Girl

Vampire Owl: I can feel the presence of something divergent here.

Vampire Bat: The divergence of humans are mostly foolish though.

Vampire Owl: The foolishness of humanity has brought the world to this situation.

Vampire Bat: And also their greed and hatred which know no bounds.

Vampire Owl: Can we trust the humans related to anything?

Vampire Bat: About cheating and murdering others of their kind, for sure.

Vampire Owl: When was the last time you met a good human being?

Vampire Bat: They don’t really have angelic creatures out there.

Vampire Owl: Angels have become myths everywhere.

Vampire Bat: There are no myths that have not becoming reality at some point of time, at least in this particular realm.

[Gets a vegetable cutlet and three glasses of pista shake].

What is the movie about? :: A young lady known only by the name Girl (Bella Thorne) returns to her small hometown after a long time. She does have the feeling that something is not right there, and she actually came there with the intention of murdering her abusive father. He had earlier written a letter to her mother, threatening to kill the middle-aged lady, and Girl hopes to set things right, as she goes to the village with hatchet in her possession. Even though her mother knows the address of her father, she doesn’t give her the same, telling her that she doesn’t really need to know it. But that doesn’t stop Girl from looking for the person everywhere. She manages to keep a doubting sheriff away, and also keeps the people at a bar further away from her while finding the address of her father in the phonebook at the place. But, much to her shock, she finds her father already murdered. She tries to report the murder to the sheriff, but is able to connect nobody with her mobile phone. There seems to be no range more mobile phones anywhere in the small town out there.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She is finally able to connect to her mother from the bar in the town, and inform her about the death – she only wishes her daughter to come back home, but Girl really wants to know who killed her father, as she considered it to be her duty to commit the murder. She continues to try and find the sheriff, but there is nothing good coming out of the same, as he never really appears anywhere, not in his office, bar or the church. When she finally finds the person, things are not like she had imagined. The death of her father has something more than what she thought, and there is a mystery related to the last letter which he had sent to her mother. There is a lot of money also related to the same. They tie her up and threaten to torture her until she reveals where the money is, but it turns out that she didn’t have any idea that there was any money involved with her parents. They wouldn’t believe the fact that she came there to kill her father, and has no idea about him having any money with him.

The defence of Girl :: There is a certain amount of deviation related to how things go on around here, and it is not your usual kind of film which has the female looking for vengeance for an abusive father for her mother, as it would feel in the beginning stages. There is more to the film than what meets the eye, and there are some twists in waiting here. We feel that there is something about Bella Thorne with a hatchet, and that suits an image like nothing else, even though there are not that many action scenes around here related to that. A determined lady with a hatchet in her hands can make you believe in the scope here. She is more or less like Jamie Bernadette in I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu, not with the particular details, but with the determination on her face. The atmosphere created by the small town is really good, even though we were always looking for more related to that. The film successfully brings the feeling of a hidden danger at parts of this particular world which is visually beautiful with scenery, but has more.

The claws of flaw :: The film here is just too slow to become a thriller, as picking up the pace seems to be difficult for the flick at all times. Even when there were many different chances to speed up at different intervals, the movie doesn’t really take them. Drama takes over the thrilling side at too many occasions, but on many occasions, we would have preferred it to be the other way around. Even with its twists, it takes some predictable turns in between, and that wouldn’t have been expected with a film like this. There could have been more action around here, with more fighting, chasing and maybe even more murders in the countryside, for the setting could have added to that well enough. This is the kind of a small, remote town which could have more secrets to reveal, and more mysteries to bring to light than this. The violence could have also been smarter, not with too much gore, but done in a balanced way, but here, it just goes off and misses out on scope.

Performers of the soul :: Bella Thorne is the Girl here, and without a name for her character, there is the feeling of something special being about her – she does the job really well here too. The determination and a certain about of fury that is within the character is nicely portrayed by her, and one would surely love to see her in a horror movie at some point of time. She excels at the simple fight scenes, with a hatchet in her hands, from the laundry to the final outdoor fights. The Girl portrayed here is surely different from anyone whom we have seen in a leading role, looking at the past. She gets mystery unveiled all by herself, and Bella Thorne proves to be brilliant in what she does here. Chad Faust and Mickey Rourke makes pretty good villains out here, but they are not used to be the best advantage, as we see a lot more of scope related to them, with chances of being terrifying menace being laid down there. Elizabeth Saunders has only a small appearance, while Lanette Ware is more memorable here. Glen Gould also leaves a little bit of something to remember.

