Security

What is the movie about? :: Roberto Santini (Marco D’Amore) is at the head of a security surveillance company, which takes care of the safety of some of the wealthiest people in the area. As the whole area is more or less like a beach resort, there are lots of tourists around, and due to its proximity to sea, there is also the possibility of having some ilegal immigrants running around, which makes the installment of security cameras rather necessary. His daughter, Angela Raffaelli Santini (Ludovica Martino) doesn’t listen to her parents. His wife Claudia Raffaelli Santini (Maya Sansa) is running for the post of mayor, and vows to make the place a safer area. But on an eventful night, a local girl, Maria Spezi (Beatrice Granno) is found with a bloody face on one of the cameras. She also seems to faint soon. The girl lands in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder, while Roberto’s marriage is not going great – their daughter, Angela is in a relationship with her much older creative writing professor, Steffano Thomassi (Silvio Muccino) who is recently divorced. Roberto is also in a relationship with Elena Ventini (Valeria Bilello), a single mother.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: As Roberto spends most of his time with the security cameras, even in the night, he rarely gets any sleep at all. Claudia is a conservative candidate, who is determined to become the first female mayor of the town, whatever it takes. Walter Spezi (Tommaso Ragno), Maria’s father is considered to be the man who was responsible for beating her up, but as she comes to her senses, she tells everyone that it was someone else, and a boy was involved. Walter is freed, but he does have a history of sexual assault and other abuses. Roberto doubts if Elena’s son Dario Ventini (Giulio Pranno) who was found drunk and driving was involved in the crime. Roberto and Claudia understand that Angela is in a relationship with an older man, and they feel that she is sleeping at his place while telling them that she was studying with her classmate (Lavinia Cafaro). Roberto tries to find out the secrets of Angela and Maria, while trying his best to keep Elena out of it, but can he really do that?

The defence of Security :: This is the fourth Italian movie on this website after Piranhas, Pinocchio and A Classic Horror Story, and my venture through the movies from Italy has only gotten more and more interesting – this movie should be a high point in that case. The thriller in this movie works smoothly, and even when slowing down, maintains its strength very well. The emotions are really strong, and there is an effective picture of individuals as well as their relationships, portrayed with efficiency around here. The visuals are nothing less than stunning, and that makes this particular beach town a place we should visit for sure. The pain, grief and regret in this movie can be felt, and at times, even seen. Marco D’Amore surely reflects the same, and it is a similar reflection that can be seen on the face of Valeria Bilello, but nothing matches the suffering of the character played by Tommaso Ragno, who seems to have no way out even at his old age. The movie is a poetry of grief set in motion, even though there is something to be relieved in the end.

Positives and negatives :: For those people who fail to get immersed in this world, this can feel slower and complicated – the attention is required. Some people might also want an exaggerated ending, but for everyone else, this feels close to reality. As the film stays close to one’s emotional with never overdoing the drama, the audience can easily go through what these character go through. Even when the movie shows that relationships are fragile, and pain and suffering becomes part of one’s life for no reason, there is always a chance for healing and redemption; but only those humans who take the right step can provide assurance about the same. The movie knows that lives can be ruined for no reason, or redeemed with care. To show the same, the movie has performers of different age groups, which serves perfectly – they let things unfold and come together in the end, and that works beautifully. There are not many movies which caught my interest like this in a long time other than the Chinese movie, The Soul, and this also serves as a reminder to me to watch more Italian movies – maybe even to visit the beautiful town of Forte dei Marmi in northern Tuscany of Italy.

The performers of the soul :: Marco D’Amore has a solid performance to his credit around here. The whole thing finds some good time resting on his capable shoulders. He goes through the whole situation in a very much believable as well as emotional manner, as the less celebrated hero whom the small town has always deserved. He plays a hardworking commoner whom we can recognize as our own. Even though not forced to go after truth, he becomes the truth seeker. Valeria Bilello and Maya Sansa plays the two women in the life of the main character. The former is the symbol of the protagonist’s future while the latter belongs to his past. Maya Sansa who plays his wife as part of a marriage which is breaking apart, depicts the ambitious and adamant lady well enough to leave an impression. She is the kind of lady who would do anything to reach the top of the food chain, no matter what loss she has to suffer in the process. The two makes the not-so-suitable marriage seem to work to the outside world, but it is evident that they are not even trying in reality. They do have a number of intense and emotional moments together.

Further performers of the soul :: Valeria Bilello has a perfect act performed here, as the struggling mother with two children, one of whom not liking or listening to her, and the other one not able to live without her being around him. She might also be playing the one character with whom we will be connecting with a lot of empathy, but is still left with less screen time in comparison to others. She seems to be the main character’s future, and has close and intimate moments with him – the protagonist is also very much serious with her. Ludovica Martino who plays the daughter, is the one girl who keeps feeling that she has been wronged by everyone, a job well reflected in her performance. It can be seen that her acts of rebellion means something in the end too. Beatrice Granno plays the girl wronged here, and she displays the pain that she always had to go through, really well, even though she could have been given chance for more. Silvio Muccino and Fabrizio Bentivoglio plays the roles with negative shades effectively. Tommaso Ragno is memorable at the man who is always in trouble, and wronged regularly.

How it finishes :: There are not many movies which serve as a perfect package like this one – you won’t be missing much with this film, and there is not much to complaint about it. Whatever you expect from a movie like this, can be seen here, worked out efficiently. An emotional adventure of a thriller with suspense and twists on one side has further reflections on the drama of humanity which it also has running. This is not that much of a well-known movie, and I was also not expecting this to be that good; but it serves something grand, which means that we have a film of quality here. There are so many characters with which you can relate, especially with grief and remorse like in the Spanish film Adios – we also see a lot of things happening with the characters, and none of them are exaggerated or beyond our grasp. As this tale unfolds with beautiful people in an even more beautiful landscape, you are always immersed in this one, no matter how much the pace changes. This is the kind of movie which Hollywood should also try, with all those ingredients including the special one.

Release date: 16th June 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Peter Chelsom
Starring: Marco D’Amore, Valeria Bilello, Maya Sansa, Ludovica Martino, Beatrice Granno, Silvio Muccino, Tomasso Ragno, Giulio Pranno, Anna Della Rosa, Antonio Zavatteri, Lavinia Cafaro, Gaia Bavaro, Doris Von Thury

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Red Dot

Vampire Owl: It is nice to have a Swedish movie on the list too, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, we only have Norwegian from Scandinavia until now.

Vampire Owl: Well, Netflix knows how to choose the right movies.

Vampire Bat: We have known that the best with Minnal Murali premiering there.

Vampire Owl: So many interesting movies in foreign languages too.

Vampire Bat: Those are the kind of collections which Amazon Prime Video should have too.

Vampire Owl: They could always have more of those lesser known foreign movies.

Vampire Bat: Scandinavia is a fine area to build a castle right now.

Vampire Owl: There should be our kind already in existence there.

Vampire Bat: Why don’t you take a trip there and find out?

[Gets a sweet puffs and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: David (Anastasios Soulis) proposes to his girlfriend, Nadja (Nanna Blondell) in public on the day of their graduation at the university. She accepts it gladly, even though the proposal turns out to be very much awkward, despite having a certain amount of cuteness related to it. They make a promise that they will always be together, no matter what happens. But one year and half later, due to the need to study and work at the same time, they are no longer happy at their apartment in Stockholm, the busy capital of Sweden. Soon, she finds out that she is also pregnant, and she is not sure if they should be parents, as she is studying to become a doctor – this would not be helpful for her future either. She feels that if she has a child any time soon, she will end up being a housewife taking care of the kid, as David is working all the time. Despite being assured by their neighbour that they will be great parents, she doesn’t inform David about the pregnancy, and decides to keep it a secret as long as possible.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: David arranges a trip to the northern lights so that they can have some happy time together. This is also the one tour which they are having after a very long time. On the way, they meet two locals, Jarmo (Kalled Mustonen) and Rolle (Tomas Bergstrom) at the gas station, but are comfortable with their presence and their strange dialogues about the dog and the lady. While leaving too soon, David’s car also leaves a scratch on the pick-up truck of the locals, but they go on moving without saying anything about it. Einar (Johannes Bah Kuhnke) seems to be the only person who is friendly to them, as he runs the inn where they are supposed to stay. He says that the people there are not used to seeing interracial couples. Nadja soon finds their car scratched, also leaving few racists words, which makes her angry enough to leave a scratch on the truck of the locals which they earlier encounter, as she is sure that they are the ones who did it. But the two locals seem to be much surprised by the same.

