Superdeep

Vampire Owl: I thought that Meander had gone quite deep with its crawlspaces.

Vampire Bat: We cannot be sure that it was about going deep into the ground.

Vampire Owl: From the final moments, it did give me that feeling.

Vampire Bat: The feeling should most probably be wrong.

Vampire Owl: I am more confident about Russian science fiction than others.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I do remember Sputnik and The Blackout.

Vampire Owl: Russian high budget films seem to have some quality which Hollywood lacks.

Vampire Bat: Hollywood seems to be running out of ideas like Bollywood.

Vampire Owl: Bollywood is not what we usually associate with new ideas.

Vampire Bat: Still, they are so much available everywhere.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: The action is set in 1984, during the final years of Soviet Union, before its final dissolution into Russia and the other nations. Anna Fedorova (Milena Radulovic) works as an epidemiologist is working for a vaccine for the government, but wishes to resign her post as the head of research, as her research associate is now dead due to trying the vaccine on himself without precautions and no preliminary animal testing. As there is a quick need for the vaccine, the military continues to force her to do what she has been doing, and she is also authorized to continue the human trials, and come up with a result. She still considers herself to be fully responsible for the failure of Vaccine MX23, and the death of her colleague. Her original idea was also to shut down the project immediately, but that wouldn’t be an option in Soviet Union. With the military having an eye over everything, things now have to proceed faster than ever.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The Soviet soldiers in Africa are going to require this vaccine soon, and there is a deadline coming up – the government has never been fans of those who fail to meet the deadline, even if it is by a few days. Soon, Anna is seen as being congratulated on her success in developing the vaccine in a short period of time, much ahead of the deadline. She also receives a call from the military, and she is informed about an incident in a secret underground research facility at Kola Superdeep where sounds of unknown origin were discovered below the surface after twenty people had hone missing. The facility is going to be shut down soon, and there is the need to collect the samples very soon, for which she cab lead a team. For this, some fine rewards are offered to her. She finds the offer to be appointed as the head of the Military Biological Defense Institute to be something which she cannot turn down, and that leads her to the secret facility set in snow.

And things can get only stranger in this world of chaos :: With a group of highly armed soldiers, she reaches there, only to be approached by a strange man who refuses to obey instructions, and is shot. The stranger detonates a hand grenade to kill himself, and there is some damage caused to the helicopter, and the cew is also slightly hurt. This comes as a shock to Anna who feels that there is more to what has happened now. Anna notices the corpse, and finds out that there is something strange about the body, as she continues to collect samples from the remains. The dead man was supposed to be a scientist who came up and lost control of his mind, but according to the crew, he had become so strong that nobody could hold him down. Anna also checks the miners from the mining shaft attached to the secret facility, but she is able to find nothing specific. One of the miners do give her a clue, that this is not about a disease, and it is basically hell down there. Now, it is up to her to find something out of that particular idea.

The defence of The Superdeep :: Milena Radulovic whom we know from The Balkan Line leads the way well in this film which has her as the advantage. The film does have some fine visuals of this particular world which goes a long way underneath the surface of the planet. The fine detail around here does provide us with the feeling of 1980s and the Soviet world. It is different from what we see in the usual Hollywood movies, and that difference works as an advantage to take us to a different universe. It also reminds us of some of those computer games with some fine graphics. This is more or less like a whole world down there to explore, and we can surely make a video game out of this. There are moments when it also reminds one of Prometheus and Alien Covenant, as there is something out of this world at work. There is also a certain amount of alien-like horror working out here. The detailing here is also very good, and unveiling this mystery only makes things scarier. The fear here feels real, and the thrills go on.

Positives and negatives :: The Superdeep doesn’t have good beginning, as we do have our doubts about what is to happen, after the start. Other than the main character, the others don’t contribute that much around here. Once the film gets its setting to the snow-filled world and underneath it, we are quick to know that we are up for something that will keep us glued to the seats. The sound effects nicely contribute to the same as much as the atmosphere created. All these contribute well to the fear generation. The idea of the creature at work here brings more to totality too. There is so much about the creature that is scary, and it is not just the view itself. The limitations and the lack of soul in science can also be seen here, as we see the sinister motives here too. The ending leaves a few things to ponder about, not just about humanity and its survival as well as weakness, but also about what is to happen next, leaving the possibility of having a sequel at some point.

