Two

Vampire Owl: There are two of us here. Therefore, watching the movie is relevant.

Vampire Bat: This movie seems to have something to do with the number, two.

Vampire Owl: I don’t really like that number though. I like “one” – I am the greatest one.

Vampire Bat: Uncle Dracula is the greatest of us all.

Vampire Owl: You just cannot put so much greatness on him anymore.

Vampire Bat: The times haven’t changed. Dracula is still relevant.

Vampire Owl: Vampires are still relevant. Dracula is not.

Vampire Bat: There are no vampires without Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Owl: Maybe in the Dracula Castle. It is not the same case outside.

Vampire Bat: Well, you can just wait and see, after his birthday party which is coming up.

[Gets a chocolate cake and three glasses of oreo shake].

What is the movie about? :: Sara (Marina Gatell) and David (Pablo Derqui) wakes up in the bed somewhere, stitched to each other. They don’t really have any memory how they reached there. The two try to figure out what has happened with them, and where they are. They guess that someone drugged them and brought them here and stitched them up. The people responsible seems to have taken away everything from them, from clothes to wrist watches. They try to make some connection between them, but there is nothing in common between the two. It is also realized that they are being recorded with cameras all around the room. The room seems to be something that gives an aristocratic feeling, making them feel that someone rich and influential is behind their situation. They do find some clues about the same, but someone seems to get into the room at times, and they are not able to find out who. The room seems to be too secure for anyone to go out, with lock being strongly applied from outside.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Sara has the feeling that her husband, Mario (Esteban Galilea) has something to do with it. He is supposed to be someone very rich and influential, with doubts that she is having an affair with another man. She feels that there is also something about him that has resulted in David also reaching there. He also has the feeling that maybe he also knows her husband, who is a much older person. There is also a name Rita (Anna Chincho Serrano) that comes across them, as part of a photo which is placed in the room. Yet, they are not able to remember any of such a name as part of their lives. They feel that maybe this will end only in their death, and try to break down the door, which feels very reinforced. The windows also lead nowhere. There are some big revelations to be made, but they wonder if they will stay alive to understand all of those. Soon, their past will come back to them, and the one thing which makes the two connected with the man who is behind all of these.

The defence of Two :: The movie is just one hour and ten minutes long, which makes sure that there is absolutely no drag about it. It doesn’t slow down even though there were many chances in between. There is also the successful maintenance of suspense with twists, as we don’t guess what is coming in the end, even though there are so many things happening in between. The red herrings are delivered effectively, and we make so many guesses about the antagonist who is responsible for what is happening here. It does work as body horror, a subgenre which is difficult to appeal to people – unlike other movies of the same kind, this film actually knows where to keep the borders, and not to be disgusting at any point. The genre is often too much to handle for many people due to the amount of gore and extremities related to body parts, but this one stays at the border related to that. The setting of the room which this movie uses throughout its run also adds on well, and the mysteries to be revealed here are also of interest.

Positives and negatives :: There have been a number of Spanish movies which have tried to be different from the rest – there was The Platform, and here we have this one. This one still seems to have rushed through things too much, as we look at the final moments. It could have taken more time finish it though, as the length here is just seventy minutes and nothing more. The setting which is one place at all times, is nicely managed too. This is also one of those rare films which maintains the Classical Unities of Aristotle. Unity of action is maintained with that one principal action of being stitched together and being together at all times, while unity of place is maintained with where they are trapped, and unity of action is clear as everything happens within twenty four hours. It has been difficult to maintain these in movies, as people look forward to seeing many other things and occurrences as films progress. But in this case, they have made the situation very interesting. Even though this is not the usual horror, the situation of the protagonists is surely a scary one.

Performers of the soul :: With everything dependent on two people, this film focuses on their performances, one can safely say that this works effectively due to the same. We also see that the characters do evolve as the tale progresses. The conversation between the two becomes very important too. Marina Gatell places herself in the situation very well, and comes up with a fine performance. She plays a person who is confused and wants to figure out what is happening quick enough, and even suspects the person who is with her – the character works out really well for her. Pablo Derqui who plays the other person in trouble, takes things slowly, and has better idea of how criminals works – makes the person with him doubtful. The situations which are nicely created for them, is managed well by the two. The whole idea is made better with the performances of these two. The rest of the characters only arrive by the end, or are present only in photos. In the end, we know that in Two, there are only two characters who gets the chance to come up with worthy performances.

How it finishes :: Being stitched to someone else is horror enough, and this Spanish movie use that to its advantage, getting to the list of films in that language which have tried to be different in multiple ways. Thanks to the performance of the leading cast, this one never lags behind, even when there were so many opportunities. It provides us with the opportunity to make so many guesses, and it also has us coming to that twist when least expected. The short journey is very much an engaging watch, and as long as you don’t have a problem with some body horror, this is to work just fine. During the time of Corona virus pandemic, a number of films had people quarantined alone, while this one has two people locked in a room as one. It is indeed an interesting, but strange concept, as you look at it. The creative imagination behind the movie seems to be working well in this particular case. Netflix has once again scored with another fine addition to the grand list of horror and thrills.

Release date: 10th December 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 70 minutes
Directed by: Mar Targarona
Starring: Marina Gatell, Pablo Derqui, Anna Chincho Serrano, Kandido Uranga, Esteban Galilea

<<< 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.

Girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vampire Owl: Angels have become myths everywhere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Closet

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

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

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

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

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

Vampire Bat: It could be named after humans then.

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

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

Vampire Owl: Is it supposed to be natural?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Black as Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vampire Bat: They are preferring variations these days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Manor

Vampire Owl: Are we talking about the Dracula Manor?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Voyeurs

Vampire Owl: Do you think that life means anything?

Vampire Bat: It doesn’t matter for humans at all. Then why should it matter for us?

Vampire Owl: I am sure that it would matter to us more.

Vampire Bat: I would never understand why humans are like this.

Vampire Owl: Humans need their lives to keep lying.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is the only thing that they do throughout their lives.

Vampire Owl: I had trusted three humans last year, and I would never do that again.

Vampire Bat: Humans are all about cheating others, and nothing more.

Vampire Owl: I would trust the demons of hell over these people.

Vampire Bat: Let us not blame the zombies for eating their brains then, and go home.

