Black as Night

Vampire Owl: I thought this would be dark as night.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that they meant the exact same thing.

Vampire Owl: Yet, night is not black. It is just dark due to the absence of light.

Vampire Bat: I didn’t know that you were that interested in being exact.

Vampire Owl: Well, the are going to deal with the vampires. So they better be.

Vampire Bat: These are not really our type of vampires.

Vampire Owl: When they talk about real vampires, it has to be about us.

Vampire Bat: They are preferring variations these days.

Vampire Owl: Such a ridiculous human world. No wonder they have the virus.

Vampire Bat: Maybe they did create the virus. We cannot be sure.

[Gets a chicken puffs and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: In the beginning, it is seen that a homeless man who is searching for cans is attacked by a group of three vampires who show no mercy. At the same time, in the same city of New Orleans, Shawna (Asjha Cooper), a teenage girl lives with her father Steven (Derek Roberts) and her big brother Jamal (Frankie Smith) as the mother Denise (Kenneisha Thompson) is living apart after becoming a drug addict. At the same time, there are many things going on the streets, including protests, with the distant possibility of riots too. Pedro (Frabizio Guido) who is her best friend forces her to be close to Chris (Mason Beauchamp) on whom she has a big crush, but that doesn’t seem to be a good idea, with her not being of his interest, and she also coming up against vampires who attacks her, but leaves when a car comes to the area. That leaves her scared as she feels that she would turn into a bat or a vampire. Along with the disappointment of not getting the attention of Chris after a talk, she is not afraid of noy being human anymore.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: In the morning, she sees that she is not affected by sunlight, unlike what she had read about. She feels that there is something vampiric about the place where her mother was staying, and when she reaches there with a doubting Pedro, they find out that Denise was bitten too. But unlike her, Denise is quick to transform into a vampire, leading to the curtains being taken off, only to have her burnt till death. As New Orleans is full of strange beliefs, and a lot of spiritual and magical stuff, she decides to get the help of some people who have some expertise in the same – the police have no idea about what has happened. Instead of going to the usual voodoo and hoodoo practitioners, they go to Granya (Abbie Gayle) who is supposed to be the great vampire expert. They still base their assumptions on vampire fiction, but they do feel that there is some idea about the same, and a sympathetic Chris also joins the team. But are they enough?

The defence of Black as Night :: We do have another addition to the vampire tales, and this does add up when we look at it that way. The first scene does add some power, and that adds the scary feeling that something interesting is surely going to happen soon enough – the film’s strength seems to be the beginning rather than the rest. The setting of New Orleans is all very good, and it keeps us interested enough, with the feeling that something could happen at any particular point. It could be suitable for the teenage audience more, like Twilight was largely successful with them, even though not with those who have traditionally liked the vampires through great works of fiction brought to us as classics from history. The ending provides us with a chance to have another sequel, and the same can keep us hoping for a better film to come later, without the extra nonsense social commentary added in between. If you are looking for one more vampire film in a world which seems to have moved away from the earlier vampire interest, this one will be a reminder.

The claws of flaw :: The emotional side is rather too weak, and we often have nothing to care about here, not just the protagonist, but also the remaining ones. There is also a lot more to care about when you are making a vampire movie – it is not like coming up with a creature movie with demons or aliens. It doesn’t have that vampire power which a movie like this should have possessed. When vampire terror should have been effectively, it does struggle to do the same, and often holds back without any particular reason. The opportunity to make this a horror comedy is not used well enough either. The movie is indeed a master in making the opportunities go missing. The chance to add some message about inequality and race in there also goes missing, and the usual good use of history in vampire works also falls flat. You cannot use social commentary where it doesn’t fit, and this one keeps pouring that at all places without success. It is also very quick to have us tired of all these things repeating, and has no big action happen unlike expectations.

Performers of the soul :: Asjha Cooper leads the way here as the leading lady, and happens to be okay in her work. Then there is also Mason Beauchamp and Frabizio Guido who seems to be leading the film together. But the one who seems to be more suitable to this situation is Abbie Gayle, with a character who is very much into the vampires. The others do have more screen time, but she seems to play the role of more relevance in comparison. The one face which seems to be somewhat familiar might be that of Keith David, who plays one of the major character really well, and so does Craig Tate, both of them being memorable people of darkness in the film. Sammy Nagi Njuguna and Tunde Laleye also have some notable roles around here, even though they are of significance only in the last moments of the film. Frankie Smith and Derek Roberts adds on with some less utilized characters, all of them seemingly reduced as the movie lasts less than one and half hours, rather too less for a film which seems to try to look back into some turbulent history – it is a shame.

