Don’t Kill Me

Vampire Owl: At some point, a werewolf asked me not to kill him.

Vampire Bat: So, you have started fighting werewolves on your own.

Vampire Owl: No, it was an arena battle during the last carnival.

Vampire Bat: Why would you kill a werewolf on an arena?

Vampire Owl: It was part of a great, memorable drama.

Vampire Bat: I knew it. You wouldn’t even slay a zombie juggernaut.

Vampire Owl: Why would I? Let them eat the brains of evil humans.

Vampire Bat: All zombies are not interested in human brains. Some of them just sleep in their graves at all times.

Vampire Owl: They are not undead – they are just the dead.

Vampire Bat: Well, zombies do have the right to make their choices too. Some of them even fall in love.

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

What is the movie about? :: Mirta (Alica Pagani) is madly in love with her boyfriend and drug addict Robin (Rocco Fasano) who is detested by her parents. One day, she decides to have drugs with him, and an overdose leads to the death of both of them. But soon enough, she finds herself waking up in the tomb. She escapes from her tomb in the mausoleum where she was laid to rest and starts walking towards her home. But she understands that she is dead, and leaves the house soon enough. The police informs her parents that someone has stolen her parents. She knows that her body has started decaying, and there are also people hunting her. A strange person also visits her home, and says that they are going to protect the living from the dead – he adds that the parents are going to see their child very soon, but she won’t be the person whom they knew earlier. Soon, she ends up committing her first murder, and after eating the man, feels much better.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: But soon enough, she will understand that there is something more going on out there. There is a sect that has been hunting her kind from 1600s – destroying those who come back to life instead of staying dead, known to the secret organizations as the overdead. The group seems to be heavily organized, with lots of money, weapons and other resources. Mirta does find some help, but she wishes to go back and find Robin, hoping that he will also wake up at some point, as they died in almost the same way. But she is captured by the group, and is put in chains. It is then that she realizes that Robin has also come back to life. But that would also leave her with more revelations about what has happened with her life. It will also mean that she will have to make her own decisions against her heart. Where will that lead her in the end? Is there a war coming between the humans and the overdead? Will she choose one of those sides?

The defence of Don’t Kill Me a.k.a. Non Mi Uccidere :: This is a movie which comes up with some fine surprises, and even shocks in relation to its zombie world. It doesn’t hesitate to try something different, and take a few risks with its progression and scenes. The ability to stay unique in a world of repetitions is to appreciated. There are a few bloody moments in the final scene of the movie, and that result of an undead fighting the hunters has some quality setting which is going to stay for long. The moments of the protagonists meeting after dead are strangely interesting too, and there was that twist that worked out there. The bath scene seemed to point to some of the tales of the witches from the past, and maybe this will also come up with more links if there is a sequel. The visuals are really good here, not just with the scenery, but also with people and objects. The environment has worked in favour of the movie too. The message here seems to be about being careful about whom you are obsessed with, and that it is not about looks in a relationship. The movie also encourages one to take the path required instead of going with the flow.

Positives and negatives :: Don’t Kill Me does more than what was expected from it, and we are only to witness the same. It doesn’t overuse any of the special effects, and keep them to the minimum, but in an effective way. The idea here seems to be about using lower budget to achieve more. It does leave a few things to the imagination, without trying to explain them all. It could have also linked its sequences better, instead of seemingly straying from the path to come up with one scene or the other. Despite the zombie existence, you would still imagine Alice Pagani in a vampire movie, because the looks seem to work well with such an option – the Gothic world seems to suit her well. I would like to see her as part of an Underworld movie at some point of time. She is also suitable for the mood of Byzantium and Interview with the Vampire. The ability to move away from silly romance and keeping it natural also helps here – this movie could have easily been Twilight, but thankfully it is not. This one is a serious adventure at hand. The blood and gore is present, and still continues to be in control.

The performers of the soul :: The movie has its soul fixed on Alice Pagani, an actress who has made the transformation into the undead very smooth and believable – you don’t become the undead that easily and make it feel natural. She has this one in control throughout its run, as the confused youngster in love who doesn’t know much about what she has been forced to go through. Even in a decayed zombie form, she remains beautiful, and displaying the human confusion seemingly in an attempt to retain her humanity. She is there in every key moment of this movie, as if she is this movie, and it is all about her. Despite the thriving human beauty, she will make a fine undead, maybe even a vampire – Hollywood should have her. Rocco Fasano, for most of the movie, is the Robert Pattinson of this movie, the much liked Edward Cullen who is without his Twilight – has the looks of the undead working for him. They have some interesting scenes together, but there are not that much either – the romance doesn’t get overdone, and that is a nice way to keep away from the commonly expected undead infatuation.

How it finishes :: There are the usual romantic zombie movies like Warm Bodies which try to go the Twilight way, and then there is this one, which tries to be as divergent as possible. It knows that it has to be innovative in the zombie horror genre, as the idea has been repeated too many times. This is the realization which makes the whole thing better. One can only feel that Andrea De Sica is a visionary director who has brought another zombie origins story which can have a prequel or a sequel according to the need, as this one doesn’t end here at all. Italian movies have had some quality works in the last few months, like Security and A Classic Horror Story, both of them coming up with their own divergence in the process. When we look at these movies, despite the genres to which they belong, there is no exaggeration at all. Well, you know how wrong you can go with the zombies, and how much nonsense can be added in the name of the undead – here, we get them in our world, without those unnecessary ornaments or overdose of romance. The low ratings seem to be from those who expected a Twilight, but the beauty of this movie is that it is not here.

Release date: 21st April 2021 (Italy); 21st February 2022 (Netflix)
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Andrea De Sica
Starring: Alice Pagani, Rocco Fasano, Silvia Calderoni, Fabrizio Ferracane, Anita Caprioli, Sergio Albelli, Giacomo Ferrara, Esther Elisha, Kateryna Aresi, Francesca Alice Antonini, Federico Ielapi, Marco Boriero, Marco Matteo Donat-Cattin, Marco Pancrazi

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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.

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Power

Vampire Owl: It is the time to test our powers, right?

Vampire Bat: There is no need to test any power right now.

Vampire Owl: All powers need to be tested. We haven’t used them for some time.

Vampire Bat: The powers belong to all of us, forever. We don’t need to keep testing them.

Vampire Owl: These are basically skills. They weaken without practice.

Vampire Bat: Frankenstein needs to go through practicing skills, not us.

Vampire Owl: You mean to see that we have the powers like humans have lies.

Vampire Bat: Yes, lies are their superpowers, and we have ours.

Vampire Owl: I don’t think that we can have any stronger power than that.

Vampire Bat: Well, lies are immortal, but no human likes to hear the truth. Not even Mr Frankenstein in human form.

