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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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

It: Chapter Two

Vampire Owl: Have you met the vampire clown?

Vampire Bat: We have a vampire clown now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The 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

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@ 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

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@ 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

insidious3 (1)

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.

Deliver Us from Evil

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Vampire Owl :: You are obviously talking about me.

Vampire Bat :: No, I am not. Why should I talk about you now when I am going to watch a horror movie?

Vampire Owl :: You said “deliver us from evil”. I am evil.

Vampire Bat :: No, you are not evil, not even remotely close to being a bad guy.

Vampire Owl :: But I am bad. Super evil.

Vampire Bat :: Owls are not evil. It is impossible. Bats are evil.

Vampire Owl :: You cannot take my right to be evil. I am going to owlify the world and establish my greatness.

Vampire Bat :: As if that is going to happen. You said you would do it before Mangalyan reached Mars.

Vampire Owl :: Damn. It all happens too fast. These strange space related things are not covered by the vampire newspapers.

Vampire Bat :: I would say that it is more due to your brain’s clock working so slow.

[Gets into the theatre].

What is it about? :: A cop Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) is going through some strange situations, as weird incidents happen in the city, and some of them has almost no reason or solution. A Spanish priest Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez) tries to convince the police officer that these incidents have something with it than what meets the eye. There are three former soldiers from Iraq who seems to be involved with the crimes that has occured in the city, and the priest warns Sarchie that it is beyond the human comprehension as there are two types of evil, primary and secondary, and it is only the second about which the humanity can find answers with its ability to understand things in the scientific way. At first, the cop refuses to believe that the three men are possessed, but he might not be able to hold on with that viewpoint for too long, as things go out of control, and it affects even his own relationships with his wife and daughter.

The defence of Deliver Us from Evil :: The scares are surely working, especially with a number of scenes in the basement which brings the best out of horror. The atmosphere is creepy, and is successfully kept that way and the tension is efficiently maintained. The darkness and the rain are two elements that nicely supports the shocks that the movie dares to come up with. The movie nicely manages to stay in control with the blood and gore elements as well as the horror, and this intermediate path which it has taken can make it a safer bet. There is an attempt to explain evil with the need for faith, and there is some skill in the characterization of the two leading characters who go on to fight evil. The moments in the zoo and the basement of a family with a complaint are two very nicely done scenes, invoking terror as well as mystery, and a certainty that there is something yet to come. The cast is also a fine boost for this movie.

The claws of flaw :: The movie needed a lot more explanations about what is happening around with demons possessing people and making them do things, and by passing through the portal into this world from the other dimension, the question would remain about what they achieve other than scaring people and in the process, killing a few. There had to be a plan which isn’t seen anywhere here. A comparison to The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister which comes from the same director is not possible as this belongs to a lower level, and any comparison to The Conjuring is clearly impossible. The movie should have used more special effects, and it could have given a much needed boost to the scary sequences. The end scene is also weaker with a usual exorcism performed in not that powerful manner as it was expected from the way the movie was working with its creatures from the other world. The second half is weaker compared to the first which was an impressive start.

Performers of the soul :: Eric Bana is in full control of things here in one of my favourite performances from him ever. There is something about him that makes him good with this character, and I would guess that his looks and style is pretty much best suited to playing this role. Édgar Ramírez also has left a mark as the new generation priest who has kept himself modern, but has still remained within his priestly world. I remember him mostly as Ares from Wrath of the Titans, and here he seems to fit in better. The prettiest one around, Olivia Munn has an admirable stay, and her character has presence, but she is left is not much to do in a world of demons repelled by one priest and a police officer. Sean Harris as Santino is impressive with his possessions and nicely compliments the horror elements of the movie with his performance. Meanwhile, Joel McHale is also good in his supporting role. Olivia Horton also delivers some terror with her role as the possessed lady.

Soul exploration :: The movie is based on the real life experiences of Ralph Sarchie recorded in his book, Beware the Night also co-written by Lisa Collier Cool. I would guess that it would add to the spookiness and surely has me wishing to read the work some day – it would be difficult to get it here, but there will be a way. The title of the movie is the ending of the Lord’s Prayer. It is that need to be saved from evil that we can see in this movie. There will always be things which are not in our control, and humanity’s minuteness and vulnerability are among those factors which will solidify the same fact. It is a clear thing that we can’t know everything, and no mater how or to whom we pray, there is something that prayer can always do. There is evil in this world, and however we categorize them, there is the need for God’s grace to save ourselves. The free will is there, but it is not the permission to do evil; as there is the presence of sinister forces at work, and only by goodness and faith that one can be redeemed.