And what awaits them with the northern lights in the wilderness? :: David feels strange about the actions of Nadja, but she feels that this is how one should deal with racists. After a long drive, they finally reach an area beneath the northern lights, and it gets really cold. There, she reveals to him that she is pregnant, and that makes him very much nervous, as he is not sure what is to be done next. But their conversation about it is soon interrupted by a red dot on the wall of their tent, which keeps moving. They first feel that it is a prank done by some local kids with a laser pointer. But with a jolt, they soon understand that it is a laser view from a gun, as they are shot at. Nadja is sure that it is the brothers who are attacking them in revenge for her action, and David remembers that he had seen a weapon in their truck. Their dog which tries to find the attackers, is killed and as they return to the camp after searching for it, finds its head, a trap, and their belongings including the mobile phone missing. With the snow coming down slowly, they have to somehow make it out of there, but can they? Is there hope within so much of cold?

The defence of Red Dot :: The movie uses its landscape to its advantage, and the locations here are all beautiful enough. Whether it is the beauty of nature or the terror of it, we have things going well. Scandinavia is the area which almost everyone wishes to wish to visit, and maybe spend most of the life – I would have done that if there was the opportunity, and there is no shortage of such motivation with the world for eyes within this film too. It also has some interesting twists in the last few moments of the film, and also leaves a message that many things are lost as people just randomly points a few actions as a result of racism, often because it seems to be the easiest thing to do, along with adding things as misogyny or part of religious beliefs – sometimes, things are just personal to the core, and nothing more than that. As the movie is less than one and half hours long, things don’t get dragged or slow down at any point of time. There is no loss of pace at any moment, and it takes the deviation from the usual well enough, but never turning to melodrama even when it could have used the chance.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have achieved more with a couple being hunted in the snow, with no hope seemingly around. It also seems that none of the characters are likable, with a mostly irresponsible couple, and the lady seemingly attributing most things to racism, and randomly blame the mentality. The snow as well as the red dots could have been used more, and there could have more twists over the incidents. There are times when the movie seems to be unwilling to take the risk with most of the things. The romantic side is often forced rather than having any intimate or lovable side to the same. When thinking about Vikings from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, we are always expecting an intense ride with the movies from there, even with the realization that it is not that age any more. There were so many moments for some horror to be added here and there, and this could have transcended the genres with ease. Some more red blood on white ice along with some shocks added here and there would be been worthy enough – more action too.

How it finishes :: The movie has the strength throughout its run, thanks to the performances which are appreciable – there are only a few characters of significance in this movie, and they had to do well, which does happen around here. With people being hunted, this would feel like Wrong Turn in the snow at some point of time, but that idea is lifted during the last few moments of the film. Maybe, we could also have a similar movie shot during the corona virus times, hunted in the lockdown, with nobody around to help. At least, the viral pandemic did provide us with opportunity to watch movies like this one on the OTT platforms. It is always better to have them on the laptop screen, as you can also type on another laptop at the same time. I would also like not to know how much the popcorns, puffs and tea would cost in a multiplex after the lockdowns. Yet, we all know that the rise in petrol price won’t serve the purpose at all, and hope is only with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Hotstar, Sony LIV, Manorama MAX and others.

Release date: 11th February 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Alain Darborg
Starring: Johannes Kuhnke, Nanna Blondell, Anastasios Soulis, Kalled Mustonen, Tomas Bergstrom

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nightmare Alley

Vampire Owl: This could be the name of one of the halls in the castle.

Vampire Bat: There are already enough alleys with nightmares around here.

Vampire Owl: You think that vampires are affected by nightmares.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we just consider them as dreams.

Vampire Owl: Nightmares are just small part of the dreams.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t use the word “nightmare” anymore. It is overused.

Vampire Owl: We are the true nightmares, the living dead ones, right?

Vampire Bat: You feel that the nightmares can be true?

Vampire Owl: Now, you are acting like Dr Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: You mean, like Mr Frankenstein! No, never!

[Gets an aloo paratha and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: The year is 1939, and Stanton Carlisle a.k.a. Stan (Bradley Cooper) wanders around different cities of the United States of America, and while going on as a free guy, a drifter, gets a job at a big carnival which seems to have lit up the world of night beautifully. There, he notices a geek show in which he sees a man eating a live chicken. This performance which is also known as freak show, is always about a single man called a geek who chases live chickens and finally has him killing the bird and eating it alive. It was something common among circus and carnival professionals to be part of a troupe that included geeks. The geeks were often heavy alcoholics or drug addicts, and instead of money, liquor was used to pay them for the performance. In this case, the man who was part of the performance is seen to be further deranged than he is supposed to be. While he is working, Stan is told that the geek is now running around within their attraction, and they have to somehow catch him before he ruins the performances.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The geek seems to be hiding in a scary attraction, and attacks Stan, only to be taken down. He is taken into a cage, and he seems to be too violent and mentally disturbed to be fit for any show, seemingly getting close, but being out of death for now. But they keep him locked up with the feeling that people will love to look down on him and forget their own misery. It seems that many people like to enjoy that particular show, and is a major attraction which nobody wishes to miss, even though it is indeed costlier. After helping them to find the geek, Stan is offered a full time job at the carnival instead of that temporary one which was provided to him earlier. He is only happy to be with them as he has nowhere to go anymore. After using their tub, he begins working with the clairvoyant performer known as Madame Zeena, originally Zeena Krumbein (Toni Collette) and her alcoholic husband, Peter Krumbein a.k.a. Pete (David Strathairn). Zeena definitely feels that there is more to him than what meets the eye.

And what more is to follow in this interesting world? :: Mary Margaret Cahill a.k.a. Molly (Rooney Mara) also helps them at times, as Pete often losses control after drinking too much. But Molly also performs as the “Electric Girl Unforgettable”, seemingly taking electricity through her in one of the other star performances. Stan seems to be falling in love with Molly slowly, but steadily. The team of clairvoyance uses gestures, some coded language and certain cold reading tricks to make their work more effective. There are some fine guesses which work out of effectively at times, even though Pete is not fond of her pretending to speak to the dead. Pete shows the methods to Stan too, and he seems to be a very quick learner. Stan understands that the geeks are originally alcoholics whom he has forced to stay with opium-laced alcohol which has been affecting the minds of the geeks terribly. Most of them were affected by the First World War one way or the other. These geeks are nicely taken into the carnival where they become nothing less than slaves due to their addiction gone terribly wrong.

Then you look forward further in this movie, and what awaits us? :: As they are going on with the carnival, Germany has just started the invasion of Poland, setting the beginning of the Second World War. Things still seem to go normal at the carnival, as a new geek takes the place of the previous one who is dead. Stan asks Molly to leave the carnival with him, and start a new grand performance with him, which everyone in the United States of America, and all around the world will remember forever. But she is not ready to leave with him, as she has been a part of this performance and this particular place for quite a long time. Soon, Pete who keeps drinking more and more, finally dies out of alcoholic consumption. It is then that a sheriff comes there and threatens to close the illegal performance which has cruelty to humans and animals, while Molly who performs her act in her undergarments is to be arrested for too much of cleavage and thighs, thus enough indecency to be in the prison. Stan saves her and the whole carnival from the sheriff using the skills he had learned from Pete. As the sheriff leaves, Molly agrees to leave the Carnival with him, but what would the future hold in that case?