[Gets a masala bonda and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: The story takes place in East London in the year 1974. Trade unions and the government are now against each other as the economy is in crisis. Blackouts have been ordered to conserve power, leading to long time periods of darkness every night. Valerie (Rose Williams) is a young nurse who is supposed to work through the night on some day. She is also someone who loves being part of pediatrics. She used to be an orphan, and hopes that she can make a difference among the people in the poor community of the area. But as the matron finds her talking to a doctor against her advice on the first day itself, she puts her on night duty earlier than she is supposed to be. She is left in charge of the intensive care ward, and is asked to stay there at all times, as the whole place will be dark. But the power seems to go off rather too early, and she is left in the middle of nowhere, as she tries to get back to her level and ward.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She has no idea about how to get to her assigned level, but is helped by the nurses of the only other ward which is working at night. Barbara (Emma Catherine Rigby) is the only other person who is in the ward, and she happens to be an old acquaintance. She is also not happy about being in the hospital, as she hopes to get married to someone rich, maybe a doctor. Soon, the generator which just manages to provide the minimum lights to the room goes out, and Barbara goes out to check, leaving Valerie behind with a candle. Soon, Valerie begins to have some strange visions, and even feels being pulled from behind. She needs to get some medical charts, but it is darkness everywhere. There is also a girl around there who hasn’t left with the other patients too. Is there some secret about the place that needs to be dealt with? Is there something supernatural about it which cannot be stopped? What could be hiding in the darkness and awaiting an opportunity?

The defence of The Power :: The movie attempts to depend the most on the atmosphere – the settings elevates the film all the time. The situation seems to favour the horror genre from the beginning to the end. The year of everything happening around here, and the historical background also seem to be things of interest. There is the feeling of danger present at all times, thanks to the visuals contributing so well here. The same also adds to a feeling of antiquity around here, as we are transported to that past successfully. It is more or less like a walk through a hospital museum. The horror is somewhat working, mostly due to the darkness and unpredictability rather than anything else. There is nothing clearly visible around here to bring the horror, and the uncertainty does work, even though we do end up asking for more. The movie also seems to move towards some message, even though that is not really achieved in the end.

The claws of flaw :: The movie mostly remains slow, even though there were so many opportunities to raise its level, and bring something special in between to speed up the pace here. When a horror movie which is only one and half hours long feels long, it means that there was the need for something to be done in between. A number of areas feel complex, and the explanations often feel strange. It seems to have more with the way this story is told, and the mystery is being built. The synopsis seems to have had more to offer in comparison to what we have here. How many demons could have been used here, and in what all means? The scope was endless in this atmosphere, and with this scope. But what we have here is half-baked in nature. The route to the ending is also nicely built, but we see that in the end, that is not strong enough. It needed to live up to the title of the film, but we see that there is a certain struggle regarding that too, with the movie not being strong enough with enough power.

The performers of the soul :: The movie depends a lot on Rose Williams to come up with a deep performance. With spirits around and possession also coming up, there is a lot more to be added around here. Even as she does so well, the movie is the one that lets her down with its inability to make her seem that good as she really is. She has more power than the movie itself, and would shine in another horror movie as the scream queen even more. In this particular movie, we are often confused about what her character is really about, and what she is actually trying to achieve. Emma Catherine Rigby doesn’t have that much to do around here, and she has to quickly disappear without making an impact, which we did feel that she would make. One would have expected more from her though. Diveen Henry has quite a strong presence in between, even though it is not there for too long. Charlie Carrick also has a smooth role, but it is also small enough. Shakira Rahman as Saba is also notable enough, and she also has her moments.

How it finishes :: The title, The Power might feel a little bit confusing with another movie releasing with the same name, in the same year. It is also a movie which could have done a lot more with its premise. What is required was more power rather than anything else, along with better focus. During these days, making an interesting horror movie requires more than just one spirit and an environment for it to thrive. Innovation has been a basic requirement for any horror film without a grand cast or lots of budget, and this one also required to keep that in mind for longer. This also makes one wonder why Amazon Prime Video is not acquiring quality horror movies like Netflix has been doing. It shouldn’t always be about Madres, The Manor and Black as Night. We all prefer Prime as there are multiple advantages to it, but there are so many movies from last year which Amazon can get into its bag. Let us hope that a good number of them will be of horror or thriller genre, and raise the bar.

Release date: 8th April 2021
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Corinna Faith
Starring: Rose Williams, Marley Chesham, Diveen Henry, Mark Smith, Amy Beth Heyes, Emma Catherine Rigby, Maria Major, Paul Antony-Barber, Nuala McGowan, Robert Goodman, Sarah Hoare, Anjelica Serra, Charlie Carrick, Shakira Rahman, Joe Haddow, John Mackay, Gbemisola Ikumelo

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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

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

@ 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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fear Street: 1666

Vampire Owl: And now we have to go back to the year 1666.

Vampire Bat: It is a little too long backwards, don’t you think?

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein is preparing a time machine. So, we can actually do it ourselves now.

Vampire Bat: So, you believe that he is finally going to invent something useful.

Vampire Owl: He is the best scientist the vampire world could ever find.

Vampire Bat: He is not a scientist, but an alchemist. There is a difference.

Vampire Owl: Yet, he has invented so many useful things.

Vampire Bat: These inventions have been useful only to him.

Vampire Owl: What about the portal to different dimensions?

Vampire Bat: The portal could only lead us from one room to the other.

[Gets a green apple cake and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: As the severed hand of Sarah Fier is reunited with the rest of her corpse, Deena is Sarah Fier (Kiana Madeira) now, as she sees things from her perspective, slowly finding the past revealed to her. She lived with her brother Henry Fier (Benjamin Flores Jr) and father George Fier (Randy Havens) in 1666. Things seem to go well in the original settlement before it was divided into Sunnyvale and Shadyside. Soon, things seem different, as Hannah Miller (Olivia Scott Welch) falls in love with Sarah, something which is discovered by Mad Thomas (McCabe Slye). When Sarah and her friends meet a reclusive widow to gather berries for a party, she also comes against a book of black magic. She witnesses that the world around her does change, with strange things happening. Cyrus Miller (Michael Chandler) who is Hannah’s father, begins to act strange, while the town’s food and water supply are poisoned. The people of town are suspicious about almost everything, especially Sarah.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Sarah talks to Solomon Goode (Ashley Zukerman) in person as she wonders if she is responsible for the town’s newly found bad luck. Soon, they discover that Pastor Miller has murdered twelve children in the chapel, after taking their eyes out, and that includes Henry. The town is very much frightened because a man of God himself was responsible for this terrible act. They hope to get rid of the evil, but none of them knows where to find the same. Soon, with a number of witnesses, Hannah Miller and Sarah Fier are considered responsible for what is now happening, and even though they find and decide to execute the former, the latter couldn’t be found. Sarah decides to find the widow’s book of black magic and use it to make a deal with the devil so that she can somehow save Hannah, with whom she declares her love, and begins a lesbian relationship which reflects what happens later in 1994. But while trying to find the devil, she only finds the book missing and the widow murdered. What could be really happening out there now?

