Freaks

Vampire Owl: It has been very long since we had a German film to watch.

Vampire Bat: You could have always watched German movies at will.

Vampire Owl: Well, we should watch them together as part of vampire brotherhood only.

Vampire Bat: You know that I am not always available.

Vampire Owl: Still, you are here now and ready for films.

Vampire Bat: I have been available only as part of my requirement to sign into Dracula Castle.

Vampire Owl: You only need to be here as much as you can. We can always find some worthy vampire horror time.

Vampire Bat: You can still watch as many movies as you want at the castle with the Vampire Crocodile or the Vampire Alligator.

Vampire Owl: You know that they watch films underwater.

Vampire Bat: Well, you asked them to watch a movie with you on the top of a mango tree.

[Gets a chicken cutlet and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with a quick flashback showing a destroyed area of a school, a crying child and blood as well as a destroyed building which seems like a school. The child is really upset, and we are quickly taken to the present where the rest of the action takes place. Now, Wendy Schulze (Cornelia Groschel) has grown up, and is living with her husband and son, while working at a diner. She seems to have some psychological effect of that incident as a child, and she is taking some pills which were prescribed by her psychiatrist, but mostly, everything seems quite normal. One day, she meets a homeless man named Marek (Wotan Wilke Mohring), and that brings a deviation to her life. His advice to her is to stop taking those pills which are prescribed to her, and he also reminds her that she is one of them, even though Wendy has no idea what is happening – she is quite shocked to see him jumping off a highway bridge only to be run over, but he is the same on the very next day, alive and seemingly even stronger.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Wendy does feel that there is something fishy about everything that has been happening around her, and decides to stop taking the pills, as he had advised. When she is attacked after leaving her shift, she discovers that she has some special powers, and uses them to get rid of the attackers with ease. Her colleague Elmar Mund (Tim Oliver Schultz) notices some of her skills, and as he also has similar powers, they have to work together to find the secret behind these superpowers – it seems that the government has been watching them, and there is more to it than what meets the eye. There could be a vast conspiracy behind all of these, and getting to the bottom of it would require more than one or two superpowers. Is Wendy good enough to live up to the new powerful lady reputation that she has gained, or will some sinister forces have the upper hand? What role does the other people with superpowers have to play, and why is the government so much interested in this?

The defence of Freaks :: Freaks acts as an origin story for a superhero franchise, like Gundala did in Indonesian, and it seems that there is a lot of scope in that. This movie does build up very nicely with that, and the first few moments are really good at doing the same. The music is really good here, and there is something beautiful about the same too. It could really support the superhero stuff when its at full strength with a sequel. The setting is also good, and very much suitable for the superhero stuff here, and there are some beautiful shots too support the same too. There is also some fine humour being added here, and this feels like something nicely managed with less special effects and graphics. New superhero movies are always welcome, and this one has an ending which calls for some more films to follow in a possible long franchise. The world has always been in need of its superheroes, and you even got Shazam! earlier and accepted the same.

The claws of flaw :: Freaks could have actually been more divergent, and there could have been the idea of bringing more variety to the superheroes. You do feel that you have seen this before, as you are aware of so many superheroes. There are similarities to Split and Glass which we can easily recollect, as superhero powers are suppressed, and the existence of such heroes are also not brought to light. There could have been some innovation in that, as going by the usual path seemed rather unnecessary. A few things are also too direct with this one, and even for an origins story, there is a certain amount of predictability being drawn here. The few moments before the climax are not that effective either, and one does wonder if this could have been better there. Some other superpowers could have also been unleashed here, along with more action. When so many of similar films have already been done, this one should have come up with the divergent ingredient, for it was also immensely possible – you learn from what you already have.

