Raccoon City

Vampire Owl: We have all been the fans of Resident Evil franchise, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the franchise about zombies coming over.

Vampire Owl: Well, these are surely not the zombies that we know well.

Vampire Bat: The zombies of science, not the kind of our realm.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that the zombies of science might be even stronger.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they have the technology to make zombies that strong.

Vampire Owl: Yet, they are will never be as strong as vampires.

Vampire Bat: But, you have never really battled a pure undead zombie.

Vampire Owl: The pure bloods have been dead and buried for centuries.

Vampire Bat: You don’t see them that often. They are like the vampire elders.

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

What is the movie about? :: Claire Redfield (Kaya Scodelario) returns to Raccoon City in 1998, where she and her older brother Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell) lived in an orphanage there which was run by the Umbrella Corporation. William Birkin (Neal McDonough) who ran the institute was using the children for his experimental research at the Umbrella Corporation, and Claire had noted a disfigured little girl in particular. Claire has returned to the city to find her brother, but Raccoon City which used to be the home of the Umbrella Corporation, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company had turned into a ghost town with the company moving to a new location. Only a small crew of the last few employees remained there. As Claire returns by hitchhiking in a truck, which accidently hits a woman in the middle of the road. But as the two argue over what is to be done with the body, the woman stands up and disappears without a trace. The woman seems to be walking strange, as if affected by some strange disease, and the trucker’s dog does drink some of the blood on the road and begins to act strange and bites him later.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Leon S Kennedy (Avan Jogia), a Raccoon City Police Department rookie officer who just got there visits a diner and finds the waiter having blood coming out of her eyes. The waiter dismisses is as nothing of significance, and is also not ready to see a doctor. She finds her brother Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell), who is a member of the STARS Alpha Team along with Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen) and Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper). Claire feels that there is something wrong with the city, and asks Chris to get out of there, but he feels that he owes to the Umbrella Corporation which looked after him after she had run away. Claire tries to convince him that there are many theories about what is going to happen to the city which has been abandoned by the corporation on purpose, but there is nothing that can make him change his mind, as he is also not happy about her leaving her as a child. Chris leaves for the police station after an alarm is activated by the Umbrella Corporation.

And what more is to happen in this world of some strange chaos? :: Claire is attacked by a strange woman who keeps saying “Itchy Tasty”. She manages to keep her away and escape on Chris’ motorcycle. At the police station, it is said that an earlier team had gone missing while investigating the Spencer Mansion which was owned by the head of the Umbrella Corporation – it is investigated by the team led by Chris. At the same time, the truck driver who was bitten by his dog is transformed into a zombie, and crashes his truck in front of the police station, soon dying. As the police chief tries to escape, Leon remains the only person in charge of the police station – he would also be forced to return to the police station as there seems to be no way out of the city now, with Umbrella Corporation guards trying to keep the people inside and contain what seems to be an outbreak. There is the zombie dog of the trucker and many zombie-like people outside the police station, and there seems to be no way out of there of the police station now. With the mansion also overrun by zombies, the team also struggles to find a way out.

The defence of Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City :: I have always been happy about video games made into movies. As I was a gamer since my childhood, I would always feel some nostalgia when my favourite games of the past become movies of the present – it makes me go through the journey again. It is the same reason why I was only happy to hear about a reboot of this big franchise of adaptation. The movie does start well, and it does focus on Claire and Jill in the beginning itself – they are two of my favourite characters. There are some interesting shots of zombie attacks here, and a lot of shooting follows. There are some good-looking camera shots with the help of darkness, and some of the music also manages to come up with effectiveness, even though you know that there was the chance to do things better as we remember the original. The scope for a sequel is pretty much there too, but one might feel the need to add some more of interesting characters and have a better horde of zombies, as the audience has already seen so much. The performances are not that much, but fine.

The claws of flaw :: Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is not that heavy in action in comparison to the original movie franchise or the games. It is also not that scary as the movie which started the movie adaptations with a similar setting. The waking up of Alice in the bath tub and the lift scene are only a few of them. That movie had a lot of stylish and iconic moments which we continue to remember. There were also some memorable dialogues to add to it. Even the costumes of the main characters lets the fans down up to an extent. Releasing so many years after the first movie, this one could have had better special effects. Some more innovation to the tale and its presentation could have suited the present scenario better. There is not enough strength in the attempts made around here. There are movies in the earlier series which are worse than this one, but for a reboot which had all the chances to start again in style, this one lags – remember that the games were the kind which kept us so much immersed in them. One really seems to lose the way so much while trying to make adaptations of video games.

How it finishes :: We have already watched so many movies of Resident Evil, and have played so many games in the franchise. The games have been integral part of our childhood, and still brings us the nostalgia about those which CDs which we received with the computer magazines – those were the demo versions of interest. If we go back to the first movie of a very long franchise, it was also something of a lot of interest – things started to change only with the third movie, as the second one had also continued the proceedings of the world really well. The earlier Resident Evil franchise starring Milla Jovovich was indeed something of interest, even though losing its way with the story at times – yet, we are happy to have a reboot which can also come up with some interesting titles as it progress. Well, we know that we are all standing close to a biohazard created by human manufactured viruses, and corona virus might only have been the tip of the huge iceberg. As we heard in that original movie long ago, everyone is going to die down here.

Release date: 24th November 2021
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: Johannes Roberts
Starring: Kaya Scodelario, Hannah John-Kamen, Robbie Amell, Tom Hopper, Avan Jogia, Donal Logue, Neal McDonough

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Antlers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vampire Owl: Those potions never really work.

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

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has opened portals with elixirs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Out of Death

Vampire Owl: I am sure that this is about us. We are the undead.

Vampire Bat: This is not really about coming out of death as undead.

Vampire Owl: I don’t see any other way for anybody to come out of death.

Vampire Bat: Your favourite doctor might have some plans about that.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein is not a doctor, but a scientist.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein is a duplicate scientist, and a half-doctor.

Vampire Owl: Well, he has created undead out of nothing.

Vampire Bat: They were pretty much undead already.

Vampire Owl: There has been a difference in the two states.

Vampire Bat: An undead being killed and revived won’t make much of sense.

[Gets a paneer masala dosa and three cups of Munnar tea].

What is the movie about? :: Shannon Mathers (Jaime King), a journalist who is trying to scatter her father’s ashes on the top of a mountain witnesses Billie Jean (Lala Kent) going through a drug deal with a gangster. It doesn’t go right, as the latter is shot by the former after he is found recording their deal on the phone. After the murder, she gets rid of the body too. Shannon also has photos of the incident on her camera. At the same time, Retired cop Jack Harris (Bruce Willis) seems to be having some relaxed moments with his niece Pam Harris (Kelly Greyson). Soon enough, Billie realizes that there is someone else in the area where the murder was committed, and Shannon barely manages to run away. She calls the other corrupt police officers, Hank Rivers (Michael Sirow) and Tommy Rivers (Tyler Olson), who decide to lock all the exits from the area that leads outside, along with getting rid of the body in time. Soon, it seems that there are too many of corrupt officers out there, and they are all after Shannon.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Shannon had also came there to prove her father wrong, that she could hike through this place unlike what her father had thought. Now, this is not what she had actually thought she would be facing. Jack also feels that it is not what he should be doing, as he comes across Billie trying to shoot Shannon, and rescues her. As they keep running, Shannon ends up stabbing Billie. As Tommy and Hank find no hope for Billie to survive as she bleeds out, they put her out of her misery, and hopes that they can pin that on Shannon, as there is the knife with her fingerprints. As she also manages to shoot Tommy, the only way out of her now seems to be with the evidence that she had captured with her camera, as she has almost become labelled as a junkie who has killed two police officers. Now, Hank won’t step back on vengeance as Tommy was also his brother. Now, it seems that the only way out for him is through Pam. But how will that work out for him now?

The defence of Out of Death :: The movie serves as a survivor thriller which is better than the other one movie with survival of a witness in the woods, Those Who Wish Me Dead which had Angeline Jolie saving the target – that one also released in the same year, and had one veteran performer trying to get into action. With Jaime King around, things only get better. There are some nice visuals of the woods, and we have some nicely planned dialogues in here too. The movie can boast about that strong female protagonist as much as the carefully picturized antagonist who seems to be the only man around there with a perfect plan which seems to work. The lesser known cast also deliver so well, and unlike what one feels in the beginning, Lala Kent is a fine surprise. The movie can also be considered as one of the least violent movies with a theme like this, as there is no more than three people who dies around here, even with so many possibilities of danger being present here – things go further away from death like the title suggests.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing special that gets added here, and even with Bruce Willis all prepared to go big action, you don’t really get that here either. Most of the events of the movie are also predictable, and that feeling goes on with the ending too. A few twists being added here and there could have helped the film’s purpose better. The police officers being smarter and tougher would have done the trick better – the lady police officer is left to mess up thing more and more as the story progresses. The gunshots effects are badly used, and the change for some big action with guns and hands are not used. The possibility of adding some terrifying sequences is also not taken – after all this is more or less like the forest area in countryside with a vast amount of woods. The drama in the movie moves on the usual lines too, and the main characters struggles could have also been shown in a better way. After all, she is someone who could contribute more at all times. The nature does look beautiful enough, but could have added more here.