[Gets a strawberry cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Pippa (Sydney Sweeney) and Thomas (Justice Smith), move into a new apartment in Montreal, Canada after a long time of spending time apart despite being in love for quite a long time. It seems to be the perfect place for them, and everything seems to work exactly according to the plans, which includes children, job and many more things. They soon find out that the windows of their apartment look across the street to another one, which has no curtains. They see and note these neighbours from the first night itself, and there is initially just some photography, but soon things get more intimate. Pippa doesn’t feel that it is okay to look into the lives of others. They even end up giving those people random names. Soon, they become more addicted in the life of people on the other side. Sebastian (Ben Hardy) and Sam (Cait Alexander) are the two people whom they end up seeing in action. Then there is also Julia (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) whom they see at the same apartment.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: They understand that Julia is the original wife, and Seb is cheating on her. Now, Pippa and Thomas are really interested, and wants to know what these people were talking to each other. For the same, they attend a Halloween Party in the apartment, and place a recording device in there. Julia who is supposed to be the real wife of Seb knows that he is cheating on her with some of the models whose photos he had taken. As more models including Mere (Blessing Adedijo) are added to the list, only Thomas and Pippa knows about the same as they watch from a distance. When Julia visits Pippa’s eye clinic, they become friends, and Pippa really wishes to talk to Julia about all the cheating that has been going on. But it seems that there is more to what they have been seeing around. The world has its secrets, and here once again, we have more than what meets the eye.

The defence of The Voyeurs :: The Voyeurs does have some moments of suspense, and it keeps us interested about what is to happen next, and twists as well as thrills do make the appearance. We have many unpredictable moments in here too, as one does feel that he or she never did see that coming. It is then that the mood of the movie suddenly changes without a warning, and there are those final moments when Sydney Sweeney scores above everyone else. All of a sudden, we have something to look out for. The pattern is also really good, and how it transcends the genre is a thing to look out for. The final moments of the film are among the best too, as the shock does get to everyone. We also have some fine visuals around here, and there is also the message given about not to believe what we see. Well, we just cannot believe the humans about almost anything, because humanity itself is built on the towers of lies and hatred for others.

The claws of flaw :: Even though The Voyeurs could have been a better film, there is no attempt here to rise above the limitations. There are lots of slow moments in here, and we are left with times when nothing much happens. The film also takes some time to bring its twists to the scene. People will find some parts of the movie strange too, and also related to how things change so fast. We also have times when things are not that perfect, and we do feel that some of these things could have been different. It also follows the usual formula for the is kind of film for most of the time too. It could have also focused more on human nature, and how it has led to all of these in a direct manner. The film could have also had its focus on evil rather than anything else, as well as some special tendencies which people have. It does have the strength up to an extent, and we are always looking for more as far as films like this one are concerned.

Performers of the soul :: Sydney Sweeney leads the cast, and things go pretty well with her work, and Justice Smith also comes up with a similar job. Sydney is indeed lovely in showing those emotions as things change so quickly. We can see that in the end, she raises the level so well. It is beautiful to watch her emotional side at work. The leading cast are pretty good together, as we look at them. Natasha Liu Bordizzo is very good with her work, even though it is Katharine King whom we notice before her. Natasha also has something special in store, and you can wait for that too. The other names including Katharine King are fine to watch on the screen, but quickly vanish without any trace of their former existence. Ben Hardy is more or less the character that seemed predictable earlier, but not so later. There are also a number of other characters who are not given that much focus, and we forget them too, as film comes to an end.

How it finishes :: The Voyeurs has its moments of suspense and thrills, along with the twists which keep us going. It is not just what it seems to be, but more, and also leaves hope for a possible sequel in an even stranger manner. The films like this can actually go a strange route, and can miss the mark easily, but this one holds on really well. It is nice to see that another interesting thriller has come out on Amazon Prime Video during these times when theatres still remain closed. There are surely more coming up, and for now, we have this one to be appreciated. The Voyeurs might not be watched by many as of now, but it will surely be a preference soon enough. So, all of you do stay safe during the time of COVID-19 pandemic, and watch more films from Amazon Prime Video. These might not be the best time, but at least we can watch some good movies.

Release date: 10th September 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Michael Mohan
Starring: Sydney Sweeney, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Justice Smith, Ben Hardy, Katharine King, Cameo Adele, Jean Yoon, Blessing Adedijo

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous film review from Amazon release.

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

<— Click here to go to the English review from Amazon release during the same time.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kaanekkaane

What is the movie about? :: Deputy Tahsildar Paul Mathai (Suraj Venjaramoodu) is still not out of shock after his daughter Sherin Allen Mathai (Shruti Ramachandran) died as part of a hit and run accident. He is running a case against the man who was responsible for the incident, and he reiterates the fact that he will not forgive the driver not because of the accident, but because he didn’t stop to check on her daughter, and didn’t try to take her to the hospital. Paul believes that it was this hesitation that led to the death of his daughter, as he went missing, and was not found for a long time – an earlier treatment could have saved her. Paul hopes that he will get justice for his dead daughter soon enough. His son-in-law Allen Mathai (Tovino Thomas) is now married to a woman whom he had met during one of his business trips, Sneha George (Aishwarya Lekshmi), who is also pregnant for the first time at the moment. They seem to be a happy family, and his grandson Kuttu (Master Alok Krishna) is also a happy child when he is among them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Sneha’s father George (Prem Prakash) is concerned about Paul’s infatuation with the case, but Paul is determined to keep his eyes on the case all the time. It is then that he feels that there is something strange about Allen and Sneha, as he looks into her past. Even though Allen had introduced Sneha to him much later, and had asked him permission to marry her, he finds out that they were together much earlier, from a photo dated many months earlier. Even when he was supposed to be alone for work, he was with Sneha. He feels that Allen was cheating on Sherin for a very long time, and for both Allen and Sneha, it was a comfortable death – with Sherin out of the way, they could quickly get into a relationship. He also figures out that Allen reached the accident spot from the exact opposite direction of where he was then. He decides to find out if there is something more to the death of Sherin than what meets the eye. But as he gets closer to the same, he is not finding it easy to live with anymore.

The defence of Kaanekkaane :: If you consider the emotional side, this film is one of the strongest in that category, and there is no force that can drive it out of there – this one is an emotional thriller with class. Combining family elements and bringing the thrills is no easy task, and such emotional feeling takes some extra skill. The melancholy mood is always there, and defines the work, even before the revelations are made, and we move to the ideas of remorse and vengeance in multiple dimensions. In the end, all these lead to the message of forgiveness and the relief that lies in the same. It reaches the same by following multiple paths, and we never really feel that there is such a revelation. The emotional strength of the film grows on you, and it is at its top most level by the end. All these emotions are shown as ruling these characters. The emotional undercurrents never seem to disappear, as we keep coming back to it, like the Lake Poets to the beauty of nature and the Gothic Novelists to the dark terrors of any ancient castle.

The claws of flaw :: The emotional side often takes over long above the tale of people which is explored here. The story is basic, and we see that the pace doesn’t really pick up here at any point, and there is no attempt to focus around there. The moments before one main character’s death are not that much explored, as the first wife only gets a little less of screen space for our liking. The chance to throw in some thrills here and there has also been missed, and there too, the focus shifts to the emotional side. There is not much of colour in this film, and that should be because of its melancholy side rather than anything else. The movie could have had more advertisements before its release, even though we are seeing more of it right now. It does have a big heart, but that could be something which the people outside the film might be lacking. But when we are immersed in the emotions of the film, any problem is easily forgotten.

