Freaks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vampire Owl: You know that they watch films underwater.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

No One Lives

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Vampire Owl: Now that is indeed interesting. I might give it a Facebook like even without seeing the movie. So you mean to say that no one lives in the end? Everyone dies? This strange guy kills everyone?

Vampire Bat: No, he keeps the girl alive, but he does say that no one lives as he kills the last guy. But most of us would know that she might get to survive right from the beginning itself, and don’t we all love Adelaide Clemens?

Vampire Owl: Now that is indeed a disappointing side.

[Twenty three blood shakes later]

Count Dracula: Here you are again. I wouldn’t think that your owl friend was completely in favour of the movie. That one is a mystery, and obviously a flying person. But the fact remains that the only thing that we care about a lot is your opinion. You are the flightless Vampire Bat who watches more movies than anyone I ever knew.

Vampire Bat: Vampire Owl’s opinion is gore-infested. There is a clear positive review right there, the only negative being “some one lives”. But I take a different path, and yet both of us go against the usual reviews about the same.

Count Dracula: Doesn’t this come from Ryuhei Kitamura who directed The Midnight Meat Train? It was one of my favourite movies. There was lot of blood and gore involved and there was chilling twist. Vinnie Jones as Mahogany – thats a villain who every vampire Count needs to have as a henchman or even hitman. May be I should emply such a person so that we can have uninterrupted supply of blood? May be we should shift to a place under a city. Mad me think a lot. So this can’t be bad either.

Vampire Bat: Well, that was based on Clive Barker’s 1984 short story of the same name. He is indeed a master of horror, taking one back to the other movies Hellraiser and Candyman, as well as the computer game Undying. Our movie doesn’t seem to be based on anything which might be why it doesn’t have that touch which The Midnight Meat Train had. But it is still a very good treat for the horror fans who are in support of the blood and gore, and also somewhat for the others.

Count Dracula: Yes, even I feel the same. Who is this guy mentioned as Driver? Is he as good as Mahagony. From the trailers, it seemed that he could also make as much good a villain as Mahagony, but I have my doubts if he is the hero or the villain? What is it about?

Vampire Bat: There is a couple travelling in the country area, and this couple is attacked by a group of thieves who captures both, one of them who is Driver. They are both tortured for their credit card and pin numbers and the girl decides to end her life by pushing against the thief’s knife. Driver breaks free and kill the thief. But the other thieves who has the car finds out that there is a young girl tied up and locked in the back of the car. As they take her out, she tells the story of a man who killed her friends and locked her up. The thieves go back to find their dead friend, and when they bring the body back, Driver emerges from inside the body which was stitched from the inside to avenge the death of his lady!

Count Dracula: That grabs my attention, but I guess that he should be almost invisible, a tougher guy than Mahagony. Isn’t the role played by Luke Evans? I remember him mostly for Immortals, even as I have to admit that he surprised me in The Raven and Fast & Furious 6, thanks to your recommendation in that case. I got a feeling that he is going to surprise me further in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Does his charm work out with this movie?

Vampire Bat: Yes, he is also going to be there for The Crow reboot as well as in Dracula Untold. He is good in this movie even with those strange expressions at times, and even as his character is too one-dimensional and there is not much explanations like you found in The Midnight Meat Train. He is just the driver who kills, and he indeed has many cruel ways of killing people; and in this story, most of them are bad people. A better character could have served better. But you have to think more about the three main beauties, Adelaide Clemens, Laura Ramsey and America Olivo.