How it finishes :: Russian film industry has been very good in making some special science fiction movies, and this one is the latest addition to the same. It is also like a computer game in which we enters a dangerous new world, and we enjoy this setting a lot. It does reminds one of Doom, but does manage to create its own identity, thanks to the Soviet style which is reinvented really well with a certain amount of quality. The scary elements also work really well here, and the horror that is provided here can stay. If you are into science fiction horror, you have to give a chance to this film too. Among the recent flicks, you might have watched Russian demons, ghosts and witches through Guests, Queen of Spades, Baba Yaga and others, but it seems that the best of horror lies in science fiction. You can take a look back to The Blackout and Sputnik along with this one, and this is a film that I consider at a higher level, somewhat above many Hollywood films dealing with similar elements.

Release date: 4th November 2020
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Arseny Syuhin
Starring: Milena Radulovic, Maksim Radugin, Nikita Dyuvbanov, Vadim Demchog, Kirill Kovbas, Viktor Nizovoy, Sergey Ivanyuk, Albina Chaykina, Artyom Tsukanov, Nikolay Kovbas

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Manor

Vampire Owl: Are we talking about the Dracula Manor?

Vampire Bat: There is no such a manor. We only have the castle.

Vampire Owl: Well, this could be a manor which looks like a castle.

Vampire Bat: Well, Uncle Dracula certainly has some specific ideas about what a great vampire abode should be.

Vampire Owl: His ideas are as outdated as the castle dungeon coating.

Vampire Bat: We are not supposed to talk like that about the vampire elders.

Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula is still a few centuries away from being a true elder.

Vampire Bat: The elder status is not always gained by age.

Vampire Owl: Yet, all our vampire elders are older than history.

Vampire Bat: Well, you will see how Uncle Dracula is an exception.

[Gets a pineapple cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Judith Albright (Barbara Hershey) had considered herself to be of perfect health, and enjoyed her life with family including little kids, until she suddenly faces a stroke. She decides to move into a famous nursing home, even though her family feels that it is totally unnecessary. Her grandchildren considers her to be young and healthy as anyone of a lower age, but she is adamant. In comparison to her, the other residents of the nursing home are not really that healthy, both physically and mentally. For the peace and quiet of the place, the authorities actually keep a no mobile phone policy, much to her dismay, as she hoped to text her relatives and find some interesting photos and news from the social media. Judith had chosen to stay at this place, as she didn’t want to be a problem for her family, especially if she gets bed-ridden at some point, and has the feeling that things might not be the same again after the stroke.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, she feels that there is something really strange about the manor and the people around there, even though she does make some good friends out there. The nights no longer allow her to sleep, as something is seen or heard all around. The surroundings around this particular nursing home is also pretty much spooky, as we look on. Her room-mate makes some strange noises, and doesn’t seem to be of good mental health. She also feels that there is a supernatural presence there, with nurses also acting strange, and wants to escape. But the problem is that it was her own decision to choose the nursing home – now she needs to act against it. For the same, she would have a lot of convincing to do though, as everything looks perfect from outside. There is a mystery to be revealed here, about what is it that haunts this particular world, but can it be known?

The defence of The Manor :: There are some fine moments of terror which comes out of nowhere, even though there are not many, and nothing much that we would remember for that long. The setting is really good, and they do use the environment to the best advantage, from the building to the surroundings. There is always something about the world around, whether having an enchanted feeling, or about being ready to unleash the terror at any moment. We also have fine concept behind this film, even though not at its full strength when executed. As expected, there is indeed the twist that awaits us, and there is a certain amount of deviation regarding that too. With Barbara Hershey in the lead, this was going to create a certain amount of impact, and one could be confident that the same was going to increase the positive effect.

The claws of flaw :: The Manor could have done a lot more, and we know that from the premise itself. The film is also very slow, and slower than any horror film would have wanted to move forward. When a horror film cannot go at a good enough pace, it affects the whole thing rather too much. Such a film is also expected to use what is required to keep itself in the genre. The idea here should have been executed better, and there could have been many paths to follow. The scares that it uses could have been manufactured in a better way. It also doesn’t try to build on a possible message which was standing so close out there. The structure could have been better as we look at it. As part of a bigger series, Welcome to the Blumhouse, this one had the chance to stand out, but really doesn’t try to do that. Well, it is our right to expect more here.