The performers of the soul :: With Bruce Willis around, this could feel like a Die Hard in the woods, even though he is not of that much of a strength here. There is also not much of a strength for fighting for him as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Escape Plan, The Expendables or the latter as The Terminator in Genisys and Dark Fate. He seems much more tired in comparison, and he also leaves to the fighting to Jaime King, as he is left with holding the gun and pointing it at people, along with some nice dialogues added to it. This is more or less the shadow of the action king whom we have seen in the past. Jaime King is left to do all the action instead, and we know her from enough action and horror movies, as she is very much capable here, outdoing herself in the second half of the movie. Lala Kent plays the next most notable character here, and the film could have actually done more with here, instead of getting rid of the character too early. Tyler Olson is fine, while Tyler Olson who is a fine antagonist could have been used better with action scenes added to her rather than limiting him to talks.

How it finishes :: As one of the most non-violent movies belonging to the survival and crime thriller genre, this one makes fine use of the available resources in a seemingly low budget setting. It never tries too hard at anything, but manages to be interesting with what it has in hand. You are not supposed to expect a full action movie, as there is the main character trying to escape from trouble all the time, and having police officers on the hunt. Even though Bruce Willis remains mostly non-violent, you have to love how Jamie King steps into this one. Having a movie without Bruce Willis beating up, shooting or injuring anyone even when there were so many chances – feels strange, but it is indeed true. Well, change is inevitable, even though we expect the same thing from a superstar all the time, no matter how old he is – well, the curse of the Indian movies, isn’t it? But this one has the superstar of the past going through the more believable path.

Release date: 16th July 2021
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Mike Burns
Starring: Jaime King, Bruce Willis, Lala Kent, Kelly Greyson, Mike Burns, Michael Sirow, Tyler Olson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Army of the Dead

Vampire Owl: We are the Army of the Dead. This movie should be about us.

Vampire Bat: We are not the Army of the Dead. We are the Army of the Undead.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that they are different from each other.

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is also an Army of Darkness, you know.

Vampire Owl: Okay, still it is the dead that becomes the undead.

Vampire Bat: Well, death is a beginning, and for the undead, it has already begun.

Vampire Owl: I think that you are pointing to the zombies as the dead.

Vampire Bat: Yes, without full brain acitivity, they are to considered dead rather than undead, as we look closer at them.

Vampire Owl: Well, not all of the dead are undead, we can be sure about that.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this one has some fine zombies though.

[Gets a vegetable pizza and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: A convoy coming from Area 51, the highly classified United States Air Force facility located within the Nevada Test and Training Range collides with the car of a newly married couple on a highway near Las Vegas. The high level of secrecy surrounding the base had already brought enough conspiracy theories to the scene including UFOs and aliens which are regular part of such talks. This time, the package which was part of the convoy is revealed to be a zombie, a very strong muscular creature which escapes, and during the process kills all the soldiers, among which some of them are infected and transformed into similar creatures, seeking to attack more humans. The zombies do head to the city, and infect most of its population. The United States military faces suffer heavy casualities, and is forced to retreat while facing the ever increasing hordes of zombies which are not that easy to kill as they only get stronger. The government decides to do what they considers to be the last resort, to deploy a tactical nuclear strike on the city to end the zombie threat forever, even though there are protests against the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Later, the very rich and influencial Japanese casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his associate Martin (Garret Dillahunt) asks a former resident of Las Vegas and earlier mercenary, Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) who is currently working at a burger joint to take over a job to recover two hundred million dollars from his casino vault in the quarantined Las Vegas. The time is running out, with the nuclear strike coming up. Ward agrees and recruits his former teammates Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera) and Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) as the maim mercenaries, along with a helicopter pilot Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro), a safecracker Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighofer), and a sharpshooter Mikey Guzman (Raul Castillo), who also brings his associate Chambers (Samantha Win). Martin also joins them to make sure that there is access. They have a thirty two hour window to do what they have done the best in history, and even though they cannot fly in due to flight restrictions, they can fly out in one of the rescue helicopter located at the top of the casino.

And what is with the humans and the zombies which we have around here? :: As they are not able to find a way inside, Scott searches and finds his daughter Kate Ward (Ella Purnell), and offers her his share of the millions, asking her to help him get into the city. Kate directs them to Lilly (Nora Arnezeder) or coyote, a smuggler who knows the city. Burt Cummings (Theo Rossi), an abusive security guard who knows exactly what happens inside with the zombies. When Kate understands that Geeta (Huma Qureshi) also went into Las Vegas with two others, she feels that she should also be inside. Being the badly raised dumb kid that she happens to be, she stops at nothing to get what she wants, and the returned father figure can only agree. When inside, the common zombies are not the only ones that they have to face, for there are zombie animals too, including a zombie tiger. There are also a different kind of zombies, which are not the usual mindless ones. They are smarter, faster and better organized, with a mark on their territories. It won’t be that easy to dupe these zombies. Can they get what they want and make it out?

The defence of Army of the Dead :: It is clear that we haven’t had a full fun zombie movie like this one for a long time, and there is a lot of entertainment with the action, thrills and even a certain amount of horror that has been going on with the undead creatures. It also has some humour in between, and a fine detail of the post-apocalyptic world as well as the zombie attacks with descriptions to support them. Among the performers, Dave Bautista and Ana de la Reguera are at the top, with Nora Arnezeder and Matthias Schweighofer following closely. The man who is known as Batista in WWE is another one of those ring performers who has done so well in cinema, after Dwayne Johnson’s classic performance, and also John Cena up-to an extent. Ana de la Reguera and Nora Arnezeder are perfect lady soldiers who know exactly what they are doing. The movie, with its ending, also leaves something for a possible film in the future. Even though it is pretty much a long movie, you don’t really feel the length, as there is so much of action going on at all times, and we are indeed taken to this world of post-apocalyptic chaos.

Positives and negatives :: There are moments which this movie could have avoided to cut down the length, and it also kills one of its interesting characters too early – Samantha Win played quite a strong soldier who is lost before the big battles begin. Ella Purnell, even if meant to be irritating, plays the character that causes the death of most of the character – one of the most foolish characters ever in an action movie, for only horror films have dumber characters suiting them. Huma Qureshi is also here, but she is also wasted in a character which provides nothing good to the movie – without her, the film could have been shorter as there was no need to spare some time for the unnecessary. At least half of the characters are not made to be memorable either. This is also a movie about which not many people knows, and that is a disappointment – it could have had some advertisements in this part of the world, as it is something which will appeal to our audience too. Zombies will catch our attention as much as any undead creature rising from the dead.

How it finishes :: With the title, one wouldn’t really know if this is about vampires, zombies or ghosts, but the zombie idea also does work that effectively as any other monster, proven already in Warm Bodies, World War Z and so many Resident Evil films which kept coming back again, one after the other. This one makes a fine progress with the story, even with some predictability in store, and as it does have a lot of action to go with it. The movie is indeed an all-rounder, and you can feel that quite early itself. Even though the corona virus pandemic didn’t create the zombie apocalypse as a gamer or zombie-movie lover would have anticipated, it is only safe to say that there is always hope for something like it in the future. When that zombie pandemic happens, we will have watched some quality undead hunting movies like this one, and we will be ready. After all, Zombieland already has us partially prepared for the big event. For the rest of the procedure, the next sequel of this particular movie will keep us prepared.

Release date: 14th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Dave Bautista, Ana de la Reguera, Ella Purnell, Nora Arnezeder, Omari Hardwick, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighofer, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raul Castillo, Huma Qureshi, Garret Dillahunt

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Seance

Vampire Owl: So, more youngsters are trying to make contact with the dead.

Vampire Bat: Yes, you needn’t be bothered as this is not about the undead.

Vampire Owl: Nobody can contact us through the portal. It has natural resistance.

Vampire Bat: There is absolutely nothing natural about the portal.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has arranged for the natural resistance.

Vampire Bat: If the crazy scientist is involved, it is is surely not natural.

Vampire Owl: You continue to underestimate the doctor.

Vampire Bat: I make no estimate of such a pseudo-scientist.

Vampire Owl: You know that the Frankenstein monster is real.

Vampire Bat: So are his 2897 accidental creations, which are of no use.

[Gets a vancho cake and three glasses of strawberry shake].

What is the movie about? :: At Edelvine Academy for Girls, Alice (Inanna Sarkis), Bethany (Madisen Beaty) and other girls play a prank on their friends by faking the appearance of the Edelvine Ghost, an urban legend about a student who killed herself – soon, one of their friends, Kerrie (Megan Best), is found dead in the academy hostel, having fallen from her window. A new student Camille (Suki Waterhouse) who has been on the waiting list for the academy admission for a long time, gets the seat which has been left vacant by the death of Kerrie. The headmistress, Mrs Landry (Marina Stephenson Kerr) considers the death as an unfortunate accident, and is happy to have her there. Camille does feel that there is something wrong with the room. She becomes friends with Helina (Ella-Rae Smith), but gets in a fight with Alice and Bethany’s gang including Yvonne (Stephanie Sy), Rosalind (Djouliet Amara) and Lenora (Jade Michael), and gets beaten up by Alice with the help of her friends. The headmistress sends them to detention in the library until a certain amount of archiving is complete.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The girls, despite their differences, decide to work together for the time being to finish the job as soon as possible and get out of there. It is during the detention that Alice convinces the group including Carmille and Helina to join her in a seance meant to contact Kerrie’s spirit and what actually happened. The two get the feeling that this is only a prank, but everyone finds things go out of control as they really seems to make contact with a spirit which tells them that they are going to be murdered by someone only mentioned as “her”. They are not sure if the spirit belongs to Kerrie or the original spirt which is part of the urban legend. Later in the night, Lenora moves away from the others to a lonely area to text a possible future boyfriend, but ends up seeing a masked figure. Soon, she is attacked and killed by the same strange figure. Mrs Landry feels that Lenora had run away as her personal items are missing along with her. Camille feels that her room might still be haunted by Kerrie, and there are enough dark spaces in the building for them to be scared.