How it finishes :: The reviews from critics which were negative, has now improved and the movie has come close to getting a fifty percent, and I would expect it to increase further as the opinions from most of my acquaintances have been quite positive. The other movie of the week happens to be November Man which should have its own audience due to the presence of Pierce Brosnan. Surprisingly, Lucy and The Maze Runner are the movies which stay on to this week, and I wonder more about the former, as it seems to have stayed there so much longer than it was expected to thrive. Deliver Us from Evil should be the movie of the week, and it is going to be replaced by Annabelle as the most awaited horror movie of the year. There is also that expectation for Haider the Hindi contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet along with the seemingly dumb remake of Knight and Day which has been named Bang Bang! which attempts to repeat what Besharam did during last year’s Gandhi Jayanthi. Let’s hope that horror will find a way to thrive!

Release date: 26th September 2014 (India); 2nd July 2014 (US)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris, Joel McHale, Chris Coy, Olivia Horton, Dorian Missick, Rhona Fox, Valentina Rendón

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Insidious II

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It was in 2011 that we were treated with one of the “different” horror movies in the name of Insidious which was partially copied to Hindi by Bollywood’s last sequel to Raaz. Now we have its sequel, in the same year as two horror big-shots release, including The Conjuring and Carrie. Never before did more than one horror movie release here in the same year, and I almost thought that this was never going to release, just like The Chainsaw 3D, Evil Dead and The Haunting in Connecticut: Ghosts of Georgia. But here we are, with this sequel, even as the original never released on the big screen here and we had to strive to get to it. It didn’t release on that original date of a Friday the 13th though, as it just released here on a Friday 15th, about two months later. Its trailer had reached here long ago, and was well received by the audience who had a great experience with The Conjuring which itself had delayed – all three horror movies releasing late here – something with the censor board or looking forward to their performances in other parts of the world before the risk is taken here? May be they underestimate the audience quite a lot. They can end their devotion to the series if there was any, and look for cheap gore.

After a small flashback into the childhood of our major father character during the time of his encounter with the Lady in Black, the Bride, the movie takes over the story from where it had left off, with Elise (Lin Shaye) dead, and the demon from the other world taking over the body of Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson). There is a lot of mystery over the death too. With Josh doubted by Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) and his children, Lorraine Lambert (Barbara Hershey) goes to visit Elise’s friends and partners in finding the supernatural after feeling strange occurences in the house and even seeing a woman in white. The same mysterious woman knocks out Renai after abducting their little kid for a few moments. The piano playing by itself is just one of the strange things occuring in the house. Lorraine meets up with Carl (Steve Coulter), one of the old friends of Elise, who is another paranormal investigator using his dices to contact the spirits from the other world. Through the dices, after contacting Elise, they find out that they will know something from Our Lady of Angels hospital where Lorraine used to work as a nurse during her young days.

There Lorraine remembers the story of Parker Crane (Tom Fitzpatrick), a patient who committed suicide by jumping from the top of the hospital, as he appeared to her after his death. They are guided to his home, and they soon find out that the spirit which is leading them might not be of Elise at all, and it is not a good one nor is it friendly. They come across the story of a serial killer and his mother who used to terrorize him throughout her life as well as after it. It becomes clear to them that Josh is possessed and not himself, even as the detective couldn’t find him guilty of the murder of Elise. Renai and the kids are in danger, and so are they themselves. There are only a few ideas left for their survival, and one of them might be to drug Josh and bring the original person back to his body; the other one might be to find him in the other world itself. With time running out, and a serial killer ready to come back to this world through Josh’s body, this time more powerful than before, can they make the right decision and succeed or does the demon killer take charge start its killing procedure?