How it finishes :: Here we have another vampire tale, even though the focus here is not that strong, and it is not the regular vampire thing as we usually know it. If there was better innovation, this could have been one fine vampire movie. Throughout the film, you know that vampires deserve better – films like Interview with the Vampire and Byzantium has already gone through the vampire world with class, and the Underworld series had the right vampire action. This one never really gets strong enough. Black as Night, despite seemingly having something in store, doesn’t really have the same. As we are going through the Corona virus pandemic which never seems to end, and all the natural disasters which never seems to move way, we do need some movies to fill up, and this one might do just fine for some people. After all, theatres have not opened in this part of the world yet, and you know that all the things that we are to fear will stay long enough, we have the intuition.

Release date: 1st October 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Maritte Lee Go
Starring: Mason Beauchamp, Asjha Cooper, Theodus Crane, Keith David, Abbie Gayle, Frabizio Guido, Tunde Laleye, Al Mitchell, Sammy Nagi Njuguna, Andrew Penrow, Nicole Barre, Derek Roberts, Joseph Singletary, Frankie Smith, Tim J Smith, Craig Tate, Kenneisha Thompson

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

<— Click here to go to the previous Amazon Prime horror release.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thrissivaperoor Kliptham

What is the movie about? :: David Pauly (Chemban Vinod Jose) and Joy Chembadan (Baburaj) have been enemies since childhood. There was a certain incident over a girl in their school which had turned the two against each other on an eventful rainy day. The two have fought each other for so long that the city of Thrissur knows their rivalry very well, and knows what would happen if the two were to come face to face. With Joy being accused of messing up David’s betrothal ceremony, the latter decides that it is time to settle the scores by dealing the final blow which will be fatal for his opponent from school days. For the same, he calls up his friends, but ends up being in a fight with Joy’s hired goons. It is during that time that Girija Vallabhan (Asif Ali) enters the situation. He is a young man who lives in the outskirts of Thrissur city, and is in a struggle with his uncle Chandu Menon (Sunil Sukhada) who doesn’t allow him to take the profit from their family property, or sell it.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Bhageerathy (Aparna Balamurali), a bold and angry young lady and auto rickshaw driver also become part of their lives, as she is seen almost everywhere in the city. Vallabhan who visits the city, also ends up meeting her, as well as David, as part of some not so pleasant events. He decides to join the gang of David, and after being hit by a flying stick during a fight between David and Joy’s team, gets the chance, and he has never been happier. But it is short-lived, as they are caught by OK Sehladhan (Sreejith Ravi), who is a friend of Joy, and had studied in the same school. After getting out of the police station, the gang decides to have revenge on Joy by messing up his jewellery shop inauguration, for which he has invited a famous movie star from North India, Nilina Mehndi (Shilpi Sharma). With no chance to match up with Joy who deals with gold, David’s team tries to use both brain and brawn to mess up the enemy. But are they good enough for that?

The defence of Thrissivaperoor Kliptham :: There is some nice humour in between here, which brought the theatre alive on a number of occasions. We see a lot of interesting moments in the early rivalry between the characters, and the first few minutes are among the best, and this one surely knows how to begin nicely, and catch the interest of the audience early enough. You will find even a few messages in this one, which come at the end. There is the need to forgive, and the realization that what you are luckier than you think you are, in life, and those who are deprived of what you have, are so many – a few things which we wanted were just trivial; the movie asserts. The first half is superior to the second by a long way, and the expectations are high at the interval. An effort at feel-good elements is also there by the end, when you look closer. The visuals of the city are really good, as the essence is nicely captured here. The songs are just okay, and there is not that much to gain there.

The claws of flaw :: There is the curse of the second half which troubles this movie, and the problems begin right when the latter half starts. It seems to be everywhere, not certain about which direction it is heading to. Even in the climax, except for coming up with that message for not just the audience, but also for the characters in the movie which undergo change, there is not that much to talk about. There is also the presence of some irritating sequences, and also those which could have been just avoided – that way, the movie could have gone with a run-time less than two hours, making this a little, funny movie with a message in the end. One also has to wonder where this movie would have reached if it had maintained that funny side it had displayed in the first few minutes – but Thrissivaperoor Kliptham had chosen to be cursed in the second half, and it had to come down; which sorcerer or witch had cursed a movie which had so much potential? Well, it might be a wizard that we don’t know.

