Soul of the Dragon

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Uncle Dracula once owned a dragon?

Vampire Bat: Vampires don’t own dragons. The sorcerers do.

Vampire Owl: Well, with the rise of the witches, there are not many left.

Vampire Bat: At least, the necromancers live well with the zombies.

Vampire Owl: You should know that the dragons lived in the dungeons of this castle.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about a legend spread by the villagers.

Vampire Owl: Dr Frankenstein has assured me that it is true.

Vampire Bat: Well, he is one scientist who knows nothing.

Vampire Owl: You don’t know the doctor enough.

Vampire Bat: Well, I know Mr Frankenstein well enough.

[Gets a paneer biriyani and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (David Giuntoli) has a visit from Richard Dragon (Mark Dacascos), an old from a very long time ago, and Bruce is very glad to see him again, but they are attacked by some strangers with axes in their hands. It is then revealed that before he became the vigilante crime fighter known to the world as Batman, he had traveled to Nanda Parbat, a secret monastery in the Hindu Kush area of the Himalayas where he received training in martial arts. There, he was trained by the master of the arts, O-Sensei (James Hong), along with other students, and Richard was one of them. The others included Lady Shiva (Kelly Hu), Ben Turner (Michael Jai White), Jade Nguyen (Jamie Chung) and Rip Jagger (Chris Cox), who are supposed to among his best students – those who are already well-trained in the art. Bruce decides to train among them despite the doubts being present there. He had also learned to control his emotions and redirect them efficiently, along with using the darkness to his advantage.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: O-Sensei bestows upon Shiva, the responsibility of guarding a Muramasa sword called Soul Breaker, after Rip who also claims the same is defeated by her with ease. But Rip has other plans with the sword. He takes the sword, murders Jade who seems to blindly trust him with everything, and ends up opening a portal with the weapon. The area has a magical gate which is guarded by the master, and it would open this portal to world of the serpent god who is mentioned more as a demon, Naga. They had closed the gate once after a long fight against the giant serpents, but not without the sacrifices which had to be made including that of the master himself. Richard had discovered that the millionaire Jeffrey Burr (Josh Keaton) who leads a cult based on snakes named Kobra had taken control of the gate, and hopes to stop him and his allies at any cost. The strangers who attacked them were also mercenaries sent by him, and were expected to stop any progress.

And what more is to be offered here with the bat and his people on the hunt? :: They look for allies, and also hope to find and protect the sword before it is used to open the gate to the other world. For the same, they travel all the way to the Chinatown in Gotham where Shiva who is still in possession of the sword, and is controlling the world of crime out there. Batman is aligned to the opposite side of the law, but she is only happy to see a good friend again. But they are attacked by a bigger group of trained cultists, and the sword is also taken. The cult now owns a highly fortified island where they hope to open the gate using the sword and along with the same, sacrifice a number of kidnapped children. Now, they have to think differently to stop the worst from happening. They do find Ben and manage to make him a part of the team. But will they be enough to stop the evil from spreading? Are they fast enough to make the difference around here? Can Bruce Wayne contribute to all of these better as the Batman with all the equipment?

The defence of Batman: Soul of the Dragon :: There is something divergent about this particular animated movie that we see as following a different path. We do have the feeling of watching something nostalgic around here, reminding us of the animated series which came in the television, and this one surely has a lot of action along with some nice background music to go with it. You know that there is something about those times which we would wish to remember. The memories of the old kung-fu and karate movies also seem to come back to us to make an impact. It seems that there is also the chance to bring a sequel which can prove to be better than the original – a lot of action seems to be waiting to be unleashed, as we look at the final moments. With a short run-time that goes even below one and half hours, there is no drag in this particular movie as it keeps on going quick and smooth throughout its run. The antagonist of this movie serves really well as the one force of another world which seems to be near impossible to stop.

The claws of flaw :: There is not that much of a strength as in a Batman movie, whether as a detective or a superhero thing; for this one chooses a different path in comparison. It is certainly not the kind of DC movie which is expected too. The title is rather misleading as this is not really about Batman, as not just battle is shared – we just have the superhero in this movie which belongs more to the other characters. Well, Batman seems to be more like the guest who has decided to stay and own parts of the flick. The myth on the demon could have also been used in a better way. This also changes the Batman a little too much than what we know from the other movies, and that feels strange as so many things about our dark superhero seems to go some other way. When you have Batman in what feels more like a martial arts movie, this is expected, but the question still remains if it is what the fans of Gotham’s favourite vigilante would want. Well, you have supernatural forces, and Batman is also forced to go Mortal Kombat against them instead of being himself.

How it finishes :: Batman: Soul of the Dragon reminds one of the many interesting animated movies which DC has come up with in the last few years. Justice Society: World War II, Batman: The Long Halloween Part One and Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two are a few of them which made the impact earlier, and there are a lot of more of them which seems to be ready to contribute further to the world of the live-action, supplementing Aquaman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and everyone around. While Marvel doesn’t seem to have these, DC surely has managed to keep one in the animated world too. Well, we know that animated superheroes have been our first love, and any reminder of the same only helps things further. We are all waiting for the bigger movies from DC, and there is no shortage of love for superheroes. After all, there is none in real life, as the only people who are termed super in our world are the most evil among them all.

Release date: 12th January 2021
Running time: 83 minutes
Directed by: Sam Liu
Starring: David Giuntoli, Kelly Hu, Jamie Chung, Mark Dacascos, Michael Jai White, James Hong, Josh Keaton

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

No One Gets Out Alive

Vampire Owl: I used to say this to some of the vampire apprentices.

Vampire Bat: How long ago was that? We haven’t had apprentices for a long time.

Vampire Owl: I don’t count the centuries anymore.

Vampire Bat: You can still count the years well enough.

Vampire Owl: The years mean too much counting for my liking.

Vampire Bat: Well, you don’t really get older every year. You are immortal.

Vampire Owl: Immortality only stops the body from getting old.

Vampire Bat: You cannot continue to take it as a curse.

Vampire Owl: We don’t get to be that evil as humans. It is a curse.

Vampire Bat: We are better without human level of evil. It is too much to handle.

[Gets a sweets puffs and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: Ambar Cruz (Cristina Rodlo) is an undocumented Mexican immigrant, and has no id which restricts her. She moves to Cleveland after the death of her mother, whose illness hadn’t allowed her to lead a normal life. She finds a place to stay at a cheaper rate than usual, with Red (Marc Menchaca) as the caretaker of the boarding house which has a few floors where only her and Freja (Vala Noren) are staying. It seems that Freja is not the kind of person who wishes to talk to people much, but Ambar does hear her crying from her room. She has to pay a good amount of money in advance for the apartment and gives a co-worker the remainder of her savings to obtain a fake ID that will allow her to continue working, but her newfound friend cheats her and leaves with the money. It also seems that Red has a sick brother Becker (David Figlioli) who bangs his head against the door all time, and it is not that only strange sound in the building.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Ambar’s slow working speed doesn’t allow her to get any appreciation from her boss, and as she continues to ask him for some advance pay, she is fired from the job. Now, with no money to pay, the only way forward for her is to get a refund from Red who is hesitant to provide the same. She doesn’t have anything to do with the building either, as she begins having some strange visions, which are nothing less than nightmares. But she returns to ask for the refund again, as she needs the money after being left on her own, not able to contact her distant relatives and having no money to survive, after losing the job. Soon, two Romanian women also seem to join the boarding house, and Red assures her that he will get her the refund from their deposits. She has some relief when she hears that, but that doesn’t stay as a few sinister secrets about the boarding house is revealed to her. Now, this will no longer be all about money and job.

The defence of No One Gets Out Alive :: This movie manages to be effective in more than one way. It is indeed an effective horror film with its own twists, but one can also safely say that No One Gets Out Alive is more than that. It also shows the struggles of an immigrant, which is depicted on the other side of the horror in a way that we appreciate the same. The movie plays with the lights and uses darkness effectively to make the horror effects get better. The eerie feeling is maintained well throughout the movie, and so is danger lurking at the corners of darkness. The film provides the scares in not just one way, but further, as we know that hopelessness can lead to desperate measures being taken. connects the whole thing to the monster nicely, and we see the creature as the movie nears the end. They seems to have worked with this one seeing a possible sequel, as there is that box, and a monster which is nothing less than an ancient demon which reminds us of how Sinister had prepared its premise and proceedings.