So where does the sequel stand in front of the original? I would consider it as slightly better than the original, even as most of the critics seemed to have found it negative if not average. I was surprised by the same though. The movie has an unsettling atmosphere supported by a truly phenomenal settings which has been used to support the same, and give us a truly paranormal feeling. The tricks to scare the audience might feel a little repetitive, but are used in the right manner with correct effects. Yes, it i genuinely scary, and undoubtedly scarier than its predecessor. There is the presence of more scary moments and it explains most of the things which were left unexplained in the first, and also contributes to the horror of the same. The spirits are pretty much good both in the real world and the other. The Lady in White and the Bride in Black are just two of those figures which rule the screen. There is nothing like the man possessed though. Insidious: Chapter 2 undoubtedly becomes the next best horror movie to The Conjuring here, and it is still insignificant as there are only two English horror movies released here. Yes, it is effective and undoubtedly very creepy and successfully scaring people. But do not watch this if you are not a horror fan or you are pseudo-horror fan who says that this isn’t enough for “the great ME” – the things pride can do to you, my dear vain man.

Patrick Wilson is the star here, and he plays the astral traveler possessed by the demon with so much ease. We can see his transformation as he becomes more and more of the demon who has taken over his body. He seems to be a person perfectly fitting horror movies – loved his performance in The Conjuring too. He was a gifted spirit walker, but is now kept out of his body by the demon, both roles well done. There is a little bit of The Shining’s Jack Torrance in him for sure. Rose Byrne has a sweet and innocent screen presence, and Barbara Hershey is no stranger to such things, tracing back to playing that victim of supernatural sexual liasions in The Entity – her presence itself is a real boost to the movie. Jocelin Donahue plays Lorraine’s younger self to perfection, and Lin Shaye’s Elise is very good, and her younger self played by Lindsay Seim is no different. Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson as Specs and Tucker provides the comic relief which is very less throughout this serious movie. Tom Fitzpatrick’s villain is strong and ruthless, yet made scary more by the visual imagery and effects rather than anything else, and so is the case with Danielle Bisutti’s Lady in white, or the Mother of Crane. The kids have limited role this time, and are no longer the focus of the movie.

Thanks to James Wan for giving us this fine sequel, the third of his brilliant horror collection beginning from Insidious and going through The Conjuring. It is very much a necessary sequel and it only adds to the value of its predecessor even as it doesn’t reach above The Conjuring. None of the two movies of the series are to be looked at alone, as they perfectly compliments each other, adding something which perfects the other. There has been nothing wrong with the badly reviewed horror flicks of the year, The Chainsaw 3D, The Haunting in Connecticut: Ghosts of Georgia, and this one – but the critics choose to devalue them for almost no real reason. They can’t understand that the Lady in White or the mother was mentally not right. I wonder why would they feel bad about people in the other world being white, and how the people in this world are able to fight with the demons in the spectral world. People are looking for strange questions while it is not the movie that makes sense, but their questions. They can’t find the answers, but it doesn’t mean that they can take the creativity of the viewer as a big zero, for nowadays it is the common arts graduate who has the right imagination. But still, The Conjuring might be the horror movie of the decade if we consider The Cabin in the Woods as not just horror.

It is the season of demons, that is for sure – just because of one thing, that Krrish 3 has been given four out of five by some strange people. Such acts of evil has forced me to keep the rating of this movie a little higher than I intended to. There are weird people in this part of the world who rate the movies of their language high, and the others low – and some of them follows the foot steps of those who reviewed it from America and Europe, but in that case, one has to consider the fact that what third rate movies like Krrish 3 would get if they review the same would be zero out of five if no negatives are allowed. So following their rating for English movie is pure hopelessness as long as they are going to rate horrible Bollywood movies with a consistent four out of five just because it has superstar sons acting in it or the same will make the pathetic fan-boys and girls incredibly happy. May be they can learn something from the Malayalam movie critics who give a maximum of three out five for the best movie of the year. Our world will only get better when the demonic fans disappear and all actors are considered as equal performers – hope Insidious could do that.