How it finishes :: Girl can feel like a slow movie for many, as it does get into action late, and doesn’t speed up even when the twists and thrills come up, and yet, it is a pretty good drama and thrills mix which can be watched mostly due to Bella Thorne, the leading lady who has done a remarkable job. This is all about her, and we follow her into a world which is not that familiar, unless we are in a horror movie. Even though slow moving thrillers with elements of drama are not that preferred, we have had movies like Ivide and Ranam doing some good job here too. Movies like these are not to be avoided for their slower pace, but are to be appreciated for how well they have gone through the same, and managed to come out strong. You take the French thriller The Swarm, Norwegian thriller Lake of Death or the Spanish thriller The Paramedic – you see that they do their jobs, even at such slow pace. Well, we need our thrillers to go through all paths, especially the less traveled ones.

Release date: 20th November 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Chad Faust
Starring: Bella Thorne, Chad Faust, Elizabeth Saunders, Lanette Ware, Mickey Rourke, Glen Gould

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Castle Freak

Vampire Owl: This is certainly not the castle that I know.

Vampire Bat: Not all castles are related to vampires.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but I was expecting at least this one to be related in some way.

Vampire Bat: I wouldn’t question your right to be disappointed.

Vampire Owl: Disappointed at the time of Corona virus. It is two levels of sadness.

Vampire Bat: Well, all viruses will have to meet the end, one day or the other.

Vampire Owl: Yes, except for those viruses which makes people zombies.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that the apocalyptic event was postponed until further notice.

Vampire Owl: We might see it coming as a Corona virus variation some day.

Vampire Bat: You can surely use a computer virus in your head as of now.

[Gets a vanilla cake and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: Rebecca (Clair Catherine) and her boyfriend John (Jake Horowitz) used to have some good time wasting their time, until a terrible car accident which was caused by latter leaves Rebecca blinded, and things wouldn’t be the same any more. But things seem to change for the better, as she is contacted by a real estate agent, Marku (Genti Kame) who tells her that she has inherited a castle in Albania from her mother Lavina Whateley (Kika Magalhaes) who had left her for adoption. Rebecca is interested in solving the mystery behind the death of her mother, who is supposed to have whipped herself to death, while John looks forward to selling the castle, and earn a good amount of money which would help them to have a better future. There seems to be sinister secrets about the castle, as she begins to have terrible nightmares, while the two also find out strange memories of a forgettable past within the stone building.

So, what happens with the events here? :: John also invites their old friends to the castle, even though it is not something Rebecca needed to see, considering their past which was full of alcohol, drugs and that one fatal accident which had her losing eyesight. What they don’t understand is that things are not that easy or direct as it seems, as they are being stalked by someone who seems less human, and more like a creature. Rebecca does realize that early enough with her ears set on the walls, but it is not easy for anyone else to believe in the same. They also find Necronomicon, the book of spells around there, and it only points out to the possibility of something too old and beyond their understanding in there. Shelly (Emily Sweet) who is still in love with John wants to claim him back as she returns with his friends who find out connections of the castle with monstrous entities from the past known as the Great Ones. Now, things can only get worse, as they understand.

The defence of Castle Freak :: The best advantage of this movie is its setting, which is beautifully Gothic in nature, with scope of horror being placed almost everywhere – the beginning scene itself is a sign of what can follow later. There is the idea of creepiness which is follow here, and the scenery is also as beautiful as the world is terrifying. It is also nice to have everything coming together towards something which we hadn’t imagined in the beginning, as the sinister plans quickly turn into more than what had met the eye before, towards something not of this world. The similarities to Lovecraft’s The Outsider are there, and in the end, the movie also seems to connect to a world of terrifying creatures reminding us of his own tales of horror. The movie makers seem to have made this with a low budget, and it has certainly been managed really well. The first flogging scene, murder of Shelley and the open space ritual can be considered as the three scenes of unexpected quick shock.

The claws of flaw :: There was surely some scope for improvement around here. We have such a grand setting in here, and it is only fair to expect more out of it. There could have surely been some more scares in here, as many occasions seem to be all prepared to come up with something, but suddenly leaves that behind. We also see that the blood and gore stuff go a little bit over the board with the violence really climbing over the usual limitations. There are many occasions when this one doesn’t seem to be the movie for everyone, with it taking many steps to make the film more and more weird. The quality of graphics is also quite low when we consider all those demonic elements coming into the picture. The movie is also quite slow in getting into the action after that first scene, as we get to the present – the party moments and the initial moments of the couple at the castle take a little bit too long to get things going here. The ending could have also been more polished with bigger and more terrifying moments supported by possible twists.

