyan is certainly better than Pulimurugan, and the hard work that Mohanlal has put in to become this character from the folklore is worth the appreciation.

Further performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier’s previous movie Mohanlal was not really something to be appreciated, whether it was about the flick or regarding her own performance. But she is back once again with her work in this movie. The comments which were made about her one dialogue in this movie is rather strange, because it is a perfectly suited one for the moment – it once again shows that a lot of our viewers are struggling with understanding characters. The lack of empathy that our audience shows at times is rather strange and unacceptable. Prakash Raj is a strong villain indeed, but could have had better dubbing. Sana Althaf has a nice role after Basheerinte Premalekhanam, and she also has her moments. Kailash, Sreejaya Nair and Narain are there only for a few minutes, but they do leave us with something to remember. Siddique, Innocent and Nandhu do provide some good support too.

How it finishes :: Odiyan becomes the second high budget and the most awaited movie of the year after Kayamkulam Kochunni which had great success already. Despite negative opinions, Odiyan also had a strong weekend, with the only challenge coming from Hollywood, in the form of Aquaman, which has lesser number of shows. There is the need for movies like Odiyan, because only such flicks can assure that we will have better exploration of the myths and legends of the lands. We also need people who are ready to go through the less traveled path – we know, as Robert Frost has said, that would make all the difference. Your level of enjoyment would be different according to your expectations from cinema, but Odiyan is surely a movie which you can’t ignore, and is definitely a movie which is better than the highest grossing Malayalam movie of all-time, the Mohanlal starrer Pulimurugan.

Release date: 14th December 2018
Running time: minutes
Directed by: VA Shrikumar Menon
Starring: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Innocent, Prakash Raj, Siddique, Manoj Joshi, Nandhu, Narain, Kailash, Sana Althaf, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sreejaya Nair

<— Click here to go to a previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Uncle

What is the movie about? :: Shruthi (Karthika Muraleedharan) is a young lady on her way back home, to Kozhikode from Ooty, where she has been studying, on a day which has strikes and protests written all over it. The violent protesters are everywhere in Ooty and Coonoor, destroying public property and attacking private vehicles according to their will. After getting into a fight with her best friend Sam (Ganapathi), she is looking for a way to get home, and gets on the path of Krishnakumar (Mammootty), a rich businessman who is an old friend and former classmate of her father, Vijayan (Joy Mathew). He offers her a lift to Kozhikode as he is also going that way, and as she knows him well enough, she accepts, even though not without some initial hesitation. This begins a journey that would last many hours, and they get along quite well throughout the trip.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Vijayan and his wife Lakshmi (Muthumani) are worried about her safety, especially the former who is not a fan of the character of his good old friend known for being with many women and being under the influence of alcohol for most of the time. But they think that their daughter would be back before it is night, but as darkness falls, it turns out that they have only reached some kilometres away from the checkpost will stay closed until next morning. A small accident with a truck and the frequent stops for taking photos only delay things further. Now, the two have to stay somewhere until next morning, and the concerns of Vijayan rises to a new level. Krishnakumar is known to have divorced his wife, and is suspected to have some relationships which wouldn’t be acceptable to the society – the car is also chased by two young men on a motorbike; is there danger awaiting Shruthi?

The defence of Uncle :: The issues that Uncle deals with are more or less relevant, not just in one area of the country, but everywhere, in varying levels. The cases of moral poicing and having never-ending doubts about a man and woman traveling at night or to deserted places – no questions are lost here. There are the reflections of prejudice, strange judgment, unnecessary fear and more, which are more or less present in almost all of us. The movie also has some good visuals and a fine song which is to stay on for long. It is also a movie of infinite opportunities, a case which Thanos himself would take for his infinity gauntlet – you know this idea, which is difficult to work on, but if done correctly, can give the results better than any other. Maybe, at another point of time, another movie will develop this for another age, in a better and smarter way. We can see the signs of such possibilities here itself at some points.