Release date: 15th November 2013 (India); 13th September 2013 (US)
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey, Steve Coulter, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Lindsay Seim, Jocelin Donahue, Andrew Astor, Danielle Bisutti, Tom Fitzpatrick, Michael Beach

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

The Conjuring

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We are all going to die – I would hope that the same would happen as fast as possible. I watched The Conjuring and it was scary, and I am hundred percent sure that it can give anybody sleepless nights. But what has happened to me? Why am I not afraid of the supernatural movies? There should be something wrong with my intellect that all these supernatural things have become such an integral part of my life that humanity and its inherent evil scares me more than the dead. Death has always been more beautiful than the living, and with its presence among the humans, the evil makes its score ahead by a long margin, and the good waits for death. Death makes us even, being the great leveller that it is, and as the dead stays dead, it is the living that suffer in their memories, but if they come alive, then too, it is the living who are tormented by their unrest. Being tormented both by the living and the dead, the human life is a vessel full of Sulphuric acid, and we lack adamantium, both in the soul and the body, for we get broken by the supernatural as well as those which are super and natural. They are all part of the big shame of that torment which is brought down upon us not by the dead, but by the living. The dead are indeed better, for they do what they are supposed to do, and it is just the living creatures that contradict themselves.

Believe in the world of the dead and not of the living, for the latter is full of pathetic fools who know nothing about the other world, and it is from their lack of knowledge and extreme stupidity that I would indeed discourage each and everyone of you from doing anything on the supernatural, at least in India. In the name of science, some have denied their own roots, and how can they even look into the dead and the undead worldwide? Do they think that everything can be answered? Some questions have no answers, and others have many. There are some others which should be found out. Some of them can’t be explained, and some of them need to have a life of their own, and make more out of themselves. I would want most of you to know this before you go and watch this movie, and please be prepared to be scared; otherwise you might end up like some arrogant people who despise this world of horror and think that they are inferior works of art. They belong to that category which loves butterflies and despises bats. I am a Vampire Bat myself, but I can’t help it and I shall never choose to be not a crocodile even if I live in Lake Placid surrounded by hunters. I can tell you what an inferior work of art is, but I shall do that later. For now, let me assure you that this is one of the best works, both as an art of horror and also as fantastic entertainment.

The first thing I would like to make clear about this movie is that it has a great build-up. It has its humble beginnings of horror in the form of the supernatural in one of the most interesting dolls which has ever graced the big screen since the Child’s Play series, Annabelle doll – it should have had a significant role in The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren by Gerald Brittle; from page 39 to 53, it seemed to have a presence which can only be confirmed by someone who has seen this book outside the Amazon preview. Annabelle is not just another doll, as it is that thing which was part of what the famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren faced during the early 1970s. The Conjuring is more about what the name suggests, but what do we conjure, or summon? Can the spirits summon themselves? In Annable’s case, it was summoned into the doll, but the same can’t be said about the others, especially the haunted house we are dealing with. The story and presence of Annable is more important as the symbol of everything evil that exists within the movie. It is also the scariest image which exists without the help of an visual or sound effects, as the doll itself becomes the visual representation of all the evil that tries to break free in the human world.

The story goes back to 1971, when Carolyn (Lili Taylor) and Roger Perron (Ron Livingston) move into an old house in the middle of nowhere, with their five daughters – Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy and April (Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy and Kyla Deaver). Their dog refuses to enter the house and is later found dead, and they also come across a cellar which might have been supposed to be hidden. Carolyn has strange bruises on her body and Christine is pulled down from her bed on multiple occasions. Cindy begins to sleep-walk a lot. April, the youngest of the girls become friendly with one of the spirits. One night, the spirits get more aggressive, as Carolyn is locked in the cellar and the spirits indulge in direct attacks. Even as they don’t believe in that kind of stuff, they are forced to contact paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) for a solution. The Warrens conduct an initial investigation and find out the existence of spirits, for which an exorcism might be required. They try to get evidence for the same, so that they could get authorization from the Catholic Church.

During a background check, Ed and Lorraine discover that the house and the plot once belonged to a lady who was accused to be a witch, Bathsheba, who killed herself after cursing all those people would try to take her land, and the Perrons were among them. A lot of murders and suicides have already occured in those houses that have since been built upon the property, and the house of Perrons was just a part of the big cursed neighbourhood. Bathsheba’s speciality has been about possessing the mother and making them kill their children, as she herself had sacrificed her child to the dark powers already during her lifetime. There are so many spirits around, and they belong to those mothers who were possessed and forced to kill their own children. There are also the spirits of dead children who were killed. There is rather a soul collection in the house, and considering the strength which Bathsheba has possessed through the years of doing the will of darkness, the Lorraines might be up against more than what they could handle with ease. Bathsheba is also able to move out of the house and follow Lorraines to their world involving the Annable doll which they have kept in their house. Even as Carolyn is to be possessed only to kill her daughters Christine and April, the Warrens has the fight brought to them at their house, and it turns out to be a battle which is beyond a house and a family.