Performers of the soul :: Clair Catherine leads the way as the blind protagonist really well, and it is a controlled, realistic performance, something which is not easy to find in a horror movie. She can be seen here as more or less a stoic one, accepting her fate without complaining, but still can’t help being curious herself. One would want to see her in more horror flicks or thrillers. Jake Horowitz provides pretty good support too. Genti Kame suits the mood of the place really well, as the story moves forward. Kika Magalhaes as Lavinia Whateley is the one who sets things in motion in the beginning, and she does that really well with a very creepy start that might bring the early shock to some – she has that kind of looks which suit her character’s background. Emily Sweet plays the usual kind of role in a horror movie, but she makes it interesting in her own way – she could have more of the genre and be the perfect scream queen, even though stereotypical in nature. The unknown entity also has the creepy performance to do, which is indeed the usual thing.

How it finishes :: Castle Freak is the kind of horror movie which comes out of nowhere to score above expectations, and it comes out of the usual horror movie list, deviating on the repeated style. It has the Lovecraftian influence, and there is another movie of the same name which came in the 1990s, which people around here seems to have missed. The movie is somewhat disturbing with its content, and therefore not recommended for all types of audience. This is not for those people who get disgusted with such content, and are looking for those flicks to watch with family members. If you feel aversion for any kind of the usual old style slasher horror content, you would have to keep away. Otherwise, it is certainly an interesting watch for people who are tired of these usual movies on ghosts, vampires, zombies and werewolves. These have been the years of one freak virus, and so we can take this particular freak too.

Release date: 4th December 2020
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Tate Steinsiek
Starring: Clair Catherine, Emily Sweet, Kika Magalhaes, Chris Galust, Jake Horowitz, Klodian Hoxha, Elisha Pratt, Genti Kame, Klodjana Keco, Omar Shariff Brunson Jr

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

What is the movie about? :: In the Mexican city of San Juan Ixtenco, there was unnatural storm which devastated most of the place – people are known to have said that there was a face in the storm, and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) investigate the case while coming across a creature, an Earth Elemental, which derives its powers from Earth. At the same time, a super-powered man Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), arrives to fight the creature. In New York City, the Midtown School of Science and Technology restarts its academic year to take in those students who were affected by the events of Avengers: Infinity War. There is a two-week summer field trip to Europe, starting at Venice, Italy. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) plans to confess his love for classmate MJ (Zendaya) there. Meanwhile, Harold Hogan (Jon Favreau) contacts him to provide the news that Nick Fury is looking for him, and will give a call soon, regarding a mission.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Peter is forced to carry the Spider-Man costume by his aunt May Parker (Marisa Tomei) despite trying to keep away from superhero deeds post the death of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr). He even ignores the calls of Nick Fury, who finds him at the hotel in Venice, after escaping the attacks of the Water Elemental which almost destroys the major tourist areas of the city. The students including Peter’s best friend Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) and Betty Brant (Angourie Rice) along with the teachers, Roger Harrington (Martin Starr) and Julius Dell (JB Smoove) are terrorized by the unexpected attacks. After tranquilizing Ned, Fury gives him Stark’s glasses equipped with the artificial intelligence EDITH, providing access to all databases of Stark Industries and with command over large weapon supply. He also introduces him to Quentin Beck, a man with magic powers.

And what more is to happen? :: Even though mistaken by many as Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), this new hero is known to people as Mysterio, a man who is supposed to be from another Earth, which was consumed by the Elementals. He hopes to avenge his family, and destroy the Elementals, and Fury hopes that Peter would be part of the mission at Prague, but he declines saying that his school team is going to Paris and he can’t be seen in the Spider-Man costume when he is in Europe, as it would lead to doubts that he is Spider-Man, revealing his identity. But as their trip itself is re-routed to Prague, Peter is left with no option, but to fight the most powerful of the Elementals, the Fire Elemental. To add to it, he has to fight it in the middle of an on-going carnival, and his friends are also around. Can the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man live up to the legacy that the Avengers lead by Iron Man, Captain America and Thor has left?