Performers of the soul :: Barbara Hershey plays the main role here, and she is also the old lady in distress around. She is the name that has been familiar the most for the supernatural horror film, The Entity more than anything else. It is also one film of those times which has had its presence well known. After so many years, she is part of another horror flick, and she blends in here really well once again. Bruce Davison is the next notable face here, as he has a bigger role to play here than what it seems in the early stages. Then there are actresses like Ciera Payton, Stacey Travis and Jill Larson who also contribute to the film naturally. Nicholas Alexander plays another significant role here, which becomes even more important in the later stages of the movie. Katie Amanda Keane and Shelley Robertson also drops in, along with Fran Bennett. As this is a nursing home, there are enough in-mates here to add to the characters, even though not all of them are used to the best advantage.

How it finishes :: The Manor is the latest addition to the thrillers added to Amazon Prime Video, and last month we did have The Voyeurs doing the job. It doesn’t use enough of horror to its advantage, unlike what was expected, and if it had done that too, The Manor could have had its own good fan base with its premise. In the world of films like The Conjuring, Insidious, Annabelle, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe among others, this is no grand horror fest, but a small one to be part of the group. The focus here is more on the mystery, and as we go through the environment, we are going to be part of this journey, at a lower pace. In a world slowed down by COVID-19 pandemic, there is always scope for some slow horror too. During these days when you cannot trust the people or the virus enough, all you need is some supernatural horror.

Release date: 8th October 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 81 minutes
Directed by: Axelle Carolyn
Starring: Barbara Hershey, Stacey Travis, Bruce Davison, Ciera Payton, Jill Larson, Mark Steger

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela

What is the movie about? :: Chacko (Lal) and Sheela (Shanthi Krishna) are a couple in the city who are going through their usual days. The former was working at Kuwait until a few years ago, and the latter is a Chemistry professor at the nearby college. While their youngest child Sarah (Ahaana Krishna) lives with them, their eldest child Mary (Srinda Arhaan) lives with her husband Tony (Siju Wilson) nearby. Their only son Kurien (Nivin Pauly) is working at London, and it has been some time since he last visited India. It is during one of these days that Sheela develops a doubt if she has breast cancer. The talk about the same frightens Chacko, who consults his good friend and dentist Varkichan (Dileesh Pothan). The man refers Chacko to a reputed doctor of a famous hospital in Cochin, Saiju (Saiju Kurup) who has cured many patients suffering from cancer. After consulting him and undergoing the tests, they confirm the same, that she does have stage two breast cancer.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is at the same time that Kurien returns to Cochin for spending a forced break, as Sheela had called and asked him to come as soon as possible without saying any reason. He gets the feeling that she had called him to get him married, as most of the other relatives of his age have been married already, and his siblings also share the same thoughts. The only other reason could be related to their grandfather, but he has been the same for years, and there is absolutely no change regarding his health. Chacko, who is afraid of the disease, struggles to even talk about it to his children – but one day, he manages to let them know the truth after a series of misunderstandings. Everyone in the family is shocked and sad, and are cent percent confused about what to do next. The family which had things going straight without any intermissions, gets a lot of thinking to do after that revelation.

And what else is to follow in the adventure in the land of crabs? :: Kurien’s only relief is his long lost friend Subbu (Krishna Shankar) whom he meets after a long time. Sheela tells her family to support her happily, but everyone remains sad and depressed. They decide to get a home nurse to look after the grandfather as Sheela is not well. Their search for one ends with Yesudas (Sharafudheen) whose conditions are agreed upon. Meanwhile, while taking his mother to one of the chemotherapy sessions, Kurien meets a girl from Bangalore named Raichel (Aishwarya Lekshmi) who had arrived in the hospital with her parents, as her father also had cancer. They become good friends, and Kurien feels very much attracted to her. Meanwhile, Sarah is also in love. Chacko keeps struggling to make himself adjust to the understanding and fear of his wife’s disease. In this newly confused world, the battle between chemo and the crab goes on.