How does this movie score over The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia and Evil Dead, the other two much expected horror movies which graced us with their presence this year? Well, this is the exact opposite of Evil Dead in its portrayal, as it is no gore fest, and not much blood is shed. There are no body parts being thrown at you and the insides never come out. There is no use of bad words, and even with so much less use of special effects, this movie creates a world which is no less creepier than Evil Dead. This one has powerful microseconds of thrill and suspense, for this quiet one is a beautiful world of the supernatural, the world of infinite horror. The use of silence is worth mentioning, and the sound effects are not extravagantly wasted. When Evil Dead tried to sell blood and gore, The Conjuring tries to sell artistic horror of high quality even as the end is slightly lesser in effect after an excellent climax. The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia could have been this movie, as both have similar settings and stories of history which involves random evil people and victims. But our movie scores in its treatment of the subjects and some wonderful acting. It is smartness and creativity that should define our movie which will continue to score and scare more people. Check for Evil Dead anyway: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/evil-dead/

Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren and Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren steals the show, and from the beginning itself, we are given the power to feel that they can be nothing other than the paranormal investigators. They don’t try to be heroic at any moment, and the movie doesn’t try to take any heavy load from the earlier movies which it can’t carry. The ghosts may be familiar, but they are not similar enough, and they are surely not the same. We know that there is also a sequel in development. You can enjoy it with a willing suspension of disbelief or by stopping being a moron. You have to accept that you are not that kind of person who knows everything, and feels that the supernatural is a lie. There is God, the devil, the demons and the witches – there are demonic possessions and there exist the need for exorcisms, the earlier you come to know about it, that much the better. But there are no real romanticized versions of the vampires in reality, and the title “vampire” is the cultural construct. The more you know that, the better it is for you – there is a world which you shall never know; embrace the same, and stop asking questions. Your disbelief shall be your end, and it shall lead you to your doom, an annihilation which you might have deserved by them with your lack of belief and that basket of nonsense you always carry in the name of science, logic and reason.

Release date: 19th July 2013 (USA); 2nd August 2013 (India)
Running time: 112 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor, Shanley Caswell, Hayley McFarland, Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Kyla Deaver, Shannon Kook, John Brotherton, Sterling Jerins

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hotel Transylvania

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This review features the major excerpts from the interview with Count Dracula by the Vampire Bat during the last full moon night when both the Vampire Crocodile and the Vampire Owl were able to predict what was to expect in the movie After Earth and initiated a cryo-sleep on themselves to save themselves from visiting the theatres, something of which they are incapable. Any relation to any person living, dead, undead, going to die, half-dead, partially alive or those watching Malayalam new generation rom-shit movies/Hindi supposed-to-be-romantic movies (Eg: Annayum Rasoolum/Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani) might be a co-incidence and never practical. To add to it, no vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons, monsters or aliens (both Avatar blue and general green) were harmed while this interview was going on, but there is no guarantee about what happened after that. Well, this is that kind of an animated movie which can’t stand alone without Count Dracula, the supposed to be proud owner of Hotel Transylvania, where the world’s most awesome monsters can get away from human civilization and take rest. No, he is not the one who should not be named, so lets not call him just “D” or “CD”, and lets get on with what he thought about this flick.

Count Dracula: Oh its you again. Welcome to Hotel Transylvania! No, wait, welcome to Dracula castle. Hope you will never enjoy your stay here and get lost as soon as possible. You called my place a hotel in your letter – how can you even think so? I have a reputation to keep here, and movies like Twilight and whatever followed already took away half of it, and I am adjusting with whatever is left. Do I look pale? Do I sparkle right now? It has been so difficult to keep up with the new vampire fake myths. Nobody thinks that I am a vampire any more. To add to it, they are using the names like ward and swan related to vampires. And now, you come here with your fangs thinking this is a hotel. This is the worst thing that has happened to me since Twilight, New Moan, Ellipsis and Breaking Teeth – I lose my mind thinking about them and can’t even pronounce them right! Make it quick, Vampire Brat!