Positives and negatives :: There is always something special that can be done about strange houses with secrets, and this boarding house could have brought more innovation to the same. This one has a few things predictable instead, even though it does bring the much unexpected twists too. It also brings to us, some of the creatures from myths which we have no idea about. The creepiness that this movie maintains remains worthy of appreciation at all times, thanks to the atmosphere and surprises that one boarding house brings. The movie is based on a horror novel by British author Adam Nevill which was published in 2014. Having such basic material means that there has been something to work on, and develop all the time. The human antagonists in this movie are more disturbing than the creature that does what it is supposed to do – it is basically a good turn towards truth, as we knew this all time. Demons are evil because they have no choice, but humans are evil because they choose to be evil, for their selfish needs – that much is once again clear, as depicted in this movie. You can often trust a demon more than a human.

The performers of the soul :: Cristina Rodlo plays the lead here, and it seems only perfect that a Mexican-born actress is chosen for the role. There is something that makes her suitable for all the horror too, seemingly suiting the scream queen situation really well. Other than that, she also deals with the emotional sequences with great skill. I had earlier read the name as Christiano Ronaldo, with a spelling mistake – now that sounds as strange as the monster that we see in this flick. The monster is an entity in itself, and maybe, we can use it as another character of interest, with its origins tale also being told from an archeologist’s point of view. The girls other than the main character could have been used better, especially the Romanian girls who do seem good to contribute further towards the movie – they all look perfectly suited to live through a horror film. Marc Menchaca as Red does come up with a strong performance too, while David Figlioli as Becker manages to be all about muscles, becoming a near unstoppable villain.

How it finishes :: No One Gets Out Alive works well with its horror options, and serves more than what meets eye. The title nicely serves the purpose too, as the film deals with that kind of a monster. Moving away from the usual demonic spirits of The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun, Insidious, The Curse of La Llorna and others, we have the variation of a creature here, that makes grand appearance as the movie moves towards the end. Here, we have a horror movie with a human touch, as it shows the struggles that the main character, an immigrant, has to go through. We don’t usually get such a good, detailed background story for the protagonist – here, the focus is mostly on her rather than anyone else. Even though Corona virus pandemic might have other ideas every time, we are always looking for some horror with monsters too. After all, the big monsters from other worlds are as significant as the human monsters and the little viruses causing trouble. As you understand the same, you take this horror into heart.

Release date: 29th September 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Santiago Menghini
Starring: Cristina Rodlo, Marc Menchaca, Joana Borja, Victoria Alcock, Phil Robertson, Moronkẹ Akinola, David Barrera, David Figlioli, Vala Noren, Alejandro Akara, Mitchell Mullen, Jeff Mirza

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Come Play

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dybbuk

Vampire Owl: I am surprised that they have come up with a remake of Ezra after four years.

Vampire Bat: Yes, four years is a long time for a movie like Ezra.

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time when we had loved a Bollywood horror movie so much?

Vampire Bat: I am also not sure about that. We have been into Hollywood and other foreign language horror only.

Vampire Owl: I would like to know where this one stands in comparison with the original.

Vampire Bat: We had watched the original too long ago. Therefore, I am not sure if we can compare these well enough.

Vampire Owl: I only hope that our memories are as sharp as the vampire manual says.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this one will have some difference, surely more than what the remakes like Drishyam have.

Vampire Owl: Ghosts need to be shown as somewhat different, because they are all not the same when at different places and affecting different people.

Vampire Bat: Well, maybe the demon of Ezra really needed another outing, and this one can serve it well, like vampires always needed.

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

What is this remake of Ezra all about? :: The death of a Jew in Mauritius marks the end of a century old history of Jews in Mauritius – he was the last Jew around there, part of a group of Jews who had taken refuge in the island to escape persecutions and possible genocides. A mysterious box from the house goes missing, and soon, a local man is found dead without leaving any clues about the murder. It is indeed a strange case, and police hopes that something will lead them in the right direction. A newly married couple, Sam Issac (Emraan Hashmi) and Mahi Sood (Nikita Dutta) seems to be having a problem-free life until they move to Mauritius and the latter brings an antique box back to their new residence in the island. It is an isolated place, more or less like a holiday home, with no human to disturb them. But that would change soon enough, as what she brought back home as part of decorating the place turns out to be a Dybbuk box, which is supposed to be claimed by a Jewish demonic spirit called Dybbuk.

So, what happens next in this tale of horror out of a myth? :: Meanwhile, Sam is still working, as he is part of a company named Zayke, which deals with the disposal of nuclear waste from Europe. He feels that there is a certain amount of hallucination going on with her, as she had a miscarriage just some time ago. The spirit maintains all the qualities of the usual spirits, but is supposed to be among the most dangerous among them all. There is not much known about the same though, as there are not many Jews they know, with most of them migrating to Israel early enough. There would be strange things happening in the house very soon, and soon, a nightmare would begin for them. They think about getting rid of the box, but the spirit already has its place. To read the Hebrew inscription on the box, they contact a professor who gives them the translation. The same person also gives them the contact details of a rabbi who seems to be the only one who can help them. But are they moving in the right path against this particular evil spirit?

The defence of Dybbuk :: There is variety here, which this move inherits from its original, and there is quality in the looks too, with improvements there. The visuals are used well to create the horror advantage, and the darkness as well as the creepy elements are adjusted well with the use of sound effects, and these work really well in the first half to make us interested in a second half which promises further. The visuals of Mauritius nicely adds to the beauty in totality. There is also a lot in the story here, unlike the usual horror movies, and the creature that does the haunting around here is not among the usual ones, as the myth is comparatively new, especially for those who haven’t watched the original. There is the feeling of antiquity as well as a beauty not of this world being portrayed here. There is also that one twist that happens by the end, but that is not too innovative. But we do see that this one has a very slight edge over the original, and yet both remains the same in many elements as well as repeated scenes.

The claws of flaw :: It has to be noted that the evil spirit doesn’t have the terrifying presence that it had in the first half, being repeated in the second – the final exorcism, brings nothing huge, even though were always going for the big finish to lift the film in the end. There were so many possibilities with this movie with the new demon, and the unlimited number of chances are not used at all – it is kind of strange that the movie doesn’t take its opportunities as much as it could, just like the original didn’t. Dybbuk could have been scarier, and there is no doubt about that, with the original idea already being displayed on the big screen with the support of big sound systems – this one being released on Amazon Prime Video, there was the requirement of more power to keep the audience in fear and at the edge of their seats, but we see that such strength is not there, even though we can approve and appreciate the improvements which were made here. Yet, the background story of the spirit was better in the original.

Performers of the soul :: In a movie that has Emraan Hashmi as the protagonist, it is him who leads the way – in comparison with Prithviraj Sukumaran, one has to say that there has been some difference added to the role, but he has managed well, as he did the same in Chehre, the thriller which also released on Amazon Prime Video a few days ago. His affiliation with horror is here to stay, as it seems – there are a few other Malayalam films with certain thriller elements which could have him in the remake, one would feel. Nikita Dutta has come up with a very good performance as the lady in distress, being forced to be part of a demonic activity in which she is completely immersed. There is not much difference in her performance in comparison to the work in the original, but she does seems to have more emotions coming her way – there was the requirement to have a song like “Lailakame” for her too, with that much quality. The rest of the cast fills in well, and we have to look out for the Rabbis this time, and not the priests of the usual background – they have chosen the appropriate ones to play these roles too.

How it finishes :: There has a little shortage of horror movies in Malayalam movie industry, but Bollywood has chosen to remake this one, which is why, one can be sure that the Indian cinema as a whole, has the requirement is for more good horror. We do not have the need for more drama and more romance – there is so much of the same already, as well as those silly masala movies, and we need to move out of them whether with remakes or originals. Therefore, Ezra‘s remake is something which has to be appreciated, and the fact that there is no missing out here is a fine thing. Remaking a Malayalam movie can only mean good things for Bollywood, even though the exact opposite might not mean the same. As far as this film is concerned, the remake is done really well, and even with the limitations of the original maintained the same, there are a few moments which make this movie work as an improvement, with added visuals and special effects. So, Amazon Prime Video can be happy to have this one at a time when people are slowly just starting to think about choosing the theatres over OTT.

Release date: 29th October 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Jay K
Starring: Emraan Hashmi, Nikita Dutta, Darshana Banik, Pranay Ranjan, Denzil Smith, Ivan Sylvester Rodrigues, Vivana Singh, Sudev Nair, Manav Kaul, Yuri Suri, Vipin Sharma

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mara

Vampire Owl: This would be a nice name for a new vampire.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that vampires have so many nice names on the official list.

Vampire Owl: I am still confident that we can use one or two more.

Vampire Bat: Even in that case, there is no shortage of names.

Vampire Owl: You know that these names are too old and outdated.

Vampire Bat: There are no outdated names for immortals like us.

Vampire Owl: The world do change, even if vampires do not.

Vampire Bat: Well, we have changed. There are enough examples for the same within the castle itself.