Performers of the soul :: Suraj Venjaramoodu leads the way here, and he comes up with another emotional performance, the kind in which he has excelled in the last few years, moving out of that comedy genre for long. As far as he is concerned, the list of fantastic performances is just too long, and my favourite has been Finals, in which he played the determined sportsman and father. The same fatherly strength can be seen here too, and the determination that he shows here, and how his character is displayed here are all, a few things to be remembered. There is a lot of melancholy that runs through his face, and we go through his pain as much as he does. His character is also as close to reality as possible, and the emotional depth of the film starts from him, is strengthened by him, and comes to a close with his own actions. Prem Prakash plays the father of the second wife, and the veteran actor has no problems with the work here.

Further performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas also plays a different kind of character, and like he did in Luca, has a heavy emotional performance to come up with. Here, he is okay with playing the second most important character, and he once again excels without doubt. One has to wonder how well he has risen in the last few years, and last year he had Kilometers and Kilometers as well as Forensic, but this year, he has many more films to his credit. Shruti Ramachandran who was last seen in Anveshanam has rather smaller role, but we note that down too. Then we have Aishwarya Lekshmi as the leading lady in the movie, one of the best young actresses of our times, keeping the melancholy mood of the film going forward. Seen with Tovino in one of the best combinations through Maayanadhi after her debut in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, she is indeed the one actress whom everyone needs to watch out for, as she impresses each and every time, leaving nothing to criticize – the same is the case here.

How it finishes :: This is the movie of Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Thomas and Aishwarya Lekshmi, all three coming up with splendid performances, and when we add these three to the melancholic mood which deals with themes that run through here, there is something of fine quality. The human emotions are really well portrayed through these performers, and the strong emotions are always running strong in the background. With such a strong cast, the film has no problems in portraying what it has been trying to do. It is so much multi-layered that we won’t be able to take the side of any character, and therefore we choose to travel through this journey. This is also the first Malayalam film to directly release in this particular OTT platform. Well, for every other good movie in Malayalam, we seem to have the choice of Amazon Prime Video. There is a lot more to release there in October, and that should be enough to keep the movie lovers interested even during the times of Corona virus.

Release date: 17th September 2021 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Manu Ashokan
Starring: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Thomas, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Shruti Ramachandran, Prem Prakash, Rony David, Dhanya Mary Varghese, Binu Pappu, Sruthy Jayan, Sreeja Das, Master Alok Krishna

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nizhal

What is the movie about? :: John Baby (Kunchacko Boban), a district court judge gets into a car accident after being in a fight with rash bike rider. After the accident, he begins to see things, and when there is sunshine, he keeps seeing dark clouds and rain. His psychatrist Dr TP Basheer (Rajesh Hebbar) tells him that it is just post-traumatic stress which will be over in a few days. He is also forced to wear a mask to make sure his damaged nose wouldn’t suffer any more damage, and will stay stable. He is not able to continue with his job as he used to, and his senior, Ajith Kumar (Saiju Kurup) is doubtful about his mental status. His best friend Rajan (Rony David) and wife Shalini (Divya Prabha) helps him, as latter is also a psychologist. From Shalini, he gets to know about a boy named Nitin (Izin Hash) who had written a story of murder when teachers had told the students to do some creative writing exercise. The teachers are concerned because as a child, he was supposed to write about things less terrifying by a long way.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As this has him interested, he meets Sharmila (Nayanthara) the boy’s mother with the help of Shalini so that he could get rid of the feeling that something is wrong. Even though she doesn’t agree in the beginning, she lets them into their home fearing the police getting into the act. Nitin seems to be a happy little boy who lives with his mother in a luxurious flat in the middle of the city, and his only contact is Megha (Aadya Prasad), a college student who comes regularly to teach him, and is his only real friend. Nitin gets close to John easily, especially due to his mask which reminded him about Batman and Robin. Soon, things take a turn, as they understand that the murder which the boy had talked about, is something which had really happened. The body which was supposed to be hidden in the area which he mentioned actually existed, as they fnd a skeleton which was about thirty years old. Now, the boy has another story, and things begin to get serious with police involved.

The defence of Nizhal :: There is a certain amount of quality that we can witness as far as b is considered as a mystery thriller – this is the style which some of the Prithviraj movies had possessed, those belonging to the same genre. The technical department is quite strong here, and we see some fine visuals and the background score as well as the other sound effects are of top quality. The mystery is well maintained throughout the film, and there is the suspense which is not revealed that easily. The movie, as a thing of mystery has that Hollywood touch in different areas. It never lets the slowing down of the tale to hurt it, because there is the artistic quality which makes everything feel relevant and running. The first half is surely better than the second, and the interval punch is of top quality, as it is where you get your expectations to the highest point. From there, the movie travels through the safer zone in comparison.

The claws of flaw :: The climax could have surely been better, instead of seemingly taking everything towards what seemed to be a rather convenient ending – not really appropriate for a movie which had taken itself out of the comfort zone in the early stages making one feel that this was going to be something divergent beyond expectations. There are also those situations which could have been more twisted than what is seen on the screen, and moments when it could have taken a big leap. We could have also seen better reasons for what has happened on the screen, but that is also not here to be taken. The comic relief, even though is pretty good, disappears too soon, and the seriousness is not transformed into that next level as it was needed, when we see the final moments of the film. One can’t really blame that as the biggest mystery and fear has been about the Corona virus for some time now. The movie also needed better advertising because there are still people who don’t know about this one.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchako Boban has been winning with his thriller movies, from Anjaam Pathiraa to Nayattu, the first one being an investigation thriller and the second one being a survival thriller against all odds. With all these movies, it is clear that he is getting rid of that romantic hero image once again, as this works really well for him. I would expect to find many more of similar movies with him in the lead, as we see how well this has suited him. After Love Action Drama, Nayanthara makes another return to Malayalam cinema, and this time it is into another genre, even though this time, we don’t have the whole thing centered around her – there is no real romantic side to this tale, and it is indeed a positive thing in a mystery thriller based on murders. Her character is also limited in comparison, and maybe it could have had more dimensions rather than being important as the mother of child causing trouble.

Further performers of the soul :: Izin Hash who plays the kid does the usual job quite well too. Saiju Kurup does things well in a role which suits him. Lal makes an appearance in the end, and it is the kind of role, though significant, stays on for the last fifteen minutes or so. Maybe, he could have had something to do earlier in the film too, and that would have made the whole thing better. Rony David who is best remembered for Aanandam, plays a significant role here too, and Divya Prabha who were among the nurse characters in Take Off has a nice role here, as a child psychologist, which she does to perfection – another case of finding the right support cast. We also see Marimayam‘s Vinod Kovoor and Star Magic‘s Kollam Sudhi in smaller roles, and we can hope for more of them later too. Among others, Aadhya Prasad seemed to be a notable newcomer, and we can find out that the lesser roles are given to those who are suitable for the job.