Performers of the soul :: Aparna Balamurali is surely having a nice run, with fine performances in Sarvopari Palakkaran and Sunday Holiday already in the theatres with a fine feel-good run, extending from her work in Oru Muthassi Gada and Maheshinte Prathikaaram. Here, once again, she is good, playing a strong character, and she successfully rises above the flaws in making of the character – she also has rather less presence here with the focus being on the gangs. Asif Ali’s adventure goes back to Adventures of Omanakuttan and that smaller role in Take Off, and Avarude Raavukal. Both Asif and Aparna had their combination working in Sunday Holiday. The point to be noted here is that despite him being claimed as the hero, he is not really one, and as the hero who is not really the hero, he has nicely managed his work in the movie. Shilpi Sharma has less presence here, with a few scenes and one song, and looks very good throughout, in her first Malayalam movie.

Further performers of the soul :: Chemban Vinod Jose continues his journey through Thrissur which was going great in the satirical fun movie Varnyathil Aashanka. One can say that he is the one hero that this movie has, more heroic in character than anyone else. It is him who deserves the best applause in this particular flick, whether it is about the serious scenes or those funny moments – these days, whatever be the character, we love to have his presence. Unlike a few years ago, we see very less of Baburaj in movies these days, and it is very good to see him back, and for some reason, he is also given lesser of the funny side. You will also find Vineeth Mohan of Adi Kapyare Kootamani fame here in a good, smaller role. Rony David and Irshad provides some good company to the protagonist, while Vijayakumar and a few others nicely work on the other team. Rachana Narayanankutty and Zarina Wahab are in one scene each, and if you miss those scenes, you miss them.

How it finishes :: Movies based on Thrissur has been many more this year, with Georgettan’s Pooram and Varnyathil Aashanka there with this particular movie, and even Sarvopari Palakkaran was set mostly in Thrissur despite beginning from the Kottayam side; Jomonte Suvisheshangal was also based there. Among all these movies, this is surely the movie which has captured Thrissur in the best way. After drawing some good audience even further away from the city in which it is based, there is something about this movie that has attracted the audience to watch it. Thrissivaperoor Kliptham is surely a movie which could have improved itself in the second half on its journey towards the climax, but beginning so well, and with help of humour, this one manages to keep itself as a movie which provides some entertainment, and the performances from the cast support the whole thing very well.

Release date: 11th August 2017
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Ratheish Kumar
Starring: Asif Ali, Aparna Balamurali, Chemban Vinod Jose, Shilpi Sharma, Vineeth Mohan, Baburaj, Vijayakumar, Rachana Narayanankutty, Rony David, Zarina Wahab, Sunil Sukhada, Jayaraj Warrier, Sreejith Ravi, Sudheesh, Meghanadhan, Nandhu, Irshad, Neeraja Rajendran, TG Ravi, Sneha Sreekumar, Manju Sunichen

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chunkzz

What is the movie about? :: Romario (Balu Varghese), Riyas (Ganapathi), Yoodas (Vishak Nair), and Athmaram (Dharmajan Bolgatty) are best friends, also known as Chunkzz. They are all studying in Adi Shankara Institute of Engineering Technology at Kalady, near the town of Perumbavoor. Romario, Yoodas and Athmaram are studying in the Mechanical engineering department and hoping to find at least one girl in their class – none has entered their department yet except for teaching; some students have even declared the place “no entry for girls” as they are confident that there would be none. But Riyas who is in the Computer Science department has problem in the same, as he is seen wandering around with the girls of his class all the time. The four friends study almost nothing at the college, and struggles to pass the exams by copying in one way or the other.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that the twist occur, when Romario’s father Varkey (Lal) has his friend Pappichan’s (Siddique) daughter, Riya (Honey Rose) get admission in the same college for the final year, as she had to face some problems at the institution where she was studying in Bangalore. She has returned home with her best friend Sherine (Mareena Michael Kurisingal) who seems to be hiding something too. Riya’s arrival at the Mechanical engineering department changes things, with her being established as the new or rather the only Mech Queen in the college. The four are completely after her, and she spends her time enjoying her time as the newly established queen of the department. But things change after a trip to Goa, which has more twists happening around. So, what is the role of the new queen in the lives of the Chunkzz?

The defence of Chunkzz :: The best of comedy set in an engineering college is usually considered to be in Koothara, which lost its charm, and stooped very low after its focus shifted in the second half, and then there was Happy Wedding and Aanandam which was trip-based – Chunkzz attempts to make its entry there and is mostly successful in bringing the funny side to the front. There is the attempt to bring comedy all the time, and even with emotional sequences, the same is tried – one can say that there is no real sad moment even when the characters go through some bad phase, for the overall mood never really changes. There is also a twist in the end, which despite providing the feeling of villainy, does work, and something like that was required to end this movie well enough – Happy Wedding also has a twist in the end, even though it was a rather cute one then.