And what more is with the girls and the ghosts around here in a world of chaos? :: The police and the parents feels that Lenora might have run away with the man with whom she became acquainted online. With the help of the man in charge of the rooms, Trevor (Seamus Patterson) who also happens to be the son of the headmistress, they get into Lenora’s room and find a strange cross made out of blood on the bed. They identify the symbol as part of the pendant worn by the girl who had killed herself and became Edelvine Ghost. Soon enough, Rosalind would be next person to be murdered by the unknown figure. Her death is considered to be an accident, but has the girls very much worried about what might happen next. Another one of the girls also notice a masked figure in the room, but the headmistress still dismisses it as a strange dream. The girls feel that time is running out for them, and if a solution is not found out soon enough, they are all going to disappear or die soon enough. Yet, it doesn’t make much of sense.

The defence of Seance :: The effects that this movie seems to use for horror seems to be of great quality. There is a fine atmosphere for the horror to grow at all times. The sound effects also nicely contribute to the same. The music is also very nice, and contributes well to the overall atmosphere of the movie – we do feel that it makes us feel more engaged with the whole thing. You think that this is going in one direction, and then there is another dimension to the whole thing – we notice the music changing accordingly, and there are always some fine settings to contribute to the horror. The presence of something sinister is also there, and with the fine use of darkness, the movie assures one of the same. The makers surely know how to get the best ingredients, and arrange them. There are some dialogues which seem to be coming randomly, but they are all of some significance. There are so many directions which this movie could choose, and we can see that it doesn’t try to go for the usual, which has served right – as Robert Frost would say about the road not that much taken making the difference.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has one nice twist to the killings which is pretty much an interesting surprise as the clues wouldn’t lead to the killings that easily. There are many red herrings present in here, as a ghost isn’t everything that we need to suspect around here. They mystery is strong, and there are enough suspects around here for one to await more deaths to happen. It is strange that there are many negative reviews to keep this one down, as we come to know that there is more to this than what can be seen after the first few minutes itself. You have the feeling that this could be Ouija and its sequels or I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequels – this one has the killer and the ghostly presence, which means that your guess can most probably just go wrong. It could have still made the murders look better – even the shower murder scene goes wasted in here. Yet, the girls are too good, especially Suki Waterhouse, Inanna Sarkis and Madisen Beaty who blends in nicely with a possibility to become bigger scream queens of future, Suki also having some fine action sequences – reminds one of The Hunt fights.

How it finishes :: Seance is one find surprise horror movie that seems to have made an impact out of nowhere. We often have the tendency to underestimate movies like these, but some horror films have the skills to lift themselves up despite what you think, especially with so many negative reviews around. There is more than what meets the eye here, and there is the mixture of more than one genre as things come together. Well, horror is rarely one thing – even in real life, there is more than one kind of terror – we had different ones here, from nipah virus to corona virus, excess rainfall leading to floods, rising prices of fuel and the possibility of descending into chaos from what seemed to be good order. The reality of horror which prevails in this thankless world where evil people get the best results can be often more terrifying for people. Otherwise, we will always have movies like this one. Amazon Prime Video has the right horror movie this time, rising very high above last year’s Madres, The Manor and Black as Night.

Release date: 21st May 2021
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Simon Barrett
Starring: Suki Waterhouse, Madisen Beaty, Ella-Rae Smith Inanna Sarkis, Marina Stephenson-Kerr, Seamus Patterson

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Devil Below

Vampire Owl: There is no devil below us. I am sure about it.

Vampire Bat: You know that there was quite a long talk about such a creature’s existence.

Vampire Owl: Well, I would consider it as absurd. There are only the dead below.

Vampire Bat: The dead becomes one with the devil, they say.

Vampire Owl: The devil do not wish for vampires, I am sure about that.

Vampire Bat: I have known about one of his minions meeting Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Owl: It could be Mephistopheles. He is not from under the castle.

Vampire Bat: Well, you can never be sure about the pure evil ones.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that they are teamed up with the witches of the north.

Vampire Bat: Well, those witches belong to another level, don’t they?

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: In a mining station, Schuttmann (Will Patton) has a meeting with a strange, terrifying creature in a mine, where his son is taken by it, after stabbing him on the shoulder, leaving him paralyzed. There has been something about the place, which forced a team of scientists to come there, a few years later. The group including Darren (Adan Canto), Shawn (Chinaza Uche), Terry (Jonathan Sadowski), and Jaime (Zach Avery) are led in the right direction by an adventurer named Arianne (Alicia Sanz). They don’t get any signal on the mobile phone which makes their journey a very difficult for everyone. They are looking for the same mine known as Shookum Hills Coal Mine which seems to have been taken out of the maps since the 1970s. The meet a very few people in the town which doesn’t seem to have too many people living there. The people whom they meet out there asks them to go back, and they are also chased by a car on the way, which she also manages to leave behind, avoiding a possible encounter while driving smartly.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: This seems to be a place nobody wants to talk about, or even think about visiting, but Arianne has agreed to take these, and she will do exactly that, whatever be the circumstances. They do find the entrance in the middle of nowhere, but there is an electric fence being put on their way – they manage to use a rope to get past it, and it seems that the new location doesn’t have any human presence as of now. There are many conspiracy theories among the scientists related to sinkholes, superdeep unidentified creatures, unexpected fire and others, but they finally decide that instead of making speculations, they would just need to find out this thing by themselves. When they do find the actual mine, things don’t go well though, as Terry is dragged into a tunnel. They are not able to find him despite looking into the tunnel, and he won’t be the only person to go missing at that time. There is something extremely dangerous hidden in there, and the locals might be right about asking them not to go to the mines. Is it late to have another warning?

The defence of The Devil Below :: You are introduced into the possible horror awaiting us underground with the initial scene of The Devil Below itself, even though it takes more than an hour to get the scares from deep beneath returning. The elements of horror are provided through the dialogues, and there are some chasing scenes in the dark to add to the things. This is the kind of world where a computer game would work perfectly, especially a first person shooter with one of these characters to choose from. The blinking lights can nicely add to the gameplay, and there can be multitudes of monsters to hunt in different levels. The world of this movie is one without hope for survival, and it adds to the scares really well. The atmosphere contributes to the same with a lot of quality, as the world underneath has been created with skill, and the space above is no happy place either. The scares do work differently with this one, as we hope that a sequel can some day elevate this. It is also effective as a survival movie in parts.

The claws of flaw :: After the first incident involving the creature, the movie does take some time to get a monster for it once again. There is also not enough of the monsters, as we rarely get to see much of them – the darkness and the camera shots don’t really help that much in finding them with all the required terror. The movie could have also had better explanations of the happenings around there, and a Doom model situation could have suited the flick better, with action and fear combining the forces in a balanced way. All these creatures could have had better detail, and the difference between them within the species could have been celebrated. One has to wonder why it doesn’t manage to be clear in what it shows around. There are so many things happening in what seems to be a blurred state around here. All these creatures required more focus on their designs and more screen space in a better, clearer form. The movie can have a sequel with the main character as the big action star, but from the opinions this one received, one has doubts about it.

The performers of the soul :: The Spanish actress, Alicia Sanz plays the lead here, and as the protagonist, she is more or less a figure like Lara Croft in Tomb Raider – she plays an explorer who was recently in Africa, and has traveled all around the world, leading expeditions. She could have more action sequences here, and moments which Lara Croft would be proud of, but she manages to do well with what she gets. She could a promise for a future action or horror movie too, as the signs seem to be pretty much clear. Imagine what she could have done with a few ledges to climb, some ruins to explore, along with a lost city or sunken ship underwater to check out. She has the determination and expressions of a Tomb Raider type explorer too. Will Patton as Schuttmann makes a strong fighter from the looks itself. He also has some fine dialogue to go with it, as he is related to everything that happens around there, one way or the other, and has the mission to protect his world. Adan Canto as Darren is the man with not-so-direct intentions, a job done okay.

How it finishes :: We have seen a similar idea expressed in a better with the Russian movie, Superdeep. Well, Russian movies seem to be able to stay ahead of some good number of Hollywood movies when dealing with horror, war and science fiction, dealing better with ghosts and aliens, creating the better atmosphere. This English version of superdeep monsters does its job for sure, but not that much at the level one would expect it to be. The environment is well set, and with some horror, it makes an interesting flick to watch in a human world which is full of the demonic people, but never has enough horror on the screen. With one Corona virus scaring people enough, it might not be that easy to find horror from some random monsters in a mine which you don’t know about, but we can use all the scares in the world to move away from the real evil creatures of our world, humans. Let us try to add this one to our list of interesting horror which has managed to have the courage to take it underneath the surface.