The defence of Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela :: There are two sides to Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela – a humorous one and the emotional one. The humour is there in the movie all the way – the light-hearted side of this flick will make it a much loved title for this Onam season for the families. The emotional side is there, as the family is shaken by the unexpected trouble, and we see how they overcome the same, but never missing out on bringing a little comedy here and there. The balance which has been maintained here without letting the flick stumble into some kind of melodrama, is a remarkable achievement. The use of the right cast also makes sure that things work better. The movie leaves us with the message that it is the unexpected twist in life that makes us stronger, and it is the difficulties that makes us capable of more – positivity added there when the trap of hopelessness is present. Along with the same, it is once again re-iterated that family is that important, and it would come over almost all the other things in life; something that most of the new generation would need to realize at some point.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does take the safe route rather than trying anything special or unexpected. It might be rather too simple for the liking of some people, unlike Adam Joan, the other good movie of the Onam-Eid season which makes sure that it is more like the exact opposite of this movie – like a mirror image which reverses things. Well, we have interesting movies at both sides of the mirror, and it is a positive sign for the Malayalam movie industry. Yet, one wonders why it was so necessary to add a romantic side to this movie which adds nothing more than a little bit of cuteness along with a song – without the same, this one would have finished in less than two hours, and Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela would have had no moment of deviation from its beautiful family stuff. In a world when youth wishes for quick movies, the movie’s dilatoriness will trouble more than one person, but if you relate to the characters well enough, such a problem can vanish into thin air. There could also be people who want some parts of this movie to be more serious; well could have been even more touching for sure.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly goes through his role comfortably, as the lazy, Lays eating, London-er with more Keralite thoughts than anything else. There is also a little bit of romantic side for him here, but it is once again the family stuff that he gets to handle, and does very well. When the movie is cute, and the hero is Nivin Pauly, I wonder what can stop the family from rushing into the theatres. It has been a long time since we saw Shanthi Krishna, and it is good to see her back, and she remains the strong point of this movie from the beginning to the end. Lal also joins in and makes this role exactly at the right place. Ahaana Krishna’s second role also seems to be a good choice, as she seems to be doing what Aima Rosmy Sebastian has been doing – she has more to do than the heroine, Aishwarya Lekshmi who has a memorable presence, but gets less time on screen. The Aluvaite Premam team has kind of a get together with Siju Wilson, Krishna Shankar and Sharafudheen there, and strengthens the funny side, and so does Srinda.

How it finishes :: You will find Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela from the debutante director Althaf Salim to be a treat for the whole family, even without trying anything huge. It stays close to life and closer to the heart with those simple moments of life, and simpler instances of comedy being nicely woven into the plot. One has to wonder how well Nivin Pauly has been choosing his movies – from those dual releases of Ivide and Premam, it has been such a fantastic journey. The last three movies, Action Hero Biju, Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Sakhavu have been different in core, and all three of them are worth the appreciation. Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela continues that sequences of interesting movies. With the Tamil movie Richie supposed to come up soon, our movie here will raise hope to an even higher level. As of now, there is no void as it has been at certain points of time, and we have enough to enjoy this vacation season. I wish all of my readers a Happy Eid, as well as a Happy Onam in advance! 🙂

PS: Relate the crab to cancer, and there is more than one meaning which you can take from “the land of crabs” in the title.

Release date: 1st September 2017
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Althaf Salim
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Lal, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Ahaana Krishna, Shanthi Krishna, Siju Wilson, Srinda Arhaan, Krishna Shankar, Sharafudheen, Dileesh Pothan, Saiju Kurup, Sidhartha Siva

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Akam Puram

Vampire Owl: Why does the title sound to me like Inside Out?

Vampire Bat: It is more like Inside Outside.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the insides could be outside, and vice versa?

Vampire Bat: Are you referring to mind being outside the body?

Vampire Owl: Yes, such things are possible with meditation in a coffin.

Vampire Bat: I have heard that Doctor Frankenstein has developed a method to separate body and mind.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that the volunteer would have lost both his mind and body if Frankenstein was involved.

Vampire Bat: You are being too judgmental about someone who cured you of zombieness.

Vampire Owl: Dude, it was a temporary thing. I was going to be okay in a few minutes.