The defence of Fear Street: 1666 :: There is an interesting backstory to the origins of the movie, and also a grand return to the present to make sure that things end pretty well. The film does have a pretty good twist coming in between, and has its own interesting surprises as we look at them. The world of 1666 has also been nicely created, not just with the surroundings, but also with the people. There is something about the colonial world as much as the European Middle Ages when it is created well enough. The addition of a deal with the devil element also works in favour of the movie. One would feel that there is a certain amount of confidence running through this movie, which is reflected in the characters, as we quickly move towards the final showdown – it does have a better pace in comparison to the previous movies, as the focus is less in relationships in comparison to the others. The final fight scene has a lot of interesting moments, and as we see all those serial killers out there, we keep asking for a film for each of them.

The claws of flaw :: The romantic nonsense elements continue to haunt this last part of the movie, as it was one thing which didn’t work in the first part either. It also seems that the best villains of the movie seems to be from those time periods of the franchise which didn’t really have a movie to support it. Despite all the elements that it puts in here, the other two movies of the franchise seems to be better than this one – the first one did a fine job in establishing the world, while the second one was the best of the franchise as it felt like a typical slasher with quality. This one lags in comparison, but not by much, as it is saved by the settings in two time periods and with some fine surprises as well as bringing everything together in the end. The romantic side continues to be nonsense, and using that between fight feels even more stupid. This shouldn’t have been about love, for it is not really difficult to know what matters these days. We cannot let some silly teenage love ruin a slasher horror movie which was rising otherwise.

Performers of the soul :: Kiana Madeira has more to do in this film, going through two different timelines, and there is something about her in the seventeenth century that keeps us more interested. She seems to suit in that time period better than the 1990s. This film seems to show her evolution to suit slasher horror films better. Darrell Britt-Gibson as Martin does add some interesting and funny moments in here, while he had only a few moments in the first flick. Ashley Zukerman stays strong, not just in one avatar, but in different forms. Olivia Scott Welch is also better in the seventeenth century, and we see her blending in there well. One would feel that she is also slowly moving towards becoming a scream queen at some point, as horror films becomes the strong point of actors and actresses when least expected. Benjamin Flores Jr adds more in this film, and he is also a memorable person of two different centuries. McCabe Slye adds the much needed creepiness to the past for the film. There are many actors and actresses who play different roles in multiple centuries, which does bring some confusion here though.

How it finishes :: The final movie of the trilogy seems to have ended the film well enough, even though it doesn’t hesitate in leaving the scope for another movie in the series in the final stages of the credits. If you ask me, I would like to see a film which comes in between all these movies instead of having a sequel belonging to the early 2000s or the contemporary world. We have all been looking for some horror, and just like we had expected, the villain here is actually human rather than the supernatural – it is a fine end when we look at it, as it has always been clear that humans are the most evil creatures to walk on Earth. As I have mentioned before, even after facing so many natural disasters and the Corona virus itself, humans of our times haven’t changed either. They are all going for wealth and influence, while considering the others of their species as not worthy, and won’t hesitate to murder them – the killers of slasher horror movies are always better than humans of reality, aren’t they? Well, you never know.

Release date: 16th July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Leigh Janiak
Starring: Kiana Madeira, Ashley Zukerman, Gillian Jacobs, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr, Darrell Britt-Gibson

<<< Click here to go to the first Fear Street movie.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Pale Door

Vampire Owl: How pale is the door?

Vampire Bat: It cannot be that pale as the door to Uncle Dracula’s door.

Vampire Owl: It won’t be as pale as life itself.

Vampire Bat: Life will get better after Corona virus ends.

Vampire Owl: There is no life after COVID-19 ends.

Vampire Bat: How can you be so sure about?

Vampire Owl: The world has now become more evil, you know that.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but that is related to the humans only.

Vampire Owl: The realms are going to collide at some point of time.

Vampire Bat: When they do, we will be ready to face the evil humans and their weapons including hatred and fear.

[Gets some French fries and three glasses of pista shake].

What is the movie about? :: One day, a home is raided by a gang of thieves who are heavily armed. Two children survive the terrifying incident, while the parents are shot dead. The house is also burnt down, but the two boys decide to move on with the help of an acquaintance. The younger of the two brothers, Jake (Devin Druid) is working in a saloon, while Duncan (Zachary Knighton), the elder brother is leading the Dalton gang, a group of robbers who come up with some big heists all the time. When one their gang members die in a gang fight, they are in need of more manpower for a train heist which might be the best of their career. Even though Duncan is not sure about allowing his younger brother to involved in anything related to guns, Jake doesn’t back down, and the gang finally decides to take him because of the urgent requirement. They find the train heist to quite an easy job, and they find the chest which was being guarded there, and manage to escape with the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Instead of finding any gold or money in the chest, they end up finding a young lady tied up inside. The girl introduces herself as Pearl (Natasha Bassett), and tells them that her home is in Potemkin, from where she was taken by these people. She also promises them some fine reward if they take her home. As the gang also wants to have some treatment for the wounded Duncan, they decide to go to her town which is closer than the rest of the civilization. As they reach the town, they try to find a doctor first, but there is nothing in the place, but woods with one small cottage in between, much to their dismay. Pearl does offer them help, as they are forced to follow her deep into the woods, and she tells them that they live in a brothel. As they are welcomed at the brothel by the one who seems to be their leader, Maria (Melora Walters) also promises that they will have the reward soon enough. But soon they realize that there is something different about this brothel, and they won’t really like that.

The defence of The Pale Door :: The movie does have a lot of action with the gun shots, and the witches are also there, which makes this a divergent type of film in comparison to those usual films which have one of these. The transform between the western heist and the world of magic and witchcraft is nicely done with the surprise working well. The message of evil being present at all times, and the final moments after building the atmosphere works pretty well, even though it doesn’t become a full horror movie at any moment as expected. There are moments which come back to the main characters as revelations about the past, and the setting within the forest brings the need for being frightened, in a strong enough manner. Placing the outlaws against the witches is a pretty good idea, as we look at it, and can also have an extended version of the same in a sequel, as the latter can go on forever, and be back for more innocent blood to sustain them. A successful mixing of these genres is exactly what has helped around here.

The claws of flaw :: The problem with this film is that it is too slow for our liking, and there are more dialogues than action on many different occasions. The movie is also really slow to go through its problems, and the beginning moments have too many scenes which keep on dragging the film until we reach the much needed action. Even though the witches are shown in their true forms, there could have been more especially related to one of them bathing in the blood of the victims, a moment that reminds of the ancient legends. The moment required an extended version, and also the hunting which the witches come up with. Just like the vampires, the witches are always capable of more, and this one doesn’t touch those abilities enough around here. The idea of witchcraft always have enough strength to rise as strong as the vampires and zombies who have ruled the world of cinema for quite a long time, and this time, they don’t go for where the strength lies the most – instead, the safe side seems to have more of an attention than anything else.