Release date: 5th March 2021
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Bradley Parker
Starring: Alicia Sanz, Adan Canto, Zach Avery, Chinaza Uche, Jonathan Sadowski, Jesse LaTourette, Will Patton, William Mark McCullough, Alpha Trivette, Tom Proctor, Nathan Phillips

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Escape from Mogadishu

Vampire Owl: Humans and their wars. Then they have the grand escape.

Vampire Bat: You know humans. They create wars all the time.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that most of them should be loving these wars.

Vampire Bat: All rulers wish for wars to keep control.

Vampire Owl: And humans are really easy to manipulate.

Vampire Bat: Humans killing humans is quite strange. Vampires do not kill vampires.

Vampire Owl: Yes, their brotherhood is only as good as witches on a blood moon.

Vampire Bat: At least none of the witches turn dead on that dead.

Vampire Owl: Well, they do have the potion of resurrection.

Vampire Bat: They also have the anti-resurrection vial though.

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

What is the movie about? :: Han Sin-seong (Kim Yoon-seok) is South Korea’s ambassador to Somalia at a time when the African country is going through an internal crisis, with civil war showing its face in most parts of the nation. The life at the Somalian capital of Mogadishu doesn’t seem to be getting any better soon, just like the relations between North Korea and South Korea which is at its worst. It is also the time when both the North Koreans and South Koreans are hoping for their nations to be admitted in the United Nations, and trying to gain the support of Somalia. As the African continent has the most votes in the United Nations, having Somalia on their side was going to be very significant in becoming part of the organization. Kang Dae-jin (Jo In-sung), South Korea’s ANSP intelligence officer is tasked with gaining the upper hand in the process. The gifts don’t seem to be among the best, but they decide to go on with it anyway, as there is hope for a lot of appreciation and even a possible promotion at the same time.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: As they are on their way to meet the president, they are ambushed by rogue forces, who also take away the gifts which were supposed to be given to the leader. As they are also late, Rim Yong-su (Heo Joon-ho), the North Korean Ambassador to Somalia gets the next appointment instead. South Koreans are very muchdisappointed about the same, but cannot argue as they are late by fifteen minutes due to having to walk all the way from the place of attack. They do feel that the North Koreans are the ones responsible for this attack too. Tae Joon-ki (Koo Kyo-hwan), North Korea’s MSS intelligence officer was the one who arranged the attack so that the South Koreans wouldn’t get to meet the Somalian president in time. Now, the South Koreans have to come up with some other plan to nullify what the North Koreans have been doing in Mogadishu. It is up to the only one South Korean intelligence officer left out there to do something soon enough.

And what more is to follow here as the civil war has more power than before? :: As South Korean diplomat tries to contact other ministers in the Somalian government, it seems that everything that they want is just a lot of money in dollars, as well as a lot of favours for their relatives who are studying in different parts of the world. They try to spread information that North Koreans are selling weapons to the rebels, but it seems that the only thing that the government officials and ministers care about is the possibility of bribe. They also find the North Koreans talking to the government officials again, and two begins a word fight, which is stopped very soon by the rebels who are attacking Mogadishu. Even though the ruling government assures everyone that things are under control, soon it becomes clear that everything is going to be completely out of control. United Somali Congress addresses the nation proclaiming that they would bring down the corrupt government for the national interests of Somalia. People are on the rioting streets and with offices as well as banks closed, all the government officials are on the run – the Koreans will have to work together to make sure that they get out of there.

The defence of Escape from Mogadishu :: There are different levels of focus in this movie, as we are not having just an action film or thriller, as there are also elements of drama in here, as movie progresses nicely with a dangerous background always being present. The conflicts come in different varieties, as the action progresses strongly, making fine use of the available background. Being there at the time of a civil war has managed to add more elements of quality, and it easier to introduce one to the terrors of war when it is happening within a nation which is already troubled by poverty and other problems. There is also a certain amount of interest in the human level of action, as there could have been tendency to go on in the unrealistic manner. The scenery is pretty much interesting, and we are only happy to go through the beautiful visuals which become part of the movie very well. There is some interesting humour being added here too. Some messages are also present here and there, and we can sense the meaning going deep at times.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does have a certain amount of dragging at times, and gets a little bit too long with its contents. The initial moments are rather slow, and it does take some time to get into action, with a little bit of silliness having more of a say in the beginning stages. There are repetitive moments which could have been cut with ease. Maybe, instead we could have more of the life around there. There could have also been more focus on the people in the country too. The ending could have also had stronger and sharper moments to finish the whole thing. There are also a number of predictable moments around here, and often we feel that this was were things were heading much early. It is also one of those rare times when we get somewhat new South Korean movies on Amazon Prime, and the film does have comparatively less violence, making it more family friendly than one would expect from a war movie. Yet, the horrors of war could have been depicted further, as we are never short of such terrible wars, which keep on going in different parts of the world as we speak about this movie too.

How it finishes :: Even though we are not that aware of the actual events which happened related to this, the movie works well to keep us interested in the proceedings – the news channels around here rarely narrates the events of war in African countries. We are never short of the requirements to watch the films which portray the horrors and pains of war, as well as a few other things which lies underneath. War is indeed a thing of hopelessness, a crime to not just humans, but all life forms and the environment around. As the wars of new age are bigger crimes to everything on the planet, one might just end up hoping for human extinction to end all such acts of terror. In the absence of humans, the rest of the world would indeed thrive – there has been so many movies talking about saving humanity by taking people to another planet, but one keep wondering if that is indeed the right thing to do. As we ponder over the same, this film happens to be an engaging action thriller drama that keeps us add another name to that long Korean films of interest list.

Release date: 28th July 2021
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Ryoo Seung-wan
Starring: Kim Yoon-seok, Jo In-sung, Heo Joon-ho, Kim So-jin, Koo Kyo-hwan, Jung Man-sik, Kim Jae-hwa, Park Kyung-hye, Yoon Kyung-ho

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

<<< Click here to go to the previous Korean war movie review.

<<< Click here to go to the first Korean film review on this site.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Malignant

Vampire Owl: We are all malignant, aren’t we?

Vampire Bat: Why are you categorizing us as evil again?

Vampire Owl: We cannot be part of the good, can we?

Vampire Bat: We have done more deeds of goodness than any other species.

Vampire Owl: Yes, in comparison to humans, we are not evil at all.

Vampire Bat: Well, we could even be considered good, in that case.

Vampire Owl: I don’t understand why humans consider themselves to be less evil than the undead species.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is mainly because they are not good enough to be undead.

Vampire Owl: Yes, they just go into the grave and won’t rise again these days.

Vampire Bat: Dead humans! Less evil than those alive, aren’t they?

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

What is the movie about? :: In the year 1993, in Simon Research Hospital, Dr Florence Weaver (Jacqueline McKenzie) is treating a strange man with superpowers with the help of her colleagues Dr Victor Fields (Christian Clemenson) and Dr John Gregory (Amir Aboulela). One night this man who seems more like a strange entity escapes and kills a number of people in the research facility. Florence feels that this should end soon enough, as there are messages coming from the entity about killing them all, as he has learnt to broadcast his thoughts through speakers and control electricity. Twenty seven years later, Madison Lake Mitchell (Annabelle Wallis), a pregnant woman who is forced to live with her abusive husband, Derek Mitchell (Jake Abel). She has to spend the whole time in the house, as she keeps getting ill, and so many of her children had died inside the womb. But Derek remains abusive as usual and needs no reason to attack her.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: After Derek smashes her head against a wall, she has a dream, about him being killed by an unknown assailant who had entered the house. The attacker looks less human and more like a supernatural entity. After the brutal murder, she realizes that it was not a dream as Derek is found dead, and the killer also attacks Madison, leading her unconscious. CST Winnie (Ingrid Bisu) who is the first on the scene finds the situation as a case like never before. She is informed by her sister Sydney Lake (Maddie Hasson) that the baby didn’t survive. Detective Kekoa Shaw (George Young) is the officer in charge, and he would be supported by Detective Regina Moss (Michole Briana White). There is no clues being left behind though, with no footprints, fingerprints or signs of forced entry. The police begins to do doubt if she had murdered her abusive husband. She decides to stay in the same house, even though her sister asks her to leave and start again. Now, things change for her.

The defence of Malignant :: It seems that even though Malignant isn’t a well-known movie among the horror of its times, it does manage to come up with something stronger than expected. They mystery that is hidden in here is pretty much strong, and there are secrets which are interesting enough. Its divergence is also something to be appreciated, as we see how interesting the deviation happens to be. The music is nicely suited for the movie, and there are enough sound effects to support the same. The atmosphere related to the killer and his past are also nicely created. There is something to wonder around here for most of the time, and the creepiness never really leaves us completely. There is a lot of skill related to how things have been created here, a world in which something out of this world thrives, and uses the atmosphere to the terror. There is also the beauty in this world of terror, which doesn’t seem to amaze us either. There are some fine effects using the lights, and the movement of the monster is an interesting thing by itself. We also have the interesting twists to add to the same.