The claws of flaw :: The focus seems to be lacking in the tale which could have been an efficient thriller, but it never even comes close. There seems to be an attempt to make the audience believe that the girl is in distress, but never does the flick attain success with that. Our protagonist could be an enigma, but never a threat to an innocent girl despite us trying to see it from many perspectives. To bring a message, this one seems to have taken the energy out of everything else, which is rather disappointing – if it was all about coming to those last moments, why stretch the whole thing so much? The movie is so long, but there is not that much of content to stay and keep the viewers engaged. The female protagonist never becomes worthy enough to be of someone whom we could feel for, and the male protagonist never even tries for the same – this is something which drives us away from the characters, and at some point, their fate becomes something of no concern for us, especially when the willing suspension of belief losses the suspension too.

The performers of the soul :: When Mammootty makes a wonderful walk through this movie, you are not surprised – there are elements of his characters in his earlier movies from the golden age of Malayalam Cinema right here, but with the difference that has come through the ages. There is no superhero mode here though, and expect for one final punch which might have been necessary for most of the superstars out there, we see him going through a natural path – the Masterpiece model is dead at least for now, with no slow motion and beating up multiple people who fly around. The dark shades which some of the viewers had expected were missing though, as the breeze is rather light. He is a man with some surprises, as mystery is there regarding his world, but it is never in the dark world, as he keeps himself close to light, without allowing the darkness to creep in.

Further performers of the soul :: Joy Mathew is amazingly good as the father figure, and his worries keep us engaged. We see the emotions of a father very well reflected on his face, as he comes to know more. Muthumani keeps scoring with her dialogues, and the strength continues to be there till the end. Karthika Muralidharan has some cute moments here, and we had seen her doing almost nothing in CIA: Comrade in America – this might be an improvement in parts, but there are moments of overacting which can be considered difficult to bear. It is a saga of ups and downs, and in the same, the level is reluctant to go up after a certain point of time. She can do more, but that much is not there to be seen. She doesn’t look like a minor as mentioned in the movie either. KPAC Lalitha and Kailash story would seem a little strange, but brings some humour, and has the extra content to give the audience something else to focus in between, without the same journey in the car being repeated again and again.

How it finishes :: Uncle is good divergence for sure, but losses some of the territory it gained because of how big it happens to be – it is more or less like the Roman Empire which couldn’t control its territorial gains when the weaknesses were revealed with further expansion of the empire; but there is no questioning the idea behind both of them, and the strength when it was present. But we do have some talented cast members and the premise with a difference, bringing a mirror to the society – it is something that we just can’t avoid, and for the same reason, Uncle deserves a watch. We can always have more of the movies which leaves a message for the audience or reflects the society’s troubles in one way or the other. Uncle is a good sign of better movies to come, and we can hope for greatness in them, or rather the infinity of quality with the industry’s further uprising.

Release date: 27th April 2018
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Girish Damodar
Starring: Mammootty, Joy Mathew, Karthika Muralidharan, Muthumani, Suresh Krishna, KPAC Lalitha, Kailash, Ganapathi, Meghanadhan

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mrithyumjayam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vampire Owl: Does that really make a difference?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

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

Watch the movie Mrithyumjayam here:

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

<— Go back to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

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

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

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

Vampire Bat: And then what happened?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Forest

Vampire Owl: I once went to this particular forest known for suicides.

Vampire Bat: And then what happened?

Vampire Owl: I just couldn’t live up-to its reputation as I had already died.

Vampire Bat: Even the undead can die, you know.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the ghosts were against it. They told me that it is cheating.

Vampire Bat: Why did you even have to listen to them?

Vampire Owl: Well, they told me that they would transform me into a human.

Vampire Bat: What? It is so cruel. It would have been better to keep split personalities instead.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I just couldn’t bear being part of an inherently evil species. So, I said no.

Vampire Bat: I have to say that you did the right thing this time. The blood wars are coming, and we have to say no to more than one thing.

[Gets three cups of lemon tea with 50-50 biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Sara Price (Natalie Dormer) is spending her time with her fiance, Rob (Eoin Macken), and is having some happy moments of her life in her home in the United States of America when she gets an unexpected call from Japan. She is informed that her twin sister, Jess Price (again Natalie Dormer) is dead. The idea is that she was last seen going into Aokigahara forest known more as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees, and those who go there alone at night rarely come back as it is a place where people commit suicide. It is rather believed to be the most popular suicide destination in the world which has so many strange tales associated with it. The forest is known to be home to yurei or or rather the ghosts of Japanese mythology. It is also said that long ago, the elderly or unwell people were left to die in the forest, and the place had its dead bodies and ghosts from centuries ago. The place has that kind of a terrifying reputation.