The defence and flaws of Nightmare Alley :: The movie has a beautiful world belonging to the past in store for us. Even though slow at times, it is an effective movement forward, which we are all going to enjoy. The time period during the Second World War is beautifully created, and we become a part of it. Even though there is the common idea that this is a psychological thriller, the movie is more of a drama rather than anything else. It might be due to its jumping through the genres that the movie feels slow, and the over all length does feel as a little too much for our liking. It is not the kind of world with which the director, Guillermo del Toro is at full strength – this could be the same reason why the director’s other movies continue to stay a few levels above this one. But the performances from Bradley Cooper and Rooney Mara are too good, and they have us interested here throughout the movie. The others who don’t have a full run in the flick, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette and others also have a fine run when they are around here. The movie also has a fine message running through here about what awaits an over-reacher who find evil to be okay.

How it finishes :: Nightmare Alley does have that feeling of watching the movies of Guillermo del Toro like before. Still, it doesn’t have any haunting creatures like in Crimson Peak or the huge robots fighting giant monsters like in Pacific Rim. This is also no Pan’s Labyrinth or The Shape of Water. The director does take a divergent path with ease, and successfully goes through the whole thing and keeps us engaged in the same. A movie without any supernatural element for him, and he still continues to be the visionary director like nobody else. The movie is based on the novel of the same name written by the American writer William Lindsay Gresham published in 1946, and how well it has taken the spirit of the book will be known only to those who have read the book. The movie was nominated for four Oscar Awards, including the Best Picture, at the 94th Academy Awards held in Los Angeles in March 2022. Well, one would only feel that this is only deserving, as this is a film is a world which is for us to be immersed in, at all times.

Release date: 17th December 2021
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, Mary Steenburgen, Ron Perlman, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, David Strathairn

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Antakshari

Vampire Owl: This reminds us of the great game that we had in the castle.

Vampire Bat: The human game was indeed interesting.

Vampire Owl: Yet, humans play more of the evil games.

Vampire Bat: It is just a part of their evil nature.

Vampire Owl: Evil is part of their nature more than ever these days.

Vampire Bat: Can you guess how many evil humans are in this movie?

Vampire Owl: I am guessing that at least ninety five percent of them will be evil.

Vampire Bat: It is not really a big percentage for any group of humans.

Vampire Owl: Doctor Frankenstein has determined it be as high as ninety nine most of the time.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this has anything to do with Mr Frankenstein and his fake experiments of no meaning.

[Gets a chicken samosa and three cups of orange tea].

What is the movie about? :: Circle Inspector Das (Saiju Kurup) is the officer in charge of a police station in the remote area of a hilly terrain, where Srinivas (Sudhi Koppa) joins as a probationary officer while hoping to solve a big case as soon as possible. Das gets into a fight with Vasudevan (Vijay Babu), who is a local leader of a prominent party, and also has multiple business interests. On the very next day, Das’ daughter is almost strangled to death by a man wearing a paper mask, saved only because of his wife Chitra (Priyanka Nair) noticing it at the right time. Despite threatening Das and his family before, Vasudevan denies any kind of involvement in the act, affirming that his problems are solved face to face, and there will be no hiding. Das has the habit of playing antakshari where each person sings a song, and the next person begins with the letter on which the previous person’s song ended. On the day on which his daughter was attacked, he had also received a call from an unknown number asking him to sing a song, or his daughter will be singing instead.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Their senior officer Jayachandran (Binu Pappu) and the local head constable Hariharan (Kottayam Ramesh) are not really fond of Das, as they are on the side of Vasudevan, and do not want him to solve too mysterious a case. He also comes against a strange, mute girl named Nayana (Ishita Singh) who has come to her grandparents’ home from Delhi. There is something about her, as she also seems to be hiding some secrets which nobody would want to know. Das and Srinivas slowly, but effectively connects the dots and finds out that similar murders have happened before, but police had closed the cases. Some of those murders were also considered to be accidents, and the deaths of the fathers after the murders of their children were considered to be accidents or suicides as a result of alcoholism and depression. The two officers end up finding a chain of events which lead a long way back, but will they be able to find the person behind it in time or is there another murder on the path?

The defence of Antakshari :: The movie has a police officer who is rather ordinary, and it has his struggles in finding the psychotic murderer, who is really that crazy as in Forensic, and very unlike the non-psychotic revenge seeker in Anjaam Pathira. The cop doesn’t have that much of a flaw as the protagonist of Memories, but is very much relatable with a usual kind of family and personal problems. The movie is shot nicely, and with some fine performances, leaves scope for a possible sequel – despite the low chances, we hope that such an attempt is made; there are also other similar trials of investigation which can be combined with this one to create a shared universe. Such a sequel can also talk about those elements of this movie which seems lost, and maybe, it can be a serial killer universe instead of a cop universe. This is the kind of movie which Bollywood would use to make a super-cop, but thankfully, we don’t leave it in their hands. The movie doesn’t take the predictable path either, as there seems to be the possibility of fun discovered in taking the road less taken, on the lines of Robert Frost.

The claws of flaw :: Antakshari is quite slow in its progression, and there are characters who don’t really play much of a role in moving the tale forward. A few things also go without explanations. The whole saga of one family with an abusive father, frustrated mother, music-playing son and cat-loving daughter facing a mysterious girl don’t fit in here at all – neither do the broken guitar and dead cat. This is that kind of a family which could have been there for namesake, but so much of time is wasted on them. If a red herring was intended, that should have been a part of the storyline – there was another villain out there who could have served the same. The young engineering student who is in love with a mysterious mute girl makes no sense, even if the vampires were to turn cent percent vegetarian. Without these moments, the movie could have been shorter, and the pacing could have surely been better. This one lets the lost moments go lost rather than get it back and link them. There were so many paths that this film could have taken, that is for sure.

The performers of the soul :: Saiju Kurup shines really well as the police inspector who has this investigation on a personal level rather than anything else, like Joju George of Joseph. He has been one actor who didn’t get enough opportunities to lead, but this is one chance which he holds on to. He is someone who suits this kind of a police officer really well. Sudhi Koppa plays the role of the supporting officer well, and it is also not a role he is stranger to. He is another performer whom we need to see very often, as there seems to be a lot of requirements for quality actors rather than entertainers. Binu Pappu doesn’t have that good and understanding police officer role here, but does this shade with ease. Priyanka Nair who did have some fine roles years ago has another one to remember here. Among all the roles being performed here, Ishita Singh’s role remains the one which doesn’t seem to give us any idea of its purpose of existence – feels like an absurd side around here, even though she suits the character. The rest of the characters mostly just have to play along here, but more notable are the woman and child from the flashback. Vijay Babu has a small role.

How it finishes :: Like Salute, Antakshari is another movie which doesn’t depend on the foolish mass masala to go through investigations by police officers. It is very good and effective because it doesn’t cater to those brainless fans who visit the theatres and get a movie crores of business while losing all their money to petrol, parking fees, highly expensive food and others. This movie is for the others, who look out for the new releases on OTT platforms, as the Corona virus pandemic has shown us that it is indeed the right thing to do. Well, you have the choice not to go to the theatre and watch those foolish dance and music to which insanity is unleashed in between a story – I would call for the lack of the same every time. The mass masala genre itself is a fake thing created for the superstars and their children to call their fans to the theatres and by creating the fake vibes, they make the rest of the audience feel that the movie is fantastic – lets see how long these star kids who fly around beating people and doing dumb romance will go. After that, you can come back to good movies like this one.

Release date: 22nd April 2022 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Vipin Das
Starring: Saiju Kurup, Priyanka Nair, Sudhi Koppa, Vijay Babu, Binu Pappu, Thomas Kunnampuzha, Shabareesh Varma, Sruthy Suresh, Kottayam Ramesh, Boban Samuel, Sandeep Pradeep, Ishita Singh

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Snake Eyes

Vampire Owl: I remember a time when all vampires played with GI Joe toys.

Vampire Bat: Well, that was a very short period of time.

Vampire Owl: Yet, those were some wonderful days.

Vampire Bat: If I remember correctly, those were nights. When we were awake.

Vampire Owl: Both days and nights belonged to games.

Vampire Bat: You mean to include computer games too.

Vampire Owl: Yes, that would make this a very long list.

Vampire Bat: I would start with Age of Empires and Age of Wonders for that.