Positives and negatives :: The movie should have actually been better marketed to bring more audience to understand it with the right elements. As this movie goes through a different path, it also contributes as a different kind of a scary film. We know that there is something about this horror which is differently scary. This also feels like something which is more possible in this world of chaos than the ghosts, aliens and others. The ending seems to be a little bit forced, but does feel appropriate, and could have worked nicer with a little more care. The messages are also present, related to motherhood and sisterhood here. The movie also has some scope for a future sequel, and this is the kind of idea which can bring more and lead to more of divergence. This is also a reminder to the fact that terror has no limits, and it can return at any time. The psychological elements are also working really well around here. We go through the elements of murder investigation with a supernatural touch, and the twists take this a step further through different genres. Yet, it could felt scarier with the first half, and it had some struggle there.

The performers of the soul :: Annabelle Wallis leads the way in this horror movie as the scream queen in trouble. She has been part of Annabelle and The Mummy, thus being no stranger to all the horror. As she is no stranger to this genre, she manages things really well, never providing the feeling that she doesn’t belong. One also has to appreciate Marina Mazepa who performed as the body double for the monster figure – a work deserving a lot of appreciation as we look at it, with a lot of flexible action to be performed from her side. Maddie Hasson also blends into the horror really well, and could be part of more films belonging to the genre. The two performances playing the sisters are also to be appreciated around here, with an emotional side also getting into the act. George Young as Detective Kekoa Shaw does the job really well, but the police is indeed the clueless team in this particular film. Michole Briana White as Detective Regina Moss serves as the more disbelieving police officer. Jacqueline McKenzie and Jean Louisa Kelly plays interesting characters from the past well.

How it finishes :: Malignant works well, even though it is not that good as some of those nice and interesting horror and slasher movies which Netflix had gained earlier. The movie manages to be a different kind of horror, and has those kind of twists which we don’t usually imagine. As you move towards the end of the movie, the surprise is something that will have our interest. We have had variety in horror with It Follows, Don’t Breathe and Lights Out, and it is time to have one more added to the list. This is also the kind of horror that comes from the inside and the manifestation of the creature is something which you will find terrifying enough, and then you have the gore as well as a lot of action, much to the surprise of all of us who are looking for the horror to come in the usual pattern. You have to love it when divergence is worth it, and when you get the least expected, and in a good way, there is not much to complain around here.

Release date: 10th September 2021
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, Michole Briana White, Jean Louisa Kelly, Susanna Thompson, Jacqueline McKenzie, Jake Abel, Ingrid Bisu, Christian Clemenson, Ruben Pla, Amir Aboulela, Josh Rutgers, Jon Lee Brody, Dan Ramos, Paula Marshall, Zoe Bell, Ray Chase, Marina Mazepa, Andy Bean, Patricia Velasquez, Mckenna Grace, Madison Wolfe

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Woman in the Window

Vampire Owl: There is a vampire in the window if you look around from here.

Vampire Bat: It is only a picture of the vampire in that mansion.

Vampire Owl: Why would someone put a picture up like that?

Vampire Bat: Maybe it is someone who wishes to be popular.

Vampire Owl: I should put my picture on the window too.

Vampire Bat: We are not that kind of vampires.

Vampire Owl: We are still the kind vampires around here.

Vampire Bat: Why should vampires be kind?

Vampire Owl: Kindness is a quality which can be used to fool people easily.

Vampire Bat: Vampires do not fool people. Humans do. They lie, cheat, steal and murder all the time.

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

What is the movie about? :: Anna Fox (Amy Adams) lives alone in an apartment in Manhattan, New York after being separated from his husband Edward Fox (Anthony Mackie) and daughter Olivia Fox (Mariah Bozeman). She always try to cheer herself up despite the loneliness, and has good support through the phone. Anna suffers from agoraphobia, leading to a lot of anxiety about her surroundings and she observes her neighbors from a second-story window, and that includes the Russell family who recently moved in across the street. She has a large number of medications to take on a daily basis, and also goes on with a lot of alcohol consumption. David Winter (Wyatt Russell) is her tenant who lives in the basement area of her home, and often helps her with some househould work as well as repairs. She does feel lonely at times, and has talks with Ethan Russell (Fred Hechinger), the boy who lives as part of the Russell family, and is upset for some strange reasons – she tries to use her skills as a former child psychologist here.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Anna continues to see the world around her in suspicion and feels that her neighbours are up to something all the time, and that Ethan suffers due to the same. Soon, she also comes across Ethan’s mother, Jane Russell (Julianne Moore), who has some good moments of talk with her, making her happy and relieved. This leads to her believing that Ethan has an abusive father. One night, Anna hears a scream from the Russell family home and then sees Jane being stabbed to death in the living room, but she is not able to find who exactly did that. She has a camera, but forgets to take a photo in panic. She contacts the police, but they do not believe her, and tells her that everyone in the family is just fine. At the same time, Alistair arrives at her home along with his wife, who is a different woman from the one she had met earlier. The police as well as the neighbours tell her that she is hallucinating and making up things, and David also has the same opinion. But she decides to keep spying on the Russells, but it won’t be an idea which will help her.

The defence of The Woman in the Window :: Here, we do have a murder happening, without the surety that it is real, and one would wait for the twist which is to happen at some point of time, as there is the feeling that something is not right, throughout the movie. It puts almost everyone in the line of doubt, and one keep guessing, only to find out that there are not enough clues to completely focus on one suspect. The movie does mix agoraphobia well with the happenings, and we know that it is something that needs serious attention. It is the kind of thing that many of us do feel, and while reading about the same, I have felt that I did have similar problems on many occasions too. I have felt my world to be unsafe with no escape, and had continuous fear and discomfort with regular nightmares for months, as I kept at home for a very long time, and very rarely, I did go out, and that too only with people by my side. Therefore, I was able to connect to this lady very well, and there are moments which make us believe that one of them could be speaking the truth, but that person actually changes as movie progresses.

The claws of flaw :: The Woman in the Window is quite a slow movie, and that is indeed strange, because there were so many occasions here where some more material could have been added to strengthen it further. It could have also focused completely on agoraphobia, and also divide the world into reality and hallucination – it instead focuses on dialogues and what the main character is doing without focusing on the relevant. The time that it takes to start moving is also a little too much, and the revelations could have been made in a more powerful manner, for here we just have it done quickly. It could have also speeded up things at least during those moments which are rather thrilling. The focus on the killer is also a little too less, and we end up not watching enough of his actions of terror and the murders also stay a little too much outside focus. The whole movie focuses on one place with one type of action being focused, thus maintaining the unity of action and the unity of place among the three classical unities talked about by Aristotle, but by doing the same, this movie doesn’t really focus that well on both to elevate the movie, and thus rather brings it down.

The performers of the soul :: If there is a movie starring Amy Adams, I would rarely choose not to watch it, and a thriller does suit her as much as the many genres which she has explored in the past in her career. Nocturnal Animals and Arrival had some fine work being done by her, and both of them were movies which were slow enough too, and you do remember her as a Disney princess too. The superhero movies fans would recognize her more from Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League – well, she is a well-known actress in this part of the world too, and she surely deserved a quicker movie rather than this one. Gary Oldman plays the man who seems to be full of mysteries, and also the one the protagonist feels, is a murderer. He surely has his secrets, and the role is played with a certain amount of class being added there. Julianne Moore seems to be there more as playing a guest role rather than anything else, but we remember her for that scene. Fred Hechinger plays the boy well enough, while Wyatt Russell has his moments. Brian Tyree Henry has memorable times as the detective too.

How it finishes :: The Woman in the Window is the slow thriller that just manages to keep you interested by throwing something in here and there, serving well as the psychological thriller that it is. You do have the doubt about whom you should doubt, even though there is no specific assertion on where you should concentrate that particular feeling. My first thought was that this could be a movie like The Voyeurs, but that is not the case – being a psychological thriller, that path could have also been taken, but The Woman in the Window takes the safe one, lacking in courage and thus being not ready to take the tougher step. But it is nice to see that it still works, and has enough steam to keep it going – the usage of the word “steam” is more relevant than it seems, as it is not innovative or better equipped as some of those newer films are. Well, it can always do better, and if you are standing at the window, witnessing something terrifying, this won’t be the rest during most of the times. The Woman in the Window doesn’t seem to think that further on the same.

Release date: 14th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Joe Wright
Starring: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Fred Hechinger, Wyatt Russell, Brian Tyree Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julianne Moore

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Things Heard and Seen

Vampire Owl: I have seen and heard many things.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have to see and hear a lot these days.

Vampire Owl: I have seen and listened to more specific things.

Vampire Bat: We, vampires are supposed to have a shared vision too.

Vampire Owl: Well, we are now in an age of respect for privacy.

Vampire Bat: You have a lot of privacy within the coffin.

Vampire Owl: It is just undead privacy. That won’t count.

Vampire Bat: Why do you require so much of privacy these days after sleeping in cemetery for most of your life?

Vampire Owl: The world has changed, even though we haven’t.