Performers of the soul :: Cornelia Groschel leads the way in the movie, as she does in the poster, and that is done really well. She is very good from the beginning, and her transformation is also worth it. She would make a fine superhero in a costume, and can come up with some fights if there is a sequel for this one – Freaks didn’t have that much of action to boast about. She could have surely used some of it though. At the same time, Tim Oliver Schultz does make a fine villain in the making, and if there is a sequel, that could serve his character really well, as changes to the same possible supervillain can be seen from a distance too. Wotan Wilke Mohring does some solid work as the experienced superhero, or metahuman as often referred to. Nina Kunzendorf plays the usual human antagonist going against humans with ease, and there are moments for her to be remembered too. The rest are lesser characters, even though we know that some of them are going to be very much relevant for a sequel, if there is one.

How it finishes :: It hasn’t been easy to find the best German movies, unlike the case with Spanish, French and Korean which were recommended by so many people. Movies of the Soul has had only three German movie reviews before this, the full-length Kidnapping Stella and Breakdown Forest, as well as the short film named AUFDRUCK. Freaks is a fine addition to that list, and is very much fun to watch. You don’t always need your Avengers and Justice League teams, for you can stick to the lesser ones which are also interesting enough. We have had our mutants, the X-Men who were too good. We can surely have more, and even though those from Bollywood have kept disappointing us, the others won’t. Freaks will serve as an example of the same. We could have superhero movies in all languages, for so much of budget is often not necessary – with Tovino Thomas starrer Minnal Murali also coming to Netflix, the Malayalam movie industry will not be that far away from the genre either.

Release date: 2nd September 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Felix Binder
Starring: Cornelia Groschel, Tim Oliver Schultz, Nina Kunzendor, Gisa Flake, Wotan Wilke Mohring, Frederic Linkemann, Finnlay Berger, Thelma Buabeng, Ralph Herforth

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Raman Raghav 2.0

What is the movie about? :: The movie makes it clear that it is not about Raman Raghav a.k.a. Psycho Raman who was a famous serial killer, who unleashed terror in the city of Mumbai in the 1960s. About fifteen years later, another serial killer named Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who seems to follow the same kind of methods, starts his work in the same city. His way of operating is rather strange, and the police has not much clue about what his operations are. His list of victims only get longer, and it also includes Ramanna’s own sister, Lakshmi (Amruta Subhash) who is living with her husband (Ashok Lokhande) and their only son. She reluctantly lets him stay and cooks him food, only to get into an argument with the family. She leaves the place and comes back to take their money as well as kill them all one after the other.

So, what happens next? :: Ramanna is not the kind of person who has any kind of remorse for his actions, and he is surely not the kind of man who thinks twice about what he is to do. He is the worst kind of serial killer whom one could have on their trail. Even after being caught by the police and questioned, there is nothing that comes out of him, and he even escapes with the help of some local boys, thanks to the natural acting that comes to him. ACP Raghavan Singh (Vicky Kaushal) is in charge of the investigation, and has no real clue until finding the photo of Ramanna on the scene of crime, where Ramanna had murdered his sister. He figures out that the man whom they had apprehended a few days earlier has some kind of connection with these brutal murders which have been happening all around the city, keeping the residents terrified.

And, what is to follow next in this tale of terror in the streets? :: Even as he puts a tough cop act all the time, and seems to be righteous cop looking after criminal when someone looks from outside, Raghavan Singh is a a troubled person in his mind, having an unparalleled addiction to drugs, and has an even more terrible anger management issue. He is in a relationship with Smrutika Naidu (Sobhita Dhulipala) at whose place she is staying. It is another terrible relationship that they are having, with him forcing her to have more than one abortion after she keeps getting pregnant as he has his way as he likes. He also has no shame in beating her, but she stays faithful to him, and refuses to go home even after her family hopes for her return. Raghavan gets obsessed with catching Ramanna to such an extent that his issues deepen, and Ramanna at the same time, keeps an eye on the investigating officer – where does this game end?