Vampire Owl: Yet, there was no game like Unreal Tournament 99.

Vampire Bat: Only to be permanently addicted to Mass Effect later.

[Gets a milk peda and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: A young boy witnesses his father being murdered by a group of armed people, after their leader determines his fate by rolling a dice. Many years later, he has grown up to a skilled martial arts fighter Snake Eyes (Henry Golding). As he keeps winning all the fights and changing cities, a rich Yakuza boss named Kenta Takamura (Takehiro Hira) disovers him in a fighting arena in Los Angeles. Even though he doesn’t like the offer in the beginning, the idea of being able to find the people who killed his father makes him interested. But when he is asked to murder Tommy (Andrew Koji), who despite being Kenta’s cousin, had broken trust, he refuses, and even helps him to escape. Both Tommy and Kenta were next line to become leader of their clan, and the latter tried to have the former killed. Kenta’s plan was discovered before it could materialize, and Tommy had him banished. As Snake Eyes cannot go back to Los Angeles as he would be hunted by the Yakuza, he is taken to Tokyo instead.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Tommy who feels that he owes a blood debt to Snake Eyes, takes him to his ninja world. Sen (Eri Ishida), Tommy’s grandmother who leads the ninja clan agrees to let him join the group under some conditions, even though the head of secutiy, Akiko (Haruka Abe) is not fond of anyone from outside joining them, as it would be an unusual practice. He is supposed to go through three challenges, first two challenges to cleanse him of ego, anger and fear, and get him ready for the third one. Tommy also lets him know that failure means death. He will only has a few days to train for the same. With no recorded history about him and being known only by a strange alias, Akiko continues to doubt him. But she is still confident that Snake Eyes will fail the first test itself, as at least eighty percent of them fail every time. Tommy feels confident that Snake Eyes will be among the passing twenty percent, but there is certainly more than one twist to it.

The defence of Snake Eyes :: There is a lot of fighting going on in this tale inspired from a toy line, and the reboot has started off pretty well with hope for something big to be seen in a sequel with so many characters to come. Four of the most interesting characters, Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes, Scarlett and Baroness have been introduced, and we can keep hoping for more. The sword fights show a certain amount of quality here, and it is not all that we see here, as we have something more in an year which provided us with Mortal Kombat. The final battle is a big one, and it has everyone going after one another. The location of the ninjas is nicely chosen too. Well, one always feel happy about watching Japan on the screen – Tokyo is nothing less than a dream city. When you look at origin stories, starting with the tale of the two ninjas seem to be the right choice, especially as the earlier movies didn’t focus enough on the two. From this beginning, the movie seems to assert that it won’t go the Transformers way, bringing more confusion as the film franchise progresses.

The claws of flaw :: Even with its twists, there is a certain amount of predictability associated with it. The hero here is the one whom we wish to have on the side of the Cobra though, as Storm Shadow is hundred percent a better person of quality than Snake Eyes by any means – it is how things are shown here. We would have wished for Snake Eyes to stay in the Cobra even as the toy storyline states otherwise. Well, just one person is responsible for all these, and he seems to be the good guy in the end. A better introduction for the characters of GI Joe and Cobra would have been better – just having Scarlett and Baroness is not good enough, and the two ninja brothers have only started. Cobra could have actually had a better job to do here too. The idea of vengeance could have been portrayed better, and instead this one seems to go here and there, not sticking to a particular plan, just like the main character himself who seems to be the most clueless one. Maybe, he intends to set things right with a sequel if there is one.

The performers of the soul :: The two leading actors, Henry Golding and Andred Koji seems to be perfectly suited for the roles, and they seem to go on with the action sequences with relative ease, especially the latter who seems to blend in from the beginning itself. Rachel Nichols who played Scarlett has been replaced by Samara Weaving, and it does seem to be a nice change – there is still only a little to be done for her here, even though she gets some of the action. Sienna Miller has been replaced by Ursula Corbero, and let us hope that this time the story won’t have the dumn romance angle, and what was ridiculous about the character played by Sienna won’t be repeated here – Ursula does make a fine entry here, and there is some nice action for her too. Haruka Abe nicely blends into her role of the security in charge of the ninjas, while Takehiro Hira has his interesting moments as the antagonist. The two masters played by Iko Uwais and Peter Mensah remains interesting too. Along with the same, Eri Ishida as the grandmother comes as a surprise package in the action scenes too.

How it finishes :: It seems that this movie will serve as a new beginning, with the origins stories coming one’s way. The earlier movies of GI Joe were entertaining for sure, but it never really used the strengths to the best advantage, and there was even some strange romantic sides to them. This movie could serve as a better beginning for a franchise reminding us of all the toys that we had during our childhood – I still have them in the showcase of the house. Well, there are not many movies which can bring such a nostalgia from figures – actually, there is no other which I can remember. In that case, this film would serve nicely to bring more into the series. Let us hope that this new coming won’t be confused as the earlier journey with the toys. But as this is based on toys, we can only hope for the best, not for it to haunt us. Until then, let us be prepared by watching this movie on Amazon Prime Video in advance. You always have space for movies like these, at least as the big entertainers full of action and style.

Release date: 22nd July 2021
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, Ursula Corbero, Samara Weaving, Haruka Abe, Takehiro Hira, Iko Uwais

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Night Drive

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time when the vampire team was on a night drive?

Vampire Bat: We only have night drives around here. We don’t go for morning drives.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the night drives have been rare too.

Vampire Bat: That is because we don’t drive, but fly.

Vampire Owl: Not all vampires can fly, or even glide.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but we bats and owls do.

Vampire Owl: Yet, we can go for a drive in the vampire-mobile.

Vampire Bat: It is a bat-mobile, and it is my private property.

Vampire Owl: You don’t use it as you can fly.

Vampire Bat: It will not be used for night drives, and that is final.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Georgy Jacob (Roshan Mathew) works as an Uber driver and hopes to migrate to the Middle Easy for a better future. He is in love with Riya Roy (Anna Ben), a very popular news reporter, and they used to be childhood friends for a very long time. They do keep a certain amount of distance between them, as Riya’s father, Roy Mathew (Renju Panicker) who has retired from the military forces is not fond of Georgy. For Riya’s birthday which is also the Christmas evening, they decide to go on a night drive without her father knowing anything about it. At the same time, Rajan Kurup (Siddique) is caught in a gold smuggling scandal which was discovered by Riya and her channel, a case which has been transferred to NIA. He expects to be arrested by the squad on the very next day, and asks Chacko Cherian (Kalabhavan Shajohn) to find a way to get rid of the gold in his home before NIA comes for the raid. Rajan’s trusted aid Jaleel (Sudheer Karamana) assigns the minister’s personal assistant Balu (Kaliash) to get the gold to a safe house.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Meanwhile, Riya who was driving the car gets into a fight with Circle Inspector Benny Moopen (Indrajith Sukumaran) who was doing routine vehicle checking. Benny lets them go so that he can avoid any of the people there spreading the news about him bothering a lady in the middle of the night, but is clearly angry about the incident. Riya who keeps arguing with Georgy over the earlier incident suddenly spots someone in front of their car, and the vehicle seems to have hit that person, who is revealed to be Balu with a bag full of gold. The two manages to take him to the hospital, which brings Francis (Prasanth Alexander) who owns the car they were driving and Ammini (Sreevidya Mullachery) handles that particular Uber fleet operations to the hospital too. The police officer in charge of the case is Benny, who is only happy to torment Riya and Georgy over the incident. He decides to keep them in the hospital, but the arrival of Chacko at the hospital with other motives complicates things.

The defence of Night Drive :: The movie seems to move forward naturally in the beginning stages, with likable characters and the incidents which can be related by different people from various stage of their lives. The beginning stages go on with the usual, and feels like the natural order of things. It does have some fine twists, and a few red herrings are also there to make sure that one doesn’t guess it the right way. The different characters in the movie are not really what they seem to be, as the visages tend to show differently on diferent occasions. There are moments which keep you at the edge of the seat, as these are characters whom you like. The cast has been chosen well here, as you feel that there would have been tendency to go for a few others, but here we have characters getting equal importance instead of the focus shifting to one person. The visuals of Cochin are really good around here. This is the kind of movie which should have released directly on OTT, as there is a certain possibility of this going popular among the audience outside Kerala if it was first released online.