Vampire Bat: And you want to change against all vampire traditions.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: It is the year 1979, and Catherine Claire (Amanda Seyfried), an art restorer, lives in Manhattan with her husband George Claire (James Norton) and daughter. When George gets the job of teaching art history at a college, the family is forced to move into a huge farmhouse in the countryside of New York. The house seems to be really old, belonging to the 1800s, and is a big house, which is available at a small price. As an art restorer, Catherine instantly falls in love with the place, and it also has a piano which seems to have been abandoned for a long time. The child is first one to be scared in the house, even though the parents are more interested in the beauty of the place as well as the low cost. George is happy to be in the new college campus, but Catherine feels isolated in the house. Catherine employs brothers Eddie Vayle (Alex Neustaedter) and Cole Vayle (Jack Gore) from nearby to take care of the house, while she remains obsessed about her gaining weight, and eats very less.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Catherine finds the family tree of people who were living in the house before. She also comes actoss an antique ring, which she starts wearing. Their daughter continues to wish to sleep with her parents. Catherine goes to the Historical Society, and tells them that she wishes to volunteer for their programmes, as she is new to the town, and loves to meet the people around. There, she finds the old photos of the house, and of the people who had originally built the house. George meets Eddie’s cousin sister Willis Howell (Natalia Dyer) in a library, and they start an affair. He is also quite popular in the college too, despite giving up fine arts to focus on the theory. Catherine become friends with George’s colleague Justine Sokolov (Rhea Seehorn), while George remains close to the department head Floyd DeBeers (F Murray Abraham). Their daughter keeps telling them that she had seen a lady in her room, and Catherine has the eerie feeling, but George dismisses both of them, but for how long?

The defence of Things Heard and Seen :: The movie can boast about a beautiful as well as eerie setting which is present throughout its run. A number of paintings from the Hudson River School, a mid nineteenth century American art movement influenced by Romanticism, can be seen here throughout the movie, and the beautiful paintings often reflects different parts of the setting in movie itself. As they nicely depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, we also wonder if there could be a similar movie about British Romanticism, reflecting what the Lake Poets of the time had penned down. The focus on relationships do happen, and the emotional as well as dramatic side is strong, even though overdone at times, with some moments not really making that much sense related to the situations. The performances are of top quality, and the twists are very much effective – there are many of them, as we look around. You have to love how things come together in the end here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does feel a little long, as it takes some time to keep things going forward. It seems to be on a struggle to establish everything right at the beginning, and later, the struggle makes way for the lack of pace, and then there is another struggle to end things. It shows so much promise in between, and then it just misses out on the whole thing. There are lots of slow moments in between, and speeding up or removing the same would have made this film no longer than one and a quarter hours instead of the two hours length which seems rather too much. It seems that it has also kept the elements of horror to the minimum, and the focus is shifted to drama instead. The movie is basically categorized as horror, but it is more of drama and mystery – the chances to have some terrifying sequences in this atmosphere have not been taken, and it is a shame that despite finding so many opportunities, they have let it go. The idea is really good, and they haven’t really used it to the best effect.

The performers of the soul :: I have loved most of the early movies of Amanda Seyfried, and she shines in this one too, even though there is the feeling of being a little tired. This still won’t be among my favourite performances or movies of her, but with the focus on her, she maintains the character with all characteristics, without failing at any point. The work of James Norton is solid, and the realization of the true nature in him comes through stages – a character with many faces, but is much lovable at all places. You will also notice how Natalia Dyer comes in, does a fine job in the few minutes when she is there. Alex Neustaedter also blends in to the role really well, and so does Jack Gore who plays his brother. Rhea Seehorn comes with a nice performance in a role which has more than what it seemed in the early stages of the movie. One can say the same about F Murray Abraham who also has more to contribute than we would think. Emily Dorsch’s ghostly appearance doesn’t get what it deserves – no spirit in this movie gets what was deserved.

How it finishes :: Things Heard and Seen is a slow moving drama and mystery film with horror taking the backseat as if it is terrified of the dramatic elements. But it still works with some fine twists, and there are the surprises which were not thought about before. The final few moments take the thrilling path, and there are also some symbolic moments to go with them here. The title would also seem to make perfect sense as the movie reaches the final stages, and big revelations are made. It doesn’t go through the path of usual horror movies due to the mixing of genre, and therefore, we have no need to expect The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun, Insidious, Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil, The Curse of La Llorna, or anything like that which brings some direct horror with the evil sprits. This movie is certainly not about that kind of horror. This one just flows slowly with the drama, as mysteries are revealed, and finally ends with the twists in a thrilling few moments. You can watch this particular movie only with this type of expectations.

Release date: 29th April 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, James Norton, Natalia Dyer, Rhea Seehorn, Karen Allen, Alex Neustaedter, Jack Gore, F Murray Abraham, Michael O’Keefe, Emily Dorsch, James Urbaniak

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

No One Gets Out Alive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Night Teeth

Vampire Owl: And finally, we have another vampire movie.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this is about our kind of vampires.

Vampire Owl: They seem to drink blood really well.

Vampire Bat: Yet, they seem to be like a new group of vampires.

Vampire Owl: There is no new or old groups among true vampires.

Vampire Bat: You were the one leading the protest against the new batch of sparkling teenage romantic vampires.

Vampire Owl: Well, I have now become a more inclusive vampire.

Vampire Bat: You are acting like the Vampire Chameleon.

Vampire Owl: That guy has been dead for years now.

Vampire Bat: Yet, you are trying to replace him.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of tea-coffee mix].

What is the movie about? :: Vampires and humans have co-existed through the years, and the former has fed from the latter only through a mutual agreement, which means that there was no chance of a battle between the two races. The living and the undead has kept on going without any problems coming in between. There was also a truce, and as vampires continued to get better, humans continued to make themselves believe that the creatures of the night didn’t exist. Vampire continued to try and hide their existence, not feeding on the unwilling and never entering the human area without permission. Benny (Jorge Lendeborg Jr) is a college student who is working part-time as a as a chauffeur, temporarily replacing his brother Jay (Raul Castillo), who was going to apologize and make up with his girlfriend. Jay has also realized that the vampires have broken the pact and entered the human area, also feeding from a lot of them, as well as committing murders. His girlfriend Maria (Ash Santos) is also among the latest ones taken by the vampires as many encounters happen.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Benny, a Spanish speaking immigrant, is the usual local college student who is not aware of all of these, and was going on with his happy and carefree life until then. He was the one who forced to Jay to let him be the driver for a change. As he goes to the rather rich area to pick up the riders, he meets Blaire (Debby Ryan), who seems to be really friendly. The other girl Zoe (Lucy Fry) doesn’t seem to be that friendly, but does seem to be talkative enough, in a strange manner. They even talk about the possibility of this being his last day on Earth. They do arrive at grand location where the party is taking place, and he hears a woman screaming from inside. At the same time, a war between vampires and humans are coming, because a very rich and influential vampire lord Victor (Alfie Allen) is the person who has intentionally broken the truce for no reason. Jay is actually part of a human group which is charged with maintaining the peace between the two races. As Jay and his friends start hunting down the vampires, Victor plans to finish off his fellow lords and gain all the power. So, what role does Benny play among all these around here?

The defence of Night Teeth :: There are some very interesting scenes in this movie which once again brings the vampires to the human world without pretensions. One has the feeling that this could go the Twilight way and make a mess of the whole thing with full teenage vampire romance, but such a thing doesn’t happen at all. The visuals are nothing less than stunning, as we go through this vampire-infested world in the nights with classic style buildings and lights – the blood also runs strong here, adding to the overall creepy beauty of the atmosphere. The pace is always good around here, and the vampire situation that we see here has been nicely arranged. The vampire-human clash in the city is basically like something that we have seen before, but being much better, like a battle between gangs or races nicely set in a better environment with a divergence. There is a continuous flow of a beautifully stylish world that is going on here, with a touch of horror, as blood runs through. Even without that much of backstory being told, the tale goes on really well.

Positives and negatives :: The movie does succumb to the usual tendency of such vampire stories to go through the predictable path, and that which appeal only to a certain amount of audience. Yet, it manages to come back up in the path whenever it seems to be a little lost, with the style and some nice humour that seems to come as a welcome addition. The humour comes in to join the horror and the thrills, and makes them more entertaining. It is a reminder that the funny side can compliment a horror movie really well, and it was what the film, Black as Night had missed while trying to add some dumb humour and some nonsensical history in between. The cast has also been perfectly chosen, even though there might still be some names which one would also like to have around here. There are some fine action scenes in here, that is for sure, and the vampire girls lead in that quite well. The movie also sets a fine ending which has scope for a future sequel. The music is really good, and set things up nicely for the happenings of the world. The movie does have some good fangs at the needed areas.

The performers of the soul :: Jorge Lendeborg Jr plays the protagonist caught between vampires really well – he seems to suit the situation nicely. He has the confusion being dealt with nicely, but even has enough to be a vampire himself. Yet, there is nobody who suits the nice vampire role better than Debby Ryan, who also has her moments of vampire intensity. One another day, she could be part of a horror slasher movie as a scream queen too, with blood seemingly doing well with her. Lucy Fry had played a vampire about seven years ago, and she is doing it again – this time, she is part of a much better movie, and has a lot better role to perform, as she becomes the perfect nocturnal creature in need of blood and enjoys all the violence that she inflicts. She has the kind of look here that one wouldn’t doubt if she is not really a vampire, even from a distance. I would love to have her as a major antagonist in more than one horror movie. Raul Castillo and Alfie Allen are the strong ones belonging to two sides. One would also love The Voyeurs‘ own lovely Sydney Sweeney and the always charming Megan Fox playing two superior vampires, but we could have actually had more of them here, especially the former who makes a very interesting character in a short time.