The defence of Raman Raghav 2.0 :: The dark and terrifying avatar is given more and more life as the movie progresses, and then there is the other side which gets rather scarier. You feel the power of darkness in this movie, and there is so much of energy throughout the flick, thanks to the two main performers. It successfully makes you depressed and leaves you disturbing, with not much hope in the world of chaos. Humanity is surely capable of terrible things, and a lot of these capabilities are there right from the beginning, and are further powered by upbringing and the society. We keep wondering what is to happen next, and we are always interested to know how it all ends, or reach a new beginning. It takes only one serial killer to inspire more, and lets hope that Ramanna becomes our Hannibal to bring more of such movies which can prove to be even better. The final twist is something that breathes life like no other.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that we had expected more from a movie like Raman Raghav 2.0 with its cast and the people who are the helm. We feel that a certain amount of hollowness do exist at times, and this one isn’t that much focused on what we would have been hoping to see with a police officer after a serial killer – this one has almost nothing about the investigation about the murderer. More focus could have been on the characters, and they could have had origin tales, even at the cost of the movie going longer – there are some parts of the movie which could have been cut down to provide space for more of the tale. This kind of movies should have more action, thrilling sequences and deeper story-line which should make us wish to remember the tale more than once; but the focus of Raman Raghav 2.0 seems to be rather a little too much divergent. Then there is the violence – nobody is a role model here.

Performers of the soul :: There is Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal doing a fantastic job in this movie, which surely keeps things going strong. We keep wondering when we will see more of them with movies which get the wider release here. If it was more about the former in the beginning, the latter of Masaan fame takes it to the next level in the second half towards the end. You will also notice Sobhita Dhulipala and Amruta Subhash, as two actresses who brings some great performances in two of the best sequences of the movie. The one thing about Bollywood is that these names which are not regularly talked about as superstars are the real actors and acting stars – I really hope that their movies get release in every theatre here rather than those which brings the crowd; if I was running a theatre, I would run a special show for sure, no matter how much of box-office collection such movies are to bring.

How it finishes :: The movie leaves one with the message that everyone has the tendency to be bad, or rather evil, as it is the inherent evil in man which has more certainty to it than anything else. It is the situation that brings the worst out of people, whether they are branded good or bad. The hopeless state of humanity is directly or indirectly reflected in this movie, which struggles to find goodness which seems to fade away further and further as the flick progresses, and by the end of this, we have lost almost all hope in mankind – it is the ultimate truth, right? We do our best, and still we live in a society which is all about money and power, and the need for it as well as the possession of it, will only turn more people against each other. Evil is so easy, right? Being good is so difficult, especially with a new generation caught inside more than one kind of addiction. Raman Raghav 2.0 has that kind of protagonists, and we know that there is a good chance that we are all going to die an early, terrible death considering where the world is going.

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala, Amruta Subhash, Vipin Sharma, Ashok Lokhande, Harssh A. Singh, Anuschka Sawhney, Hitesh Dave, Rajesh Jais, Kalidas Parthitan, Rhea Pagar, Arun Singh

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pet

Vampire Owl: This reminds me to show you my new pet.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this is that kind of a movie related to the real pets.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that there is no live-action version of The Secret Life of Pets.

Vampire Bat: Not at all.

Vampire Owl: And there will be nothing The Street Cat Named Bob?

Vampire Bat: Absolutely not.

Vampire Owl: So, we are after the wrong kind of pet here.

Vampire Bat: This is supposed to be a thriller; so you know the kind of pet.

Vampire Owl: The psychological kind.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and you know more psychos than I ever will in this life and the next.

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

What is the movie about? :: Seth (Dominic Monaghan) works at the local Animal Control Department, and as a shy person doesn’t talk to many people, and has not many friends. Even those who works with him hopes not to get to talk much to him. One day he comes across Holly (Ksenia Solo) who is supposed to be someone he knew a long time ago, but she doesn’t remember him at all. After their meeting in the bus, he becomes more and more obsessed with her, and feels the need to get noticed more. But she doesn’t even remember meeting him for the second time in the bus, as he visits the restaurant that she works in. He tries to seem confident after looking for her interests on her social media profiles, as he asks her for dinner, but that doesn’t come out right, and she clearly shows her lack of interest in him. He is disappointed, but doesn’t give up.