So, what happens next? :: But that doesn’t stop Sara from looking for her sister, and despite the concerns of Rob, she travels to Japan, and after talking to the people at the school where she was teaching, gets to the hotel where Jess was staying. There she meets a man named Aiden (Taylor Kinney) with whom she share a drink and they become friends. After listening to her story, he tells her that he is a photographer and will accompany her to the forest. They are also to be accompanied by a guide named Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) whose presence will help them to get out of the forest if they lose their way or if anything goes wrong. As they go to the forest, Michi tells her that Jess should most probably be dead, and there is nothing changing the same. But Sara says that it is not possible, and as they are twins, she will somehow know if she was dead. She is quite convinced that her sister would never commit suicide.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: After traveling for some time in the forest, they come across the tent which Jess had used, but it was nearing nightfall, and Michi tells them that they have to go back as soon as possible. But Sara is convinced that the best option for them is to stay there, as Jess might come back to the tent by night. But Michi tells her that it is not safe, as the forest has its own ghosts, and they will make her see things which will drive her mad, and it will be she who will be lost on the next day. With their best efforts not seeing anything good in the end, Aiden says that he will stay with her throughout the night, and Michi leaves them to what seems to be a complicated fate. So, by staying in the dark forest which is believed to have more spirits than people, can Sara finally find Jess, and can at least one of the two sisters return home alive from the forest? Well, it is not that simple as it seems to be.

The defence of The Forest :: Aokigahara Forest is a nice location for a change, and with the tales that are told about the same, we become more and more interesting in watching a horror movie based on the same location. Natalie Dormer does a very good job as the twins here, and we are glad to see her in two roles, and she does her job very well. Known the best for her work in Game of Thrones series and also in The Hunger Games, it is great to see the talented actress doing the big role in a horror movie. The forest is also a solid character by itself, as we see possibilities going endless from the beginning itself. It does bring the question about what really is the reality and what is the hallucination – something that the ghosts use to confuse its new preys. The visuals are nicely used to support the same, and we surely have to say that there is an attempt to go different here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have surely used more scares, especially with such a mysterious forest at the centre of everything – the site of tragedy and strange beliefs hasn’t got the due that it deserved. The Forest could have used more ghosts than any other movie, and the variety that it could have brought with its scares would have made it close to a masterpiece; but such an effort is certainly not made here. When such creepiness is around, you expect the scary side to hold on and get to be better, and it is something that you never see anywhere around here. This struggle to use the material in hand should feel strange for many viewers. It also has to be noted that other than Natalie Dormer, there is nothing much of a cast to do anything big. Maybe it is the lack of focus that bring the trouble rather than anything else, as we see the struggle towards the end from a movie which began so well.

How it finishes :: You will surely find The Forest to be a rather strange movie, which means that whether you like it or not, it is very difficult to ignore it. With Natalie Dormer in full form, you might expect more and more, and what you get might not satisfy you enough. If you consider the mystery elements more and the scares a little less, you will not find this one to be less interesting. As you think differently, you will find this movie to catch your attention with its divergence. After all, it is one reality that we have in our lives, and the inability to understand what is real and what is unreal, and what is good and what is evil, is something that should be scary even out of the limits of a horror movie. Well, this one is creepy enough, and you just need to read less number of reviews before watching this movie. You remember the movie Pet, which was different in its own way.

Release date: 8th January 2016
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Jason Zada
Starring: Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Eoin Macken, Rina Takasaki, Noriko Sakura, Yûho Yamashita, James Owen

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Underworld: Blood Wars

Vampire Owl: This movie has been going on and on, and we, the vampires have spent so much money or trying to attain copies of the same.

Vampire Bat: I have heard that even Werewolf Anger has a copy of the first three movies of the franchise.

Vampire Owl: Why would he have those copies? He is angry at all movies.

Vampire Bat: He is angry at everything, and so this anger is actually a reflection of his less angry side.