How it finishes :: We are never short of the need of the vampire movies to entertain us, for vampirism shall never leave the audience, being an idea of quality since Lord Byron’s physician, William John Polidori published the first vampire novel, The Vampyre. After all, vampires are as immortal in literature and cinema as the vampire characters happen to be in fiction, their immortality in their ability to entertain the viewers rarely questioned. This one, with a touch of the modern age, doesn’t fall behind, even though I did have my doubts after watching the trailer. Well, this is one of those movies which manages to do a lot better than what the trailer had brought us – the movie seems to realize that its strengths are best shown as a whole rather than in parts. You are going to remember the humour in this movie as much you remember those moments of action with blood having a say. In the end, you will remember that the vampires are forever, and they will keep coming back in different forms in different movies like the certainty of Corona virus taking different forms and coming back for more of infections.

Release date: 20th October 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Adam Randall
Starring: Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Debby Ryan, Lucy Fry, Raul Castillo, Megan Fox, Alfie Allen, Ash Santos, Marlene Forte, Bryan Batt

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bhoothakaalam

Vampire Owl: So, the title could mean the days of the past as well as the days of the ghost.

Vampire Bat: It is a nice play on the words being used here.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that Malayalam movie industry can have good horror anymore?

Vampire Bat: Well, horror is the only reality of life. So, it is always possible.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the realistic tendencies of the industry can help.

Vampire Bat: Yes, what is life, but a collection of horror of reality?

Vampire Owl: I can’t disagree. I once heard the story of the devil finding the burning hell as a better place to live in comparison to Earth.

Vampire Bat: Well, you know what humans are capable of. They have already made their world a place worse than hell.

Vampire Owl: So, who are the real monsters?

Vampire Bat: Humans are the real monsters, from the day of birth itself. You should see how they torment their own people.

[Gets a chicken biriyani and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: Vinu (Shane Nigam) is a D.Pharm graduate who is living with his mother, Asha (Revathy) in what seems to have been a very unhappy household since the death of Vinu’s father post leaving a lot of money to be paid back for the loans which were taken. His grandmother dies after living most of her life on the bed after a terrible stroke which she barely survived, and the life of mother and son which was full of negativity only gets worse after the demise. Vinu has been looking for a job for a long time, but as he is focusing on getting some work in his field, and is also trying to keep the search close to home, he is not really able to make any progress with that. Depression seems to come naturally to him, as well as his mother, who is a school teacher for small children. Asha is also hesitant to send him anywhere distant, especially to go for a job which is not directly related to the course which he studied. She also temporarily losses her job, as she ends up hitting a child accidently.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The mother and the son continues to have arguments over the past, present and future, as Vinu decides to find a job outside Kerala or even India at some hotels where his friends are working. Asha finds him as a rather useless person, as she originally wanted him to study MBBS, and they had spent a lot of money related to that too. But soon, things get worse, as Vinu feels that he was locked within a room by his dead grandmother, who moves around in the wheel chair. Asha feels that he needs counselling, but he doesn’t agree. George (Saiju Kurup) who runs a counselling centre comes home to help him, but Vinu is not happy about it at all, as he feels that he is being marked as an alcoholic and drug addict. George also feels that the sleeplessness might also be a reason, along with the mental problems which runs within the family. Vinu is in love with Priya (Athira Patel), but has stopped returning her calls, as he does almost nothing, while staying in his room, or in front of the television. But he continues to see and feel things – can this mean something else?

The defence of Bhoothakaalam :: Starting off as a movie which seems to have characters with some mental problems related to trauma, it smoothly enters the horror mode after some time. With many options being left behind, one can make different guesses about what actually happened. The minimum elements are used effectively, and the atmosphere of the house also brings a certain amount nostalgia – like our old houses which had mosaic on the floor along with some old style furniture as well as spaces on the wall. The darkness and shadows are pretty much effective in bringing the scares, and there is much to be felt about the possible presence in the house – they contribute to reaching a point where the title can be justified. The emotional side is also very much working, and there is much of the feelings going through here. Even with all the terror coming from outside, there is also the presence of the depressing past related to regret which continues to haunt everyone – the memories can be disorienting enough, as we move forward through a world of chaotic mind here too.

The claws of flaw :: Bhoothakaalam often restricts itself in the use of horror, except for the finally fifteen to twenty minutes when the film is finally allowed to unleash itself, bringing all the elements which it had in store, but didn’t use early enough. It does take its own time, and one feels that it is moving too slowly during that period of time. There are movies which slowly gets stronger, like Come Play, In Fear and It Follows, and one might feel that this might not feel that new with the early slow movement. The mind could have been given better focus, and the presence in the house could have also been better explained, thus leading to a better final finish. It is surely not that scary as some people seem to talk about it – there is something to be frightened about, but not that much as what the reviews exaggerate here, for only those who haven’t watched Hollywood horror movies at all can be that scared about it. After all, these are not the days when people are scared of ghosts that much, because humans have proven themselves to be more evil, each and every time. Ghosts have to be a special kind of scary to rise about human demonic acts.

The performers of the soul :: Shane Nigam continues his work more out of Kumbalangi Nights rather than the other movies, as he once again plays a similar youth who doesn’t really have a job for a multitude of reason, even though he is better educated this time. Revathy’s work continues to be a thing of quality, as he plays a mother role with a difference. There are moments which rises above the natural so well. James Eliya seems to be the man with logic, and has his moments of advice. Jilu Joseph has a small presence as a psychiatrist, as it is Saiju Kurup who deals with the counselling more, and even finds out a few secrets about the house – one would have loved to see more actions being taken by him here. Manju Pathrose plays the usual nosy neighbour, a role which is quite short. Valsala Menon played the grandmother, and that was the role which also lasted for only a few minutes as the movie continues to focus on the mother-son duo for almost all the time. Athira Patel is more or less the Mamitha Baiju of Operation Java coming in here as the seemingly forced love affair which in this case doesn’t reach anywhere in comparison.

How it finishes :: When we think about ghosts and past, the first movie which comes to our mind is Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, a Gothic romance horror which was not watched by that many people in this part of the world. But the past that haunts this movie is more or less related a good number of other horror movies, with one haunted house as well as a psychological side, both complimenting each other, sometimes from a distance, and at times, getting close enough and going through one another in style. Bhoothakaalam doesn’t hesitate to combine its elements, and then come up with the defining moments in the final stages of the film. This is surely a good deviation from the usual horror movies that we have in the Malayalam movie industry, and just like some of the other Sony LIV movies which released in the last few months, like Madhuram and Kaanekaane, this one also has a strong emotional side to go with. Well, you can also have some interesting horror with relationships running emotional in the background, for the ghosts are better and truer with their emotions than the fake humans.

Release date: 21st January 2021 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Rahul Sadasivan
Starring: Shane Nigam, Revathy, Athira Patel, Saiju Kurup, Manju Pathrose, James Eliya, Jilu Joseph, Valsala Menon

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Wasteland

Vampire Owl: We do not wander through the wasteland anymore.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why someone would even try to go through that area.

Vampire Owl: We used to consider them as cricket grounds.

Vampire Bat: Why would someone play cricket in that area where things are affected too much by dark and chaotic magic?

Vampire Owl: Well, nobody knows what is to happen in the next ball. It is fun.

Vampire Bat: Dude, the stumps can come up and hit the ball for a sixer.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it means that the match is highly unpredictable.

Vampire Bat: Now, you sound like someone who would do match-fixing.

Vampire Owl: It would have been a good idea if there was an audience.

Vampire Bat: We should have just locked that area. The area has even the presence of some necromancers.

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

What is the movie about? :: Nineteenth century had seen many wars which had left Spain struggling, and people really wished to stay away from all the chaos and destruction which the so called civilized world had brought. It had not yet seen the two disastrous world wars, but Spain already had enough with its internal conflicts following the earlier loss of colonies over the course of time, thus losing its advantage over the other European countries rather early in comparison. Diego’s (Asier Flores) family is one of those groups which live a lonely life in the middle of nowhere, an area which can be best known as the wasteland. His mother, Lucia (Inma Cuesta), is kind and loving towards him, while his father, Salvador (Roberto Alamo), is a very strict man. He reminds them that beyond a border which has been set by him, there is only war, and people only die beyond that, with no hope for any possible future. According to him, death and destruction is natural out there, and the boy needs to be a man quick enough.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The family of three continues to have no contact with anyone around. Salvador feels that the boy hasn’t matured enough, and there is not enough time now. He tells the boy a story about beast which is more evil than any other creature in the whole world – it preys on the most vulnerable people, feeding on their fear. When the beast finds a victim, it uses the fear of the person to get stronger using its weakness. Lucia takes the boy away before he has to hear anything more, but it is already rooted in the mind of Diego. Soon enough, they find a badly injured man in the boat (Víctor Benjumea) – the man seems to have run out of bullets, and is seemingly very close to death. This once again asserts the fact that there are only people who wants to hurt others of their kind, and the beast is also very strong, feeding more on the fear of such evil men and women. When the man wakes up with his wounds somewhat healed, he is seen pointing the gun at Lucia and Diego. For the family, fighting the beast might be easier than fighting the evil humans.