How it finishes :: Nizhal is the latest in the list of those Malayalam movies which were forced out of the theatres due to the COVID-19 complete lock-down being brought on the state. It is a fine choice, as nothing reaches viewers like Amazon Prime. After Drishyam 2 became a huge success and Joji received some high level critical opinion, it was already too late for a movie like this to have its release in the OTT platform. So, finally it arrived, and one can be sure not to be disappointed with this mystery thriller, as it is more than the usual mysteries which you see everywhere. It was also nice to see parts of UC College, Aluva being included in parts of the movie – the college had its biggest appearance in Premam, but here also, we are happy to see that grand educational institution which only recently completed one hundred years since its beginning. Nizhal, as a mystery thriller wins its battle, and lets hope that we win ours against COVID-19 too. Stay safe, everyone.

Release date: 9th April 2021 (Theatre), 11th May 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Appu N Bhattathiri
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Nayanthara, Lal, Rony David, Saiju Kurup, Izin Hash, Divya Prabha, Vinod Kovoor, Aneesh Gopal, Siyad Yadu, Sadiq, Aadhya Prasad, Rajesh Hebbar, Kollam Sudhi, Sreelatha Namboothiri

<— If looking for horror genre in Amazon Prime, read this review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Joji

What is the movie about? :: Joji Panachel (Fahadh Faasil) is the youngest son of Panachel family, an engineering drop-out who has now failed in his latest attempt in the tourism field due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Living somewhere in the isolated part of the highlands, where his father Kuttappan PK (Sunny PN) owns many acres of land around their house, Joji condemns the fact that everyone considers him as a failure. Kuttappan’s other two sons Jomon Panachel (Baburaj) and Jaison Panachel (Joji Mundakayam) fear him as much as Joji does, and the terrifying head of the family is ruthless in his attitude towards his family members. He keeps all the money to himself, and the sons are ever dependent on him. Jaison and his wife Bincy Jaison (Unnimaya Prasad) are highly obedient towards him, while Jomon also has his son Popy Panachel (Alister Alex) living with him after just recently completing the procedures of his divorce.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is a world where Kuttappan maintains full control, and Jomon is a son who seems to be becoming just like his father. Joji is upset about nothing positive happening in his life, while Popy is a hopeless young boy himself. Bincy also has no hope for future, while her husband the son in the middle, Jaison has no courage to do anything that could change the sequence of events for everyone in the family. But when Kuttappan has a stroke while once again trying to show his strength in front of everyone else, the regular sequence of events is disturbed. The doctors and most family members feel that there is no comeback for him, and even the local priest Fr Kevin (Basil Joseph) believes that now only prayers can save him. But to everyone’s surprise, the 74 year old man survives death and comes back to them in a wheelchair. The fear factor is back, but now there is a chance for everyone to have a deviation here.

The defence of Joji :: Joji thrives on the realistic feeling that it generates with the thrills, something which Dileesh Pothan carries over from Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, with setting coming back to the highlands yet again. The time, from a Google search, the location seems to be more Kottayam than Idukki, and the atmosphere here is nicely set – could even serve as a lesson for anyone who makes a film based on the Koodathayi cyanide murders. This kind of a world is something that could take Malayalam cinema further, especially considering the fact that this flick is no longer limited to the local theatres, but gracing many nations of the world. The build-up is really nice, even though a little bit slow, and it has us expecting a lot to follow, considering the fact that a good number of main characters have certain secret motives. The film does make us remain suspicious at all times, even though some of those doubts are really without any reason. The camera work is excellent, and you also get to see some spectacular shots.

The claws of flaw :: The ending here is not that effective, and there we can see a big opportunity gone missing in a movie which was going to be far more efficient in divergence. One would expect one master twist in the end, but the final moments were just predictable and without the strength that such a movie needed to have. Seeing a top quality psychopath running out of ideas, and nobody stepping into take his place creates a struggle in the end. Even though there is the talk of this being an adaptation from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, one would find that to be an unnecessary addition to the details about the movie, because the protagonist whom we see here is none like that particular character. I wouldn’t connect that Elizabethan age drama to this one because it feels like not doing justice to both – this one works separately, and could have achieved more with this premise. Also, the female character representation is too low here.

The performers of the soul :: Just like the earlier Dileesh Pothan movies which had Fahadh Faasil as the main character, this one also depends on him to bring the magic, which he does with a certain amount of ease, as he has done before in multiple occasions as part of many different movies. We can also find traces of what was seen in Kumbalangi Nights with his psychotic character that brought the twist in the end. That was a movie which should have been sent for the Oscars, and Fahadh has another performance here that follows the much appreciated self-proclaimed hero of Kumbalangi. Unnimaya Prasad is also here doing a really interesting character, someone who seems to have hidden dark shades, even though the same is not explored further. An opportunity to bring the Macbeth element with a guilt-filled Lady Macbeth is not taken here, against expectations. We had seen her most memorable role in Anjaam Paathira, and this is the next most memorable thing.

Further performers of the soul :: Baburaj’s performance in this movie serves as a big boost too, as he excels in the serious as well as the funny moments. In the end, we feel the character as a person who holds on to his own values, and the same differentiates him from others, even though he is still an alcoholic with not control over his tongue – a character nicely executed. Shammi Thilakan’s character also catches our attention, and it is also as realistic a character as we can get. Sunny PN who plays the controlling father character will also have our attention from the beginning itself. Basil Joseph’s role of the priest is a welcome addition too, even though it doesn’t directly affect the storyline. It is to be noted that the director of movies like Kunjiramayanam and Godha has played a good number of interesting roles until now. The lesser characters are also nicely added to the film, as we see them contributing really well in what seems to be nice roles for them.

How it finishes :: During the continuing time of COVID-19 pandemic, this movie has released in Amazon Prime Video, and that has been a nice idea indeed, at least for most of us who haven’t really started visiting theatres again as the cases of infections are still going up. This one is another winner for Dileesh Pothan as a director, as he scored three out of three with simple, realistic movies. I would place this movie between Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, better than the latter, but not that much of an interesting thing as the former. It seems that a pandemic like this version of mutating Corona virus has given us more thriller movies than those films with hope which were filling up the theatres before we went into that lock-down, an example being seen in Kilometers and Kilometers starring Tovino Thomas which served as a light-hearted feel-good film. We are surrounded by horror and suspense, and it is a fine change.

Release date: 7th April 2021
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Unnimaya Prasad, Baburaj, Basil Joseph, Shammi Thilakan, Joji Mundakayam, Sunny PN, Alister Alex, Renjith Rajan, Dhaneesh A Balan, Renjith Gopali

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lake of Death

Vampire Owl: I thought that it was originally the river of death.

Vampire Bat: The river of death has already gone dry.

Vampire Owl: What about the pond of death behind the castle then?

Vampire Bat: That pond is originally something related to life and not death.

Vampire Owl: Yet, it is named the pond of death.

Vampire Bat: So, you feel that this lake might not be about death?

Vampire Owl: There is surely something strange about this movie.

Vampire Bat: This is a Norwegian movie, and the first one of the kind we are watching.