Performers of the soul :: Devin Druid as Jake and Zachary Knighton as Duncan are given importance in brotherly bond, but beyond that, they don’t work that much within limitations. Stan Shaw as Lester makes a strong impact among the group in comparison. Bill Sage and Pat Healy are fine in what they do. Melora Walters does make a fine witch with a mission here, and there is the past that is related to her, and works fine enough. Natasha Bassett makes a fine witch for the future, and might be one of the most charming of the group. There are other witches added around here, and Ashley Couch appears in the blood bath, the one which had the scope to be the most notable scene in the film, but the same gets limited – she still has one’s attention there though. As a film which deviates to witchcraft early enough, there could have been more focus on each witch character here, but the same is not provided that much of a significance around here. But the witches don’t get their due, and that is somewhat a shame, considering the possibilities.

How it finishes :: The movie seems to have done pretty well as a low budget horror movie, and has enough to keep itself strong with the big reveal that comes later. There is not that much to make a heavy entertaining impact, but the film manages well enough with what they have. Maybe, if this had left idea of the wild west behind, and focused on the witches and their past, with the forest being the permanent setting, things could have been better. Even a medieval setting in England could have lifted this one better. Yet, there is something about the film and its witches which will keep it going. During the time when the Corona virus pandemic is coming up its omicron variant, one can say that this kind of a variant can also serve the purpose. At a time when the supernatural are going down due to the strength of COVID-19 and the evil that the humans are bringing, we all need our original demons, witches, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and zombies – let us take these witches for now and enjoy what we can, while staying safe during the omicron-active Christmas season.

Release date: 21st August 2020
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Aaron B Koontz
Starring: Devin Druid, Zachary Knighton, Melora Walters, Natasha Bassett, Tina Parker, Ashley Couch, Bill Sage, Pat Healy, Stan Shaw, Noah Segan

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bali

Vampire Owl: I have heard that there is always a perfect time to begin something.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is time, and this will be the first Marathi film to be reviewed here.

Vampire Owl: Where does that leave us with the different language films being reviewed?

Vampire Bat: That would have us with more films than we had expected in the beginning of the year.

Vampire Owl: When they make a film with the name Bali, that is quite nostalgic, isn’t it?

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that Bali is open for international tourists yet.

Vampire Owl: Well, vampires are never international tourists.

Vampire Bat: We do come from a different realm, and so we are international.

Vampire Owl: So, we do have our own passports? I have never come across one.

Vampire Bat: Just use your fangs to make it work as required.

[Gets some banana chips and three glasses of chocolate shake].

What is the movie about? :: Shrikant Sathe (Swapnil Joshi), a widowed father is living his usual happy life as a happy single father with his only son Mandar Sathe (Abhishek Bachankar) who is a lot into playing cricket at school, and the father is completely in support of whatever he does. The father-son bond goes quite deep, and they are more or less like friends. Mandar also prefers to have his father with him all the time rather than his friends. When the seven year old boy faints during a cricket match, and is taken to hospital for a detailed diagnosis, things change. The two are referred to another hospital which has all the required facilities, and has a famous specialized department for children. They have an appointment with Radhika Shenoy (Pooja Sawant) who asks them to go for some more tests to make sure that there is no serious problem due to him having continuous breathing problems. Radhika feels that nothing could be wrong with the boy who looks alright, and the tests are just precaution.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Mandar meets a boy who is admitted in the hospital due to cancer, and is going through terrible pain in the stomach. They become good friends in a short period of time, and leaves the hospital’s main area to go to the deserted part of the hospital which is undergoing a certain amount of maintenance. They were supposed to play cricket and also meet the nurse whom the boy considered to be his mother, Elizabeth D’Souza (Shraddha Kaul). Soon, the boy is taken into a room in the abandoned area, and is found dead with many wounds and bruises on his body, and the doctors consider him to have fallen down and hurt. As he is admitted in the hospital as a result of seeing the dead boy in the operation theatre, Mandar starts talking to the mysterious nurse, and he also considers her as a mother-like figure whom he can contact at any point of time with a mobile which he discovers in the room. It turns out that there is something about the entity known as Elizabeth which the hospital hiding. Who is she, and what does she want?

The defence of Bali :: The film has just enough scares out here, and there is also one fine mystery to go with the same. There are also some nice twists around here to go with the horror. The background to the ghostly figure, even though becomes predictable at times, is nicely created with those twists added. The final moments’ twist is indeed a nice one, and the way it is presented is also nice. The movie also talks about a few things which have the possibility of happening in the medical field, and it does serve as a warning about the same, as greed for money is something which has taken over both the medical and educational field. Even though the latter can have other options, we are always tied to the requirements for medical treatment, and these types of revelations are often the need for the time, even though there is only a rare chance of the same happening. It never hurts to be warned about the terrible possibilities, and you know that the world around you doesn’t work on righteous, but on selfish requirements of money and fame.

The claws of flaw :: The name of the movie did give me a confusion, as I felt that there was something about the place in Indonesia, and maybe this film is about the place – obviously not knowing the language has its own confusion for us who are watching such films due to the release happening in Amazon Prime Video. It could have surely included more horror, and with the building being such a fine location and having the perfect atmosphere, it could have used the same to the best advantage. The message could have also been made more loud, and the background story could have had a longer time spent on the screen. The film also takes some time to get us interested enough, as the entity is often avoided rather than being scared of. Some of the moments here could have been straight to the point, and as far as ghosts are concerned, the one here could have surely had more here with its existence in the abandoned building. The ending can also feel to be a little bit rushed, instead of raising the level there.

Performers of the soul :: Swapnil Joshi plays the concerned father very well, and Abhishek Bachankar plays the child nicely, getting into the bond in a fine manner. The leading actor is the one who has to do all the work while dealing with the spirit, and in doing the same, he is surely at a fine level. In the end, it is Pooja Sawant who gains all the attention, as she plays a character who has her own secrets, and there is more to her than what is seen in the early stages of the film. Both the male and female lead are not those whom most of us who haven’t watched a Marathi movie are not familiar with, but we would love to see them in movies of other languages too. Rohit Kokate who plays another doctor has also done some solid work in support. It is difficult to connect the performers with roles for us, because enough information is not available anywhere, and we are not aware of the Marathi film industry. Yet, it can be safely said that the movie has pretty good performances from almost everyone, and this is a job well done in that case.

How it finishes :: Coming from the same director who came up with Chhorii, the film which had different ideas about horror, this one also has us interested early enough. Horror in India has always been struggling with its limitations, but this one has managed to rise over the same, and has even come up with a message, which reminds one of the Malayalam film, Joseph. This one has the eyes of horror set in the medical field, and a certain amount of greed and pride that takes the central stage in those private hospitals which are always looking for money and reputation to be at the top. Further talk about the same would reveal a little bit too much about the story and the twists which it is supposed to take, and therefore it is up to you to watch this one and understand more about it. After all, horror at a hospital can bring more than what meets the eye for us, and the spirits that live in any medical centre can be of further interest.