The defence of Spider-Man: Far From Home :: It is a difficult task for another Spider-Man movie to stand strong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, considering the fact that the greatest film of the franchise, Avengers: Endgame has finished strong, and is looking forward to become the highest grossing flick of all-time. Spider-Man: Far From Home has managed to do that well enough, and has also improved its status from Spider-Man Homecoming – this one is bigger in scope and impact, and we also have the superheroes doing better, in the presence of better villainy. The action sequences continue to impress, and the perfect settings are used, which makes things even better – the visuals and the special effects with illusions play a major role in making the fights more interesting. The movie also maintains a certain amount of humour, and it remains light-hearted, as a friendly neighbourhood movie. There is also something in the end to make sure that we have something to look forward to, after the movie.

The claws of flaw :: The emotional strength of the earlier Spider-Man movies continues to be absent in this version, and this comes too late after all the superhero overdose. We have had only one Spider-Man movie before Avengers: Endgame, and that is too little – now, this one requires a lot more sequels, but they will be too late. Also, the movie’s twist is rather predictable for those who are familiar with the tales of Spider-Man, and something more could have been added to get it deeper. Some of the jokes in the movie also go some other way, and fail to create any impact – there is the case of things getting repetitive here. The superhero himself hasn’t learned much after going through all the fading away, and losing his mentor – there is no realization that is added here. Being a better hero doesn’t seem to be an option here. Spider-Man won’t get to that level of The Amazing Spider-Man or The Amazing Spider-Man 2 here either, and we have to wait for the sequels to hope for that.

The performers of the soul :: Jake Gyllenhaal is the one who stands apart in this movie, and we know what he has been capable of with the psychological thriller movies like Enemy and Nocturnal Animals. The role of Mysterio stays safe with him, and we see how well he can handle the two sides of a character. Tom Holland continues to play Spider-Man as he used to, and it gets better than the previous movies in totality. Zendaya playing his love interest makes one interesting character from the beginning itself – she is indeed the most interesting character in the whole team of school children, and lets hope that the character is not replaced by other love interests of Spider-Man in any later movies. Cobie Smulders is there doing what she has been doing well. The others in high school team do a pretty good job including both the teachers and students.

How it finishes :: We have finished most of the main part of the Marvel superheroes, and Spider-Man: Far From Home seems to come as a bonus or an add-on post that biggest battle that happened in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Spider-Man is the hero whom we have always loved, he has been there with Superman and Batman at this part of the world even before the rest of the superheroes like Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, Cyborg, Flash, Green Arrow – all of them came later. Therefore, it is only fair that we hope for an even better movie. But this one also keeps us interested and entertained, and Marvel once again has everything working in its favour, even after its best movie done.

Release date: 5th July 2019 (India); 2nd July 2019 (USA)
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L Jackson, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Martin Starr

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Geethanjali

geethanjali (1)

What is Geethanjali? :: Even as all of us literature students have to answer this with Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali, the collection which made him the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the only Indian to win the same so far. But as the Vampire Bat is not alive enough to talk about such great works of Indian literature, he is talking about a movie of the same name, not about the National Film Award-winning Telugu movie of the same name, but the recently released indirect sequel to the masterpiece which was Manichitrathazhu. It once again has Mohanlal as Dr. Sunny Joseph, one of the most loved characters in the Malayalam movie industry. Its been a long time since there was a Mohanlal movie too. Thanks to the hype and the well-made trailer, this became one of the most anticipated releases of the time, even when colliding with the other movies which released during the same weekend – Thira, Insidious: Chapter 2 and Ram-leela.

What is it about? :: There were two twins, Geetha and Anjali (both Keerthy Suresh) (together making the movie Geethanjali – if one of them was Chitra, the movie would have been Chitranjali, like the name of the studio which was used by the film?) and only Anjali is alive now, as the other is supposed to have committed suicide by jumping into the sea – and body not found. Anjali comes back to her home where she lived till her youth after her mother falls down from the terrace and goes into a comma. Her fiancee is also with him, and at the house, she has visions of her dead sister who also loved the same person. The vision of the ghost who seem to try to end her life to keep the lover away from her, makes life uncomfortable for the young lady. The fiancee Anoop (KP Nishan) calls Nakulan (Suresh Gopi) who recommends Dr. Sunny Joseph (Mohan Lal) for the case, but the question remains if the future bride can remain alive or at least in his senses before the man arrives, and if he can solve this mystery before anything horrible happens.