Vampire Owl: Those are not really part of anything that we use.

Vampire Bat: They are all part of us now, even if you don’t realize the same yet.

[Gets a chocolate chake and three glasses of mango shake].

What is the movie about? :: Andrey (Semyon Serzin) wishes for a terrible memory to be erased from the mind of his wife, Olya (Marina Vasileva). For the same, he visits Mara (Aleksandra Revenko) who has some special herbs which could be good enough to do the job for him. Mara realizes that there was a terrible attempt at robbery at their home, and she provides them with some mushrooms which he uses in cake to make sure that she starts forgetting – Mara assures him that she will able to control how much she forgets. That night itself, Olya who was living separately after the incident returns to him. But she still doesn’t want to live with him in the same house where the incident took place, and as Mara had asked him to look after her house after she leaves for a few months, they move to her place which has so many herbs and antique items. She develops a liking for the new place immediately, and is happier than before.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Things seem to go smoother than before from outside. Olya seems to be enjoying her time at the new place, which is strange with its look, but has all the facilities that they need. One night, Andrey does have a dream though, and he sees a child as well as a horse in there, and Olya also sees a person in there, staring at them. Mara assures him that they are ghosts of the previous owners, and that the process does include some side effects, but there is nothing to worry about there, and things can only get better. But Olya begins to experience more, and it only keeps her wishing to get out of there. As a musician, she is not able to practice like she used to, with fear of something being around her. She has her own hallucinations that doesn’t help her at all. Soon, it seems that he is not able to get Mara on the phone again, but it is not all, as he finds out that there is no record of the place as of now, and nobody knows the woman whom he had met. Now he wonders if things are going completely out of control.

The defence of Mara :: There is enough of the feeling of mystery and horror in this particular movie which seems to build, and become stronger with a certain amount of weirdness that is continued to be maintained around here. The atmosphere that is maintained for the same is quite superior, and there are different world being created here, most of them unreal, and bringing a different feeling. It begins very well, providing the idea that we are soon moving to a world of dark fantasy. The film provides the feeling of a twisted fairy-tale which is more than what meets the eye, and the audience are left doubting about many things here. The grief, the melancholy that is present here also feels real, and the whole thing takes enough of deviation to bring the horror, which is less evident, and hidden for us to find. It uses the evil which is off the screen, and generates the fear out of something which is more of a mystery than the usual ghost story.

The claws of flaw :: Mara does have a great beginning, and we were always expecting to see more as it progresses, but there is not that much of terror being unleashed here. The usual quick scares are missing here, even though there were so many opportunities to bring the same, with a certain amount of mystery always present at different areas. It could have also had more of the history of the apartment rather than of the rest. It could have also used the mushrooms in a more terrifying manner rather than with those colours, as the opportunities were many. Being not the usual horror movie, this one could have brought the grandeur that the others would find difficult to bring – that kind of a premise is set in the beginning itself. Mara does miss out on some of such opportunities which were there to be taken, but we appreciate the fact that it could go divergent against all odds. After all, we all have different demons to meet on separate occasions, even though this can be somewhat confusing for regular horror lovers.

Performers of the soul :: Even though not the main character, and even without having that much of time on the screen, it is Aleksandra Revenko who catches our attention from the beginning scenes, and we don’t see much more of her until the end. There is a certain wickedness in her which is clearly visible in the later stages, but the same is also present in her in the beginning too, hidden in her movements. One would have still wanted to use her more in the final stages, in the form of the terrifying antagonist rather than anything else. Semyon Serzin plays a simple, very much confused character, who does some foolish things which come back to haunt him, and that is done fine. At the same time, Marina Vasileva is really good here, and she has blended into this character who goes through different troubles – the emotions are nicely reflected by her. The changes that she goes through are nicely portrayed here, and she also gets more to do by the end of the movie.

How it finishes :: Mara, also known as Side Effect and Pobochnyi Effect reminds us of other Russian horror films like Queen of Spades, Guests and Baba Yaga. The Russian horror movies do have something different in them, just like the science fiction coming from the same area like Coma, Superdeep, Sputnik and The Blackout. There is such grand making quality here. The film also serves as a morality tale, a reminder about how the past cannot be erased, and we can only make things better in the present, for living in past can mean eternal grief and a never ending feeling of melancholy. It is a film of well-made divergent overall, and the same serves as a good cinematic experience with its mystery running directly in the middle. We all need our horror films during the Corona virus pandemic, and this one adds as horror better than most of those flicks which keep repeating the same pattern again and again. After all, we are also having a remake of Ezra coming soon for Bollywood on Amazon Prime Video.

Release date: 5th November 2020
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Aleksey Kazakov
Starring: Semyon Serzin, Marina Vasileva, Aleksandra Revenko, Maria Abramova, Maria Karpova, Anatoliy Zhuravlyov, Stepan Devonin, Sergey Cherdantsev, Natalya Dedeyko, Nikita Tezov

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Baba Yaga

Vampire Owl: So, we are having a new monster list.

Vampire Bat: I don’t feel that any more creatures from legends need to be added to the castle’s list.

Vampire Owl: So, you think that this monster won’t make its way into the castle?

Vampire Bat: I am sure that Doctor Frankenstein has enough monsters locked in there in his lab for experiments and there is no room for any more.

Vampire Owl: Well, they don’t seem to have a castle of their own.

Vampire Bat: These are creatures of the forest. They don’t need castles.

Vampire Owl: Everyone can use a castle, or rather two of them.

Vampire Bat: What can a monster do with two castles?

Vampire Owl: Well, you can always rent one of the two.

Vampire Bat: Do not give such ideas to Uncle Dracula.

[Gets a paneer samosa and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Egor (Oleg Chugunov) has moved to their new home with his father Alexey (Aleksey Rozin) and stepmother Yuliya (Maryana Spivak), as well as the newly born stepsister. It is quite a strange place, with a highly advanced township with modern buildings very close to a very thick forest, separated with the help of walls. This new apartment in the outskirts don’t really have people mingling much with each other, as they keep away, not really thinking about visiting the neighbours. Egor also finds it difficult to make friends in the strange new place, except for Dania a.k.a. Dasha (Glafira Golubeva) who is also an outcast. But their relationship also goes a strange path due to the influence of a sinister force, and their parents also never cease to be hostile to them, most of the time, for no reason at all. Things are just not normal about the new township and the forests surrounding the same.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Soon, the newly moved family has a new nanny, Tatyana (Svetlana Ustinova), whom Egor doesn’t trust at all, and within no time, the baby goes missing. But it turns out that Alexey and Yuliya don’t remember ever having a child. The baby also disappears from the photos, which makes it extremely difficult to make them believe about the existence of their child. In the forest, the kid meets a man who is supposed to have lost his daughter, but somehow remember about his loss. They understand that it is a Slavic demon who lives at the border between the living and the dead, often known by the name, Baba Yaga. They feel that the real presence of the demon is somewhere near an abandoned power station. But finding the lost babies won’t be that easy, as there is more than what the legends have told them from the internet. They do find strange things in the forest, and having another boy, as Anton (Artyom Zhigulin) with them doesn’t help at all. Back home, things have managed to be worse.

And what more happens here as things go out of control for humanity? :: The demon which has taken the shape of different people has control over people in their world, and they won’t find peace back there either. They have many visions, thanks to the demon’s influence, and now their survival should concern them more than that of the babies. As they wander around the place, they soon realize that may be they are not really at home, and is stuck within a world of chaos. Alexey has already been made to make sure that his son is dead as soon as he arrive. Soon, they will have to fight their own minds to get out of what seems to be a prison created by the demon. But there are other creatures which they have to deal with. Now the question remains if they are matured enough to lead an assault into the lair of this demon, or the witch as some people call her. The fate all the babies of the future depends on their success.

The defence of Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest :: The best part of the film is the visual beauty itself, as we get to see the modernity on one side, well maintained, and on the other side, we have the natural beauty of the forests, and the use of lighting and darkness is very effective in the movie. There is a lot of divergence in how the lights are used to bring a certain mood to the setting. The use of the legend works well, and leaves scope for a possible sequel in the future, which can bring a more interesting work. There seems to be some nice similarities with Stephen King’s It too, but surely has that divergent side. The Slavic legends do have something special about them. We have already heard about Russian movies bringing these tales out there, and may be it is the Slavic vampire that we are all waiting for – after all, we do read a lot about vampires of the past before they became rather too fashionable.