Release date: 9th December 2021
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Vishal Furia
Starring: Swapnil Joshi, Pooja Sawant, Pritam Kagne, Samarth Jadhav, Rohit Kokate, Sanjay Ranadive, Shraddha Kaul, Abhishek Bachankar, Mahesh Bodas

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

<<< Click here to go to the film review before that.

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chhorii

Vampire Owl: More of interesting horror to be unleashed?

Vampire Bat: Yes, Dybbuk was a remake from our world, and this one is remade from another language and industry.

Vampire Owl: Some good original horror is always in need.

Vampire Bat: Horror can be original only in a limited way, as it is universal.

Vampire Owl: Unless we become the one true horror.

Vampire Bat: We are never truly into horror.

Vampire Owl: So, we are not into our true nature.

Vampire Bat: The normal terrifying vampire has already been abolished.

Vampire Owl: You mean that there is no normal anymore.

Vampire Bat: Normal is not real as of now, not in our realm.

[Gets some French fries and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: A pregnant woman is chased in a sugarcane field by unknown forces, and with nowhere to go, they force her to cut their womb. Later, in a city, Sakshi (Nushrratt Bharuccha) is pregnant, and works in an NGO, and lives with her husband Hemant (Saurabh Goyal), who is in trouble for not returning a loan in time, with his business failing. His partner had also disappeared with the money. He feels that he is being stalked by people who needs the money back. She is happy with her work and regarding life in the city, but things don’t get any better with the cash which was borrowed. As people start threatening them, with Hemant even getting beaten at times, this makes the city no longer a safe choice for living. They are given twenty four hours to return the money, and make the decision to leave for their driver’s village which is located in a very remote area, and has a good number of sugarcane fields. Three hundred kilometres away, and a lot distant from civilizations, there are only five houses in the village.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It seems that almost nobody comes there, even by mistake. They have to walk a long way through the sugarcane fields, and after almost losing the way multiple times, reach the area which has no network coverage and almost no shop. There, they meet Bhanno Devi (Mita Vashisht), the driver’s wife, a very orthodox woman who seems to be a person completely belonging to that particular village in more than one way. Hemant leaves the place soon enough, to find a solution to their financial problems, and the two women share a bond with each other. What Sakshi doesn’t understand is that there is more than what meets the eye with the people there, as much as the supernatural. Therefore, the fight will be against the dead, the undead and the living to save her world. But is it possible for her to face such terror in a weakened state? Do they have further secrets which needs to be unveiled for her life to be saved from what seems to be doom in waiting?

The defence of Chhorii :: Chhorii adds to the list of horror movies which are part of a human infested, virus infected world, which is not less terrifying than any film which one will get to see. The atmosphere here is really good, and it is really shot here to create the perfect situation for horror. It looks scary enough during the day time, and in darkness, it is something more. Being at the middle of nowhere, with no place to go, is terrifying enough, and there is more here to add to the same. It is certainly a scarier world than the lifeless modernity or a haunted house, with or without the presence of the supernatural. The presence of the children here adds to that eerie feeling more, for we are never hopeless about the terror of some demon kids. The background story which serves as the flashback gets things to be really interesting. The film also has a social message which runs through the background and comes strong in the final moments of the film.

The claw of flaw :: The movie can feel somewhat stretched for one’s liking, as it does feel long with much of time being consumed without a lot happening. With a shorter length, this could have been much more effective, adding a certain amount of crispiness here and there. The language spoken by the villagers can also be difficult to understand, leaving us to look out for the subtitles at regular intervals. The tale could have also been more straight-forward, without leaving the mysterious elements behind. The message also arrives late, and if it had released much earlier, the effect could have been more. The stereotyping and the predictable elements are also allowed to run strong around here. The scary elements could have been more, using the atmosphere to more of an advantage – there were so many moments which could have used better scares, and combined them with the atmosphere. The present world asks for a lot more horror than the pre-Corona world, as people have changed a little too much for everyone’s liking.

The performers of the soul :: The movie is very much centered and focused on Nushrratt Bharuccha. She is very much comfortable in playing the pregnant city woman who ends up in a village, all alone. She deals with the horror genre really well, and it would be nice to see her in a similar role with city horror at some later point. As this film is a remake of a Marathi horror film which released a few years, there would be comparisons, also related to the performances – only those who watched the original can comment further on the same. We know that Mita Vasisht from different movies in the past, and this one is no exception for her, as she runs through the whole thing without holding back. Pallavi Ajay, even though silent throughout the film, makes a strong presence. Yaaneea Bharadwaj plays the one ghost whom we would like for most of the time, and there seems to be a lot of work being put in there. Rajesh Jais plays the man with a mystery to him very well. Saurabh Goyal also does more than what his character seemed to be up to, in the beginning.

How it finishes :: At a time when life is full of horror, especially with humans mostly choosing the evil paths, the requirement for horror films never ends. The one movie that we remember while watching this is the English film, In the Tall Grass, with the environment, and also about an Indonesian film, Impetigore. This movie is also a reminder of humanity’s evil side, and it tells us that humans are always more evil than ghosts, going after their selfish needs all the time. There is so much of evil being repeated in our world, and the movie, even though focuses on the crimes on women, one has to say that the Corona virus infected world has seen too much of the same being done on different unsuspecting people. The film enters the world which has lost its humanity, and repeats its own favourite mistakes – the basic idea that human beings cannot be trusted, will only find a repetition here, as ghosts do have more quality than those who walk on Earth claiming as the superior living species.

Release date: 26th November 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Vishal Furia
Starring: Nushrratt Bharuccha, Mita Vashisht, Pallavi Ajay, Yaaneea Bharadwaj, Rajesh Jais, Saurabh Goyal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Closet

Vampire Owl: I would have suggested another name for this film.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that the title justifies well enough though.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the horror effect is certainly not there in the title.

Vampire Bat: What else do you expect from a title?

Vampire Owl: Much deeper horror to attract people towards the film.

Vampire Bat: It could be named after humans then.

Vampire Owl: Humanity is too much of evil. Let us leave them with their own evil.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is strange that they are scared of ghosts.

Vampire Owl: Is it supposed to be natural?

Vampire Bat: Well, they are ghosts of humans. As they die and continue to be evil at the same level, there is more terror.

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

What is the movie all about? :: Sang-won (Ha Jung-woo) doesn’t have a happy relationship with anyone including his daughter Yi Na (Yool Heo) after a car accident which caused the death of her wife. They move to a new house which is located in the countryside with not much of civilization nearby, and he is also not able to find a nanny for his daughter. He has to work at a construction site, and has to leave home soon enough. At the same time, it seems that his daughter has found a new friend in the new place, but the person is not human, and neither is the doll that she found in there. As Sang-won is taking a lot of medicines to keep himself going, and has his own dose of hallucinations, he is not able to differentiate between reality and what he is dreaming about.
There is also something about the closet in the old house where they are staying, and it has a lot of things which the earlier residents had left behind, with that doll also coming from there.

