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.

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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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Legacy of the Bones

Vampire Owl: We, the vampires hadn’t known that the bones had legacy.

Vampire Bat: Well, for us, only the blood has legacy, for it binds us as well as curses us.

Vampire Owl: For the zombies, it is the brain that holds the legacy and it awakens them.

Vampire Bat: Maybe, for the werewolves and the witches, they do have something.

Vampire Owl: What can be the significance of bones without flesh?

Vampire Bat: Bones can be symbolic, and it can also be a serial killer thing.

Vampire Owl: In a world of chaos, a skull and two bones never losses its significance.

Vampire Bat: Yes, when there is danger all around, and we ignore it.

Vampire Owl: So, a Spanish movie is the need for the time.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have been wandering through multiple languages these days, as far as movies are concerned.

[Gets a black-forest cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: The movie starts with a few moments in the past with witch hunts and inquisitors around. Then, in the present time period, nine-months pregnant Police Inspector Amaia Salazar (Marta Etura) is at the city court of Pamplona in Spain, waiting for the trial of a murderer and rapist. But the convict commits suicide in the washroom, after writing down a word, “Tarttalo”. She soon gives birth to her child, much to the happiness of James Westford (Benn Northover), Amaia’s husband, who is an artist. Coming back to the service after a few months of maternity leave, she finds herself caught in multiple cases, all seemingly linked to one another. There is a church being desecrated, the priests want the senior police officers to be involved, as there were bones of a baby’s amputated arms discovered. A man who is in prison for killing his wife had sent Amaia a note revealing where is his wife’s corpse was hidden, with the same message which she had seen months ago – “Tarttalo”.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As she finds multiple deaths and the desecration of the church related in more than one way, the case gets complicated for Amaia. Not really much of a believer herself, she finds herself dragged to the church’s past related to the witch-hunts and inquisitions. It even goes further behind time, to the pagan beliefs and rites, and she also discovers that Tarttalo is the name of a giant who eaten Christians, coming from ancient legends which were prevailing at that time. To add to it, Amaia’s mother Rosario (Susi Sanchez)had been admitted in a mental hospital for a long time after she tried kill her as a child, and she found out that the mother has killed a male nurse at the hospital and there was the writing with blood, once again saying “Tarttalo” under her bed. She finds out that this mystery is related to her and her family more than anyone else, and in case of a failure to solve this case will have all of her loved ones in trouble. Can he solve the mystery before death arrives again?

The defence of The Legacy of the Bones :: The visuals are really good here, as they give that special mood to the movie, something which fits the genre, and what is progressing on the screen with a mystery, and hidden supernatural elements. The feeling of what is to come is established in the beginning itself, and the audience is taken to that world of mystery and complexity. The world is definitely something which looks really good, and the mystery is maintained throughout. The element of fear is present, even though the movie doesn’t really rely on scares. The need for a better sequel is surely felt, and as this itself is a second movie, can have that at some point. This is one of the very few Spanish movies which I have watched, and there is none that hasn’t left me satisfied – this one also adds to that list of flicks which have been doing a fine job with mystery and thrills. The legacy will stay on in our mind with moments.

The claws of flaw :: The Legacy of the Bones goes into action quite slowly, and it doesn’t really pick up its pace even when there was the scope for such a thing to be done. Supposed to be based on the second book of a trilogy written by Dolores Redondo, and as a sequel to a Spanish movie known as The Invisible Guardian which was based on the first book, this movie’s events might not be that clear to those who are following the series for the first time, and also to those who are not aware of the Spanish inquisitions and the witch hunts from the medieval age and later. There is a little bit too much going on in this movie, and it losses focus in the sequence of events at times, maybe trying to raise its level to a higher level which is not achievable that easily. Often, some moments seem to stretch the movie rather than do anything else. There could have been more action here, especially when there is something supernatural lurking behind.

Peformers of the soul :: Also known as Legado en los huesos, The Legacy of the Bones has managed to have a pretty good cast on the scene. Marta Etura seems to continue her work from The Invisible Guardian a.k.a. El guardian invisible, the 2017 which started this all. She will also be there in third film in the franchise, Offering to the Storm, originally supposed to release on March 27, 2020, but due to this ongoing coronavirus pandemic, is expected to be released on June 12, 2020. Her work in this movie makes one feel that she would have done even better in the first movie, and watching that film would have let us understand the character better too. Benn Northover plays her American artist husband, and he makes sure that we get to hear some English in between. There are some good supporting performances being done here with the different characers – there are many of them, and it is up to us not to lose track here, for there had to a good number of priests and detectives among the many others.