Vampire Owl: But it is still Werewolf Anger, the angriest werewolf of all-time.

Vampire Bat: There is some competition regarding the same, from Werewolf Hunger.

Vampire Owl: Well, hunger is a strong emotion, and he is named after that; so I would expect some tough competition.

Vampire Bat: I hope that watching Blood Wars won’t make them more interested in wars.

Vampire Owl: Watching Underworld: Awakening awakened nobody though.

Vampire Bat: Well, all the movies in this franchise will be better tales than Twilight for sure.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Little Hearts biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The war between the two species goes on, and vampires are in trouble with the advanced werewolves, the stronger and the sharper versions of Lycans going through them, with only two strongholds left for the formerly high class species of undead, the Eastern Coven and the Nordic Coven. Semira (Lara Pulver), a beautiful and ambitious council member of the vampires, sees Selene (Kate Beckinsale) as the only hope for saving their coven as well as preserving their world as it has been for many years. With Lycans only getting stronger under their ruthless and fearsome leader Marius (Tobias Menzies), Semira gets the support of Thomas (Charles Dance), a Vampire Elder who is the father of David (Theo James), whose life was saved by Selene herself. They are successful in getting the support of the council which declares Semira fully responsible for whatever actions Selene comes up with when inside the coven.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The vampires have been searching for Selene already, seeking justice for the deaths of Viktor (Bill Nighy) and Marcus (Tony Curran), and this becomes her opportunity to return to the coven, forgiven, even though not forgotten as a murderer of her own kind. David pleads her to return to the coven, as she could join her kind and defend everyone against Marius who also wishes to capture Selene for information about her daughter Eve (India Eisley) whose blood could prove vital to the werewolves in attaining ultimate supremacy over vampires. Alexia (Daisy Head) arrives with her team and the order from the coven and takes Selene home just in time before the Lycans arrive at the scene. There they are given a warm welcome, but Varga (Bradley James), the leading Death Dealer of the coven isn’t happy that Selene has returned to train his team of Death Dealers, and with his intimate relationship with Semira, a twist seems to be coming up.

The defence of Underworld: Blood Wars :: There is the usual style of the Underworld franchise that we see here, and it is reflected not just on the visuals and the action sequences, but also in the overall dark mood. Vampires facing werewolves is the kind of idea that never gets old, and will remain interesting as long as you don’t put too much drama in there by the way of Twilight an its evil twin sisters. The tale continues with all those elements that are to satisfy the fans of the franchise. The movie also finishes off smartly, with having an option to end the tale there, as well as to continue it – the scope for a new dawn in this movie will be an entirely different one too. Still, whatever they do it will be eternally impossible to have the pre-determined critics to rate a movie like this any higher; if this was a Bollywood movie with a heavy dose of nonsense, maybe the reviewers here would have rated it a lot high; add a big superstar to it, and you know what happened with dumb movies like Krrish and its sequels.

Claws of flaw :: People are certain to think that there is too less added to this movie as another significant movie in the franchise – for there was the scope for deviation while retaining the basic elements, which is not taken. The journey here is just the easy way, with no special ingredient. I would also consider to be the second least interesting movie of the franchise following the one movie that was the prequel without Kate Beckinsale in it. Even though the critical opinions are without doubt biased and prejudiced as it was with almost every Underworld movie, this is surely a step down from the previous movie, Underworld: Awakening. Without a proper understanding of the background used in this movie, the weaklings will also find it difficult to go through this movie, and some reviewers need to be shown all movies of this franchise, without which they seem to struggle to find out which movie is this particular flick which they watched.

Performers of the soul :: Kate Beckinsale is also at her best as usual, and she becomes Selene and shines through this movie too – she looks almost the same as when the first movie released fourteen years ago, something that the Resident Evil series and Milla Jovovich will have in common. There is not much that separates her, all the action, and the style of this movie. We had also seen the same in the remake of Total Recall as well as Van Helsing. Selene is a character whom we have identified as one of the most recognizable vampires in live-action movies, and with her being played by the same person, and having the same looks throughout the franchise has helped the cause further. Giving her company as the other gorgeous vampire is Lara Pulver, whom we will all remember as the special Irene Adler from the Sherlock television series, with that introduction scene and what followed from A Scandal in Belgravia. Clementine Nicholson is another actress who will be a big asset to the franchise without doubt. We are also glad to see the Divergent franchise‘s own Theo James here again.