So, what happens next in this tale of horror ? :: Yi Na still seems to be happier than before at the new house. But one morning, Sang-won finds out that her room is all messed up and she seems to have brutally murdered a bird. Things only get stranger with the child, but he has to work as usual. There is certainly something supernatural about the house, especially the closet, but Sang-won feels that it is part of his hallucinations and nightmares which have been quite common, and had gotten only worse at the new place. The nanny does arrive at the house, but despite charging a lot for her work, she is not that fond of the child who is also not happy with the circumstances. Soon enough, the nanny just wants to run away. When Sang-won returns home, he is not able to find the child, and blames the nanny. But the police finds nothing to point such a crime on her. He keeps looking for the child with the help of the police department, but for months, he is not able to find any clue. None of the cameras on the road had shown the child going outside either. Now, one can only wonder where she had gone.

The defence of The Closet :: The movie does take the idea of the haunted house pretty well, especially with the more haunted closet at the core of everything. The child does take on the transformation very well, and the other demon children who come later are effective in creating the new world of horror. There is one particular scene with the child demons everywhere that seems to be nicely planned. You cannot be without fear for the child demons, for the inherent evil of the children are often more powerful than one can imagine. We know the idea that William Golding brought with Lord of the Flies, and that is indeed a scary thing even for the realm of the ghosts, as there is no limit to what pure evil can do. The visuals are really good, as we look at them – there is always beauty as well as creepiness which are displayed so well. The atmosphere with a certain amount of melancholy works without fail. You can say that with a possible sequel, there can be a horror myth developed for further progress.

The claws of flaw :: There was always scope for The Closet to do more and also better, but it often hesitates to take that opportunity to rise further. It doesn’t use the terror elements to the best advantage in the beginning stages, as the haunting could have gotten much scarier with better usage of the elements and effects. The terror is often limited to the closet as well as the room which contains it, and even then, it could have been scarier with the content. There is always something more to be done with such a setting taking over. Korean films have been in the front to bring the innovation, but it is not so in this case, as it doesn’t become the memorable one. There are the usual flawed decisions that the main characters make, and you know that this could always be creepier, especially with the premise. The film does makes one wonder why the industry is not coming up with one special film that could make all the difference in a world of weakening horror genre.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is not that much dependent on the performances, as there are only three characters who are of importance, and it is the supernatural that dictates the performances more than anything else. Ha Jung-woo does play the father figure very well, and we have seen fathers losing children to demons or ghosts very often, like in the case of Don’t Listen which had a similar father figure in a haunted house in the middle of nowhere. Here, we have a much controlled performance in comparison, and that works well enough. Kim-Nam-gil does make a smooth entrance as an exorcist of another kind, even though it is also a reminder of other films which we have watched before, for there is always something coming together as the common thing in the end. Heo-Yool becomes the terrifying child after becoming the sad and depressed child of melancholy in the earlier stages. The other characters, as one would expect, become people of not much importance here. It could have used a past with more characters effectively though.

How it finishes :: We have come across many Korean horror films, and while The Closet adds to that grand list, it is certainly not the kind of movie that has the strength to stand apart and make an impact enough to keep it strong at all times. It is surely effective enough as a horror film, but not that much as one would expect it to be, especially during a time that the supernatural needs to have more power within itself to rise about the Corona virus fear as well as the human terror that has risen above everything else. Nowadays, humanity has always been more terrifying than any ghost that the world has ever seen in the history of spirits, magic and witchcraft. After we are done with the evil that humanity has provided, we can look out for these movies which work well enough with its horror, but often not enough for people who have been troubled by the unparalleled evil which humans have unleashed on this world for their selfishness and to keep the level of hatred high. We know how humans treat the other, we really do.

Release date: 5th February 2021
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: Kim Kwang-bin
Starring: Ha Jung-woo, Kim Nam-gil, Heo Yool, Kim Shi-A, Shin Hyun-bin, Kim Soo-jin, Park Sung-woong, Park Ji-a, Lim Hyun-sung, Kang Sin-cheol,bHan Chang-min

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Don’t Listen

Vampire Owl: We, vampires don’t really need to listen because we know.

Vampire Bat: Still, we don’t know everything.

Vampire Owl: I know almost everything, and I am sure about that.

Vampire Bat: Your certainty of knowledge only creates doubts.

Vampire Owl: My doubts are the results of me knowing, and nothing more.

Vampire Bat: You should at least listen to Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula is no longer a proper source of knowledge.

Vampire Bat: I feel that you are thinking about starting a revolution.

Vampire Owl: Nonsense. I am not a revolutionary. I am beyond that.

Vampire Bat: Okay, let us see how far you can take that.

[Gets a vanilla chake and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: Daniel (Rodolfo Sancho) and Sara (Belen Fabra) moves into a new house with their son Eric (Lucas Blas), and hopes that they would have a happy time there, as it is a big house in the beautiful countryside. But things don’t turn out to be that good as they had expected. In this old house in a rural setting, they are not longer happy. Daniel and Sara still plans to restore and sell the house, and they don’t care much about the voices which Erice talks about, and the fact that he cannot sleep much either. Soon, a psychiatrist who comes to help Eric dies, seemingly in the same way as Eric was drawing. Eric also had the feeling that the voices were making him draw things. The boy continues to make problems at the school too, and keeps waking up at night, screaming aloud. The problems continue in the house with further weird occurrences, and soon Eric is found dead in a swimming pool just outside the house on a strange night. This separates the two who can no longer handle the pain of losing the child.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Sara is not able to handle it anymore and moves to her parents’ place, but Daniel decides to stay in the house and renovate it to sell it some day. Sara hopes that he will leave the house with terrible memories and follow her back to the city soon enough. That night, when he records a voice message and sends it to Sara, there are many voices in it. Right in there, he hears the voice of Eric, asking for his help. The same frightens him and he meets a supernatural investigator specialized in electronic voice with a paranormal touch. He is the one who is supposed to have gone through so many of similar paranormal events and have written books related to the same. Even though he is reluctant to believe the depressed father in the beginning, he finally decides to have a look, and travels to the place with his daughter, hoping to find something. Everything seems normal from a distance, but as they go inside, there are a few things that need to be taken care of.