Vampire Bat: Anyway, this one requires none of these things.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Udayan (Sarath Das), a policeman, reaches late to report to his senior officer (Prem Lal) as he goes to pray at the nearby temple. As time is running out for them to present a murder convict (Arun Punalur) to the district court, the senior police officer is furious. But Udayan tells him that he has had no time at all, as his mother is not well. It is her birthday, and usually they all go to the temple together, and this time, after leaving his mother to the care of his sister, he had to go to the temple alone, and pray for her well-being. He remembers how his rich relatives have been hesitant to help, or even look in their direction after the demise of his father, after which his mother had been taking care of him and his sister. Now, she is not well, and he is sad about not being able to be there at home to look after her due to this special duty which has come up because of someone else taking leave for personal reasons.

So, what happens next in the tale? :: The senior officer tells him that it is quite natural with their job, and it is their duty of presenting this man at the court in time that should matter the most – otherwise, they could be suspended, or transferred to somewhere far away; in that case, he wouldn’t be able to take care of his family at all. It is then that Udayan gets a call from his sister letting him know that their mother’s condition became critical, and she is admitted in the Intensive Care Unit of a nearby hospital. Udayan begs his senior officer to take a turn and go to the court after seeing his mother, to which the officer reluctantly agrees. But now, the question remains if they can reach their destination in time. Also, there is doubt if Udayan’s mother could be saved – the uncertainty is there at both sides, and the convict also has something to say about it contribute to the situation. Will at least one of the two things end well for the two cops on special duty?

Soul exploration 1: More than one responsibility in life :: It is the nature of our world that when we have a job, we will be blamed for not doing enough at home, and when we are at home, we are blamed for not being good enough to get a job. It is like not getting a girl for marriage when you have no job, and having no leave for marriage when you have the girl – it is that kind of a world. In this situation when we have to keep working, there is no hope to do our duties well enough, as the balance is so difficult. Yes, there are some people who have it easy as they lie, cheat and steal their way to the top, for the common man, maintaining this balance is eternally difficult. We see the same reflection of difficulties with the protagonist of this movie too, as he struggles to keep up things. Then there are those relatives, who are useful more for the blame game than anything else.

Soul exploration 2: Life running through a busy world :: One can’t predict or judge in a world which is rather too busy. There is nothing that will go according to plan, and the line between good and evil gets rather thin. When nobody has any time for anyone, as we see the protagonist having no relatives to take care of his mother – they are rich, but they don’t have time for their own people, and they pretend to like people only to make money. We see how much lies are being told these days just to make money, and one would wonder if such liars have any honour. But what makes us lovable for the friends and relatives is money, and these days, nobody really cares how you got the money and property if you have them. Well, it is a modernized, mechanical world build out of money, isn’t it? Who wants good qualities? There are parents who will get their daughters married to any fake person if he got money.

How it finishes :: Akam Puram directed by Abhilash Purushothaman is another interesting short-film which makes one think about the harsh realities of life, as one can’t help wondering how it could be any better with the same. We all live in a world which is full of uncertainties, and often when we look at the lives of others, we wonder how different it is. Supported by the performances from a good cast lead by the popular serial artist Sarath, this successfully catches the interest of its viewers, who are made to realize that no matter how hard one tries, there are few things that will never change, and it is the difference between each person in their though process, and their priorities – it is often due to how they were brought up, but as we all know, the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. Also read the reviews of those movies which are in theatres right now, Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Varnyathil Aashanka, Clint, Sarvopari Palakkaran, Chunkzz, Kadam Katha, Sunday Holiday and Thondimuthalum Drikshakshiyum.

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

Vampire Owl: I have had similar experience with one of the vampire convicts.

Vampire Bat: You were assigned to transporting convicts?

Vampire Owl: Yes, those guilty of the bloody terror.

Vampire Bat: I believe that it was called blood terror.

Vampire Owl: Yes, during those times, I was working as an apprentice with the vampire imperial guard.

Vampire Bat: You are a soldier? You never mentioned it in your resume.

Vampire Owl: It is because I was dismissed for failure in transporation of convicts.

Vampire Bat: So, how many days did you work with the vampire imperial guard?

Vampire Owl: One day, one job, the end.