The claws of flaw :: The movie should have used its ideas better, because there was so much that could have achieved here. Well, not everyone can establish a setting like this, and begin to work on the same so early. It could have left some of those confusing moments behind, and kept things straight, staying close to what should be strength here too – the fear generation. When the film seems that it is going to achieve something, it just comes down, and when it gets a lot interesting, it just losses focus – it is certainly a movie of ups and downs, and also without enough background to the tale which it is dealing with. The heroic deeds of the kids are also half baked in nature. The movie is surely not performance oriented, and the cast just has to play along with the horror here. It could have surely been more captivating, but is not that bad as some of the ratings have been worked out in different websites.

How it finishes :: Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest could have been something bigger and smarter in scope, even though it is not without its entertainment. The atmosphere makes the whole thing more interesting, and it does seem like a variant among similar flicks. It is always good to take ideas some different myths and legends, and this is something which we are surely not familiar with. Well, not everything can be that global as the Corona virus epidemic. The theatre itself has been a place of horror during the times of the virus though, as almost everyone wanted to not go into the theatres and watch the movie, instead choosing those OTT platforms. Well, let us watch all those movies as we can, and hope for a later surge in the theatres. Until then, we have the lesser known movies like this one that can make a different kind of impact in comparison with other horror films.

Release date: 27th February 2020
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Svyatoslav Podgaevsky
Starring: Oleg Chugunov, Glafira Golubeva, Artyom Zhigulin, Svetlana Ustinova, Maryana Spivak, Aleksey Rozin, Ilya Ludin, Olga Makeeva, Evgeniya Evstigneeva, Marta Timofeeva, Igor Khripunov

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

It: Chapter Two

Vampire Owl: Have you met the vampire clown?

Vampire Bat: We have a vampire clown now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Influence

Vampire Owl: So, another foreign movie here? There has been so many.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have felt an interest in watching those movies.

Vampire Owl: Are the usual types of movies not in the list anymore?

Vampire Bat: Yes, they are there too. But these need our attention even more because they are having some fine movies without many people knowing.

Vampire Owl: There are some English movies which are less known in this part of the world too, if you can remember them.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but you should realize that we get more supporters these days from locations further away from home.

Vampire Owl: Yes, people are rarely appreciated at their hometown, right?

Vampire Bat: You can say that. I have had that feeling for a long time too.

Vampire Owl: At least we vampires are true brethren supporting each other.

Vampire Bat: Yes, doing a lot better than zombies eating each others’ brains.

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

What is the movie about? :: Alicia (Manuela Velles) is a nurse who moves from the city to the little town in the north-west of Spain where she used to spend her childhood. She is greeted there by her sister Sarah (Maggie Civantos) who has been taking care of their mother Victoria (Emma Suarez) with the help of a nurse, Anna (Marta Castellote), as the old lady has been in comma for some time now, after having many other diseases earlier. As Alician is a nurse, she could work in the nearby hospital, and also take care of her mother. Alicia is accompanied by her husband Mikel (Alain Hernandez) and their daughter Nora (Claudia Placer) who gets admission in the nearby school. Nora doesn’t have a good time with her new classmates, as everyone considers her to be a weird girl who came from a distant place. Her only friend is Luna (Daniela Rubio) who is an outsider.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Mikel doesn’t manage to get his usual job as an electrician, and works at the port, handling fish. Alicia doesn’t like being back in the old home, because after the death their father, Victoria had been acting strange, and being abusive to them. But these memories are not the only thing hurting her, as there is a strange presence in the house, and it is somehow related her mother and the strange practices she had directly on indirectly related to witchcraft and demon worship. It also turns out that Victoria had written all her property in the name of Nora, much to the dismay of Sarah who used to take care of her mother until then. At the same time Nora begins acting strange, and she also gets to be terribly violent at times, punching another girl in the school repeatedly. Alicia attributes this to the black magic used by Victoria, and feels her mother’s presence even when she is in comma. Now the question remains if she can save her child, husband and sister from certain terrible evil.

The defence of The Influence :: This movie thrives on its setting, which is very good for a horror thriller. The environment provides the feeling of danger being present there at one corner or the other. The visuals are nicely done, and we are easily immersed in this world, even though not that much with the characters. Most of the scary scenes are left to the end, but there are some moments being provided in between, to keep it going. The idea of black magic works pretty well, even though not fully used here. The children with evil inside are nice to watch, and the creepiness depends a lot on them, just like we had in The Prodigy. There is also the presence of some fine imagery including the head of a goat, book on black magic, terrifying artifacts and more. The Influence can have that horror influence on us with what we see on the screen, and it is more or less symbolic as we look at some of them which feels special.

The claws of flaw :: The Influence is a slow moving horror movie, and it doesn’t bring the scares when needed, until everything is reaching the end, and that does lead to a certain drag, which moves on like a curse on this movie – it is solved only by the end. It is the kind of movie which needed a speed booster, and when we feel that it has speeded up, it slows down, and it is a procedure which repeats itself. In between the slowness, it doesn’t being the class in there, or something which would make the slowness enjoyable, maybe with the haunting. The characters are not the kind with whom we are attached that much, and we also wonder about their actions here. The movie had raised the expectations of its viewers, but doesn’t reach there, and instead becomes a horror thriller which deals with the basics that a horror movie might have, that too slowly.

Performers of the soul :: Manuela Velles plays the main character, and she does well, matched only by Maggie Civantos who plays her sister. Both sisters have some good moments together, and the emotional scenes are handled really well by the two actresses here. They take the movie emotionally forward, with Maggie bringing more of the feelings out there, but the one who gets more space is Manuela – she is not that far behind, as you will notice here. Both do prove that they fit into the horror genre well. I don’t know if the Spanish movies have their own scream queens, but it seems that they will not be short of those who are specialized in horror. Claudia Placer who plays the child might be a fine choice for a future run. Daniela Rubio also makes a fine team with her, as the two become fine evil kids in action. Alain Hernandez who plays the husband is okay, while Marta Castellote who plays the nurse needed more screen space. Emma Suarez is also fine with all the evil inside, projected well.

How it finishes :: Originally titled La influencia, this movie does have an impact as a horror thriller which works on a special setting. When entering into the usual horror world of Sinister, The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun and Insidious, and the unusual world of Lights Out, Don’t Breathe, It Follows, A Quiet Place and The Autopsy of Jane Doe, you have to be innovative, or you have to do the best with what you have – The Influence only does the same only upto an extent, and saves its world only in the end. It is the movie that you will want to like, as you enter the house with the protagonists, and you are with them, but in the middle, there is some of that being lost, and in the end, more is being gained. Therefore, it is a movie with its own ups and downs, and you will want to watch this movie as much as any other Hollywood horror movie with the usual stuff. After all, from the movies which I have watched so I far, there is no Spanish horror movie which didn’t have my attention with the setting.

Release date: 11th October 2019
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Denis Rovira van Boekholt
Starring: Manuela Velles, Maggie Civantos, Claudia Placer, Emma Suarez, Alain Hernandez, Daniela Rubio, Ramon Esquinas, Marta Castellote, Mariana Cordero, Felipe Garcia Velez, Sofia Tolina, Berta Sanchez

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Nun

What is the movie about? :: Making everyone aware of the events before The Conjuring 2 related to the demon nun, the viewers are taken to a monastery in Romania which is more or less resembling a castle from the medieval age. The nuns at the monastery are attacked by a demonic presence and the surviving nun, Sister Victoria (Charlotte Hope) commits suicide. Her body is discovered by Maurice Theriault a.k.a Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet) who brings the supplies to the monastery and believes that the crosses around the building only keeps the evil inside, not preventing anything evil from getting inside. Vatican, after knowing about the problem, sends the veteran investigator of the paranormal, Father Burke (Demian Bichir) to investigate, along with the British novitiate Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) who is supposed to have her special visions.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: They do reach the destination and meet up with Frenchie who introduces the place as belonging to the Dark Ages or even further before. They find the body to be sitting instead of lying as it was kept earlier. Burke and Irene stays at the monastery while Frenchie returns home, only to be attacked on the way, near the tombs. Burke and Irene are also attacked by demons, but they manage to survive, and so does Frenchie who somehow reaches the local tavern. Burke who is almost buried alive is saved by Irene, and he hopes to do more with his skills. They figure out that there is a long history for the monastery which used to be a castle, and it says a story of demons, witchcraft and more terror that lies beyond and beneath. What they are seeing outside is only the tip of the iceberg, and more is to be revealed.

And what is follow with the tale? :: Sister Oana (Ingrid Bisu) at the monastery reveals to Irene that there is a terrible past that is not known about the monastery. She tells Irene that in this space, a castle by a duke who was obsessed with dark magic existed during the middle ages. The duke was killed by the forces of Vatican and the portal to hell which he was opening, was sealed with a certain artifact having the blood of Jesus Christ. It was the bombings of the Second World War that opened the portal again, and it seems that evil has crossed over to this world from the other. To prevent this evil entity from taking over, the nuns keep praying all the time, calling perpetual adoration to be the only chance to keep the demon away. But the question remains if that would be enough, as the demon is more powerful than they could ever imagine, and they are running out of time.