The defence of Don’t Listen :: The atmosphere is well created for the movie, with everything happening in a house in the middle of nowhere. This is a house with a past, and it is located perfectly away from civilization for the people other world to make an appearance. Visually, it has a fine score, and it also scores well with the sound effects that asserts the supernatural presence strongly. The movie had also got into action quite early. It does have its scares, and there are some effective ones around here that does have the repetitive elements, but do work as we would have wanted it to. There are some interesting moments in the end, and there is a twist to go with it too. The haunting of this particular house and the people associated with it does have a different touch at times, along with the added history. It is to be noted that the movie has managed to achieve most of its positive things without using much of the gory elements, and with a simple tale. You have watched Hollywood do this before, and now we have the same in Spanish.

The claws of flaw :: This is another movie which reminds us of the usual horror films of Hollywood, even though not exactly the same as The Conjuring, The Nun, Annabelle, Sinister or Insidious – the common ones of our times which people try to watch all the time. It doesn’t move that much away from the usual path here too. The ideas of witchcraft and possession could have been much stronger here. The tale could have been twisted at many points, but they go for the safe background story yet again. The film is also slow in parts, and when there were so many opportunities to minimize such problems, it doesn’t make the best use of them. There were moments of horror which could have been better used, and the atmosphere could have been heavily worked on. After all, we have gone through so much of horror already, and there are enough resources to elevate the level of horror. Without thinking enough about the same, a horror film is more of a work of mystery, and that is the pothole where the movie almost fell during an earlier point.

Performers of the soul :: Rodolfo Sancho plays the father figure, and the one who is looking to get his son back in whatever way possible – the good father is played well, and he goes through the horror elements well too. The final moments have him at his best too. Belen Fabra plays the mother with less to do, but the two make the family well enough. Ana Fernandez is the one who catches our attention the most though, and she also plays the smarter character around there. She takes on the supernatural rather sensibly, and there is the bond with the father that runs through. She should give a try with Hollywood horror too. Ramon Barea is more or less the usual paranormal activist that we see around, and he suits the role very well – very much with experience. The kid has very less to do in comparison, as death comes rather too fast for him. As it is in most of the horror films, it is the demonic presence that maintains the scary work.

How it finishes :: Don’t Listen makes an attempt at the usual horror, with some differences which comes with the “voice” idea. One would have wished for it to bring more horror, but it does have some fine points. We do need our horror movies at regular intervals. It is good enough to watch one more horror film, while waiting for Ezra to be remade for Bollywood. We cannot be sure about that remake’s quality, but from the trailer, it is certain that it is done well enough. Corona virus pandemic has unleashed a different kind of horror into our world, and the usual horror is currently of lesser significance, but we await the return of the monsters of the night, as well as the demons which are part of our life. As we are certain that they will slowly and steadily return to haunt us, Don’t Listen is a pretty good reminder that we can go back to that at some point. Until we get to that particular horror, let us be safe from the present terror, the COVID-19 pandemic. We do have too many horror movies to watch in our short life time.

Release date: 24th July 2020
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Angel Gomez Hernandez
Starring: Rodolfo Sancho, Ana Fernandez, Ramon Barea, Bethlehem Fabra, Lucas de Blas, Nerea Barros, Javier Botet , Viti Suarez, Ruben Corvo, Jorge Oubel, Peter van randen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Manor

Vampire Owl: Are we talking about the Dracula Manor?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cold Case

What is the movie about? :: ACP Sathyajith (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is in charge of an investigation of a case which has turned cold. As a skull is discovered in the backwaters near Trivandrum, from within a cover, and it becomes an internet sensation, the requirement is to discover its origins as soon as possible. But Sathyajith has to start with no clue on where to begin the investigation, but with the help of CI Ziyad (Anil Nedumangad) and the new recruit Neela (Pooja Mohanraj), he has to make a move quickly. At the same time, Medha (Aditi Balan) is a recently divorced mother of a little girl, and finds a new home somewhere around Trivandrum. She is an investigative journalist who is interested in paranormal happenings, only to find something strange in the new house which she had rented. There is something cold about her new home, and the AC, refrigerator, television, laptop, lights – everything electric seems to have something to do with it. To add to it, her daughter also has a strange doll given by her sister who committed suicide.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Medha finds out a name from a blind occult researcher, Zara Zacchai (Suchitra Pillai), and the presence had a name, Eva Maria (Athmiya Rajan), who has a troubled history. She tries to find out the secret behind the disappearance of the woman with that particular name, while Sathyajith also comes across a similar name, from a dental transplant which remained on the skull. Now the question remains where Eva Maria has disappeared, and whether the skull points to somebody else. Medha’s advocate who filed the divorce, Haritha Manakkal (Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli) points her to Eva’s previous husband who is now married to a wealthy lady, and Sathyajith also digs up her past, from her family which included her stepmother and children. But Eva Maria hadn’t disappeared for everyone, and some people feel that she had taken a spiritual path. There is more than what meets the eye about Eva, but with ghosts and murderers around, can truth somehow make it outside?

The defence of Cold Case :: Here, Cold Case comes up as another interesting thriller with a supernatural side, combining both elements quite well. The supernatural side is also nicely used, even though it is not combined well enough in totality. There are some nice moments of horror around here, and there are fine twists to go with it. With some red herrings added here and there, the film makes sure that we don’t get that much of a clue about who is behind all of these happenings. There is always something here to keep the horror going, and the suspense does keeps us guessing – we do come up with many possible villains, but this asks for more than the usual guesses. The use of refrigerator and the cold works pretty well, but the hair doesn’t. Above everything, the cast is also good, and with fine support, things work better. This one can have its sequel for sure, as there is that opening which is left to be explored in the end.

The claws of flaw :: Cold Case, while trying to do it differently, focuses on too many things, and due to the same reason, has some diversion, which was not needed. The problem with having such diversions is that the most important thing, the police investigation is not always on the lead. The other side following the supernatural lead often seems to be not necessary, as we keep having moments from both sides. An expansion of the supernatural, and making it connect directly with the police investigation would have improved the work further. The idea about another death is also kept in the balance, to be explored in a sequel if there is any. The film certainly had so many opportunities, and it should have taken it, maybe even at the expense of extending the film by half an hour or so. If this had released when most of the Indian states were in lock-down, it would have managed many more audience too, but this is surely going to gain its fans, anyway.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran in a thriller has always been joy to watch, and there is no better example for the same than Memories, one of the best investigation thrillers of all-time as far as Malayalam movie industry is concerned. Kunchacko Boban’s triple thrillers of Anjaam Pathira, Nayattu and Nizhal seemed to suggest that a deviation was coming in the genre, and the usual police officer solving a case was gone, a case reiterated by Tovino Thomas in Forensic – none of these films had the police officers solving the problem. Prithviraj as the protagonist, the police officer goes after the case here in a more systematic manner as we see it. He is certainly the hero here, even though the tale does provide a side for the lady protagonist too. He is indeed the one who solves the problem here, and any ghostly help which comes from outside was not that much needed. We see that Prithviraj comfortably go through the role here, and has no direct contact with the paranormal side to ask for help.