Vampire Bat: Well, this is the seven hundred and twenty seventh time in he last five hundred and one years of acquaintance that I am telling you that it is not the Vampire Brat, but the Vampire Bat. The “R” is not there ; it doesn’t even exist. Where do you think you are? In The Matrix trying to be Neo and bend the spoon even as there is actually no spoon? Is that what you want?

Count Dracula: Neo and spoon! Can I feed a little bit of that Neo thing in the spoon to my Zombie Dog who is caught in a loop chasing that local Vampire Cat for eternity? He can’t even stop for death; isn’t that the worst thing that can happen to anybody?

Vampire Bat: The first thing is that I hate that dog. The second thing is that there is no time. The third thing is about your home and your lovely monster friends who come to visit you very often.

Count Dracula: You are talking about Frank frankie freak? Frankenstein’s monster as you call him, is my oldest and the best friend even as he belongs to the zombie category which gives him reservation. He used to get thirty five marks moderation in his exams for which the pass mark for his category was twenty five. We vampires used to be given a maximum of thirty five out of hundred in all exams so that the balance was maintained! He even passed the interview for the job at The Demon’s Keep soul ferry service by only pretending to apply for it. But he is a good friend as I can murder him so many times and he won’t mind as he is already ugly and dead.

Vampire Bat: This doesn’t really feature in the movie, and I would like to stick to it. Your best friends include Wayne the werewolf, Frank the zombie, Griffin the invisible man and Murray the mummy. Your wife was murdered by a mob who set fire to your house and it was for your daughter Mavis that you built this hotel, I mean castle.

Count Dracula: That doesn’t make any sense as I was never married and neither did I have a daughter. I do call doctors here though, most are dentists. Do you like my golden tooth or the silver one? Never mind, please continue, as I like that story even as it is in no way related to me as a vampire.

Vampire Bat: On your daughter’s 118th birthday, you use your zombie minions to trick her and make her stay away from the humans whom you consider dangerous. But a human named Jonathan arrives, and you are forced to make him look like a monster to the other monsters to save your hotel. But soon, your daughter becomes attracted to him and the rest is history. Any part of this which you agree to?

Count Dracula: None of it. This mortal-immortal love story is the worst thing in the world. But I am glad that they didn’t add wolves to it this time. There is still a little bit of attraction which even a vampire would feel to such a simple, and yet different story. Was the movie a good watch for you?

Vampire Bat: I think it was very good during most of the parts. But the death of that mortal and Mavis living the right immortal life would have made it more interesting. She is the most evil one among the monsters as she chooses to go after a mentally retarded creature of modernity who doesn’t care about anybody but himself and his personified stupidity, a characteristic which changes only by his stay with the Count. She will surely be in hell for making such a nasty decision out of pure selfishness, but as it is fiction, let her rest in hell, for that Lucifer, Belzebub and Mephistopheles won’t mind. The visuals were pretty good, but the characters were kind of shallow. You are kind of strange in that movie and so is your daughter. To be frank, none of the monsters retain their basic qualities except for the looks which are made funnier, and this fun is the bright side along with the variety which has been brought.

Count Dracula: I would watch it then. I have many ways of watching a movie undetected by the humans at their own places. Do you think it deserves me by its portrayal of the great Count Dracula of Transylvania?

Vampire Bat: I would say yes. You have been depicted more good than ever, which is not always a bad thing. It is shown that you are a loving and caring father, and also has concern for the fellow monsters. You would even do anything to make all which you believe happen. If you can forget the funny part as just part of the complete fun, you surely won’t find it humiliating or anti-vampire.

Count Dracula: I shall watch it on next full moon with Frank. I trust you on this, and if you fail me, I shall make you watch some movies of nothingness – like that Malayalam movie Kili Poyi.

Vampire Bat: I have watched it and died many times in my immortal hours, Count. Now, it is the time to take my leave, until we collide on a hunt again. Good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, brother; for now.