Vampire Bat: What a beautiful case of one day’s work.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 14th January 2017
Running time: 15 minutes
Directed by: Abhilash Purushothaman
Starring: Sarath Das, Prem Lal, Arun Punalur

Watch the movie Akam Puram here:

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Phobia

Vampire Owl: I hope that she doesn’t have vampirophobia. I really hope that she doesn’t.

Vampire Bat: I believe that the exact term for the same is sanguivoriphobia.

Vampire Owl: What? Who on Earth comes up with such strange names? Who even gets that at first attempt?

Vampire Bat: Well, they call it the fear for blood eaters.

Vampire Owl: How can someone actually eat blood? And we are vegetarian vampires; we have suitable replacements instead.

Vampire Bat: It doesn’t count. Humans are masters of generalisation, and they create opinions based on that.

Vampire Owl: We should have a phobia of them instead – unless they are all dead.

Vampire Bat: You are in no position to call an event which causes human extinction. They have to cause their own downfall.

Vampire Owl: It is something that I have always believed in.

Vampire Bat: Just make sure that Wonder Woman won’t murder you after naming you Ares, the God of War.

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

What is the movie about? :: Mehak Deo (Radhika Apte), a talented artist who is quite popular with her friends, attends almost every party in the town, becoming more of the popular girl in the city. But after being molested by a taxi driver on a terrible night, she develops the worst of agoraphobia, which keeps her away from public places and large groups, as she keeps herself inside the house and mostly in her room. Living in the same house as her sister Anusha (Nivedita Bhattacharya), it gets worse for everyone, as her actions remain more and more uncontrollable and unbearable for all. With the eccentric and unpredictable nature affecting Anusha’s little kid too, they all feel done with helping her, because it seems to be of no use, and Mehak herself doesn’t want to be treated, staying inside home without making an attempt to go out for months.

So, what happens next? :: Shaan (Satyadeep Mishra), Mehak’s good friend decides to help her, and gets her to an apartment which is empty for now after its previous occupant decided to move away. He hopes that this change, and life alone will be better for her, and she will start longing to meet people after this. At the new place, she seems to have some visions, and she feels that there is something sinister about these particular visions. She has two neighbours there with whom she gets to talk often, one of them being Nikki (Yashaswini Dayama), who is a graduate student who lives on the flat on the right, while on the left side, there lives Manu (Ankur Vikal) who had anger management issues and is using laughter to fight the same. The latter used to be in a relationship with a woman called Jiah Khurana (Amrit Bagchi) who had left the place.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: It turns out that Jiah was living in the same apartment in which Mahek is living right now. Knowing that the girl had disappeared without telling anyone, and that there is no clue of where she is, Mahek begins to feel that there is a big mystery behind the same. She comes up with the idea that an angry Manu had killed Jiah and has hidden her body in his apartment. Mehak also feels that her visions are from Jiah’s spirit which is trying to tell her something about the demise. Shaan feels that this is all part of her disease, and that she is having so many hallucinations. Her psychiatrist (Faezeh Jalali) also confirms that Mahek’s condition is worsening every day, and there is not much that can be done unless she is taken to a mental asylum. But Nikki is curious, and decides to help Mehak in finding the truth behind the missing girl. Now the question remains about what really is the truth here.

The defence of Phobia :: There is one thing about which you can be cent percent sure, and it is that Phobia won’t be like any other movie which you have seen in Bollywood, and in psychological horror, it explores more territories, and most of these areas are divergent. The story is nicely presented right from the beginning, and it keeps you wondering what is happening, and what is to follow. The visuals nicely match the overall mood of the movie, and there are some scenes which are particularly great and deserves our attention. Radhika Apte is once again too good, as you would expect her to be – she is that kind of an actress who has more in store for us than anyone from Bollywood, and it is a fact that you just can’t ignore. There are moments from her which you are going to remember for so long. The next one to make the impact is Yashaswini Dayama who keep the curious college girl act going on very nicely.