So, what happens next? :: Holly goes on to meet her ex-boyfriend Eric (Nathan Parsons), but Seth continues to follow her, and in the process, gets beaten up by Eric. Despite being bloodied, Seth does manage to steal her diary which has all intimate details of her past. But as he keeps on reading the same, something takes a drastic change. He spends his time setting up a cage in an abandoned side of the animal shelter, and even as it affects his work, make sure that he could create something different and strange at that side to which nobody makes a visit. There seemed to be something in that diary that motivated him so much to finally kidnap her, and get her to that cage. But after kidnapping, he reveals to her that his wish is to save her, and this is all part of his secret plan for the same, much to the surprise of Molly who sees no way to escape from the steel cage.

So, how does the big mystery reveal with its twists? :: Soon, she finds out that Seth knows all her secrets which were written in the diary, and there are no longer secrets between them. There is a big secret that involves her best friend Claire (Jennette McCurdy), and Seth tells her that he loves her, and understands that there is not just one side to Holly. He tells her that it is only him that can help her, and asks for nothing in return as he is her one true love, and not Eric. It is then that the security guard of the animal shelter, Nate (Da’Vone McDonald) grows more and more suspicious of him due to his absence from work, and his roaming into those less explored areas. He makes his own way through those abandoned areas, and is shocked to find the young girl locked up inside cage in her underwear. Now, Holly tries to manipulate him into murdering the guard, and soon the question evolves into who the crazier one is, and also about who the real psychopath is.

The defence of Pet :: There is certainly something different with Pet, as one had already noticed with the posters and the trailer itself. This one emerges and becomes more than just having a girl in captivity by a stalker. There is that madness in this movie that only gets stronger as the movie progresses. Pet had so many opportunities here to become just the usual tale of a “damsel in distress” captured by the man who has been stalking her for long, but surely adds enough in there for the divergence. It is Ksenia Solo who impresses at moments with the way her character approaches everything, and Dominic Monaghan also leaves a good effect on this one, even though more situations could have been added to bring even more of these characters outside rather than leaving too much to be guessed. There is a lot of manipulation going on in this particular flick, and the twist is ready to get to you.

The Claws of flaw :: More was certainly possible with Pet, and surely a better finish was expected, considering how things were made stronger with the progress. You will also feel that there is a little bit too much of repetition with the talks that go on between the two protagonists, and we also see that the cage is also less used as the property, and there are moments when the leading lady does act so less like the character that she is – maybe, it is also part of the character, but that leaves the audience rather confused. The whole manipulation thing could have also used a little more drama rather than keeping the captive without much of emotions – it is something that will go as a negative mark in the performances. The lady also doesn’t get even a real cut on her, and will also get to be out of the cage without any trace of being a captive, and that also adds no positive to the genre. There is also that slowness in the middle, which is not converted to anything interesting.

How it finishes :: Pet‘s divergence is not something that we can question. But its leading lady character might be one for many. There is also a little bit of predictability that comes in, and that is also due to the lady protagonist, and by the end, people are just going to guess that final twist, considering how the so called stalker was proceeding with the things. You are going to wish that this movie was something more, but the variety in treatment that this movie brings will also be catching your attention – there are two sides to this movie, and thanks to its leading performers living up-to the expectations whenever there is the need, we have Pet as a movie that can be watched for not being like the others of its kind. In a movie which has no real hero or heroine, how much you can like the flick is dependent on what you want – a very high rating will be difficult, but liking this movie is not. The best thing about this movie is that it does take off the masks of some people who pretends to be good and nice to others, but being close to be good or in control is not what that particular person is all about, even when in a cage.

PS: For the lighter minds, there are reviews on movies like Kubo and the Two Strings and Kung Fu Panda 3.

Release date: 2nd December 2016
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Carles Torrens
Starring: Dominic Monaghan, Ksenia Solo, Jennette McCurdy, Nathan Parsons, Da’Vone McDonald, Denise Garcia, Janet Song, Alasdair Martin, Gary J. Tunnicliffe

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.