How it finishes :: The Legacy of the Bones is not your usual kind of thriller, as it is also part drama centered around family and kids. The need to watch the earlier movie, The Invisible Guardian will also be felt during times. Better explanations, and a clear beginning would have kept this movie at a higher level, at least for the audience from outside Spain, and also Western Europe. But with an exotic location which seems the best to have a mystery set, and with some beauty on the screen with the colours as well as architecture, this is the movie which will keep you looking for answers in a thriller which has big secrets to be unveiled. It doesn’t focus on the crime investigation that much as I had said earlier, and you have to understand the mixing of genres which is happening here. Even without trying too hard, you will find this movie as an interesting journey though. Enjoy the legacy, and I am sure that the book would have been an even more interesting thing.

Release date: 5th December 2019
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Fernando Gonzalez Molina
Starring: Marta Etura, Patricia Lopez Arnaiz, Alicia Sanchez, Nene, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Francesc Orella, Imanol Arias, Benn Northover, Itziar Aizpuru, Ana Wagener, Angel Alkain, Eduardo Rosa, Susi Sanchez

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Abigail

***This Russian movie is officially the 600th movie review on this website, and it is not the post number, which is much higher. This count does not include the posts with television series reviews, yearly round-ups, introductions, movie previews and genre or language based ranking lists. Thanks to everyone who supported me with likes, shares, comments, follows or just randomly spreading the word.

Vampire Owl: I am going to choose this as the name for the next vampire child.

Vampire Bat: You have started naming vampire children?

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is a new business which I have started.

Vampire Bat: You mean that you have started a new business, hoping for more of new vampire children.

Vampire Owl: I had to start a new business. Everything else was dull due to the Corona Virus which the humans are spreading.

Vampire Bat: You can watch this fantasy adventure movie with magic to have more names.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I could have named even that virus. Corona is such a weak name. COVID is even weaker.

Vampire Bat: I would suggest not to use the names which will come first in the school register. The children will curse the one who named them.

Vampire Owl: I would name them with an Z in the beginning.

Vampire Bat: The names are to be liked by the parents too. Do remember that.

[Gets a green apple cake and three cups of special tea].

What is the movie about? :: Abigail Foster (Tinatin Dalakishvili) lives in a town which is supposed to have had an epidemic spreading, and was sealed by the government. Her father Jonathan Foster (Eddie Marsan) was one of the people who were supposed to have fallen ill, and had a chance to infect many others, leading to him being taken away at a time when Abigail was only six years old. As Abigail grows up, and has some time with the local children, she is forced to face one of the officers who were dealing with the disease control programmes, landing her in trouble. The nation calls for complete obedience during the time of the pandemic, and so any action which can possibly lead to the spread of diseases wouldn’t be tolerated. This perfect subordination is supposed to be the one thing that can stop the epidemic from becoming something which would cause the deaths of many thousands of people.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Abigail understands that one of the masked officers is Roy (Petar Zekavitsa), her uncle who had disappeared on the same night when her father was taken by the authorities. Going against the authorities to find her father, Abigail learns that her city is actually place full of magic, and the authorities are trying to stop the people with magical abilities to share it with others or to display it in public. There was no epidemic other than magic which they wanted to cure. She also discovers that there are some special magical abilities in herself, and along with the search, she also has to keep herself safe from the officials who will hunt her down too. But there might be more secrets to be unveiled than she could handle. Can Abigail come out strong from this adventure in which she faces more and more hurdles? Will someone be ready to help her, going against the authorities who wish to suppress all magic?

The defence of Abigail :: The special effects score the highest in this movie, successfully recreating a world of magic, even better than most of the much acclaimed movies – the movie is a visual stunner, and let nobody tell you otherwise as it would be a lie. The action sequences are mostly supported by magic, which gives a fantastic feeling on the screen. The music also nice to hear, and they seems to have used special care in the use of background music according to the circumstances. It also adds to providing strength to that steampunk feeling which was already attempted through the visuals – yes, you have to love the world in display here, whether it is real or magic. After all, such a world provides the needed escapism, as everything comes together in the end, as it leads to one grand battle which you can remember and recollect. The escapist fantasy might be what prevents you from thinking too much, and getting immersed into its created universe.

The claws of flaw :: Abigail doesn’t know how to progress through the story, as it keeps falling down from the heights which it climbs. Even with a grand beginning, there is no real effort to keep it rising. Some of the dialogues feel strange, and not suiting the movie and its mood in any way. Some of them are exactly opposite of what a situation would demand. A certain problem with the dubbing might be the case here leading to the mess. They could have surely made this better with all the resources which they had, and such a fine start which was there. The confusion in the story can be seen at different places, and the focus does shift too often. By the time everything comes together in the end, some people might have lost interest, unless they were immersed in this escapism. Maybe many years later, there can be a reboot which solves the problems of this movie, or even a sequel or a prequel which explores this particular world really well.