Vampire Bat (to himself): It might have been sad for such a legendary Gothic horror character to live through something as modern and horribly romantic as Twilight. The same would have happend to the Frankenstein monster as well as the Mummy, but in a lesser manner. This movie doesn’t give him his lost glory, but it surely does provide an alternative to Twilight for the faint-hearted ones who can’t really handle the supreme vampire with all his horrifying powers.

There a few things which are to be kept in mind while going for this movie. It has great animation, and the way in which each monster is detailed needs special mention, especially the Mummy and the Frankenstein monster. But the plot doesn’t stay that powerful, and there is the lack of use of the evil side of each and every monster except Quasimodo whose dark side is not that black to be explored in such a way. The characters are not that strong enough to create a grand experience. It is perfect for the kids with its lovable characters who show no shade of their original evil, and the love between a mortal and an immortal would interest many, as a Twilight inverse made in a cute way. Even Count Dracula gets his due, still not in the way he might have wanted; yet, works in the right manner. But, each and every second, you know what is going to happen, and there are no surprises in this one. If you are expecting something like Megamind, Monsters v/s Aliens, Finding Nemo or Kung Fu Panda, you are going to be disappointed. The attempt is still good, and I would wait for its sequel supposed to release on September 25, 2015 – lets see how much they can improve on this beginning. Adam Sandler voices Count Dracula and Selena Gomez is the daughter Mavis; that should add to the need for watching the movie.

Release date: 28th September 2012
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky
Starring (voice): Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Cee Lo Green

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Cabin in the Woods

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On one of those days which supported flashbacks in a big way, I could unintentionally fall into the wonderful trap of horror which was this movie. In this trap that is a horror movie, there was another world, which had a lot from the former horror movies, thus serving as a tribute along with being a great horror treat. It is a perfect story of five friends who become part of a perfectly executed horror reality in an environment which is more of a cage – they are watched through hidden cameras, and are made to act in the way the people watching them wants them to act. But the fact remains that this not just a horror movie, as it drains energy from the earlier slasher movies and along with paying homage to them, there is a little bit of satire involved in the treatment. There are elements of The Evil Dead, Hellraiser, as well as all the vampire, zombie and werewolf movies, and not even leaving the mythological as well as the natural beasts behind. The movie has combined all of these to create an astonishing effect, a mixture which can be scary and creepy enough as well as funny enough. It leaves the horror movies with lots of nostalgia with all these, and there might surely be pure satisfaction on most of those faces. This is a mixture which leaves a long-lasting impression on one.

Five college students Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly), Jules Louden (Anna Hutchison), Holden McCrea (Jesse Williams), Marty Mikalski (Fran Kranz) and Curt Vaughan (Chris Hemsworth) travells to a remote cabin in the distant woods away from civilization for a vacation. But the abandoned cabin is more of a controlled environment, as a number of people manage whatever happens in that cabin as they view each and every incident in there with hidden cameras. It is seen that they have an influence throughout the area and not just the cabin. They also give drug the students to reduce their awareness and capability to think in a rational manner. A cellar opens automatically which they feel a result of the wind. Inside the cellar, they find many strange items, including a diary of Patience Buckner, a girl who was abused by her sadistic family. Reciting a Latin incantation from the diary, Dana accidentally summons the whole Buckner family in the form of the walking dead, a group of zombies. Jules is the first one to be killed by the zombies outside, and soon the cabin is attacked by the monsters. With a number of people frequently monitoring and guiding the monsters, as well as trying to weaken the possibilities of the remaining four friends in surviving the horror, it will be a perfect hell-ride for each of them, and escaping the living dead might be more difficult than death itself.

The movie keeps giving that feeling of The Evil Dead throughout its first few minutes in the cabin. There is going to be a little bit of a spoiler from now on, and the base of this movie lies on ritual sacrifice. This is about the need to appease the ancient gods, resembling more of giant monsters who live beneath the facility under the cabin and are kept there in satisfaction by these rituals. The sacrifice should have five constituents, the Whore (Jules), the Athlete (Curt), the Scholar (Holden), the Fool (Marty) and the Virgin (Dana), and the Virgin is supposed to die last with the process usually starting with the Whore. All of these begin with the future victims choosing their method of torment and death, in this case the diary of Patience Becker. They are lead to choosing these, and being unaware through the careful tactics of the people in control, who always check the camera for each move, and manipulate the environment so that the victims will fo what they want, including opening a door or window as well as closing it, or drugging them. Another person could have unleashed the Lord of Pain, a vampire, a merman, an anaconda or a werewolf – the list is almost endless as these creatures are all locked away in the facility.