How it finishes :: Anna Foerster’s first movie has the fans of the franchise interested for sure, with the vampire-werewolf tale never running out of opportunities make more and more movies. This is also one of those movies which release first in India and then in the United States – something which happens at a few occasions mostly with those superhero movies and not with anything that has a vampire or a werewolf. This tale can surely bring more sequels, prequels and even spin-offs, and with some divine intervention, maybe there will be a movie which will be loved by the critics – but the chance of the same is very little. But it is up-to us to enjoy movies like these, instead of overrating those local superhero movies which has nothing inside them other than some so called superstars who come down to such a terrible level to act in such nonsense – we will have anyone without intellectual poverty will have trouble watching such flicks, but both the common viewers and the reviewers will claim that the movies are of epic level.

Release date: 6th January 2017 (USA); 2nd December 2016 (India)
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Anna Foerster
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Lara Pulver, Theo James, James Faulkner, Daisy Head, Clementine Nicholson, Tobias Menzies, Charles Dance, Oliver Stark, Peter Andersson, Bradley James

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Split

Vampire Owl: Sometimes, I feel that I am more than one person.

Vampire Bat: Due to you being unable to keep your promises, we have all felt the same on one day or the other.

Vampire Owl: You are taking this the negative way.

Vampire Bat: I remember you telling us that you were not you, but another you when asked about coming for the vampire exercise.

Vampire Owl: But that was not me, but a shadow of me.

Vampire Bat: You just found a few reasons to run away from everything; that is what happened.

Vampire Owl: I am telling you that all of you haven’t met my most dominant side yet.

Vampire Bat: And that will still be you.

Vampire Owl: My zombie minions clearly understand all these.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why they wouldn’t try to agree to your theory about yourself, as it is told to your own brainless minions.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with special ghee roast].

What is the movie about? :: Three teenagers, including best friends Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula), along with another girl Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), who were part of a birthday party celebration, are kidnapped while returning home. They wake up only hours later, and they realise that they are held in captivity by a man known by the name Dennis. This particular person is actually one of the twenty three personalities present in the mind of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy). This man, who was a victim of childhood abuse was having a case of dissociative identity disorder, and has been treated by his psychiatrist Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley). The girls soon meet Patricia, which is actually the same person dressed in women’s clothes, and is just a little nicer than Dennis. They also meet Hedwig, who is the third personality, a nine year old boy who is looking for some fun and is afraid of Dennis and Patricia.

So, what happens next? :: The three girls discuss how to escape, and while Claire wishes to pounce on the man and attack him, Casey keeps thinking about a smarter way to get out from there. It is Claire who tries to escape first through the ventillation, and she does get to an open space in the building, but is caught by Dennis who takes over from Hedwig and chases her. She is taken to a room, and is kept there in solitary confinement. Marcia also tries to escape, when Patricia is in charge, but she also finds her, and threatening with a knife, gets her into another room alone. Meanwhile, Casey also tries to make a radio call, outsmarting Hedwig, but that idea also doesn’t work, and Patricia gets hold of her, as she gets locked up again. These two personalities, Dennis and Patricia, who have replaced Barry who was the earlier dominant personality, are planning present the three girls to a rumoured twenty fourth personality, known only as the Beast – can the girls escape before that?

The defence of Split :: After you read the synopsis and summary of this one, you know that something different is in store, and the same has been provided here by M. Night Shyamalan who continues his run after the lesser hyped thriller, The Visit. The movie goes on steadily right from the beginning, and we soon comes to know what is awaiting us as the flick progresses. There are some nice twists, and a fine finish in the end, which makes way for a sequel which could be even better than this one, so much is the potential there. Our director is one man who knows how to keep the balance, between the psychological thriller and the supernatural thriller, and the same is revealed here. We already know how good he can be, and this is the movie that once again proves the same for the non-believers who go on this very interesting journey that will keep you guessing what is coming up next with the unpredictability of not just the antagonist, but also the protagonist who has her own big flashbacks.