The claws of flaw :: Even though the movie had built up so well, the final scenes are not that much up to the mark. There is the plan to bring some mass action in the end, but it doesn’t suit the overall mood of the film – a darker version of the final moments would have done better for this particular movie. Let the outdated superstars do the mass action for their brainless fans, and the new generation of actors should go for class and perfection. These are not the times of such fan nonsense in the theatres, as we have the post-corona virus OTT loving audience as a strong force, and this is the flick which will be watch more on such platforms rather than anywhere else. It had a certain realistic side to the proceedings until the makers decided to go full action in the last few minutes with a specific background story added to the main characters. The first few minutes could have been shortened too, as there seems to be an extension of the less important happenings then. The conclusion could have also been kept at a higher level.

The performers of the soul :: Roshan Mathew has been continuously working hard to come up with some memorable performances, last seen in the Amazon Prime Video release, Kuruthi, a thriller with many messages. Coming out of the first big role in Aanandam and the earlier smaller ones in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Puthiya Niyamam, he has evolved a lot to reach this higher level. His performance in this movie is realistic for most of the time, and something to be appreciated, until the mass moments come in the end. Kumbalangi Nights and Helen has already let Anna Ben set a bar which is difficult for her to overcome – even with a film like Sara’s having her as the life and soul. Indrajith Sukumaran is solid as the police officer who seems strict as well as menacing, and at the same time, likes to have a strong grip on his investigation. Siddique once again plays the corrupt politician with sinister motives well, and reminds one of Jagathy Sreekumar of Passenger. Kaliash once again has a good supporting role and so is Kalabhavan Shajohn, while it is nice to see Sreevidya Mullachery of Star Magic fame playing a memorable role here – she is indeed a lovely talent, and the fair reason for anyone to watch the popular show in Flowers television channel.

How it finishes :: Night Drive becomes a movie of interest without that much of a hype associated with it. It has some fine moments of interest, and successfully deviates from the tendency to go full nonsense like in that Shane Nigam – Shine Tom Chacko film of misery and shame, the pariah of a movie called Ishq. When two lovers are on a night drive, the situation can be tackled well to make a thriller of quality beyond the usual and the expected, as shown around here. This movie seemed to have Roshan instead of Shane, Indrajith instead of Shine and Anna instead of Ann, with the main characters going for a night ride as part of celebrating the lady love’s birthday, and in the process being stopped by the man claiming to be the police officer – seems so familiar for those who have watched that movie, but this one takes a completely different route, and also involves other characters in a journey of twists which are not about just two, three or four people. Night Drive is successful and delivers nicely when we take a fine look.

Release date: 11th March 2022 (Theatre); 10th April 2022 (Netflix/Manorama Max)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Vysakh
Starring: Roshan Mathew, Anna Ben, Indrajith Sukumaran, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Sreevidya Mullachery, Kailash, Muthumani, Prasanth Alexander, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Siddique

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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.

Things Heard and Seen

Vampire Owl: I have seen and heard many things.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have to see and hear a lot these days.

Vampire Owl: I have seen and listened to more specific things.

Vampire Bat: We, vampires are supposed to have a shared vision too.

Vampire Owl: Well, we are now in an age of respect for privacy.

Vampire Bat: You have a lot of privacy within the coffin.

Vampire Owl: It is just undead privacy. That won’t count.

Vampire Bat: Why do you require so much of privacy these days after sleeping in cemetery for most of your life?

Vampire Owl: The world has changed, even though we haven’t.

Vampire Bat: And you want to change against all vampire traditions.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: It is the year 1979, and Catherine Claire (Amanda Seyfried), an art restorer, lives in Manhattan with her husband George Claire (James Norton) and daughter. When George gets the job of teaching art history at a college, the family is forced to move into a huge farmhouse in the countryside of New York. The house seems to be really old, belonging to the 1800s, and is a big house, which is available at a small price. As an art restorer, Catherine instantly falls in love with the place, and it also has a piano which seems to have been abandoned for a long time. The child is first one to be scared in the house, even though the parents are more interested in the beauty of the place as well as the low cost. George is happy to be in the new college campus, but Catherine feels isolated in the house. Catherine employs brothers Eddie Vayle (Alex Neustaedter) and Cole Vayle (Jack Gore) from nearby to take care of the house, while she remains obsessed about her gaining weight, and eats very less.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Catherine finds the family tree of people who were living in the house before. She also comes actoss an antique ring, which she starts wearing. Their daughter continues to wish to sleep with her parents. Catherine goes to the Historical Society, and tells them that she wishes to volunteer for their programmes, as she is new to the town, and loves to meet the people around. There, she finds the old photos of the house, and of the people who had originally built the house. George meets Eddie’s cousin sister Willis Howell (Natalia Dyer) in a library, and they start an affair. He is also quite popular in the college too, despite giving up fine arts to focus on the theory. Catherine become friends with George’s colleague Justine Sokolov (Rhea Seehorn), while George remains close to the department head Floyd DeBeers (F Murray Abraham). Their daughter keeps telling them that she had seen a lady in her room, and Catherine has the eerie feeling, but George dismisses both of them, but for how long?

The defence of Things Heard and Seen :: The movie can boast about a beautiful as well as eerie setting which is present throughout its run. A number of paintings from the Hudson River School, a mid nineteenth century American art movement influenced by Romanticism, can be seen here throughout the movie, and the beautiful paintings often reflects different parts of the setting in movie itself. As they nicely depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, we also wonder if there could be a similar movie about British Romanticism, reflecting what the Lake Poets of the time had penned down. The focus on relationships do happen, and the emotional as well as dramatic side is strong, even though overdone at times, with some moments not really making that much sense related to the situations. The performances are of top quality, and the twists are very much effective – there are many of them, as we look around. You have to love how things come together in the end here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does feel a little long, as it takes some time to keep things going forward. It seems to be on a struggle to establish everything right at the beginning, and later, the struggle makes way for the lack of pace, and then there is another struggle to end things. It shows so much promise in between, and then it just misses out on the whole thing. There are lots of slow moments in between, and speeding up or removing the same would have made this film no longer than one and a quarter hours instead of the two hours length which seems rather too much. It seems that it has also kept the elements of horror to the minimum, and the focus is shifted to drama instead. The movie is basically categorized as horror, but it is more of drama and mystery – the chances to have some terrifying sequences in this atmosphere have not been taken, and it is a shame that despite finding so many opportunities, they have let it go. The idea is really good, and they haven’t really used it to the best effect.

The performers of the soul :: I have loved most of the early movies of Amanda Seyfried, and she shines in this one too, even though there is the feeling of being a little tired. This still won’t be among my favourite performances or movies of her, but with the focus on her, she maintains the character with all characteristics, without failing at any point. The work of James Norton is solid, and the realization of the true nature in him comes through stages – a character with many faces, but is much lovable at all places. You will also notice how Natalia Dyer comes in, does a fine job in the few minutes when she is there. Alex Neustaedter also blends in to the role really well, and so does Jack Gore who plays his brother. Rhea Seehorn comes with a nice performance in a role which has more than what it seemed in the early stages of the movie. One can say the same about F Murray Abraham who also has more to contribute than we would think. Emily Dorsch’s ghostly appearance doesn’t get what it deserves – no spirit in this movie gets what was deserved.

How it finishes :: Things Heard and Seen is a slow moving drama and mystery film with horror taking the backseat as if it is terrified of the dramatic elements. But it still works with some fine twists, and there are the surprises which were not thought about before. The final few moments take the thrilling path, and there are also some symbolic moments to go with them here. The title would also seem to make perfect sense as the movie reaches the final stages, and big revelations are made. It doesn’t go through the path of usual horror movies due to the mixing of genre, and therefore, we have no need to expect The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun, Insidious, Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil, The Curse of La Llorna, or anything like that which brings some direct horror with the evil sprits. This movie is certainly not about that kind of horror. This one just flows slowly with the drama, as mysteries are revealed, and finally ends with the twists in a thrilling few moments. You can watch this particular movie only with this type of expectations.