The defence of The Wasteland :: The movie does gain advantage from the grand setting in the middle of nowhere, as we have the perfect world without hope, but with the presence of fear at all times. There are some fine visuals to support the horror and the sound effects do more, as the movie does hold on to ambiguity. The darkness and haunting feel seems to stay even after the film ends. The focus is indeed on the fear, and its manifestation is not the one that the film concentrates on. The movie gains further with its performances, as Inma Cuesta is one talented actress, who has this movie going through what runs within her mind as much as what is outside. The shades of fear and madness that she shows here are nothing less than brilliant, as she has to elevate this movie with her expressions and feelings. Asier Flores, the child actor also comes up with a performance to remember, as he always has a lot more to do that a regular kind even in a horror-filled atmosphere of chaos and hopelessness. Roberto Alamo’s comparatively shorter stay is also effective, and sets things going. The background of the world only scores more.

The claws of flaw :: The Wasteland could have been more direct with its idea, and should have been less complex with its horror and story which is often not that clear for everyone. With an atmosphere like this, it could have been something else – a thing of terror like no other, but that opportunity is not taken despite the presence of the strong premise. It could have shaped its beast better, and should have come up with some fine explanations rather than providing random stories which we are not sure about. It is as if there is not real story here, and there so many monotonous moments around here, with nothing much happening around. We know that there could be chaos, destruction and even death, but still the movie goes on so slowly after establishing the whole thing in the beginning. The feeling of being dragged is not appropriate for a movie like this, which is too short, and yet wastes time in between. The whole setting feels more post-apocalyptic than anything else, and there were so many paths which this movie could have chosen for sure. The feeling of terror could have felt more real too.

Significance of the Title :: We are always attracted to the title, because this particular poem by TS Eliot is something which almost every student of MA English Language and Literature has studied in one of those semesters. As one of the most representative of the modernist poetry works, it is also the work is not that easy to understand. It uses the Arthurian legends of the Holy Grail and the Fisher King along with allusions from both the West and East, the secular as well as religious literature. It basically dealt with the disillusionment of a generation which had to live through the First World War, even though the Second World War was yet to come. The disintegration of civilization and the loss of hope were evident in the work which was divided into five sections which saw different deviations without any warning. But despair was clearly evident there. The film, with its location in the middle of nowhere, and with the main characters, show another situation of hopelessness and despair in a world which is nothing but another wasteland, during the wars in Spain.

How it finishes :: The movie is nicely set in the nineteenth century, seemingly showing the struggles during the wats of the time, long before the Spanish Civil War and the two World Wars which couldn’t have Spain participating directly in it. The century had France led by Napoleon coming in for an invasion, while the wars for independence were many in the Americas, including Bolivian War of Independence, Mexican War of Independence, Argentine War of Independence, Chilean War of Independence, Peruvian War of Independence, Venezuelan War of Independence, Cuban War of Independence, Philippine Revolution and many others. It is the reminder of a world of chaos which the war can bring, and how it can tear down a family, without even affecting it directly from the looks of it. With one fine setting and atmosphere, the movie makes sure that the feeling is passed on well, with a certain amount of horror which might be beyond war. It could have been made more direct and more terrifying, but this works with a certain amount of quality, deviating from the usual Annabelle, The Conjuring, The Nun, The Curse of La Llorna, Insidious, Sinister kind of horror.

Release date: 6th January 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: David Casademunt
Starring: Inma Cuesta, Roberto Alamo, Asier Flores, Alejandra Howard, Víctor Benjumea

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Classic Horror Story

Vampire Owl: We, vampires can make the classic horror story.

Vampire Bat: Don’t you know that most of the good vampire films were actually made by the elder vampires?

Vampire Owl: Isn’t that actually a myth which became part of normal lives later?

Vampire Bat: Their names were supposed to be in the the end credits.

Vampire Owl: Nobody got to see the end credits. They were removed.

Vampire Bat: Well, someone wanted to take all the credits, you know.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that those were some humans who played a small part in all of these.

Vampire Bat: Humans should have never been allowed to be part of vampire works, but at some point of time, there was not much of a difference between species.

Vampire Owl: Well, at least we know the human nature now.

Vampire Bat: The only true, classic inherent evil nature in the whole world.

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Elisa (Matilda Lutz), an intern at a consulting firm, try a rideshare app to get to her parents’ home in Calabria in Southern Italy to get an abortion, even though she is not sure if it is the right thing to do. The recreational vehicle that she gets is driven by a travel blogger and a student of film, Fabrizio (Francesco Russo) – he is only happy to have some interesting people in his vehicle, so that his Youtube channel can get more visitors. A couple from the United States, Sofia (Yuliia Sobol) and Mark (Will Merrick) are also traveling in the vehicle to reach a wedding destination and have some good time. A doctor named Riccardo (Peppino Mazzotta) who joins them is also trying to get home as early as possible. When Elisa’s nausea causes the group to stop on the side of the road, Mark forcibly takes over driving for Fabrizio, only to hit a tree while trying to avoid hitting the corpse of a goat. Elisa wakes up in the morning and sees that the group is doing first aid on Mark’s broken leg, as the doctor takes over the procedure. They are not able to get any signal on their mobile phones, and even the emergency numbers don’t work.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: They soon realize that they are no longer on the road, but are lost in an open space surrounded by a forest. They are sure that they hit the tree on the side of the road, but now, no paths leading to anywhere can be discovered. It is like having an endless line of trees in all directions. They do find a house there though, but it is empty. It seems like a strange building, with some weird signs and heads of animals. The photos in the house has people wearing masks looking like heads of goats. There is also fresh blood and heads of animals in the woods nearby. At the same time, They see some paintings and writings in house about three brothers who came from another world, a long time ago. There is also the story of a strange ritual which was performed for the brothers, which involved a naked woman’s tongue, ears and eyes being cut out. Fabrizio had heard this story from his grandfather, and all of them decide to stay in the vehicle at night rather than the house.

And what more of horror is to follow here in the middle of nowhere? :: They feel that there is something going on in the house, and Sofia goes inside house with Elisa to explore further, only to find something in the attic. There is a cocoon, and inside that, there was a child named Chiara (Alida Baldari Calabria), who has her tongue cut out, and kept separately, making them remember the tale of three brothers. She is supposed to be the only survivor in the family, and writes down that there are not in a forest. They hide in the attic while Mark was dragged out of the vehicle by three masked figures, who torture and kill Mark by pulling out his eyes and also breaking his feet with a wooden hammer. After Mark’s body is dragged to the forest, they run to the woods. After finding a large number of abandoned cars, they understand that they are not the first victims of these people, and might not be the last either. When they walk through the forest, they end up at the same place, and also see that the vehicle missing. Is there any hope left now?

The defence of A Classic Horror Story :: The best thing about this movie might be its use of sound effects and also the music that relates to the situations so well, and works even better for the horror. One has to wonder how they find all the strength with the sound when we are less expecting it, and manage to have such an amazing effect. There is something for the Hollywood movies to learn here, and our films are not even close, as far as horror is considered. The visuals are amazingly good, and the beautiful scenes of nature combines with the terrifying ones really well. This strange, scary, beautiful world, is something that we can cherish, and be glad to see on the screen, wishing that this was actually there in any of those theatres. Yuliia Sobol and Matilda Lutz make pretty good screen queens, as we look at them wandering through the situations of horror – even though the latter is the female lead, the former is the stronger of the two. The male actors basically pales in comparison to these two who make have the better moments.

Positives and negatives :: The ending of the movie is a little bit of a struggle though, as it was not having some of the best twists around there either. There were so many routes which it could have taken, but it has chosen one which was so less interesting. There could have been so many terrifying truths about what is happening on the screen, and how this is like a world from where there could be no escape, but the film chooses to go through the path which is rather too easy to take, to create a twist. It might have been trying to become another one of The Cabin in the Woods, but that much of a satiric fun isn’t present in this one. There is a lot of blood and gore around here though, even as it doesn’t really go with the fully slasher horror model. The only other two Italian movies on Movies of the Soul are Pinocchio and Piranhas – this one is the first Italian horror film and the first full-thriller movie from Italy to be part of the reviews here. One has to say that as a horror fan, different people would enjoy this is different manner, depending on how much they like the ending.

How it finishes :: A Classic Horror Story surely lives up to its title, and this Italian movie has enough to keep it stronger than a good number of Hollywood horror movies. There are not many English movies which have used the available resources so well in comparison to this one. One has to question some other horror films about their use of the visuals and sound effects, as well as the urban legends which were available in a better way. If you forget the ending of this film, the rest of the whole thing makes one really care about the main characters and tensed and afraid of the terrifying world within what seems to be a forest. That particular hunt and torture are enough to wonder about the smartness behind this particular movie. Among the horror movies which have released in the last few years, this might be the one which can have the right to use this particular title. Enjoy this world, and hope that it can be inspiring for many horror movies which have lost their way completely in the beginning stages itself.

Release date: 14th July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Roberto De Feo, Paolo Strippoli
Starring: Matilda Lutz, Yuliia Sobol, Will Merrick, Justin Korovkin, Peppino Mazzotta, Cristina Donadio, Francesco Russo, Alida Baldari Calabria

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.