The defence of Geethanjali :: It is hard to defend a movie which has been so much critically panned in a nation where even Krrish 3 gets positive reviews in another corner. Yes, this corner is famous for movies which usually get two or two point five out of five, and this miserly area doesn’t give away much. But let me tell you that Geethanjali scores with its environment, the almost effective scary scenes and the added twist, with the funny elements supporting it quite well. The cinematography helps the movie a lot, and this should be the first visually superior horror movies in Malayalam movie industry. The last good horror movie was Sahasram, released in 2010, starring Suresh Gopi. This doesn’t live up to that either, but the attempt is there, even if not original or with the right flow. Check out for Keerthy Suresh too, as she scores in her first movie – there is something called legacy, and she might be some of the few who might be proving it. There should be no comparisons to Manichitrathazhu though – who compares Dracula or Interview with the Vampire to Twilight? And as Alexander Pope says in Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot: “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?”

The claws of flaw :: The worst thing that could happen to this movie is that it released with Thira, which is already a hit as it comes from a man who has cent percent success rate. I can remember that Vineeth Sreenivasan’s Thattathin Marayathu was a hit months before it released. I am also sure about watching it myself. The problem is that the more we praise that one, the more we tend to downgrade this movie. To add to it, there are the copied things, along with the ghost who looks like the daughter of the Avatar guy and The Ring girl. The mirror and the ceiling fan leaks instead of the television and there is a lot of hair like The Grudge. More details about similarities can be found in the details with spoilers section. One can say that the movie tried too much to be like Manichitrathazhu, and there is a big problem, for it can’t be the same as the world has changed and so did a lot of things. People are also looking for something of variety just like the original classic, and more flawless stuff including no small mistakes (like Armenian Orthodox Church cross having Latin inscriptions and there might be quite some concerning the twins).

Performers of the soul :: Mohanlal is the star psychatrist yet again, but this time he has less screen presence, and this surely won’t be the Dr Sunny that we remembers. He makes his entrance just before the second half of the movie, and once he enters, there is a lot of hope being built up – even as he lives up to it with his performance, there is not that much in the story. His combination with Innocent is very good and Swapna Menon is a pleasant surprise and a fine addition to the funny side of the movie. Harisree Ashokan also contributes in a lesser manner to the comic side. Nishan has a weak role, but does the romantic part very well, but not that much in he climax scene where the debutant Keerthy Suresh takes over with a wonderful performance to support the beautiful screen presence. She doesn’t go on to become another beautiful young actress who can’t act – she does incredibly well as the two sisters, too good for a debutant. Well, the beauty gets more than just the pass marks. Its her movie, as she is both the protagonist and the antagonist. Siddique and Nassar provides nice support, and Seema’s role is too limited – Madhu’s character was almost not needed.

Details with spoilers :: The story has so much in common with Nadiya kollappetta Rathri and Chaarulatha, the former was one of my favourites, and this impersonation for love was well performed by Kavya Madhavan and rightly investigated by the character of Suresh Gopi. The latter which was a remake of a 2007 movie Alone, had a lot of things which this movie now has in common. The twins who impersonate and kill for love was told as an investigative thriller in the first case, and as a pure ghost story in the second. The good thing is that they are not conjoined twins like the latter. Our movie has a psychological twist to the same, seemingly attempting to make it just like Manichitrathazhu, and also adding some comedy in between. If you haven’t watched the two movies, this shall be a new experience for you, or if you want to repeat the experience in another way, this movie can help. Those who don’t like the two movies much and don’t want any more of it, might want to skip it though. I felt so from some of the reactions from a few.  This is not going to be remembered in the later days like the well-crafted Devadoothan either.

How it could have been :: This could have been a lot better, there is no doubt about that. The ghost and the supernatural would have been better not shown and not observed by the family other than the girl. The blue ghost could have done better if shown just in the shadows without the support of water and the fallen hair. The sea on one side is a clear negative on a house which formerly made us feel that it is at a remote location on some hill or mountain. The darkness itself could have been an ally to a possible psychological thriller in this one. The songs might have done better if not coming up when not needed. The suspense could have been made more shocking even without the support of deaths. Mohanlal could have made an entry earlier. Overall, there should be no following the policy of the early classic, instead having some life of its own, keeping further distance from the movies which were used as inspirations. I would be surprised if even the C.I.D Moosa sequel can be any good considering the limited imagination involved with making sequels. Meanwhile, a horrible drop for this movie might discourage horror movies in Malayalam, and I am not going to stand that!

Release date: 14th November 2013
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Priyadarshan
Starring: Mohanlal, Keerthy Suresh, KP Nishan, Swapna Menon, Siddique, Innocent, Ganesh Kumar, Nassar, Madhu, Seema, Harisree Ashokan, Chris Gayle Kuttappan, Suresh Gopi (cameo)

geethanjali copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.