Release date: 29th April 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, James Norton, Natalia Dyer, Rhea Seehorn, Karen Allen, Alex Neustaedter, Jack Gore, F Murray Abraham, Michael O’Keefe, Emily Dorsch, James Urbaniak

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@ 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.

Reminiscence

Vampire Owl: I do see my long lost memories on a screen.

Vampire Bat: Do not tell me that this is about another invention of Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: He is too much addicted to the present to go into the past.

Vampire Bat: His addiction is with the impossible future.

Vampire Owl: There is no future that is impossible for Sir Frankenstein.

Vampire Bat: Do not call him that. He was never knighted by the Count.

Vampire Owl: The knighthood is not a thing of title anymore. It is something of action.

Vampire Bat: There is no action can he can come up with to deserve it.

Vampire Owl: You will know it once he is done with the grand experiment.

Vampire Bat: You call what he is doing in the so called laboratory an experiment. I call it a death wish without limits.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: In a not too distant future, climate change has led to the sealevels rising, resulting in a flooded Miami. The temperature has risen so much that people prefer to go through most part of their lives at night. Sooner or later, the sea is supposed to claim the whole city. Nicholas Bannister (Hugh Jackman) and Emily Sanders (Thandiwe Newton) used to serve in the military forces, but is now running a business which helps people to relive their memories in a world which has no hope about the present or the future. Most people come there because they cannot live in a present which feels disastrous, and wishes to go through their past lives again and again, often due to nostalgia, and at other times because of a loss. Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) is their latest customer who wishes to find where she kept her keys, from her memories. As the memories do get visualized every time to help Nicholas guide the customers through their past, him and Emily gets to watch most of the things which the customers have gone through.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: After Mae leaves her earrings behind, Nicholas finds her in the nightclub, and they start a relationship, but Emily doubts her and wonders if she has some other motive in being with him. Later, one day, Mae disappears without a trace. Nicholas tries to find her by reliving his own memories of their relationship. It is something that could trap him in the memories forever, but he continues to do so for months. Emily is disappointed about his transformation, and asks him to move on. He feels assured that someone so much in love won’t disappear all of a sudden, and something might have happened to her, while Emily feels that their business is going down as customers as decreasing. He does find her earrings in a gutter, making him believe that she cam back for him, but Emily assures him that a lot of things ends up out there, and it could be from a long time ago. When prosecutor Avery Castillo (Natalie Martinez) calls him to retrieve the memories of a suspect. But it is not something that he will like.

The defence of Reminiscence :: There was always supposed to be something about Reminiscence, as we know that it is about memories, love and a mystery which will bring the twists. The concept is brilliant, and from an apocalyptic world, it moves to science fiction, and then to a mystery with ease. It is the kind of world which we will have sooner or later, sea taking over the land as a result of global warming, and this one also has the smartness show it as a gradual thing, and not as something happening in a few days or months. Well, it is a reminder to us that we are moving slowly towards that possible end, and none of us are doing anything about it, as the rich already have their Elysium and control of most of the money, while we are fooled easily. The journey takes you through what can be called a complete package. This one is not predictable at all, and there are some nice surprises in store – the twists add to the melancholy, and as the protagonist says, there is no happy ending in real life, but we understand that there can always be beauty even in the sadness. The ending of the movie, even though not a happy one, is a beautiful one indeed.

Positives and negatives :: Reminiscence does make us feel that we have seen some of it before, as it is surely a collection of different elements merged into one – yet, you see that final moments of it feels very much unique and incredibly touching. There are some slow moments in the middle, which might be the scenes which pull this movie a little bit backwards by not adding the needed ingredients there. When thinking about the memories and a future, you are quickly thinking about Total Recall and Ghost in the Shell, but they were all action, as you look at them. This movie also has its fine dose of action sequences, and there are twists and thrills awaiting in the memories along with the charm of love. There are not many science fiction thrillers which are able to create such an emotional effect on audience, and that too related to love. Lisa Joy’s one and only full-length feature film is here to stay in the heart. You avoid that tendency to slow down, and you have a work which you can watch, and be touched in multiple ways.

The performers of the soul :: Hugh Jackman is fantastic in this movie which has him in a role which has emotions running through him so well. He also makes a charming pair with Rebecca Ferguson, a couple like we haven’t really seen before. On one side, we have the long living mutant, Wolverine with healing powers and on the other side, we have the assassin from Mission Impossible series of movies – two people of action are the people in love here. There is no other two performers who could have made this work so beautiful. While the thrills are effective and the mystery is present throughout the film, it is the romance that makes the apocalyptic future’s science fiction a thing to remember, and the dialogues from these two are to stay with us for a very long period of time. It is the kind of tale which would have everyone asking for a happily ever after, unlike those half-baked romantic nonsense served as if there is true love being shown. Negative shades are also not new to Rebecca who played the full, strong antagonist in Doctor Sleep. Thandiwe Newton is also a powerful support while Cliff Curtis’ villain is strong enough. The other thing you note here is the perfect melancholy on the face of Angela Sarafyan.

How it finishes :: I will never understand why this movie didn’t do that well at the box-office, for it is a lovely and divergent take at the same time. The mixture that this film provides is something which is suitable for everyone, with different genres touched with the power of human memories and emotions. There is the feeling of mystery that goes through this world which seems to be almost apocalyptic with a realistic feeling, and the science fiction elements nicely blend in here to make the journey better. Also a romantic movie, this one focuses on that side with supremacy in the final moments. You will find this movie to be a lot better than what the reviews say, and there is that beautiful feeling of abiding sadness and a bliss of true romance which follows you from different directions. It has that kind of performers who keeps you so engaged in it, more than how it would have been with any other. Reminiscence is the kind of movie I would recommend for most people, and it would have even done better if it had released here before the Corona virus pandemic, for the admirers of Wolverine would also love this particular avatar.

Release date: 20th August 2021
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Lisa Joy
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Natalie Martinez, Marina de Tavira, Angela Sarafyan, Daniel Wu, Mojean Aria, Brett Cullen, Javier Molina, Sam Medina, Norio Nishimura, Nico Parker, Roxton Garcia

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Whole Truth

Vampire Owl: There is a lot of talk about truth going on around here.

Vampire Bat: It is something that humans never try to speak.

Vampire Owl: Humans haven’t been close to truth for a long time.

Vampire Bat: Truth just doesn’t suit them. They are basically liars. You cannot blame them for going back to their basic nature.

Vampire Owl: Their basic nature is related to robbery and murder.

Vampire Bat: It is really difficult to talk about human nature. They are pure evil.

Vampire Owl: Yes, which is why many witches travel to their world and try to kill a few of them or transform them into better creatures like cats and dogs.

Vampire Bat: It is the same reason why we don’t have Vampire Cats anymore.

Vampire Owl: Human existence has no real meaning related to anything other than evil.

Vampire Bat: If Corona virus makes them go extinct, it can be called a pure evil thing.

[Gets a marble cake and three glasses of mango shake].

What is the movie about? :: Mai (Nicole Theriault) is living happily with her two children, Pim (Sutatta Udomsilp) and Putt (Mac Nattapat Nimjirawat) in the city of Bangkok, until she meets with an accident on her way back home from office, on the same day that she received a promotion at her office. She is now in a coma, and even though out of critical situation, has to stay in the ICU. It is then that their grandparents come to visit them – Phong (Sompob Benjathikul) and Wan (Tarika Tidatid) takes them to their ancestral home. The house is quite a large one, and Phong says that Wan is not really well, and due to her dementia, she also needs some taking care of. At the same time, Mai has some severe injury to her brain, and it will take some time for her to get better. Until then, the two siblings will have to stay in their ancestral home, even though they are not really comfortable about it. They take everything from home, and place them at the new place, as they feel that they are for a very long time. But this doesn’t seem that good a place for them.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, the cat which they brought there from the original home is no longer found. They are also able to find a hole on the wall, which the grandparents don’t find to be present. They blame the children for making up things which are not there, and advises them to stop looking for cats. There is something going on in the house, and it feels really strange for the siblings. When Putt looks through the hole, he sees a strange girl on the other side, and it does seem like a strange house on the other side there. At the same time, Fame (Sadanont Durongkaweroj), a boy who studies with Pim, comes to the house and warns them about leaking a video of her showering in the gym. He is also not able to see the hole on the wall either, but is pulled to the wall, hurting his nose. He leaves the place with a broken nose, telling Pim that he will leak her naked video on the internet. As the grandmother reaches home, she sees the blood on the floor and losses her mind for a few minutes. Pim and Putt understand that things can get only worse from there, as there are some secrets out there.