Vampire Owl: Well, the idea does seem to be pretty good when we have look from a distance.

Vampire Bat: The first movie which we watch is often too good, no matter what the language happens to be.

[Gets an orange cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Lillian (Iben Akerlie) had lived the early parts of her life with her brother Bjorn (Patrick Walshe McBride), who had lost his ability to talk in the later stages of his childhood, after former had left him with nobody to take care of, as they were both orphans, The two only had a cabin in the woods for them to live, and Bjorn had lived there beside the lake for most of his life, which Lillian had left the place for the city. Bjorn had no friends in the isolated place, and used to sit near the lake doing nothing for most of his life. One day, she gets the news that her brother had drowned in the same lake, and that was shocking and depressing for her, as it was her who left him behind, deciding not to spend much time with him. Seeing her depressed state, her friends decide to accompany her to the cabin in the woods beside the lake for the last time she is going there, as she intends to sell it, and get rid of her memories forever, moving on with her life in the city.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The four friends include the beautiful Sonja (Sophia Lie) and three men, Gabriel (Jonathan Harboe), Harald ( Elias Munk) and Bernhard (Jakob Schoyen Andersen), who feels that along with helping Lillian in getting rid of her depression and the memories of the cabin, they can also have some fun in the woods, as they had heard about the beautiful lake and the lovely setting of the cabin. They reach the place and meet Kai (Ulric von der Esch), Lillian’s former lover and friend, a local guy who arranges everything for her. Sonja is quick to turn into the party mood and get into her bikini for the much needed cooling time in the lake, but with people seemingly pulled down under water and the dog going missing, something is wrong, and spoils the holiday mood for all of them. They also find breakfast already there when they wake up, and Lillian has some strange visions, as she begind sleepwalking. The five of them begin to doubt each other as well as another presence which they wonder whether is supernatural in nature.

The defence of Lake of Death :: The movie has a beautiful setting indeed, and the advantage of having such a cabin in the woods setting is that along with that natural beauty which we see at almost every point, we can also find the scope for the creepy effects, for the lake itself has a well-known history of violence happening around it as well as the cabin. There are also some fine scares to go with, and we are left with what is to happen next, even though in the beginning, the horror is not really that direct. The feeling is always there, as horror is present with creepiness wherever you look at it. We do have a few final moments under the lake, and it is beautifully shot, with the protagonist moving underneath like a fish or rather a mermaid, escaping the evil – a site to behold, just like the beauty of nature surely requiring a nymph or a wood elf of its own. There are some other interesting moments of terror which had come earlier – those which we remember include the protagonist sleepwalking through the room, her trying to get away from the bathtub, her awakening beside the lake, as well as the way she looks at other on different occasions.

The claws of flaw :: This is indeed a slow moving movie, and the lack of pace can be seen from the beginning itself. There is some inconsistency in the characters too, except for the two girls who remain the same, and they are well-defined. It does go into the usual traps, with elements which we have seen in other movies, and even those things which didn’t work in those films either. The cliches are indeed there, and most of them work as red herrings, as we move away from what we should focus on, but that too, when it comes in the end, fades away too easily – it could have been longer, especially the moments under the lake which are beautiful, but are over as we begin to get a touch of the same. The movie could have actually been more like The Cabin in the Woods, one of the best horror movies of all-time, which didn’t really get a screen in the malls around here. This Norwegian movie, for some reason, decides not to be that, or even Evil Dead – the scope was really there, as elements of old horror sneaks in so well around here.

Performers of the soul :: The movie’s spirit is entangled into Iben Akerlie who actually becomes a reflection of the atmosphere itself, and she perfectly fits into the role and setting with ease. There is something about her at all times, and we are drawn to the way she looks and acts throughout the movie, like that fairy-tale nymph who reached the world of humans all of a sudden. The way she looks at everything, from the cabin and the woods to people, as well as her simple actions give us a feeling that she is not of this world. She nicely blends into that strange girl whom nobody can easily figure out. Patrick Walshe McBride’s brotherly figure is even more weird, but we don’t really see much of him around here. Then, it is Sophia Lie who has our attention as one of those characters who are better defined than the others. As the only other female character in the movie, she is the one whom we can consider to be the sane one among the other unpredictable ones. The other actors do just the usual in a horror movie as we look at them.

How it finishes :: Lake of Death, the first Norwegian movie which I have watched, has managed to be an interesting horror movie, even though moving on at quite slow pace from the beginning itself. This could have actually worked better as a usual horror movie with this kind of an atmosphere without complicating things too much or lowering the pace rather too much. We could have had the feeling of terror always being there directly rather than bringing them in the form of strange events which don’t seem to be that much dangerous, or through those hallucinations which makes us feel not to be considered serious. Yet, this can begin your movie watching procedure in style as far as Norwegian movies are concerned, because a horror flick with such a setting is always the best option to begin with. You can go through this world of creepiness, beauty and fear, all mingled into one, and then follow up with more Norwegian horror at some other point. After all, horror is the most real thing that you can ever experience in life.

Release date: 1st November 2019
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Nini Bull Robsahm
Starring: Patrick Walshe McBride, Ulric von der Esch, Iben Akerlie, Sophia Lie, Elias Munk, Jonathan Harboe, Jakob Schoyen Andersen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Impetigore

Vampire Owl: This should be one strange case of gore.

Vampire Bat: The original title in Indonesian is rather too long.

Vampire Owl: Well, at least we get to review an Indonesian movie this time.

Vampire Bat: Yes, after that visit to Bali last year, it was needed to happen at some point.

Vampire Owl: Corona Virus did make sure that it was one final foreign trip.

Vampire Bat: Well, we are now more distant from other parts of the world than ever.

Vampire Owl: At least the human pride in their technology is now crushed.

Vampire Bat: Yes, now they know that science cannot bring them everything.

Vampire Owl: You cannot take science to attack nature, for it is too dumb an action.

Vampire Bat: Well, the vampire elders have made that clear too.

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

What is the movie about? :: Maya (Tara Basro) with her best friend, Dini (Marissa Anita), are trying to survive in a city without family or relatives to support them, as they work at expressway tolls. But they never really earns enough money to keep them going in the big city. On a fateful night, Maya is attacked by a man who had been stalking her for a long time, and as he discovers a mark on her right thigh, tells her that he should kill her to keep a curse away, but the police arrives in time and shoots the man. A few days later, the two girls leave their jobs and start a small clothes store in a corner of a market, and nobody really visits their place. The business is making them no profit at all, and they keep thinking about a way out. It is then that Maya comes up against a photo from her childhood which shows her standing with her parents in front of a big house, and she also manages to get an address at a remote village which is not in the Google Maps, but is part of the territory.