Performers of the soul :: Abigail doesn’t thrive on its performances much, and it uses the visuals to hide any flaw out there, not just with this, but also the other elements which are all inferior to the visuals and special effects of the flick. The protagonist is played by Tinatin Dalakishvili who is okay for most of the time, and she does have her moments, but also gets some terrible lines in the movie, which is rather disappointing, whichever way we look at it, because we do see talent in her, and she never gets to use it here. At the same time, Eddie Marsan is perfect as the father figure, whenever he is there. Gleb Bochkov as Bale doesn’t impress much, while Ravshana Kurkova manages to do well enough as Stella, but she is side-lined, which is rather disappointing. Overall, the cast struggles to stay around the average level, and even though there is a rise on occasions, there is also the fall, which can be felt more in this movie.

How it finishes :: Abigail is a movie which is rather unknown around here, and as a Russian movie, I don’t think it managed to get a dubbed or subtitled release at this part of the world – even I am heard about this film for the first time rather too late. It is a movie which had a grand idea behind it, and with the support of the fantastic visuals and lovely music, could have brought an epic on the screen, but as of now, it has managed to be a pretty good work – not the best which you will find, but one of the interesting fantasy movies with a steampunk setting, and magic all around. This is also the second Russian movie which I have watched after the 1925 Soviet silent film Battleship Potemkin directed by Sergei Eisenstein, the great pioneer in the theory as well as practice of montage. Watch Abigail, and wander through another world of magic, which you have known in the other grand worlds of fantasy – forget the negative reviews, and see how much this world can take you in, and have you interested.

Release date: 23rd August 2019
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed by: Aleksandr Boguslavsky
Starring: Tinatin Dalakishvili, Gleb Bochkov, Rinal Mukhametov, Artyom Tkachenko, Ravshana Kurkova, Ksenia Kutepova, Olivier Siou, Cecile Plage, Nikita Tarasov, Petar Zekavitsa, Nikita Dyuvbanov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Prodigy

What is the movie about? :: In the countryside of Ohio, a serial killer with roots in Hungary, Edward Scarka (Paul Fauteux) has been murdering young girls after cutting off their hands which he kept as souvenir. Hands have always been his weakness, looking at them before selecting the victims. He has a wonderful time, as the number of victims increase every day, leaving no clue for the police to follow. But things take a turn when due to one small mistake, one of the girls, Margaret James (Brittany Allen) escapes from captivity after he takes away her right hand, and alerts the cops. The police conducts a raid at his farmhouse, and he gets shot to death. At the exact same time, a couple in Pennsylvania, Sarah Blume (Taylor Schilling) and John Blume (Peter Mooney) have their first child. Sarah is excited to finally have her first child, as the couple have been waiting for this moment for a long time after getting rid of their family problems.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Miles Blume (Jackson Robert Scott) grows up to be more intelligent than the usual kids of his age, making people feel that he is a certain kind of child prodigy. He has no trouble in solving mathematics problems and mastering language after learning to speak much earlier. He is someone who could start pre-school early, and even skip those earlier batches considering how good he was proving himself to be. Even those all these things point to one positive side, there are changes in the boy’s behaviour as he grows up. He almost kills his bab-sitter Zoe (Elisa Moolecherry) while playing hide-and-seek by setting sharp piece of glass on the steps to the basement, and also beats up other kids at the school because he didn’t get the space which he wanted using whatever he could manage to find from a hand tools kit.

And what else follows with the happenings? :: Miles seems to be a threat to everyone around, as violence follows him to places. Sarah brings Miles to a psychiatrist Dr Elaine Strasser (Paula Boudreau) who refers them to Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore), an expert on rebirth and reincarnation. He tells Sarah about the possibility of rebirth in Miles’ case because the language which he was speaking in sleep, and was recorded and given to him by her, is a very rare dialect of Hungarian. There are not many people who know this language, and Sarah and her husband knew only one foreign language which they had mostly forgotten – Spanish. With Miles not being exposed to any other language, Arthur tells her that it could be another soul trying to be born again, replacing the soul of the boy, thus getting hold of the body to do something it had left unfinished in earlier birth. But this soul would need something more which Sarah won’t guess.

The defence of The Prodigy :: The movie maintains a good amount of creepy feeling, which only gets better with the serial killer soul taking further control, often making one think of Chucky of Child’s Play which nicely changes into the brutal murderer. There are some nice scary moments, most of them being creepier if you consider them with clarity. The creepy undercurrents drive this movie forward, as there are so many things that an evil genius can plot, even though not all of them are done. We are kept in the perpetual fear of some terrifying evil coming up, and the feeling of hope is rather bleak in this one. The movie has so much of nice foreshadowing which we can appreciate, as we do get some feeling regarding what is to come. There are not many things spookier than having an evil kid that acts like a vessel of pure evil. As we have heard on many occasions, evil comes in many forms, and always finds a way.