The claws of flaw :: One can say without doubt that Phobia is not a movie for everyone; I am sure that it might have already been established by many others in one way or the other which randomly talking about the flick. There are also logic flaws in this movie, and her living alone in the flat is nothing less than strange, and having a knife near her when she goes into the virtual reality is rather comfortable. The way in which the mystery is finally solved is also rather strange, when it could have taken a rather direct approach. The climax had potential to be something more, and for some reason, it chooses not to live up to the fantastic build-up in the first half, and finish the movie on a high. The audience is left clueless on a lot of occasions, and more scary moments could have been built regarding the neighbour and other residents of the apartments. When you have an apartment where someone with a mental problem living alone, there is always scope for more.

How it finishes :: Phobia demands that you take things differently, and get your thinking procedure to go another way, which has almost no relation with a regular Bollywood movie; all that those movies are, this movie is not. It is where movies like Phobia and Raman Raghav 2.0 scores, and it is also what we strive to have. Otherwise, Bollywood can only focus on biopics, and tales inspired from real life incidents like Neerja, Rustom and Airlift, which they need to keep the ship sailing in the right direction. It is during such times that this movie does go against the flow, and what we can do is to appreciate the effort and watch this movie without second thoughts about how it will make us feel, and how well it can relate when we haven’t watched similar movies before.

Release date: 27th May 2016
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Pavan Kirpalani
Starring: Radhika Apte, Yashaswini Dayama, Satyadeep Mishra, Ankur Vikal, Nivedita Bhattacharya, Amrita Bagchi, Faezeh Jalali, Salone Mehta, Arush Nand, Dinyar Tirandaz, Amit Kumar Pandey, Malhar Goenka

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

World War Z

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Even in the world dominated more by vampires as the popular fantasy creature, there is no lack of support for the zombies, even in India as shown in Go Goa Gone. Otherwise, the Resident Evil series always had the complete control over that zombie world which came up as the result of an infection. The animated corpses which were something more than just a mindless vampire or human, has had more success with the stories of science rather than magic, with virus infection rather than being resurrected by necromancy or being summoned from another world by a sorcerer or a witch. Even then, they would remain the most important weapon for the battle in the box-office, as vampires have had too much run on the big screen. I would still miss I Am Legend for the kind of vampire mix which was given to the zombies, a combination of intellect which has been completely destroyed by Twilight. There are many people whom I can recommend to be zombies without being dead and coming back, but I choose to remain silent now due to the respect which I pay towards them – not those people, but the real zombies of the world. Still, I can’t hesitate to say that the hunger of the human flesh or the human brain should exist with both of them. I would thank Mary Shelley and her Frankenstein more than anything else on this occasion, and move forward.

A global pandemic in the form of a zombie outbreak has become so interesting these days that even if someone prepares for it as if the end of the world is near, there is no need to be surprised. A zombie apocalypse is something which needs its own glorification, as it is already happening with some of the mindless hypocrites who are slave to logic. But here in this Brad Pitt starrer, we have the true, respectable undead zombies, based on the 2006 novel with the same name by Max Brooks. Even as seeing Brad Pitt among the list of producers reminded me of what happened with Will Smith’s After Earth which shattered those hopes made of glass into so many pieces that it was not easy mend, there was a certain belief about this one. In that case, it would have been surprising that this movie made it to the theatres here, as there was a great chance for this one to miss the multiplexes belonging to this part of the world. The presence of Man of Steel and its reluctance to move out of the theatres might be a major blow to this one as well as to Monsters University which has been restricted to a single show if present. None of these can give even a small fight to Superman and his impact on this part of the world, something which is rooted in the childhood memories – the presence of Now You See Me and Fast & Furious 6 shouldn’t really hurt this one though.

After Tom Cruise and Will Smith jumped into the world that was post-apocalyptic Earth in the same year, with the former been a vampire in Interview with the Vampire and the latter been a zombie-vampire killer in I am Legend, Brad Pitt already had the vampire experience as Louis de Pointe du Lac, the complete vampire despite of the human conscience and existential questions of life and death, good and evil, God and Satan, heaven and hell. This time, he is not part of the attacking gang, but still raises his own questions about humanity in not that effective manner. Anne Rice’s works had its own versions of zombies, even as they were also called vampires, like the ones the leading characters encounter in Eastern Europe, with no mind of its own, attacking everything that moves, driven by its own need to feed; the only characteristic that can define them. One has to wonder what differentiates a zombie from the human beings without civilization in a world which has quite a shortage of resources. Won’t each and everyone act the same as a zombie in such a situation, in the absence of the rules and regulations of the society and the restrictions of sin imposed by the religion? That should identify us more with the term zombie rather than the vampire, knowing our need for society and religion to keep us from becoming zombies or even worse.