So, what happens with the events here? :: They travel all the way there, and finds out that not many people wants to go to the village area, except for one young man who charges them a lot. When they reach the village, they find the house to be locked and deserted, with nature taken over parts of it. The lack of maintenance was surely there as far as the house was concerned, but it was indeed a lot spacious inside, and it also had all the furniture there, as well as some lighting which could be used along with the option for getting some water. Yet there is something wrong with the village and the house where Maya had lived with her parents. The villagers believe that the house belonged the demons and there was a curse associated with it from a long time ago. There are also deaths happening in the village, and it seems to be children who are facing death. The two girls are afraid that if they tell the truth, it might be troublesome, and they pretend to be research students from a nearby university. But who long can they keep the lie going against terror awaiting to unleash on them?

The defence of Impetigore :: There is a talented cast which makes sure that this movie never losses its strength, and the lead Tara Basro seems to be that king of an actress who would be part of a horror movie instantly if it was in Hollywood, and Marissa Anita as well as Asmara Abigail also maintains such qualities. If you have a look at it, you will know that Indonesian movies are also superior in horror, and among the East Asian movies, you just can’t give all the credit to the Korean movies only, with the level being consistently increased with those from different languages. The atmosphere of the movie is just too good, and we feel that mystery and horror running through the stylish, abandoned, rural world. The setting is such a big advantage that you are going to get immersed in it. The visuals are really good, and you can see the environment coming up with natural beauty as well as the horror of the world that lies at almost every corner.

Positives and negatives :: As a stable mystery horror thriller, Impetigore is that kind of a movie which is difficult to find faults with, having the same level maintained for most part of it. Still, people can always find some problem with horror movies, and here also they would wonder about how the main characters are acting when facing certain terror being present all around there – but, that kind of a judgment has always been flawed in the soul itself because people are basically supposed to be like that, being evil as well as dumb whenever the emotional side takes on. The building can be considered slow, but it is more or less expected because the grandeur of terror had to rise step by step to create the best of impact. The familiar horror contents have more additions here too. The superstitions and the beliefs in curses and spells also gets a place, and it stays close to more of Indonesian style as we look at it, and we feel that it is nice to understand a different folklore. The beautiful shots along with the shadow puppetry can make some people strange with its beauty, but they add to this being one of the best shot movies of all-time.

Performers of the soul :: We do have our focus on how well Tara Basro is handling her work here as the protagonist, the grown up child who is supposed to be cursed with something which she has no clue about. Marissa Anita who plays her friend also has her moments which make a difference, and she even has a funny side here which brings a smile on the face as humour strikes against the horror which is always present. It is still a shame that we don’t see her throughout the movie, or at least until the last few moments of the tale. Faradina Mufti also has her charm in the flashbacks, and we see that added to the beauty of the visuals of the grand past. You would also love Asmara Abigail who might be the best noticed supporting character who seem not important in the beginning, but elevates the level when she gets a part to play in the final stages. Then you have Ario Bayu who has the best role of to play among the male characters in a female dominated movie, and he does very well, and so does Christine Hakim here.

How it finishes :: Among all the common horror movies in Hollywood and its lame partial adaptations in Bollywood, Impetigore stands apart. It shows how horror can be done using the local legend and after building a flashback out of possible folklore which might have always been there. A number of Malayalam movies from the past had successfully attained success with the use of local legends and myths, and Impetigore is one Indonesian movie which does the same, maybe in a more effective way than any other horror movie has done in the last few years. You are taken into the atmosphere of the movie, as you become part of that setting, which is not just strange, but also terrifying even without showing that much of horror on the screen. What is seen might be scary, but what is not seen or implied feels even scarier in this film which is also about what doesn’t meet the eye. This is the first Indonesian movie that I ever watched, and it is highly effective indeed. I am watching this movie an year after my visit to Indonesia too!

Release date: 17th October 2019
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Joko Anwar
Starring: Tara Basro, Ario Bayu, Marissa Anita, Christine Hakim, Asmara Abigail, Kiki Narendra, Zidni Hakim, Faradina Mufti, Abdurrahman Arif, Muhammad Abe Baasyin, Mursiyanto, Aura Agna, Ahmad Ramadhan, Devona Queeny, Sindris Ogiska G

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Wolf Hour

Vampire Owl: I am not happy about the fact that the werewolves are getting more attention.

Vampire Bat: It is pretty much clear that they are not referring to those creatures.

Vampire Owl: I don’t think that it could be about other wolves.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not. You can refer to animated or survival movies.

Vampire Owl: There is only one kind of wolf which is interesting for the movie-makers.

Vampire Bat: The season of the werewolves is over. They have lost it.

Vampire Owl: Such monsters are never out of the equation.

Vampire Bat: They survived in both Underworld and Twilight because the movies had vampires playing the bigger roles.

Vampire Owl: I have news that they are looking for something more.

Vampire Bat: Well, I can assure you that it is not about this particular movie.

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

What is the movie about? :: June Leigh (Naomi Watts) is no longer what she used to be, as she lives alone in a small apartment in the middle of the city, in the shadows of the books she had written a long time ago, and some of her words had turned her family against her – the rebellious nature had made her an outcast, but she still lives in the apartment owned by her grandmother who is no more. The year is 1977, and there are lots of uncertainties, especially in the neighbourhood where she is living. It is not supposed a nice place for a good-looking lady to live alone, as she is indeed troubled by many things, and the feeling that she is being stalked is just one of them. There seems to be looting and other acts of criminal activity, including arson and murder happening at parts of the neighbourhood, and June keeps herself inside the apartment room at all times, only meeting a grocery delivery boy named Freddie (Kelvin Harrison Jr) whom she trusts to take the trash outside without having to get out or take it down with a rope.

So, what happens with the events here? :: She is supposed to finish her manuscript and publish a book, because she had taken an advance, but that doesn’t really happen as expected, with her burning many pages which she had written. She calls her old friend Margot (Jennifer Ehle) who genuinely tries to help her with the needed support along with some money, but she turns her away soon enough. There is someone who keeps calling her on the buzzer at all times, but doesn’t respond, and she feels that someone wants to break in. She tries to call the police, but Officer Blake (Jeremy Bobb) who comes there is not interested in treating it as a genuine threat. But she can’t stop feeling something terrible happening outside, and even though she wants some money from the publishers, decides to stay inside the room. But things are getting more terrible outside, and with her psychological problems also seemingly getting worse, she would need to think about it deeply and come up with a solution.

The defence of The Wolf Hour :: Naomi Watts’ perfect one lady show makes the movie itself rise above all the possible limitations in a world of confusion and chaos running through the background. The atmosphere created here is also prefect, and we live with the lady within that room, and it nicely maintains two out of the three classical Aristotelian unities of place time and action, with only the second one moving out of line. It does have one principal action and you will find that it exist in a single physical location, the apartment which the protagonist never wants to leave – the only other places we see are in the television interviews of the same person coming in as a flashback, and after the end of action. You have the opportunity to go through the life of a strange, eccentric writer, proving yet again that the most creative writers and other artists can have a certain amount of madness in them, or the society might think so. You also see how Naomi Watts rises to become the character with such ease that we can’t expect anyone else in her place here.