The defence of The Nun :: The best thing about the movie its setting itself. The Gothic setting gives the mystery more life, and we can feel the horror from the environment itself. The Gothic architecture with hidden secrets makes sure that we are wondering what would happen next. The scares are also waiting to happen at almost all corners. The darkness and the sound effects are also used to make sure that the frightening sequences manage more. The creepy feeling is always present. The movie also leaves something to bring a prequel to the beginning of the demon Valak’s existence in this world. More of how much it frightens you is based on your willing suspension of disbelief, and it is certainly not that easy in the modern world as far as the demons are concerned – humans can do that better, and be the bigger threat to their kind.

The claws of flaw :: There was something special expected with a movie of The Conjuring like The Nun. But the same is not delivered here, and the movie also seems to be confused about making the best use of the genre by adding the jokes when things should have been kept serious. The best of of the elements is not there when needed. There are also moments when the movie seems to provide the feeling of Evil Dead, a flick with which this one should have kept a distance considering the kind of themes the two deal with. Even with the religion and myth, the movie could have achieved more. It could have been longer with scarier moments with all those features that a Gothic castle in Romania could provide, taking us back to the memories of Bram Stoker’s Dracula itself.

The performers of the soul :: Taissa Farmiga remains strong throughout this movie, and it is a quality that has to be appreciated in horror movies when its heroine raises the level very much. Even though the name is not that much familiar to those from this part of the world, her work in the series American Horror Story did establish her as a scream queen much earlier. Demian Bichir makes a strong hunter of demons in this one. Jonas Bloquet supports pretty well, and adds a certain funny side even to the more serious sequences – that happens when not needed too. The other characters are of lesser relevance in comparison, and as in any other horror movie, they have a bigger struggle for survival compared to the main characters – from the results itself, it is clear that their existence is of less significance throughout the movie.

How it finishes :: The series of horror coming from The Conjuring franchise is never getting old – we have had The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Conjuring 2, Annabelle 2 and now The Nun, almost none of them failing to leave a mark in one way or the other. The Annabelle doll in the movie brought one spin-off earlier, and the demon Valak now brings another. There is always scope for a lot more in The Conjuring universe, but it surely have to do better, and more than what The Nun did. Despite agreeing to the fact that this is an enjoyable flick, the franchise needs to bring something special to keep the level of horror higher. All of us welcome each and every movie in the franchise with a lot of expectations, and there is always scope for more with all those demonic spirits among which many more are yet to come from hell.

Release date: 7th September 2018
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Corin Hardy
Starring: Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Charlotte Hope, Bonnie Aarons, Ingrid Bisu, Jonny Coyne, Sandra Teles, Mark Steger, Manuela Ciucur, Ani Sava, Jared Morgan, August Maturo, Claudio Charles Schneider, Michael Smiley

<— Click here to go to the previous review, and what precedes the same.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ezra

ezra-2

Vampire Owl: Malayalam movies have always needed more horror movies.

Vampire Bat: This has come after a long wait too.

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time we really loved a Malayalam horror movie?

Vampire Bat: I am not sure about that. We have been loving the Hollywood horror only.

Vampire Owl: I heard that it has a little bit of Jewish culture in Kerala.

Vampire Bat: And that it was also going to be dubbed into more than one other language?

Vampire Owl: I hope one or two vampire languages are added.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this one will be different. It is evident from the poster and also from what people talk about it.

Vampire Owl: Ghosts need to be shown different, because they are all not the same.

Vampire Bat: Well, maybe this is the answer to the prayers of many such spirits.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and caramel popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Ranjan Mathew (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is an orphan and a successful professional working in Mumbai. After falling in love with an interior designer Priya Raghunathan (Priya Anand) who is also based in Mumbai, they get married against the wishes of her parents. One and half years later, he gets a transfer to Cochin, and despite Priya’s reluctance to move from the city which had become a part of her, they relocate to the new place, which is a mansion-like old house rented to them upon the recommendation of Father Samuel (Vijayaraghavan) who is not just a priest, but also Ranjan’s uncle. Ranjan’s company is dealing with disposing the nuclear waste from the nuclear reactors in South India, and he is in charge of the operations. Meanwhile, A.C.P. Shafeer Ahammed (Tovino Thomas) is tired of investigating a strange murder in an antique shop which leaves no clue.

So, what happens next? :: As Priya has a lot of free time, she tries to do some interior work for their new house and buys some interesting items from the shop of Moosa (Alencier Ley Lopez) who had managed to bring a few new things of interest from the house of a Jew who died without a heir in the country, as everyone had left for Israel. After getting a box from the shop and opening it, things begin to change, as Priya sees a creepy figure in the mirror as well as the wardrobe, and Ranjan hears footsteps from the roof – and more spooky things follow. As Father Samuel finds Jewish inscriptions on a strange box, he advises Ranjan to consult Rabbi David Benyamin (Babu Antony) who resides in Mumbai. As Ranjan comes to know that Priya is pregnant, he becomes more desperate, but David’s death follows, and now the only hope seems to be in the form of Rabbi Marcus (Sujith Shanker) who has arrived at Cochin.

The defence of Ezra :: There is variety without doubt in Ezra, and the same can be said about the quality displayed in this movie. The visuals are really well-used here to create the advantage, and the darkness as well as some spooky elements are created well with the use of sound effects, and these work really well in the first half to make us interested in the second. There is also a lot in the story told here, unlike the other horror movies, and the creature that this flick chooses here is not among the usual ones, as the myth used is something not many people around here have known before. The use of a perfect setting and antiques happen to be something that works for this flick more than any other horror movie. There is also one twist that happens by the end, even though it is the only big surprise in the movie, and could have been presented in a better way. The songs are good, especially “Lailakame”.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does get a curse, and it happens in the second half, as many other movies – this evil spirit doesn’t really make that much impact as it should in the latter part, and the final exorcism, brings nothing huge. There were so many possibilities with this movie, and the infinite chances are not used at all – it is kind of strange that the movie doesn’t bring the special ingredient; there were so many opportunities and Ezra hesitates to think out of the box, even with a spirit from inside a box. As we see the characters watching The Conjuring 2 on television, one has no doubt about one movie which has inspired this one. But Ezra has so much of hesitation in unleashing the terror – the viewers find so many situations which could have been scarier, but the movie doesn’t seem to find the need to bring huge scares. Also, at one point, you feel that this is the Odette Annable starrer The Unborn, but then it is not; there is just the dybbuk and the pregnancy in common.

Performers of the soul :: In a movie that has Prithviraj as the protagonist, it is him who leads the way – it is the first half that gets the best of him with a simple and rather natural touch to the proceedings – not that much with the final scenes though. Priya Anand makes a Malayalam debut which the Keralites will remember. Sujith Shanker makes a surprising entry here, and in this role, most of us might not even recognise that he is the same person from Njan Steve Lopez and Maheshinte Prathikaram – it is quite solid work. Tovino Thomas, even though he is there for less amount of time, has his moments. Vijayaraghavan is fine there, but Babu Antony’s stay is cut short; the same is the case of Pratap K. Pothen and Alencier Ley Lopez who leaves the proceedings rather too early. Sudev Nair and Ann Sheetal has a nicely created flashback scene which is done fine.

How it finishes :: There is a little shortage of horror movies in Malayalam movie industry, and there is a lot of shortage in the case of good horror movies – the latter is also applicable to the Bollywood film industry too, which is why, for the Indian cinema as a whole, the requirement is for more good horror. There is no need for more drama and more romance – there is too much of the same already, and there is nothing closer to life than horror, in one way or the other. Therefore, Ezra‘s presence is something which has to be appreciated, and despite not using all the possibilities in the scary side, manages to be a horror movie with a difference as far as the Malayalam movie industry is considered. It is evident that the Malayalam movies are back after that break – and each release this year, including Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, Jomonte Suviseshangal, Fukri and Ezra have stayed different from each other.

Release date: 10th February 2016
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Jay K
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Priya Anand, Tovino Thomas, Sudev Nair, Vijayaraghavan, Sujith Shanker, Pratap K. Pothen, Babu Antony, Alencier Ley Lopez, Ann Sheetal

ezra

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lights Out

lightsout-2

Vampire Owl: I often feel that Don’t Breathe is Lights Out.

Vampire Bat: Where does the confusion come from? Why is that so?

Vampire Owl: Because lights are out in Don’t Breathe.

Vampire Bat: And I hear that you don’t breathe in Lights Out.