The claws of flaw :: Split, with its variety in treatment, might not be the movie for everyone, as M. Night Shyamalan makes the difference again while not following the usual path. With this kind of a premise, people might be expecting something else, but not with this man at the helm. Split, even when there exists not much of a fault, will have to face those strange female reviewers who will also keep looking for the quantity of clothes that the female characters are wearing – something which doesn’t even come close to being anything by even Bollywood standards; well, some reviewers from India are the kind of people who are busy praising Hindi movies, and haven’t seen many movies from the other languages, and don’t intend to. Lets hope that the sequel to this movie is kept away from them as much as possible. Maybe, some people would have also wanted this to go faster, and with more action to go with the same – the need to see all those personalities might also be there with a few viewers.

Performers of the soul :: As expected, it is James McAvoy who leads the way here with one man and his multiple personalities – he shines with each one of them, and you are going to notice the Hedwig one more than any other. He is certainly the one person who can handle even more than this number of people inside him, and the character or rather the characters within the character are very much safe with him; maybe the Oscars next year can try and deserve him. Anya Taylor-Joy is one amazing talent as she continues her run, from The Witch, through Morgan and now into this movie – we see the character through sadness and a depressing past. The two other girls, Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula are not too far away in performances either, as they also leave a mark – both of them surely have a long way to go; more memorable scream queens should be there in store for us. Maybe they could have gotten to battle the rumoured beast a lot too.

How it finishes :: Releasing here a little bit late compared to its United States release, M. Night Shyamalan had showed signs of his return with the interesting thriller which was The Visit, and this one even does better. Unlike After Earth which was one terrible movie without doubt, his three negatively reviewed movies before that were not that terrible when we look at it overall. Lady in the Water, The Happening and The Last Airbender were all movies with so much scope and could have been there, even though they fell short. The same doesn’t happen with Split, as the force remains strong with this one, considering how it progresses, and how the cast is used to maximum impact. This year might be having the best thriller very early itself, as Split has all it takes to go the distance, being quite the improvement from The Visit. M. Night Shyamalan is back for real, and you can tell that to the other movie fans in the neighbourhood! If you liked this movie, also go for 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Release date: 20th January 2017 (USA); 24th February 2017 (India)
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Betty Buckley, Brad William Henke, Sebastian Arcelus, Neal Huff, Kim Director, Lyne Renée, M. Night Shyamalan, Bruce Willis (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Mummy

Vampire Owl: It seems that finally the mummy has scope to be a real mummy.

Vampire Bat: What are you referring to, here?

Vampire Owl: Usually in the movies, the mummies are men, and so the mummy is usually a daddy.

Vampire Bat: And you are talking like a dummy, for which there is no need.

Vampire Owl: No, you should see the mummy lady in this one. She is cooler than most of the known mummies.

Vampire Bat: You know one mummy which is cooler. You just can’t pronounce his name.

Vampire Owl: Yes, why don’t they have simple names like Count Dracula?

Vampire Bat: Well, mummies are from very ancient Egypt, and going so long back, such names had to exist.

Vampire Owl: I am going to call them Mummy A to Mummy Z.

Vampire Bat: Yes, please do it, as long as they don’t hear the same.

[Gets the tickets with cardamom tea and special popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: In ancient Egypt, Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is an expert in almost everything, and is undoubtedly the best warrior, and the next in line for becoming the Pharoah of the lands. The Pharaoh, Menehptre (Selva Rasalingam) also sees his successor in her, strong, courageous and one who doesn’t give up. Things are all going smooth until the Pharoah has a son with a newer, younger wife, which angers her as she realises that all her work has been for nothing, with this young child taking over the kingdom as the Pharaoh of Egypt when he grows up. Frustrated with the situation, she decides to take the throne in one way or the other. Knowing that she can’t do it by himself against the extremely powerful Pharaoh, chooses to worship Set, the god of evil, chaos and war. This particular god who had even killed his own brother Osiris helps her in return for unleashing himself on Earth – but, after killing her father, his wife and the baby boy, she is captured by the guards and mummified.