It must be clear from the title by now that the “Z” stands for Zombies. There is no doubt about the fact that most of the people who came to the theatre were not expecting the same, thanks to the posters which gave no clue about such a thing. Another thing is that there is no scope for 3D, as those glasses give you almost nothing other than some words which would seem to project off the screen in the beginning of the movie. There are some good CGI moments for sure, and the special effects are limited; not a very good thing for a movie of this genre. There is a good chance that most of the comon zombie fans might choose to say a no to this one. It is the story of former UN employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family who are saved from a group of zombies who turn all who they bite into their kind, and after being taken to a US Navy ship in the middle of the sea, he is forced to invetigate into the matter using the special skills he achieved through his missions, so that the origins of the virus could be found out and the pandemic could be stopped. Not without reluctance, but still agreeing for the sake of his family’s staying on the ship rather than in a refugee camp on the land surrounded by zombies, Gerry joins the team of experts on a plane for a military base in South Korea from where some of this is supposed to have started in the first place.

Here is the paragraph which might give you the spoiler – and the story till the end. From there the journey is to Jerusalem, as the nation of Israel seems to have had a prior knowledge about a possible zombie infection, as they did already bring up some walls. But he gets nothing useful from there, and Jerusalem is also attacked, as the zombies climb over the wall, as they form a ladder by piling on the top of one another. As the ultimate chaos follows, he manages to escape from there by boarding a Belarus Airlines flight with his escort soldier, a journey which is cut short when one of the zombies get to bite an airhostess from where hell breaks loose, and Gerry manages to throw a grenade which divides the plane into two and leads to a crash from which the two survive. They finally reach a World Health Organization research facility and assists them in finding a cure, and the find out that the virus needs people who are healthy, and those ill and therefore unsuitable as hosts for viral reproduction are not bitten, and are rather more invisible than anything else. This camouflage helps them to fight zombies, and that should save the day for the world, but the war would continue, as it might seem to the audience. There might be a question though, about this being all that we have been waiting for.

The huge pile-up of cars and the zombie attack in the beginning as well as the Jerusalem zombie attack forms the highlights of the movie. But it remains without enough moments when these two sequences are removed. The attack on the plane is the only other thing worth mentioning. Brad Pitt has done a great job to add to it. He plays an effective character, and without him, this movie would have surely collapsed. The zombies are fine, with their own pros and cons added in this one. But this movie remains slow, and without a good enough reason other than Brad Pitt to attract the viewers. All the awesomeness which was expected to follow after the initial zombie attack never comes, and as it doesn’t attempt to do anything extraordinary, the expectations are scattered and the 3D glasses are wasted. The catchy dialogues might be about the mother nature being a serial killer and how she disguises her strengths and weaknesses. The noises that the zombies make are somewhat attractive too. I would still prefer the zombies and special effects of Resident Evil, and it is a little depressing that this one lacks action, but the advantage is that this one is closer to reality and there is absolutely no exaggeration at any point of time.

The movie is just a little scary and a little thrilling. It might be the slowest zombie movie of the recent times and the most realistic of them all – it is an exaggeration, as these hardly get close enough to reality to be identified with. This world war of the zombies never tries to expand its entertainment elements beyond what is ordinary. It could have been its achievement, but for now, it is clearly working against it. Zombies and vampires have been too commericalized these days, and when the entertainment value is somewhat drained from it, there is only a little to gain. If this was about the wars from A to Z, and this one is the final one of them, there could have been a slightly better chance. World War Z does its job and there is no denying it. With Brad Pitt’s never ceasing charm and acting, and the realistic portrayal of a supernatural world stained with scientific curiosities, this one can go the distance, and stay there until something bigger comes its way and take over. One should choose to watch this one for the one leading actor who carries the movie on his shoulders, and a zombie world which takes a different stance. It is a war which this movie got to face now, as a certain amount of uncertainty is ready to pounce over it.

Release date: 21st June 2013
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, Daniella Kertesz, David Morse

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.