Kristen Connolly as Dana Polk a.k.a the Virgin; the first movie I ever watched starring her, and she is one of the characters who are in control, keeping within the limits, thus surviving much longer. Even as she keeps tp herself, she is still part of the gang, very unlike Amber Heard’s character in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. But it is debatable if she is really a virgin from what they talk about in the beginning of the movie. She does seem surprised when the director mentions her as the Virgin, and the facility had to admit that they work with what they have, which should imply that she was clearly the better of the two, consider the character of her only female friend in the gang. Jesse Williams as Holden McCrea a.k.a the Scholar is her lover in a relationship which seems hundred percent platonic for now. He works as the perfect gentleman who doesn’t force her into anything and even decides not to look at Dana’s nudity through a one-way mirror and alerts her of the vision he is having in the other room while she undresses. There he also put a block on the desire of the facility’s employees who are watching the same scene to see something. But he is still proud and very confident about his skills, which doesn’t really serve him that well when affected by the drugs.

Chris Hemsworth as Curt Vaughan a.k.a the Athlete is the strongest member of the group, and is extremely confident about his power, and this confidence leads to his death. Anna Hutchison as Jules Louden a.k.a the Whore is a character which proves to be closest to the title from the beginning itself, and even solves the employers’ sadness of seeing no nudity. Her death occurs right after she undresses, about to make out with her boyfriend Curt, as she has completed her role as the archetype which is seen in most of the horror movies. She had already done a sexy dance and even kissed a wolf-head on the wall before this, thus reiterating her position as the one stereotype, the immoral one who gets killed first, and at its perfection, when topless – the facility works with what they had, and therefore, considering her abstinence and also her relationship with the lover, Dana had to be the Virgin, and therefore, Jules had to be the Whore. In that case, even Holden is not too less of an athlete and just loses out to Curt. These roles might have been assigned by the facility’s helper at the petrol pump, who already called Jules by the same title. The employees looking to the screen and waiting for her bare bosom or even extended nudity as well as the betting is less a result of their prejudice and more based on what information the man outside had already given them.

Fran Kranz as Marty Mikalski a.k.a the Fool is the most intelligent one among them all, and the only one without a heroine; no Virgin and no Whore. He is more of the lone wolf who still sticks to the gang without any problem. As he is always on drugs, the drugging never really works on him and he remains in control of his full brain. He might be the first person ever to kill a zombie out there, or at least semi-murder or half-murder those undead creatures. He doubts the presence of puppeteers around right from the beginning, which Dana acknowledges only after the death of Curt. He also saves Dana from sure death in the hands of a zombie. His intellect seems to be more based on movies, and not what is taught in the school and the college which might have helped him to guess things that others couldn’t in such an environment of horror. With his limited arsenal, he has humiliated both the Hercules equivalent and the Socrates equivalent in survival, and he still had remaining darts in his quiver. He even fooled the experts who spent most of their lives in front of the camera, and thus even faked his death, something which might have been unintentional, but still, perfect.

Well, other than the facts that the monster details are awesome, and the leading ladies do a great job along with looking stunning, the more interesting thing is the philosophy involved in it. The gods who are kept underground by ritual sacrifice are more like the viewers who need those good doses of movies in a certain pattern, and the breaking of that pattern might destroy the movie by depriving it of the common viewers, but the gods are change, and variety would come in another generation of movies. May be for a change, the Whore survives, or the whole situation might be reversed. In the case of the giant monstrous gods coming out of the ground to destroy humanity, as the Fool would agree at any point of time, there is the need for another species to be given a chance where humanity failed in its treatment of its own species as well as nature. This movie is a surprise, and it leaves so much for its viewers, to find and deconstruct in their own world, as the gods that they are, and not as the voyeurs who look on the screen from darkness with full confidence that nobody is watching them. There are so many possibilities for imagination related to this movie, and the movie audience got the power. It would have surely been a grand success if its had released here, but what to do for people who can’t even release Evil Dead.

Release date: 13th April 2012
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Amy Acker, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.