So, what happens next? :: With the princess mummified, and buried in a land far away, the curse of Set remains, as the promise to him in unleashing the god was not kept. Years later, somewhere in the present Iraq, Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his best friend Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) spend their time looking to gather what all antiques they can get from the area of the nation called Mesopotamia, which used to be the cradle of civilisation while having their own trouble with the locals as well as the terrorist organisations operating from there. It is during these times when they accidentally uncover a tomb, which seems to be Egyptian, much to the surprise of the archaeologist, Jennifer Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) who also lands there as part of her excavations. With the approval of Colonel Greenway (Courtney B. Vance), she goes into the tomb supported by Nick and Cris, ending up with a sarcophagus immersed in mercury, which they decide to take home.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Their trip is rather cut short as the flight is attacked by a huge group of crows, and Cris who was bitten by a spider inside the tomb also turns undead, and Nick has to kill him. The plane ends up crashing, and Nick manages to save Jennifer by using the parachute, but he as well as the others in the airplane are assumed to be killed. But Nick ends up waking up in the mortuary, with a vision of an undead Cris, and he also has visions about the princess. He begins having more and more visions of the princess and undead, and goes to the crash site only to escape from the princess and her newly resurrected undead. It is a secret society headed by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russel Crowe) that helps them to escape, and after chaining the princess in such a way that there is no way to get away, explains to Nick that he is the key to her finishing the curse, which why he escaped without a scratch from the plane crash. Well, evil would always find a way, and so does the princess to escape and unleash herself – can anyone stop her in time?

The defence of The Mummy :: The movie does begin strongly, and there is certainly a nice beginning to the tale, with the interesting tale of the power-hungry princess of Egypt told and also with the mummy being unearthed, followed by the plane crash – there are also some nice visuals with everything, and the visual beauty is there throughout this movie no matter where things happen. Tom Cruise does a great job as the protagonist, and Sofia Boutella is amazing as the princess of Egypt returning as the mummy – the censor board seems to have worked very well to cover most of her tattooes; maybe they are against Indian culture more than we think they are, and it is not the movie makers who decide what we can watch, it is the current Chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification in India, after himself getting to watch everything because he can – we saw most of it in the trailer, seriously. Russell Crowe is sadly wasted in his role though, and so is Annabelle Wallis, both having characters going nowhere against a powerful, love-seeking mummy and an even more powerful human Cruise.

The claws of flaw :: There is a certain loss of direction regarding this movie – the same can’t be called as positive divergence, because it just goes on and on, even adding the elements of Jekyll and Hyde, and one has to wonder why it had to be done, when enough material is available from the tales of mummies; people end up wondering if they are going to add the Hulk next. It is as if the idea about making good blockbusters by reboot, is leaving Hollywood. Not sure why decided to bring the mummy from Egypt to Iraq and then to England, with not much of Egypt there in the picture – we would have preferred to see the Pyramids whenever the word mummy was associated, and not like what they did with the third of the mummy movies. It was Dracula who really had to come to England, a vampire, not a mummy. The humour is of no use, and the climax is of no strength, with weak twists, and the final sequence not interesting at all. Also, Tom Cruise’s character gets bigger than the mummy on whom the movie is really supposed to be about, and it is also a creature who can be captured with sharp weapons.

How it finishes :: The Mummy brings the tale of the undead creature from Egypt once again, and this time not exactly in the same path. This certainly won’t prove to be a match for the movie of 1999 and its sequel, The Mummy Returns. This is surely better than The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor though, and one has to wonder if this stands any chance against Wonder Woman, or even the still running Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. It will certainly not bring three sequels and four spin-offs unless there is a big improvement with a sequel. Even though not a bad movie as it has its interesting moments supported by visuals and thrills, the execution is not that much there, which should give it a disadvantage against the movies which released earlier – but with Tom Cruise around, this should do okay at the box-office. After all, it has been a long time since we saw a Mummy movie, and a female Mummy as the main villain brings more variety to the tale. But where we want Tom Cruise more is in movies like Edge of Tomorrow, Mission Impossible, Jack Reacher, Minority Report, Oblivion and many others. Underworld and Resident Evil franchises, despite being in confusion due to too many movies, could combine action and horror better.

Release date: 9th June 2017
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, Russell Crowe, Javier Botet, Selva Rasalingam, Dylan Smith, Rez Kempton, Chasty Ballesteros

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.