The claws of flaw :: The silliness factor might feel to rather too much in this movie, and there is exaggeration in the name of comedy for sure. Despite beginning everything in the engineering college, it deviates quite a lot, and as it moves towards the end of the first half, the idea of the mechanical engineering department itself has vanished. So, if that is your aim, and it is mechanical engineering tale that you are focusing on, the movie you are looking for might be Queen directed by debutante Dijo Jose Antony that is to be released later, with a lot of new faces coming up. There is a also that kind of comedy which is rather forgettable and outdated – there is nothing fresh added here, and by the end of the first half to most of the second half, we keep seeing those predictable moments coming up again and again. The repetition here is something which we will find hard to appreciate. There would have been no shortage of some good comedy with that college setting, but they say no. Yes, as expected logic goes for a long walk far away, and the jokes doesn’t rise to the best of standards.

Performers of the soul :: When we look at the cast, and see the progress, we understand that this movie would be dependent on Balu Varghese to do more than the rest – he is more of the protagonist, as it is based on his life that everything follows. He is surely in control of this one, even though his character goes too low on too many occasions. Vishak Nair of Aanandam fame gets his next big noticable role here, and he has no problems in joining the funs. Ganapathi adds to the crew in style, while Dharmajan has his next biggest role in recent times after Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan and Pretham, which he handles in his usual funny way – there are some nice dialogues given to him, which stay a level higher. The four are responsible and are leading the battle against the two other rather bigger releases this weekend, Sarvopari Palakkaran starring Anoop Menon, Aparna Balamurali and Anu Sithara, as well as Varnyathil Aashanka which has a long list of performers lead by Kunchacko Boban.

Further performers of the soul :: Hareesh Perumanna extends his own comic style, but here we see him having so less to do, just like the case of Kadam Katha which released last weekend – one just got to wonder why he is not there for more. Then there are the two veterans, Lal and Siddique who are in control of their moments – the former has more fun to provide with his role. Honey Rose does very well coming back from Avarude Raavukal; her work as the Mech Queen at the college is better than the rest. Mareena Michael Kurisingal returns after her most noticable role in Aby this year earlier after having her first heroine role earlier than that in Mumbai Taxi. Even though she plays the secondary role, surely gets her own moments without doubt. It would have been nice to have her in the college too. Kailash, Shammi Thilakan and Anjali Aneesh are also there in notable roles in the movie.

How it finishes :: Chunkzz is not different from the director’s earlier movie, Happy Wedding. Even in the absence of the big stars, it rested on the talent that could handle the comic side really well – Siju Wilson, Sharafudheen and Soubin Shahir. This time, it is up to Balu Varghese, Vishak Nair, Ganapathi and Dharmajan Bolgatty to do the same. When the previous movie had Anu Sithara and Drishya Raghunath, this one has Honey Rose and Mareena Michael Kurisingal, the latter having played a role in the previous movie too. Even the run-time is so similar at just above two hours. There is just not that much of a different fun in this one, as nothing more is there. If you are expecting the same only, you can go for this one without second thoughts. But just like it was the case of Happy Wedding, there is nothing much to take home, and not much that will stay. This would be more for the youth of this generation rather than families.

Release date: 4th August 2017
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Omar Lulu
Starring: Balu Varghese, Honey Rose, Mareena Michael Kurisingal, Lal, Siddique, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Vishak Nair, Ganapathi, Kailash, Harish Perumanna, Anjali Aneesh, Shammi Thilakan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lakshyam

Vampire Owl :: When did this one release? I never knew.

Vampire Bat :: This one is more like a silent assassin. Not many people are aware of its release.

Vampire Owl :: I pity the humans; even we who live in another dimension are aware of this release.

Vampire Bat :: The humans are all after one movie only; they bring the hype for one movie, call it the greatest of all-time, and then bring it down.

Vampire Owl :: That seems to be quite the thing that humans do everytime. They even have that subspecies called fans for the same purpose.

Vampire Bat :: It also has a further subspecies, abusers, also known as the haters.

Vampire Owl :: Like they abused everyone who didn’t like the movie that much, and also those who didn’t watch the movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, for them, everyone needed to appreciate its greatness.

Vampire Owl :: That makes no sense, because everyone makes the effort; some people just have so much budget, and being rich, they have to struggle less.