Further performers of the soul :: Aditi Balan makes her Malayalam debut in style too. She does have her moments, but her character doesn’t have that much strength to add to this investigation, which is in control of the police. Almost all the supernatural elements are related to her, and she excels in her first Malayalam film, far above her character, as we also see the focus shifting to her effectively. This is also one of the final films of the talented Anil Nedumangad, who died by drowning in a dam reservior a few months ago. He once again proves to be of fine support yet again. Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli who was last seen in Malayalam cinema in the movies Angels and Salt Mango Tree can be seen in a certain kind of a return here too, and she has done a neat work here. Alencier Ley Lopez has much more to contribute here than what earlier met the eye. Athmeeya Rajan of the Joseph fame is once again here as the lady everyone is searching for, and she has done some fine work, even though we have much less of her on the screen.

How it finishes :: Cold Case is not the usual kind of investigative thriller, as there is the supernatural side going strong from one angle, which might have been less expected from the work. There are lots of interesting moments in this film, and it also leaves a scope for a sequel in the end. It is part of that long list of thrillers which have brought the entertainment to us during the COVID-19 season, and with some horror effects to add to the investigation, this is also one nice flick to watch in the theatre, if there is ever any opening of the same in the upcoming months. We can only thank Amazon Prime Video for bringing us films like these which keeps the entertainment coming to our laptops. When Kilometers and Kilometers released on television, people had the feeling that this was not going to work, but now we have so many films which have released or had a later release in the OTT platform. Cold Case makes it there, and it also scores well, just like the other Malayalam films which came to OTT, with Drishyam 2 in the lead.

Release date: 30th June 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Tanu Balak
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Aditi Balan, Anil Nedumangad, Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli, Nitha Promy, Athmeeya Rajan, Pooja Mohanraj, Suchitra Pillai, Gibin Gopinath, Alencier Ley Lopez, Parvathy T, Baby Aleena, Tessa Simon, Rajesh Hebbar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Demon Eye

Vampire Owl: This was the name of that artifact which the northern witches used.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that they were in contact with the demons?

Vampire Owl: Well, aren’t they supposed to be so?

Vampire Bat: They are usually in contact with those who rise from the grave.

Vampire Owl: Well, this is just one portal away from that.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but the demons are not really the undead in any way.

Vampire Owl: You do have something against some popular demons.

Vampire Bat: No, I am not talking about those tik-tok using humans.

Vampire Owl: At least, that episode is over for now.

Vampire Bat: You should know that demons, the masters of hell are not to be treated without extreme care.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Sadie (Kate James) haven’t been in good terms with her father John (Darren Day) for a long time, and never really picks up his call, until one day, she decides to do just that. But she hears some stranhe noise from his room, and he quickly cuts the call, citing an emergency. This is the last time when Sadie sees her father, and the next thing he knows about him is that he is dead. Much to everyone’s surprise, he is supposed to have committed suicide by hanging. This forces Sadie to come back to the house, which is in a remote location, and has nobody else to take over the same. There she meets the man with whom the house keys were left with, Dan (Robert Hamilton), and Sadie feels strange to be at that house which has her old dolls and cameras being set in every room, corridor and staircase. Dan also leaves a job for her in a newspaper, passed on to her by her father who had worked there until his death.

So, what happens with the events here? :: She is immediately hired at the newspaper as a photographer, and finds Dan in an awkward position with Faye (Ellie Goffe) who is supposed to be his fiancee. Dan and Sadie get their first assignment to interview Craig (Liam Fox), a local man who is supposed to have seen The Burning Girl (Alannah Marie) – it was part of a folklore which was supposed to have become reality for some people. There is the legend of the Demon Eye that goes with it, as a girl was burned as a witch a long time ago in the name of causing a famine which she had predicted with the help of an amulet some time ago. But on the way, she sees a fire and a person standing in it, and as she tries to take a photo, the battery goes down. Even while interviewing, she gets into a fight with the man whom she was supposed to interview. She is confused about all the information she had managed to get from different people about her father who she hated. Is there a secret to be unveiled in relation to her father’s death?

The defence of Demon Eye :: We have been falling short of some interesting horror movies, and then this one comes up. It is that movie which deals with its subject in a slightly different way, and the subject itself has more than one angle to take care of. The quick scares are all there, and the most effective one is with a severed head in the bath-tub, then there are hands coming from under the bed, hellish hound kind of thing and the usual burned face with all the creepiness that it can have. The length of the movie is also less in comparison, not going to even ninety minutes, and it does make the most of it, with not having much from the dull moments there. The atmosphere is also good, with a setting in the middle of nowhere, with vast landscapes inspiring dark folktales all around. There is always something about focusing on the folklore, whether it is real or not. This setting will impress you, and with moments to remember, makes its point really well.

The claws of flaw :: Among the horror movies these days, Demon Eye is the one which is rather less known, or not known at all at this part of the world. It should have still achieved more with the premise – you know that with the title itself and also with the idea which is being explored here. Whenever there is a demon involved, you can take it further with ease. The demons might have been less scary in comparison to pandemics, but they are not yet completely out of the equation. We have so many moments which could have been something bigger, but manages to adjust with what it has, not trying to raise the bar. The effects of the low budget are there too, even though they have partially overcome that. The ending of the movie also felt a little rushed, because a horror movie like this requires something bigger, and the case of the climax is also the same. The main character also required to make more out of the situations here.

Performers of the soul :: Kate James plays the protagonist in this movie, even though IMDb hasn’t really listed here at the top, or with a photo. Even though there is some struggle in the beginning stages, she plays the character really well, and only gets better in the later stages. She is part of almost every scary scene in this movie, and the best one is that of the bath-tub with the severed head, even though more could have been done with a character like hers. Her portrayal of the troubled character who need psychiatric help from the early stages is believable, without being melodramatic. The other actors don’t seem to try too hard, but manages to hold on. She is way ahead in that case, when we look closely. The other young lady in the movie is the next person to catch our attention, even though she is not there for too long on the screen – Ellie Goffe does a very good job too. Robert Hamilton, Darren Day and Liam Fox, all of them manage just enough here.

How it finishes :: There are always some interesting horror movies of interest, if we keep checking for them. Demon Eye can be on the list too, depending on your preferences, even though you can’t expect it to do too much with its content. This is the kind of horror movie which you watch on Friday nights for some fun scares, and for that purpose, this film is successful, leaving no doubts behind. With a fine premise, from a situation in which things could have gone much worse, the movie takes itself back to make sure that as a whole, it is a pretty good work. There might be a few things left unexplained though, but through the same, it leaves the scope for a sequel, even as we are not really supposed to expect one, considering the response it had received otherwise. Do add this to your horror collection, as one more demon, this time with another witch-hunting past, will bring the entertainment to you.

Release date: 26th April 2019
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Ryan Simons
Starring: Darren Day, Liam Fox, Kate James, Ellie Goffe, Jimmy Allen, Alannah Marie, Robert Hamilton

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.