Vampire Owl: But lights are also out in Lights Out – so we don’t breathe too? So there are two movie titles inside this one.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and with lights being out in Don’t Breathe, there are two of them there too.

Vampire Owl: Such confusion! So many of my friends are confused between these two impressive horror movies.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they end up talking about one movie when asked about the other flick.

Vampire Owl: Why can’t people be better informed about horror movies?

Vampire Bat: Because people just not good enough to know the eternal truth in life, which is undoubtedly horror.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Paul (Billy Burke) is running a textile warehouse, and is married to Sophie (Maria Bello) who seems to be having certain mental problems, talking to herself in the dark which has their son Martin (Gabriel Bateman) a lot worried. One night, Esther (Lotta Losten), Paul’s assistant sees a dark figure when the lights are turned off, but nothing is seen when the lights are turned on. He warns Paul about the same, but he doesn’t want to listen to her as he is busy with his own problems at home. Left alone in the warehouse, he himself sees the shadowy figure when the lights are out. Despite his best efforts to keep the light turned on, they just keep going out. Even though he manages to lock himself inside his cabin with lights turned on, the figure manages to enter after turning off all lights at the warehouse, managing to murder him.

So, what happens next? :: Paul’s stepdaughter, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) lives separately, after problems with her mother. But when Martin starts having problems at school and his mother doesn’t pick the phone, Rebecca is called by the authorities and she visits Sophie only to decide that it is better to have Martin move to her place. As they move to her place leaving a depressed Sophie behind, Rebecca sees a shadowy figure at the door which attacks her, but disappears with the light. This reminds her of something that she experienced as a child, and determined to do something about it, with the help of her boyfriend Bret (Alexander DiPersia), she gets the much needed information about this creature of darkness that was referred to as Diana during her childhood. But there is more to it than she thinks, with a long flashback which ties this creature with the memories of Sophie.

The defence of Lights Out :: Are you afraid of the dark? Well, this one makes sure that you stay afraid of darkness no matter how hard you try to escape from that fear, so better be warned. With a creature that vanishes with light and appears with no light or a very low amount of light, this movie manages to bring the best possible scares in a short amount of run-time. There is the creature which one can’t seem to stop, except for hoping that the lights don’t go, and with the realization that the absence of light is darkness, which is the reality as the night arrives, one can’t dare to stop being afraid. With the idea from the director’s own short horror movie, this also manages to be clever just as the short-film. It brings to us variety in horror, and with a run-time of less than one and half hours, it keeps us not breathing for most of the time. If it does bring back to the valiant, the most common fear of the dark, one needn’t be surprised.

Positives and negatives :: Your need to be afraid while switching off the lights is back – this kind of horror movies which uses the basic fears have been missing for long, but has returned for the best. Consider yourself in the theatre watching this movie in the dark, and then the power goes – what would you think? Watching this one late night is surely the better idea. With better attempts from the protagonists to stop this creature, we could have had more here though, but this movie ends too early – less than one and half hours is too less for this kind of a movie at a time when pathetic movies are rather too long. We need movies like this one, to be longer, as this is one creature that we are going to miss except for when the lights are turned off and we misunderstand one of our hanging shirts to be a creature. Maybe a better flashback story and more of it would have helped – maybe we could have had more scares before the family comes together with the creature.

Performers of the soul :: As Lights Out attempts to use your most possible fears against you, we have our cast which is very well suited for this movie. Teresa Palmer, as expected, leads the way, as she looks less like Kristen Stewart like she did in Warm Bodies and Point Break, and once again performs a lot better than her in Twilight and Snow White and the Huntsman. She does make a fine choice for horror movies, as she has proven in this one. Having her in this one was a big bonus with the creature being too good by itself, and we can say that Maria Bello keeps her character safe. Gabriel Bateman also joins in, and Alexander DiPersia does better than a usual supporting character in a horror movie will do. Before Insidious: Chapter 4 and Annabelle 2 coming up from him, James Wan has produced another gem here, which goes with a long list of fine horror movies.

How it finishes :: This interesting horror movie, Lights Out is based on a 2013 Swedish short-film which had the same concept of a creature of darkness using the same to bring the scares to the viewers. Running for just three minutes, it was one nice scary work from the same director, and the actress featured in the short-film also had a small role in this flick, as the assistant at the warehouse. Among the two movies, the way the short-film brings the scares in such a short amount of time, is just an act of brilliance, and it is sure to scare you more than enough to get you interested in this full-length movie. If you haven’t watched the short-film yet, do watch it below, and then you can understand what this movie is about. Most of the people have already watched this one, as it had went on to become very popular on Facebook and Twitter.

 

AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! 🙂

Release date: 22nd July 2016
Running time: 81 minutes
Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke, Maria Bello, Amiah Miller, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Ava Cantrell, Lotta Losten, Andi Osho

lightsoutt

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sinister II

sinister.

Vampire Owl :: Here is the name we have been looking for; on page number eighty nine thousand four hundred and twenty seven.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Mr. Bughuul, supposed to be the devourer of the souls of children, even though not proven in any scientific or magical manner. Please refer another book in which there are references to this particular person. What nonsense?

Vampire Owl :: That is all from the Great Vampire Archives. I have send a letter to the Imperial Vampire Archives, but I doubt if they will reply.

Vampire Bat :: And why do you think so?

Vampire Owl :: They have gone for the blood-moon festival.

Vampire Bat :: But it is certainly not now. What is wrong with these people?

Vampire Owl :: Well, they created an earlier date because it is the wedding of the sister of the Vampire High Priestess in a few days.

Vampire Bat :: And who exactly in this realm is that?

Vampire Owl :: A new position was created to perform blood magic, and the same was filled after putting an advertisement at a website.

Vampire Bat :: Bloody humans and their websites! Lets find this Mr. Bughuul in the movie then.

[Gets three cups of tea with tapioca chips].

What is it about? :: The first movie had the writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) moving into a house where a family was murdered, along with his wife, Tracy (Juliet Rylance), and their two children, seven year old Ashley (Clare Foley) and twelve year old Trevor (Michael Hall D’Addario). Despite the best efforts, Bughuul or “Mr. Boogie” did take what he wanted at that time, as he remains seemingly unstoppable. The creature that had shown its existence from very long ago, Bughuul (Nick King), was always there to murder full families and take the souls of children, only leaving one particular symbol behind. This time, the scene shifts to Courtney Collins (Shannyn Sossamon) and her two children, Dylan Collins (Robert Daniel Sloan) and Zach Collins (Dartanian Sloan).

So, how and where does things take a big turn? :: Former Deputy So & So (James Ransone) makes a return from the first movie. Here, he is burning down the houses where the brutal murders have taken place, but in this particular case, he finds Courtney and her children staying there. They have run away from her abusive husband Clint Collins (Lea Coco) and are hiding there. He befriends them and realizes that he has to find another way to get rid of the demon who ends families. Meanwhile, there are ghostly children who visits Dylan and forces him to watch videos of families being murdered in brutal ways, and these seemingly new friends providing him with videos makes his brother a lot jealous and angry. So, can the demon be stopped this time before once again taking control of the children and using them against their own families leading to another unfortunate twist of events?

The defence of Sinister 2 :: There is something about the antagonist, the demon that we have here, which has the strength to cast a spell on the movies of this genre, and once again it is the creature and its methods that score more than anything else. The use of children once again brings further advantage, and the setting of the family here is just about perfect for unleashing the terror. The protagonists are likable, and we will find it easier to support them more. Even though we do expect this a lot, the movie keeps us interested as there is delay in bringing the horror to the screen. The scenes of death makes the desired impact as expected too. It was actually so close to making things work, and that closeness is both its boon and bane. The lead cast of James Ransone and Shannyn Sossamon are also very much good together, and the emotional sequences work fine too.

Claws of flaw :: This sequel is absolutely no match for the original, as the idea was well brought to the screen and nicely executed there. This one just tries to follow the same path, but just does the same rather too much. If you have seen the first movie, you will surely see a lot of similar things in the second, and adding something special never seemed to be the idea around here. An improvement from the first movie was needed, but that also seemed to be not on the list of things to do. With the demon at hand, better innovation would have made sure that this sequel could achieve new heights; for this is that kind of mystery that prevails over the existence of this particular creature, and I have found it a surprise that this one never really uses the same to its full advantage – it works in its current form, but couldn’t it have been a lot better with what was already established?

Soul exploration :: This movie handles the idea of its predecessor very well – a demon who corrupts the soul of a child, causing him or her to do the worst, and then owning that soul for himself; it is the kind of idea which takes one back to William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. The demon uses its resources in the best way to utilize the inherent evil in man to its own advantage, and in the case of children, it is just too easy. The demon always knew the easiest way to find a soul, and it is the kind of creature who understand the ease in getting into the newer generation. We see such humans who are reflections of this demon in our lives, don’t we? For them, taking advantage of the weak is the easy way out. Demons among humans and also the other way around – the difference is becoming rather too little, isn’t it? Maybe it is the time of the hybrids.