The defence of The Whole Truth :: Even though this particular movie is from Thailand, there is the feeling of watching a Korean film – that kind of quality is here with the visuals. It also gets into action quite fast, and we are glad to follow it around early enough. The idea of the hole in the wall which provides some strange visions is nice, especially with the arrangements on the other side. The feeling of danger is always effectively there. This does bring some scares, but the film is more about mystery, revealing a few things about human nature, rather than anything else. The theme of the movie is related to how people only give half truths, manipulating everything to suit their own versions. The film also has a nice way of revealing everything, through visions and incidents. The way that it keeps us in suspense is good, as we are not really sure which way it is to go, not just about the ghostly figure, but also about how the leading lady’s situation would be, in the school – there are even twists about her life there, and the supernatural only comes later.

Positives and negatives :: The Rings creature feeling is there for sure, as if to provide something like a repetition, for that is one demonic presence which everyone has liked for a long time. There were also so many more possibilities for the incidents of the movie to progress, and it could have used better clarity at some parts. The ending could have also been more direct. There are moments when it makes us feel that this is going to be like The Visit, but it is surely not going that way. Also, the movie’s drama feels a lot like Indian films at times, and therefore, it is more relatable to our audience. The ghost here more like the past which continues to haunt us, reminding us of a few dialogues in Crimson Peak. The idea of the ghost trying to tell the truth, or rather the whole truth is not something new, but this one takes different steps towards it. The way in which this movie changes your expectations in between, is also notable. There is no early clue about what we have in the end, for the twists work in that way, and make this one effective.

Performers of the soul :: Among the performers, it is Sutatta Udomsilp who stands the strongest, as the elder grandchild and sister who has to stay strong in the absence of her mother. She reflects a number of scream queens which we have seen in Hollywood movies, and still has a lovely touch of divergence that relates her to horror movie stars of Bollywood too. She expresses herself incredibly well throughout the different events, from the emotional ones to the scary ones. Nicole Theriault has only the first few minutes as the mother, as she gets to face the car accident too soon, waking up much late. Mac Nattapat Nimjirawat plays the young brother figure who is weakened, pretty well. Sompob Benjathikul plays the grandfather figure with a lot of strength, while Tarika Tidatid fits into the grandmother role with ease. Sadanont Durongkaweroj plays the usual creepy boy who reminds one of the Drishyam boy who got buried under the police station, after capturing the video of the showering girl. Thasorn Klinnium, who is only there for a few minutes, also has her contribution.

How it finishes :: The Whole Truth is the first Thai movie at Movies of the Soul, and it did come late, when we look at the foreign language movies at the website. Even though there have been many movies which came close to becoming the first, this one finally made it way here through Netflix. It is rather surprising that we have already had Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and Indonesian movies here to add to a South East Asian list, there hasn’t been any from Thailand. This movie changes that in style. Movies like Furie, Impetigore, The Wandering Earth and Train to Busan were all movies which had something special in their own ways, coming from different countries and languages. The Whole Truth proved to be a fine example with which to start Thai films. When we had visited Pattaya and Bangkok, we did really want to watch a movie or two, but that didn’t happen because of the busy schedule of the trips. At least, that desire is fulfilled for now. As we go through the beginning of the new year, let us hope that more wishes can be fulfilled in 2022.

Release date: 2nd December 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Wisit Sasanatieng
Starring: Sutatta Udomsilp, Tarika Tidatid, Sompob Benjathikul, Sadanont Durongkaweroj, Steven Isarapong, Thasorn Klinnium, Mac Nattapat Nimjirawat, Keetapat Pongrue, Nicole Theriault

<<< 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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sacrifice

Vampire Owl: Vampires have always been against sacrifices.

Vampire Bat: Yes, sacrifices are now limited to the Northern Witches.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the Draconians don’t do sacrifices anymore.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it has been an outlawed practice throughout the realm.

Vampire Owl: Yet, they didn’t officially declare it so. Illegal sacrifices are still happening.

Vampire Bat: The Land of the Vampires shall have no part of it.

Vampire Owl: They even put up some posters inviting vampires for blood moon sacrifices.

Vampire Bat: We never accept the invitations of the Northern Witches. I am sure that they are completely aware of that.

Vampire Owl: You still cannot blame them for trying so hard.

Vampire Bat: The borders have been left open for too long these days. We need to have some control there.

[Gets some tapioca chips and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: Isaac Pickman (Ludovic Hughes) and his pregnant wife Emma Pickman (Sophie Stevens) travel to a remote island which is part of Norway, all the way from United States of America. After his mother’s death, he is hoping to claim a surprise inheritance which has come to his attention. The place is extremely beautiful, and there is so much of lovely scenery around. It would have been a perfect tourist destination for anyone from any part of the world, and also a great eco-tourism holiday. The home is also located by the same of a charming lake, which gives the feeling of being in a magical world. Some of the paintings at home seem to bring something back to the memories of Isaac, as they go on living as normal as they can. The locals don’t seem to like the British who manipulated the Nordic language and the Americans who claim that Christopher Colombus discovered America. They come up against a fight which Isaac seems to lose miserably, but when they realize that Isaac is from around there, they turn rather friendly.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: They also meet Renate Nygard (Barbara Crampton) who is the local sheriff – she wants to know about his father and his murder on that night when Isaac left Norway for the United States of America. Isaac understands that the police feels that his mother murdered his father, and lied to him that he had left him as he found a new family. The sheriff provides some updates about Isaac’s family after calling them for supper – they also come up against Astrid Nygard (Johanna Adde Dahl), the sheriff’s beautiful daughter. As they make their seemingly vacation-like visit, the couple discover some dark secrets which are related to the family. Then the sinister events that happen around there have other directions to follow. This seemingly charming trip turns into a nightmare without warning as Isaac and his wife comes across a secret pagan cult that worships a deity based on the sea and its waters. Astrid’s brainwashing of Isaac only makes things worse. Emma understands soon enough that the people have something more to provide than what meets the eye.

The defence of Sacrifice :: What catches our attention the most around here is the visuals, as the natural beauty is almost everywhere, from the smallest detail to a world of nature’s visual splendour – add a few beautiful people around to go with the same, among which Johanna Adde Dahl stands apart, and has her moments rising out of a lake which would have been iconic in cinema if this film was more popular. Along with the usual things of beauty, these moments from her might be the creepiest thing of beauty like nothing else that we see – one would also wonder here, whether she is of this world or a human manifestation of an ancient demon, as she appears with the northern lights from the freezing waters of the lake, naked and with only a few words of mystery. There are mysteries that runs through the movie, and it also has some scares going on with it, mostly related to the location itself, and related to the waters that surround the water and imprison its people. The mystery here does live on, and doesn’t depend on the ending to provide that usual conclusion.

Positives and negatives :: The movie might feel slow, and a little bit predictable at the final moments, but the slow descend towards horror is not to be considered a negative. Just like the film Castle Freak and the direct adaptation Color Out of Space, this is also closer to the definition of Lovecraftian horror which focuses on the incomprehensible and the unknowable. Even though there might be some shock and gore added to the newer films which take these features, this one is without them. Our movie here thrives on the mystery, as we don’t know what is real and what is not, for there are so many dreams and nightmares around here, with the cult not really showing what it is really about, and what Johanna Adde Dahl is all about, whether she is a figment of one’s imagination or a human representation of the goddess that they worship. It doesn’t have much of the special effects to go with it, and also hesitates to have that huge an ending, but it leaves the scope for a sequel, and we can always hope for the Lovecraftian world to find new life in everything around.