The claws of flaw :: Even though there is the idea given, this is not really that mystery thriller with a touch of horror to go with it. You will feel a little bit misguided regarding the same, as drama keeps on having the upper hand. But whenever the movie struggles, and it does on a number of occasions, there is Naomi Watts to lift it a long way up, and it seems to have made the tale go lazy at times. The movie title also leaves the people confused, and even the description for the film given in different websites are not really accurate, as it stays away from the soul as well as the essence of the movie. It is also quite slow, and you have to admire the leading actress’ skill in not letting us feel the drag much. There could have been many more things in this film, and the fear could have been more real and close to life – there could have been someone psychotic behind the main character or even something supernatural in nature, but this film leaves all of those possibilities behind to make this one just the drama and nothing else.

Performers of the soul :: Naomi Watts is once again brilliant in playing this kind of a role. She had been in an isolated area during a deadly winter storm in the highly underrated thriller movie Shut In which had a twist to remember – the feeling of being stalked or haunted was there too, but here, it feels more psychological, and it gives her more opportunities as almost everything in this movie is about her, even more than any other previous flick. If you go further back, you had Funny Games, where she was taken hostage by psychopaths, and the danger was real at that time. So, she is no stranger to the genre or with playing with this kind of setting – the same is reflected really well here too. Well, for someone who was in The Ring and King Kong, this one is smaller kind of danger, but the scope for performance never gets small. Jennifer Ehle who plays her friend also contributes nicely when she is there. Among the other characters, Kelvin Harrison Jr plays his role nicely to be noted the most, and others also follow in this all-Naomi movie focusing on each element of her.

How it finishes :: The movie seems to show a certain dark side of living through the 1970s in the Unites States of America, especially in the urban area – it is something that would be different even if we consider the scenario in our world in this part of the world, because we remember the 1990s to be much different from the situation we have now. It makes us feel the danger, as well as the imagination of the main character, and we can feel the strange thoughts of the character running through there. We get to have a deep character study of a woman with a magnificent past, someone who let her insecurities take everything out of her, and it becomes another stage of bildungsroman for her, even though quite late in her career. The Wolf Hour is to be watched while taking the same into consideration, instead of what is seen or what is heard – what you might have thought about the film earlier won’t count as you go through this journey as it is indeed different from your thoughts about a mystery thriller.

Release date: 6th December 2019
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Alistair Banks Griffin
Starring: Naomi Watts, Emory Cohen, Jennifer Ehle, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Jeremy Bobb, Brennan Brown

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dark Almost Night

Vampire Owl: And, we are getting some dark movies.

Vampire Bat: This is only the second Polish movie that we are watching.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and it should be a really dark one, as seen in the title.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that it could be related to the vampires in anyway though.

Vampire Owl: Who else can have the darkness around them without fear?

Vampire Bat: Ghosts, witches, demons, dark elves, orcs, goblins?

Vampire Owl: Okay, but there can still be something vampiric about it.

Vampire Bat: I am actually sensing a serial killer around here.

Vampire Owl: Well, there are heroes being made out of such killers.

Vampire Bat: Actually, we are not at that part, just not yet.

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

What is the movie about? :: Reporter Alicja Tabor (Magdalena Cielecka) returns to the city from her childhood, Walbrzych after a long time. A series of mysterious child kidnappings are occuring in the city, and nobody has any clue about what is happening. Using her skills as an experienced reporter, Alicja tries to solve at least a part of this strange mystery which has become quite baffling for the police department. She would have to meet the families of the missing children and solve a mystery which puzzles even the smartest, but at the same time, she also has a past which strangles her reasoning skills, as her childhood has that kind of memories which won’t let her sleep in peace. There are some of dramatic events which started decades earlier, at the same place. Now, she will have to face whatever she had been running away from during her earlier life – the terrifying secrets of her family and the horrors of her own childhood. Everything seems to be linked in one way or the other, and can she go beyond her own demons to solve the mystery?

The defence of Dark Almost Night :: This is one atmospheric movie like no other, as the setting and the environment that we see around raises this movie to a much higher level, better than any other quality. You can feel the invisible terror at all times, even though it is certainly not the kind of danger that is shown that much on the screen to bring the horror. Magdalena Cielecka nicely fits into that atmosphere, as the blending is perfect as far as her highly vulnerable character with a troubled childhood is concerned. Adapted from a much appreciated novel of the same name by Joanna Bator which is supposed to be a satisfying version, the movie does focus on the visuals really well and has found the perfect actresses to bring it to the screen. With such quality adaptation, we can say that the trauma and the emotional side are strong even when we don’t see them shown as melodrama – it is here that the beauty lies, as we can feel the same even when they are not focusing on it, for the movie has the feelings running through at all times.

The claws of flaw :: The movie lacks enough dialogues of significance to keep the tale going forward. There is also the presence of some confusing elements, and as the story keeps on going here and there, we will find the requirement for better explanations. There are moments when the movie should have been more direct with things, and as we are from another distant part of the world and another culture with no knowledge about the language, we do have some trouble, especially when the subtitles are not that great either. A good number of scenes are shown, and suddenly, they disappear, leading us to the present, past and the lives of different people without having enough focus on the necessary moments. The final moments could have also been stronger, as we just get there all of a sudden, and things end too fast. Instead, the focus should have been on the protagonist, and she should have been facing her demons in a highly emotional moments which could have no parallels by any means – the slower moments earlier could have been thus justified.

Performers of the soul :: Magdalena Cielecka, the almost fifty year old actress plays her role to perfection with such passive energy which would make the younger generation of actresses feel weak – Virginie Efira who is a little younger than her did the same in Sibyl, and her passivity was also stronger than a much younger secondary female character played by the lead from the much acclaimed Blue Is the Warmest Colour. Both are actually vulnerable characters, but don’t really show that to others, with some extreme feeling lying deep inside them which forces them to take some strange decisions. Magdalena actually shows that on so many occasions, and the melancholic reflection which can be seen on her face as well as a body with scars, in a believable manner. Eliza Rycembel who plays Ewa as well as Helena Norowicz who plays Rosemarie also gets into the creepy mystery really well, even though the film is very much Magdalena-based. The atmosphere itself is a fine performer, as you look around here.

How it finishes :: Dark Almost Night is not your usual kind of movie, and therefore, won’t satisfy all kinds of audience. The value of the film as an entertainer might be questioned by many people due to the divergent way in which it deals with the subject. Magdalena Cielecka has things in control, but the pace will still trouble people. But you are sure to love being transported to this particular dark world of mysteries and possible terror. This is the kind of atmosphere which Hollywood should use, as they already have the special effects to take the best advantage of it. Maybe, The Conjuring universe can combine it with the supernatural to create magnificence. We can wait for that, and for now, it is up to us to enjoy Dark Almost Night, something of visual quality that we will remember. I am surely hoping to watch more Polish movies after this, especially those which have the same leading actress. We are never that short of such a need during the COVID-19 crisis.