How it finishes :: I am sure that a lot of fans would have wished for a better sequel to this movie, but can be assured that this one is also an interesting work on the idea of the demon looking for his soul property. I wish that this one had tried better, for bringing more out of its demon and also the sequences between its leading actors; maybe if there is another sequel, they will look forward to make things better. As of now, Sinister 2 will work because of its antagonist and the idea of working with the children. Just like the Insidious sequels, this one is no match to its predecessor, but if you haven’t watched the original, this is sure to be a very new experience for you. As I have said many times, there is something about Bughuul, as he is the one supernatural creature who stands different by a distance.

Release date: 21st August 2015
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Ciaran Foy
Starring: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, Robert Daniel Sloan, Dartanian Sloan, Lea Coco, Tate Ellington, John Beasley, Lucas Jade Zumann, Jaden Klein, Laila Haley, Caden M. Fritz, Olivia Rainey, Nicholas King

Sinister2

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Insidious III

Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula was asking about this movie. The Vampire Oracle had told him that Count Dracula III will be only as good as Insidious III.

Vampire Bat: You can’t really expect anything to be as good as the original. There can be only be one original Dracula. It has been proven by characters in the works like Twilight.

Vampire Owl: Lets test the movie then and let him know.

[Gets the tickets].

This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com where I handle the Hollywood movie reviews division: http://kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/885-insidious-chapter-3-movie-review.html

Even though The Conjuring has been considered as the most exciting horror movie of the recent times by the common audience, there has always been something about Insidious. The journey through the astral dimension and the demons of that world which they called The Further, has worked very well with the viewers. Insidious: Chapter 3 is actually not a sequel to the incidents of the previous chapter, as it does the job of being a prequel to the first movie. It goes a few years behind the Lambert haunting which was shown in the first movie. It is clear that it never intends to go that far back to become an origin story, but Insidious: Chapter 3 does come close to being one.

Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott), a teenage girl finds it difficult to cope with the loss of her mother. She has been trying to contact her dead mother Lillith (Ele Keats) and believes that her mother wants to communicate with her from the other world. When she contacts Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) with the same desire, the lady tries, but stops the procedure telling the girl that it is dangerous and she shouldn’t call out to any of the dead, as the other spirits will also be able to hear her. As days pass, Quinn sees a dark figure waving at her multiple times, and when she tries to check it when on road, she is hit by a car which leaves her on a wheel chair with fracture on both her legs.

The paranormal activities only increase as she sees visions, and a demon continues to cross over from the other world and torment her, most of the incidents leaving her on the floor with further injuries. A collar on the neck is just one of those extra additions that the demons give her as things continue to get worse. Despite her father keeping a close look at things, nothing positive comes out of it, and he is forced to seek help from those who deal with the supernatural. Elise is not confident enough to go back to the other dimension as she is afraid of being murdered by a demon who threatens her. Will she be able to face her fears and save the girl before the youngster’s soul is gone forever?

The scares in the movie are very much working through these incidents. The new demon is a very good addition to the creatures of the other world. It scares whenever there is an opportunity, and the creepiness of the movie continues to impress. The setting only helps with the same, as there is this nice little apartment which has an abandoned room above it. The world of spirits also continues to make the desired horror impact. Some of them include the demon’s first close appearance, the girl’s possession and the scene at the abandoned room – actually, there are many scenes which make the horror work, and it succeeds where Annabelle was confused.

The ending also leaves something more to desire for the fans, as a movie between this one and the first flick can be expected. People can still feel that this doesn’t bring enough innovation, but by staying close to the material, Insidious: Chapter 3 has managed fine. There is not much of blood and gore, but just the scares in the old style. Darkness has been nicely used as the movie’s best friend, and so are the doors, windows and walls. If you are not happy enough after watching it, you might have been expecting much more. There is no touching the level of The Conjuring, but this is surely the best horror movie which has had a wide release after that one.

Lin Shaye is once again plays the expert in all these spirit-related things, and she is the soul of this movie as she handles things with ease. Along with the three movies of the franchise, she was also there for Ouija, and this is a familiar territory for her. Stefanie Scott gives a high quality performance too, as she plays the teenager troubled by her mother’s death, the one with hope to provide wings for her ambitions and also the person tormented and possessed by the demon. She is impressive throughout the movie. Dermot Mulroney just got a simpler thing to do as the father. Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell brings the humour as Tucker and Specs.

As you have reached the third movie of the franchise, you can notice that the director has changed, and there is no more James Wan at the helm and the writer for the franchise, Leigh Whannell has taken over. But the movie hasn’t lost its best qualities, unlike X-Men, Species and Alien franchises which had their least interesting movies as the third entries. Instead, this movie improves from the second entry and becomes almost as good as the first film, and in a world of mostly lesser quality sequels, it is an achievement. There might be no huge innovation here, but if you want to be scared this weekend, Insidious: Chapter 3 is the right movie for you.

Release date: 26th June 2015 (India); 5th June 2015 (USA)
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Lin Shaye, Hayley Kiyoko, Michael Reid MacKay, Tate Berney, Tom Gallop, Phyllis Applegate, Ashton Moio, Ele Keats, Adrian, Tom Fitzpatrick, Phil Abrams, Ruben Garfias, Samantha Ramraj, James Wan, Amaris Davidson, Anna Ross, Joseph Bishara

insidious3

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dracula Untold

draculauntold (3)

Vampire Owl :: Do we need extra horror after Annabelle?

Vampire Bat :: No, its Dracula special. We made a promise to Uncle Dracula. Remember?

Vampire Owl :: But we will end up with an overdose of horror here.

Vampire Bat :: There is nothing like an overdose of horror. It is part of our daily lives. And this one won’t scare us at all, as the genre is different.

Vampire Owl :: I hope we can recommend this to Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat :: We have to watch it whatever happens. It is the only English movie in the local theatres now.

Vampire Owl :: I wish they had released these movies on different dates. This is more of a collision which will damage both these movies.

Vampire Bat :: Only if there was no stupid Bang Bang! last weekend. Annabelle might have come earlier.

Vampire Owl :: See, this Bollywood is the source of all evil.

Vampire Bat :: I have known it since Dhoom 2 and Besharam made me certain about it with enough support from Dhoom 3 and Krrish 3.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The tale of the vampire begins with the man, a prince of Transylvania who is ruling his world in peace as a kingdom giving tribute to the Ottoman Empire. But things change as the Sultan asks for thousand boys from his kingdom as a tribute to be part of their slave army so as to conquer the whole of Europe. Vlad the Impaler (Luke Evans) cannot agree to his demand, and as requested by his wife Mirena (Sarah Gadon), decides to save the boys from doom as he takes up arms against the huge Turkish army. As he understands the stupidity behind his own decision, climbs a mountain which is supposed to have ancient evil within it, and asks the creature inside the cave which had killed a number of Turkish scouts for help. The creature is actually one of the most evil emperors of all time turned vampire, Caligula (Charles Dance), grants him vampirism for three days during which he will have the vampiric abilities and certain weaknesses, but have to control his thirst for blood; in failing to do so will turn him into a vampire forever.

Positives and Negatives :: Dracula is our favourite vampire, at least for most of us, and here we have an origin tale rather than the usual bloodsucker story. Unlike what some people were expecting, Dracula Untold is not packed with horror – one has to wonder why were people so sure about the same? Even the director himself had said that this was more of a drama with elements of action and adventure. The last battle is a little overdone with vampirism, but other than that, the special effects are amazing, especially the effects of bats, dark clouds, impalings, transformations and the Gothic atmosphere that has been successfully created. May be they could have added more innovation and removed the predictability factor, as we know what would happen to the prince already. There have been many types of vampires and Dracula, and there is Luke Evans. It is he who controls this movie with a brilliant performance. Sarah Gadon is also stunningly good in her character of faith and hope, while Dominic Cooper makes a nice villain.

Soul exploration I :: Dracula, the hero against the empire :: The age of empires does sound awesome as a computer game, but otherwise, it is a bloody case of cruelty and brutal subjugation, which doesn’t end in just a conquest. The case of one country extending its domain over another through war is nothing less than a permanent ill-treatment of a future generation, as what the Ottoman Empire does in this movie is nothing different, and there is no empire on Earth which is not built on the blood of the innocent. Here, Dracula is a man of the people, and even as a prince of his small kingdom, he has known the life of someone worse than a common man, as he was taken by the Turks at his early age to be part of the Janissary – an elite infantry unit made of slaves recruited by the Sultan from the Other. He stands up against the ill-treatment of his people in a desire for equal value of human life. He automatically becomes the symbol against imperialism and brutal power.