Performers of the soul :: Sophie Stevens does a great job as the pregnant woman who is caught among things that she doesn’t seem to be able understand. She is the only one who feels that there is something strange around there, and the feeling of being alone in a terrifying world. There is fear and helplessness being portrayed, after the beauty and bliss earlier. Ludovic Hughes’ descend into madness is also portrayed well, as it is an even better performance from him in the final stages of the movie. Barbara Crampton remains solid throughout the movie as one character who seems to know almost everything, and also does decide most of the things around there. Johanna Adde Dahl has our attention more than anyone else, even with very less dialogues spoken – the creepy beauty that she brings makes sure that there is something terribly divergent about the movie, as she her appearance out of the lake is one of the most magical moments in the film, unclothed and supported by the magical aura of the nothern lights, with the scope to be iconic if the movie gets more popularity later. She has her dialogues only then, and they enchanting as much as creepy in nature.

How it finishes :: Sacrifice is a surprisingly interesting film as you look at it, and the same suits more than just the genre of thriller. Brought into a Lovecraftian world, it is your need to understand this kind of a thriller, horror or drama, and what kind of a universe it would be depending on. For those who are looking for usual horror and thrills might not be that happy about it, but that is indeed a problem with their understanding, with expectations for a usual Annabelle, The Nun, The Conjuring, Sinister or Insidious. This film is much more than that, as it transports us to this particular world which boasts of both beauty and creepiness – the strange universe is something that we can cherish, with a few things to keep us guessing. After all, such an isolated world might be completely free from Corona virus and certainly free from its newly formed mutation which threatens to conquer the world again, Omicron. As we fear more pandemic induced lock-downs, keep looking out for some good films while you can. Christmas is on its way, and as the grand celebrations arrive, you stay safe.

Release date: 22nd October 2020
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Andy Collier, Tor Mian
Starring: Barbara Crampton, Sophie Stevens, Ludovic Hughes, Lukas Loughran, Johanna Adde Dahl, Jack Kristiansen, Erik Lundin, Dag Soerlie, Ingeborg Mork Haskjold, Edwin Roseth-Oye, Annika Josefine Stromblad, Balder Bjorke

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kho Kho

What is the movie about? :: Maria Francis (Rajisha Vijayan) is appointed as a PT teacher in a girls’ school, in the remote area of a village which is surrounded by backwaters. She is forced to take up the job because her husband Ben (Venkitesh VP) was facing failure in business, and was in requirement of the money. Maria used to be a sprinter, and was very close to representing India at an international level when something terrible happened in her life. At the new school, the two people who is in support of her activities are the peon Shivaprasad (Renjit Shekar Nair) and the accountant Vinod (Rahul Riji Nair), the latter being doubtful about the requirement for a PT teacher in the school, yet being interested in Maria. After some days of doing almost nothing in the school which has historically given no importance to arts and sports, she decides to create a kho-kho team for the first time in school history, a move much appreciated by the headmaster.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: With a confused but hardworking team led by the stubborn Anju (Mamitha Baiju) who has her own mood swings and not missing her chance to pick up a fight, Maria hopes to make history through her students, and achieve greatness which she couldn’t earlier due to circumstances. The parents of the students are against the students choosing sports instead of using that time for studies, and do not appreciate the fact that the girls are going somewhere far away to compete. But as they qualify for the district level competitions, they do manage to gain a certain amount of support. The girls’ problem related to balancing studies and sports, their problem with wearing shorts within a conservative world and Anju’s attraction towards Shivaprasad might be the least of the problems with Maria will have to face here. Can she and Anju lead the team towards seemingly impossible victories and an even more elusive final triumph?

The defence of Kho-Kho :: Depending more on the emotions than anything else, Kho-Kho also has the usual moments of thrill with the games. It is the common motivational story of the underdogs who had no chance, but with hardwork and inspired performance, comes out victorious against all odds. The characters and the setting become interesting in this case, as this goes through life of common people for most of the time. We also have some nice visuals to go with the same. There are many exciting scenes here to remember too. The struggles of the characters involved here are shown well, especially the two main characters played by Rajisha and Mamitha. The feeling which was provided by Finals is somewhat repeated in this movie, and if you had like that movie, this will be on your favourite sports drama list too. The songs are pretty good, and they go on well with the visuals as well as the mood, and so does the background music. Unlike Chak De! India and Dangal, this is the real woman-centric film with empowerment, and without those unnecessary superstar exaggerations, and that feels true to life in many ways.

The claws of flaw :: Kho-Kho is certainly not that big as Finals, the other film with the same actress in the lead. The background story which keeps on moving silently is not that strong when we look at it. The premise feels similar to other movies, and we can predict a lot of things which are going to happen here. A number of training scenes and events are more repetitive rather than trying to do something different or unpredictable. To add to it, some dialogues actually look more artificial, right out of paper, rather than coming with the emotional weight. Venkitesh is also very much underused in another movie after The Priest limited him, and Thattumpurath Achuthan‘s song presence had made us feel that he would be a regular full presence. More of the girls in the cast should have got more attention though, at least half of them. The release of the movie on Asianet was delayed by a week, and it was Drishyam 2 which had its television release then, a disappointing decision from the channel which might have kept some people away.

The performers of the soul :: We have seen Rajisha Vijayan only in a few movies, and among them, we have seen such great skill. We have seen her in the grand performances from Anuraga Karikkin Vellam which brought her the Kerala State Award for Best Actress, through the nostalgia-inducing coming-of-age story of June, to the earlier sports drama of high acclaim, Finals. It is to be noted that in both sports drama, Rajisha plays a character with a tragedy to go with both life and career. With her role beginning as the trainer, the tragic background was established much earlier here. Rajisha once again has the whole thing in control here, and from the beginning to the end, it is a determined as well as emotional performance. Well, Finals was the best movie of the season when it released, but many people missed the work on the big screen, and the same is the case here too due to COVID-19, and it seems that the early television premieres are changing some of the situation here, with everyone getting the needed access not too late.

Further performers of the soul :: Mamitha Baiju who was also seen in Operation Java plays the captain of the team, and plays her role in a very much believable manner, with all the emotions and determination required for the role. She will surely be a talent to look out for, with more of similar roles. There is the rage and a flurry of emotions that she comes up with, which suits very well for her character with a troubled past. Unlike the character she played in the Balu Varghese starrer, the energy here is intense. Venkitesh VP as the protagonist’s husband has only a limited role, and we are still hoping to see him in bigger roles, like we have wanted all those actors and actresses in the Naayika Naayakan reality show to come out with their performances on the big screen. Renjit Shekar Nair and the director himself – Rahul Riji Nair comes up with good supporting performances. Vettukili Prakash’s role might have felt unnecessary. The cast of girls in the team is also nicely done, and at least quarter of them stay with us by the end, even though not more than one or two gets extra attention.

How it finishes :: Kho-Kho is another sports drama which you don’t need to miss, and it is also a film which goes through the base level of the game, without overdoing the same. Just like Finals, it is nice to see another sport with lesser fans getting all the attention, and not the highly fan favourite Indian sport of cricket or football which comes second. Cricket never really required movies as support, but some sports can have films made on them to bring out interest back to them, and this is the same case happening here. The movie is a reminder of a sport which is often left unnoticed among the bigger names. Kho-Kho is a film that can have even a sequel with this content, and there are times when it also reminds us of Godha, which brought back memories of wrestling as a sport. These are indeed the films which needs our support, and not those overrated stuff which has wandered around with a lot of hype and no substance. Kho-Kho needs to come back to television or release on Amazon Prime at some point to expand its horizons.

Release date: 14th April 2021 (Theatre), 28th May 2021 (Asianet)
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Rahul Riji Nair
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Mamitha Baiju, Renjit Shekar Nair, Venkitesh VP, Vettukili Prakash, Arjun Ranjan, Sreejith Babu, Jeo Baby, Geethi Sangeetha, Rahul Riji Nair

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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.