Vampire Bat :: A fan is a fan. Read like, an idiot is an idiot.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: There is an accident near Peermade involving a police jeep, and it is revealed that the vehicle was carrying two convicts who seems to have escaped after the crash. Vimal (Indrajith Sukumaran) and Mushtafa (Biju Menon) are the two former prisoners, now out in the forest. The former is accused of murdering his own girlfriend Shalini (Sshivada), a crime to which he has confessed. The latter is a small-time thief who has been trying to make it big, and was caught accused of having stolen a Rolex wrist-watch, of which there is no proof except for the fact that he was there when it was stolen. Handcuffed to each other, the two will require mutual help to survive, but one happens to be a rich orphan with only one relative in the name of a brother who is in the United States and doesn’t care; the other had a mother who killed his father, and now he is alone.

So, what happens next? :: So, both have to make it through the forest, and goes on with the journey after being chased by a bear and almost being bitten by a snake. Due to the tough circumstances, Mushtafa thinks about going back, as there is no clear evidence of him being the thief and he could get away at some point. But Vimal is adamant, and offers Mushtafa, a total amount of five lakhs if he stays with him through the tough journey, let him escape the police, and find the one who had actually murdered his girlfriend. Mushtafa finds the offer interesting because it was five lakhs that he wanted to make, to begin a new life with a mobile shop and leave his troublesome past behind. With the police after them, and a forest which seems to be never-ending, will they finally be able to find the real murderer and bring him to justice, as time runs out?

The defence of Lakshyam :: There is the certainty of thrills about Lakshyam, when it is present, along with a certain suspense factor, and nobody can deny the same here, even with those troubles which make way. We also have some humour, especially with Biju Menon around. The visuals of the forest are nicely captured here, and we get to see the world from the top, as if in a game such as Age of Empires: Age of Kings with those trees, rivers and small people all around; birds flying in different directions too. The song in this movie is also good, and well taken, even though not anything that would make the big difference. The movie is also successful in making us believe that something huge is on the way right at the beginning. The movie also becomes a distant morality tale in the end, with all things being solved, even though not without some trouble as expected. The message is more about the second chance, which is provided as a reward for goodness.

The claws of flaw :: You are certain to ask if the movie has used all its possibilities as a thriller of this kind – it is far behind in making the best use of the same. Even a certain amount of humour is done in a bad taste, something which is disappointing considering the potential of the two actors here, and the possibility with this situation and environment. The comic side was also something that managed to begin so well, but doesn’t really manage the same throughout the run. The main suspense is also revealed too early, and the potential places to insert the thrilling elements were not looked at. Coming from the pen of the man behind Drishyam, the remake Papanasam and Memories, we surely have expected a lot more with this one, even though this surely has the advantage over his last effort, Oozham. With Mummy and Me, Detective and My Boss, it was a faultless resume for Jeethu Joseph, and even Life of Josutty had held on – one wonders what is happening with the same.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon once again leads the way, and his comic timing is exceptional as usual – even otherwise, he never goes back, and there is not even a sign of the same. There is cent percent safety concerning him handling this particular role. We are also glad to see Indrajith back here, as he is one actor who has so many good movies in his pocket, and remains very much underrated – there is no hype surrounding him, and he delivers each and every time. Sshivada’s role is once again limited, as in the ridiculous movie Inspector Davood Ibrahim, and becomes nothing like Su Sudhi Vathmeekam – but she surely has a few charming moments, not something that is expected to stay for long. The supporting cast is also so small, and the most famous name in that list, Shammi Thilakan also has so much less to do. In a movie that has almost every scene with one of these characters, and three quarter of the movie with these two together, the rest just had to keep going on.

How it finishes :: Biju Menon is coming right out of three family movies which were not less than entertaining with the humour; Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Kavi Uddheshichathu? and Swarna Kaduva. Indrajith’s last three movies were Vettah, Amar Akbar Anthony and Kohinoor, all being multi-starrers, his big surprise as the sole hero coming in the form of Angels. Both seems to have been choosing very well with their last few movies, which have kept us interested in their flicks that go on to be good enough for minimum guarantee. With the name Jeethu Joseph is added, Lakshyam also stays somewhere there, even though not as much as expected. The thrills are here and it should keep you interested at moments. As a movie with not much of a hype, Lakshyam making a pretty much okay run will surprise not just one or two people, but all who were looking forward to other movies. The big challenge to this movie’s existence, CIA, will still be there as the one with the hype.

Release date: 6th May 2017
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Anzar Khan
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Biju Menon, Sshivada, Kishor Satya, Shammi Thilakan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.