Count Dracula: I guess I know how America Olivo is going to impress us, and yes her presence is a boost in rather an unconventional way, and she is always good in that. I remember her from Friday the 13th, and there is going to be more of her in the 2012 movie Maniac when I watch it. I remember Laura Ramsey from The Ruins too – if there was no Amber Heard, may be she could have suited for such roles. Adelaide Clemens is a cutie indeed, and I can remember her very well from that movie you recommended – Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the three of them serve their purpose, and Adelaide Clemens rules the movie, not without being a little irritating at times, but I guess that comes with a character who has suffered. America Olivo seems to be custom fit for her death scene, and she seems to be proving that horror movies might need her a lot – well one has to say that Driver is indeed fond of killing wherever the place is. Laura Ramsey could have had a bigger role to play, even as there is a certain amount of mysterious beauty in her character as she goes on to kill herself to end her suffering. There is also Lindsey Shaw who suffers for no reason.

Count Dracula: Well, one has to guess that this movie is full of suffering. I wonder if Driver going the Mahagony way can come up with anything less. The Vampire Owl had told me that Driver wears a Kevlar vest, and rarely makes a mistake. Now that is too much for a man who doesn’t explain who or what he is. Do you have any idea what on the Earth he is? Why is he called Driver and why does he go around killing people?

Vampire Bat: My first guess was that he is a revenge seeker, but we can’t be sure about that. He does have another name and his actions with the thieves are justified, but there is no point to what he has been doing for a long time – may be there is a long story behind all that which they wanted to leave a mystery. But that doesn’t help much, as this often becomes a movie in which “a random highly skilled person kills a number of random people due to some random reason that we have no idea about”. We can only guess that he is a random serial killer.

Count Dracula: The nameless, aimless ones impress a lot of people, no wonder. They needed someone like me. I could have done better job than Driver and could have even left my card there. I know my motivations too. Someone kills everyone in a mission to kill anyone, and no one lives except one – so said Vampire Owl. The ways of horror movies can only get stranger.

Vampire Bat: Still, there is the gore-fest made in a creative manner, and moments of shock successfully created. As I already said, the three ladies are kind of horror specialists, as they have acted and proved in such movies, and they continue to impress here, with Luke Evans who becomes the serial killer who could gain varied responses. There are also some good dialogues. Only if the movie could tell the viewers what it was actually trying to do…

Count Dracula: Its produced by WWE Studios right? I think they are getting better every time. The blood itself should inspire me to watch this one. There is a party coming up, and it is only by watching the blood that my blood shake making ability get better. I am going to watch this one on a big LED screen!

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is worth your time of blood for sure, and let me know how much you are going to rate it with the blood and without it. Now, it is the time for me to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a bloody discussion again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, world’s most efficient movie watching Bat. May the sky never fall on your head.

Vampire Bat (to himself): I am fully in support of this movie mostly due to the surprises that comes with it. Even as I am not much into blood and gore these days, this one has a river of the same. It also has a lot of good moment and dialogues despite the irritation factor staying with it. The lead actor is a brutal killer (Luke Evans Almighty without his ark and the animals) at his best and the ladies look great, plus the murders are innovative enough. I shall sign a petition if there is one about making a sequel to this, for I need to get into the origins of this killer, if they have even thought about him having a life before beginning to do all these things.

✠ If you liked The Strangers, and felt the need for more blood and gore, you might like this one more. This movie also has murders for almost no reason at all. When the excuse of that movie was about the couple being home, our killer makes the excuse that it keeps him fit. Well, I have had better excuses with me when I had failed to do homework during school days. Well, none of these killers are that evil as the fire-breathing demon which is Mathematics. WWE Studios has evolved from making horror flicks like See No Evil which was okay, to this one which is very good. Yes, being a WWE fan (even though I no longer watch the matches) when the movies have that WWE logo before the beginning, it interests me – isn’t WWE also the same as the movie? Well, some of the stories in World Wrestling Entertainment were many times better than some of the stories associated with a few movies. This is a very short movie which takes less than one and half hours too, and that should make one either happy or unhappy.

Release date: 10th May 2013
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Ryuhei Kitamura
Starring: Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, America Olivo, Laura Ramsey, Lindsey Shaw, Lee Tergesen, Derek Magyar, Beau Knapp, Brodus Clay

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.