[Gets a vegetable puffs along with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: This movie could have scored better in things other than atmosphere.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they could have better used the potential which was there.

Vampire Owl: This is a movie which was surely not watched by many people, and so, not many people know about it.

Vampire Bat: But the leading lady here is perfect fit for such a mystery, don’t you think?

Vampire Owl: Yes, and she needs a usual type of horror movie to add to her list.

Vampire Bat: The melancholic emotions that she display has a certain amount of beauty.

Vampire Owl: There are so many talented actresses whom we never knew about.

Vampire Bat: She is just one of the many such actresses with high quality skills.

Vampire Owl: There are so many performers we should know about.

Vampire Bat: As knowledge doesn’t come with immortality, we need to look forward to other areas including books.

[Vanishes into the shadows behind the teak tree].

Release date: 22nd March 2019
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Borys Lankosz
Starring: Magdalena Cielecka, Rafal Mackowiak, Modest Rucinski, Eliza Rycembel, Antonina Litwiniak, Roma Gasiorowska, Aleksandra Konieczna, Wlodzimierz Dyla, Jerzy Trela, Nikola Karwowska, Helena Norowicz, Malgorzata Hajewska, Mateusz Czulowski, Marcin Dorocinski, Piotr Polak

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the first Portuguese movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Italian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Latin movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Polish movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Russian movie review on the site.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Son

Vampire Owl: And we have another Spanish movie, but this seems different.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this one is from Argentina, and so it is not like the other movies we watched earlier, from Spain.

Vampire Owl: Okay, so just like the one Porutuguese movie on this site is from Brazil and not from Portugal.

Vampire Bat: Yes, people tend to have such confusions when someone is mentioning the language used.

Vampire Owl: So, we are seeing a rise in French, Spanish, Korean and Chinese movies in comparison to the other foreign languages.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and I don’t think that you would be surprised about the Korean ones.

Vampire Owl: It is not surprise, because Korean films have been here for a long time.

Vampire Bat: We haven’t focused on the rest, even though we should have.

Vampire Owl: Well, times have changed, and things can be different.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we can further work on watching more such movies.

[Gets an orange cake and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: Lorenzo (Joaquin Furriel) is a fifty year old Argentinian painter who has been trying to rebuild his life, as he hasn’t been that successful with his career or the personal side, even though there has been no doubt about his talents. Julietta (Martina Gusman), his former student and love interest is now living with his friend Renato (Luciano Caceres), while Lorenzo marries a much younger Sigrid (Heidi Toini), a Norweginian biologist doing research in Argentina, who approaches him for an experiment, and later decide to move in with him. But there is a certain amount of anxiety related to the child going on there, and Lorenzo and Sigrid seem to be going apart. Sigrid who is a biologist, wants to have the baby at home, citing the possible infections in a hosptial, and for the same, she brings a Norwegian mid-wife who assisted in her mother’s delivery a long time ago. The baby is born, but the relationship between its father and mother is strained, and there is something strange going on with both of them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: It turns out that Sigrid doesn’t go out of her room or shows the baby to anyone else. She stay inside with the baby, and she is the pediatrician with the support of the mid-wife, much to the dismay of Lorenzo who doesn’t get to spend any time with the child, even after six months. She doesn’t allow him to take the boy to the hospital which makes him further depressed. When he finally takes the child to the hospital, she files a case of domestic violence, and makes sure that he can’t come near her or the baby. After that, she asks for divorce, and tries to keep him away using anything within the law that gives her the advantage as a woman. Now, the question remains if Lorenzo can finally meet him, because he feels that the boy who is with Sigrid is not their son, but somebody else. Is it the truth or just a feeling that he has? Is there a big mystery surrounding these incidents, or is he just hallucinating, as he is a person with a long history of being an alcoholic?

The defence of The Son :: The movie surely keeps one guessing, and there is a certain amount of skill being displayed here on not letting us know exactly what is happening. We are not sure whose side we should be on, because strangest of things do happen. But there is something about her which is not usual, because it is clear that she is playing the victim card as a woman to blame her husband for fake domestic abuse and everything else. As a biologist, something strange is going on with her, and we are still left in the dark about what is going on – with that, the movie is successful. The film also deals with the possibilities that someone could make use of, as far as laws helping a particular gender, religion, race or any such category is concerned – especially in the name of helping a group which seems to be brought into submission. It also talks about how judgmental people happen to be, as far as some cases are concerned, taking only one side with the help of law. At the same time, we have the suspense and twists in there.

The claws of flaw :: The film does have a certain amount of slow pace associated with it, but it is mostly solved by the short length of the movie. The feeling of danger is also absent in this movie, as we only suspect people being possessive, or having some minute problems, and nothing more. The ending also feels rather incomplete – it leaves too much for the audience to think about, and we feel like we left that movie without watching it completely. The movie could have been closer to horror rather than the other genres, but it doesn’t try to use the horror at all. Even those movies which don’t have any such inclination will try to do that, and this one leaves the idea behind completely. We feel that there is so much more that this movie could have done, as the stage was all set, and there was something in the background trying to take over at all times. There was enough around here to bring a special ingredient into the picture, which is not really there.

Performers of the soul :: Joaquin Furriel’s performance is the one thing that elevates the movie to another level. He looks solid as the painter and the one who is in some kind of problem almost all the time. We can relate to him as he seems to face situations which make no sense for him at all, even though he does leave enough for us to doubt him too – we lie there in between. Heidi Toini is very good as she goes on looking more or less like a psychotic person of science, someone who seems to be in control of everything biological, looking at even doctors as if they are not necessary. Martina Gusman also comes up with some quality performance as she tries to help the main character – the same can be said about Luciano Caceres in a lesser way, as he is not there for that much time in comparison. Then we only have Regina Lamm who speaks only in Norwegian, and we know nothing much about that – maybe someone who knows the language will bring some light into that if required.

How it finishes :: The Son might not be the first Spanish movie on this website, but is certainly the first Argentinian film around here. Despite a certain amount of weirdness associated with this movie, The Son does have enough to keep us guessing, as we wonder what is going on here, at all times. It also reminds us that things are not usually what they seem to be, and when one takes the side of a person who is also supported also by the law in the name of gender, race, religion or anything else, you have to look deep into it because things are not always what they seem to be. As of now, all the Spanish movies which I have watched did leave me with the same feeling. It should have more to do with my choice of movies, but it has been there. After all, the Spanish Football Team is also my favourite international team, and it is also a nation which I have always wanted to visit; you can add that feeling to both Spain and Argentina – maybe, one day, very long after the Corona restrictions, I will.

Release date: 2nd May 2019
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Sebastian Schindel
Starring: Joaquin Furriel, Heidi Toini, Martina Gusman, Luciano Caceres, Regina Lamm

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the first Portuguese movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Italian movie review on the site.

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<— Click here to go to the first Polish movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Russian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Serbian movie review on the site.

<— Click here to go to the first Russian movie review on the site.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.