Soul exploration II :: Dracula, the superhero of the grey side :: Going back to the origins, our villain is still the hero, who has made one fatal decision which would make him a tragic hero, as he ponders over that question which have haunted Hamlet for such a long time, to be or not be (or to drink or not to drink) as he is caught in those stages of transformation into a vampire where he could be immortal in one of the two ways possible. He is neither good or evil there, and in that situation of the grey, he stumbles upon that incident which would turn him into dark grey. He is a man caught in a world of good and evil, where the grey has no position, or has to forcibly embrace the black, or the evil. Dracula is a man of our age, and we know that he could have survived better if lived a long time after his time of existence, and he was not the hero whom his world deserved. History rarely keeps grey characters as it praises only the victors, but we know that there would have been an abundance of them.

Soul exploration III :: Dracula, the villain of the night and darkness :: Dracula’s situation and his descend in forced upon him, but his voluntary decision to choose what he thought was necessary evil against pure evil would become the ultimate evil in more than one way. He becomes a lot like Faustus by selling his soul to the devil, and another Faustian tragic hero has his roots. But with the scope left for a sequel, and those words “let the games begin” reveal to us that we haven’t seen the final shade of this man to which Luke Evans has given another life. Even in his worst situation, Dracula is just dark grey, and his further passing down to the darkness hasn’t occured, which should not be interesting for a lot of people, but my request for such people would be to wait. Dracula is immortal, and this is just the beginning – you have a lot to look out for, and the ending does seems to connect with the style of the 1992 movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Yes, this is a good re-telling, and not another copy of whatever you see everywhere these days.

How it finishes :: Dracula Untold is not your typical vampire story, and neither is it something that will give you scares every night. Those who wish to see the fangs of terror riding high, as well as those who were hoping for the eternal Twilight style fake love story are going to be disappointed. This was never a horror movie in its core, and this origin story of the greatest vampire of all time, is rather what you can call Dracula Begins, and will work just like Batman Begins as a beginning and a pillar to bring on something like The Dark Knight. This is not a vampire attack tale either, but a preface to the vampire world to which we are to enter. So, if you needed a lot of blood sucking and marks on lots of necks, you would need to check one of those earlier movies which are closer to the Bram Stoker work, rather than going for this. It should be why the word “untold” is added to the title, not to look for those usual bloodsucker tales here. This is highly recommended for the fans of vampire mythology, and I doubt about its effect on normal people; work your intellect and think differently, may be this can work better.

Release date: 10th October 2014
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Gary Shore
Starring: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Samantha Barks, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, Charles Dance, Charlie Cox, William Houston, Ferdinand Kingsley, Noah Huntley, Dilan Gwyn, Zach McGowan, Ronan Vibert, Diarmaid Murtagh, Thor Kristjansson, Joseph Long, Damien Kivlehan

draculauntold

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Annabelle

annabelle (2)

Vampire Owl :: This is the day I have been waiting for.

Vampire Bat :: Are you sure this is the movie you waited for?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I am hoping that I can adopt that doll soon. I have also written a letter to the Dracula Castle requesting permission from Uncle Dracula for the same.

Vampire Bat :: You don’t need that doll right now. You are pretty much a scary owl as of now.

Vampire Owl :: No, it is part of my plan to owlify the world. I would need a side-kick, like Robin is to Batman. Otherwise, I know that I am scary and dangerous.

Vampire Bat :: Annabelle doll doesn’t play supporting role. She always does the main role. She is a level five demon, not a level zero vampire.

Vampire Owl :: What? Bad doll. What makes it think that it can get the main role outside movies? Especially when super hero-villains like me are alive?

Vampire Bat :: Because she has pride, and also the rest of those seven deadly sins. It is why she is an evil demonic doll.

Vampire Owl :: I shall rate this movie low.

Vampire Bat :: No, it is me who does the rating, and I choose not for an owlified world.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie has the same beginning as The Conjuring, with people telling the story of a demonic doll. From there, the movie goes to a flashback which shows John (Ward Horton) and Mia Gordon (Annabelle Wallis) expecting the birth of their first child. But they are attacked by a satanic cult which kills their neighbours and causes terror before the cops arrive. Annabelle Higgins (Tree O’Toole), a member of the occult group marks their wall with a symbol and a drop of her blood is left in the eyes of a doll which was in the house. Even as they throw the bloodied doll away, it makes another appearance at the house after a baby is born and they shift the house. They keep it feeling that the doll made its way to the new house during a quick packing and decides to keep it this time. But strange things begin to happen at the new home, and Mia begins to suspect the doll. She contacts the local priest and a detective, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop the terror, or is there a solution?

The defence of Annabelle :: The scares that this movie provides are impressive, just like it was for The Conjuring, even if lesser in a comparison, which should be avoided at each and every moment of this one. There is a very nice creepy environment and chilling atmosphere already created for the thriving of this doll and its scary demons. The way in which the lighting and the darkness are managed can be considered pretty much admirable. The sound effects support the visual horror in an impressive manner. There is one scene when an elevator keeps stopping at one floor full of darkness, and when you think you can avoid this moment by taking the stairs, there is a demon waiting downstairs. There is the moment when a young girl appears and runs towards you and when the door closes and opens, she transforms into something else. There is the bloody guarantee to scare the audience here, and it is something which is not easy to provide. It is time you respect the dolls, and may be after watching this movie, you will.

The claws of flaw :: There are those expectations which make things a lot worse than they really are, and what people expect after watching The Conjuring should be something not less than marvelous, and even as that movie’s fans will surely watch this one, the same has badly affected the opinions which have come out. Considering how much of a big level that movie had left for all the horror movies which were to follow, especially for a flick which claims to be its prequel. Annabelle lags behind The Conjuring with its ideas and the repetition of things that we have seen so many times in our horror watching life, as its plot gets thinner. Even as the end is satisfying, it is rather too predictable and not something that was wanted by those who wanted the evil to end or for the same to thrive. There is no grand success in a pure evil manner, or the end of evil with an exorcism, and also the movie takes a little bit too time to get into full flow of horror and those who are looking for ghosts end up getting restless early itself.

Performers of the soul :: Annabelle Wallis is lovely in her role (with the name of the doll for herself – that’s a nice surprise in the credits section and makes one wonder if it was intentional), but being scared becomes the more important part of her presence, and that indeed seems to work well with her character. Ward Horton and the rest of the cast are left with not much to do, except for a little bit from Alfre Woodard and Tony Amendola. Otherwise, there is not much to do for the actors and actresses, and that is no surprise from a horror movie. Its ddependenceon the performance of its cast is pretty low, as it keeps bringing those moments of terror now and then to minimize the focus on everything else. But the question remains if some more for the acting department would have been good, as this is nothing like The Conjuring, and needed more doses here and there to elevate its status.

Soul exploration :: Annabelle reinforces the faith in the supernatural, and it is always a good thing to have, in a world where people live with the false pride of being everything and believing to the be the centre of the world. Such movies are necessary for the realization that we can’t always know everything, and there will always be things beyond our comprehension. The more we remember about our minuteness, the better the world gets. There might be too many supernatural horror movies which are better than Annabelle, including the two parts of Insidious, Sinister and The Conjuring, and the dolls of Curse of Chucky and Dead Silence surely seems to do better than our demonic doll here. But Annabelle has life of her own, and despite the need to take a few lessons from Chucky, her power as the demonic doll will also stay. Do watch those other two doll movies I mentioned if you missed them. For a review of the former: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/curseofchucky/

How it finishes :: People will obviously want to think low of Annabelle due to the high expectations which haven’t come down even after the bad reviews. A number of reviewers from this part of the world had given even better ratings to below average movies like Pizza just because it was produced by Bollywood – is it how the quality is to be decided? Yes, one has to wonder how such a thing should even happen. Lets not come to any conclusions here though, as there is the certainty that Annabelle scares the audience, and any denial of the same directly takes the viewer with such an opinion into the demonic realm where he or she can join the devil. No, Annabelle is nowhere close to being perfect, and it has its moments of struggles. You can ask for many things extra in this movie, but that it clearly a direct result of your deadly high expectations which had ventured too high and as a result had gone to Mars with Mangalyaan. Just remember that there is chance for another movie between this one and The Conjuring 😀

Release date: 10th October 2014 (India); 3rd October 2014 (USA)
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: John R. Leonetti
Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard, Tony Amendola, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, Eric Ladin, Ivar Brogger, Tree O’Toole, Keira Daniels, Morganna May

annabelle

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.