The claws of flaw :: Some years ago, in 2009, Orphan had a poster saying there is something wrong with Esther – Isabelle Fuhrman who later bagged a role in the dystopian thriller The Hunger Games made that movie one which everyone loved. Ten years later, in 2019, this movie comes with the tagline, what is wrong with Miles? Well, there is no difficulty in understanding where this is pointing to. There was the plan to make something like Orphan, and this time, they added rebirth to the plan. This could be even considered similar to a sequel, even though it is not. In comparison to Esther, The Prodigy struggles at times, and the effect of the twist is also not that much to be seen. The fear element is also not that real as Orphan which also had even better performances, and a past which was so mysterious and a twist which was heavy. The Prodigy could have had the evil manifestation doing more to people too, and the serial killer’s past could have been better shown too.

Performers of the soul :: As this is not the usual horror movie like The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun and Insidious, performance was always going to matter much. Taylor Schilling makes a perfect, confused mother here, as someone who thinks that one or the other action can save her child, but ends up being foolish in her motherly love. Peter Mooney who plays the father figure almost does the same, even though not that much. Jackson Robert Scott who plays the child comes with a fine performance – it won’t be that creepy as what we had seen in Orphan, but it is still something that we will remember in acceptance of another evil kid on screen. Colm Feore is solid as the man who tries to help, but knows that he has to be careful when standing on thin ice. Paul Fauteux who plays the serial killer needed to have more space, and his actions with the kidnapped girls are never really shown, except for those hands being hung there.

How it finishes :: If you have liked movies like Orphan, you are also going to like The Prodigy. The idea of a kid that acts strange and goes on a killing spree isn’t something new for us, but it will continue to catch our interest for a long time to come. After all, the idea of inherent evil being being present in children is something we haven’t been able to deny, and the works like William Golding’s Lord of the Flies had further strengthened the same. It had been working further in the movie world since The Omen. The idea of rebirth and reincarnation are used here instead of the usual haunting when the kids are shown to be evil. The idea here works in a more terrifying way because of what lies underneath, and by establishing that this is pure evil, and there is a master evil brain at work here, which is almost impossible to defeat.

Release date: 8th February 2019
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Jackson Robert Scott, Colm Feore, Brittany Allen, Olunike Adeliyi, Elisa Moolecherry, Peter Mooney, Paula Boudreau, Olunike Adeliyi, Martin Roach, Ashley Back, Tristan Vasquez

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam

What is the movie about? :: Fr. Vincent Kombana (Amith Chakalakkal) is the parish priest and also a much respected figure in the small remote island of Arayamthuruth. Being an ex-policeman, he believes in getting things right in his own way, and how to have control over the small law and order problems that happen in the island. He is determinted to make sure that everyone around him walks the right path. For the same, he walks around at night, and checks if nobody causes any trouble. One night, while going through his usual walk, he witnesses a murder, but it turns out that he just can’t speak about it. But he has to let the people and the police know about this crime without talking about it. Being a trained ex-policeman, he plans on finding the reason behind the murder and about how the victim ended up being one.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: On the other side of the events is Joy Kattukkaran (Dileesh Pothan), a man with many secrets. Part of the same parish, he is one of the richest men in the village, and with his wife Lissy (Lena), seems to live a happy life. The other seemingly nice men in the village (Nandhu and Nedumudi Venu) also have their own secrets. The seemingly Victorian Compromise, was not working in anyone’s favour, as most people out there were not what they seemed to be. Caught between them, and hoping to solve a mystery won’t be Fr. Vincent Kombana, but Komban Vincent, a man with a long past during his life at Mattanchery. Now the question remains about how far the priest can go to bring the murderer to justice while staying within the borders of religion. Before the feast occurs at the church, he has to do it.

The defence of Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam :: The trailers had showed that there is something out there to be witnessed in this movie with grandeur. There is no lack of style here, and we are also introduced to a different kind of priest, and a beautiful remote island which brings a lot of beautiful visuals. There are some nice moments to go with it too. After Paippin Chuvattile Pranayam and Kumbalangi Nights, this is another movie to bring that kind of a setting with backwaters and showing simple lives along with problems faced by the locals. There are some nice twists happening here, and the interval punch is a perfect one. There are some funny moments, but the focus shifts, and we are given the idea that there is more to come with a major shift in the proceedings – the movie goes forward with the links being connected nicely. Things come together nicely in the end, and we are left with something to guess too.

The claws of flaw :: With the premise and the idea, Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam could have surely achieved much more. There are moments when the movie go extra-stylish and with some more drama than needed. It also shows a certain shift from the major point at times, and also takes some time to get into the mood – it is with the interval that the movie gets clearly into that path. With a murder mystery at the centre, and having a number of talented actors for support, this could have gone forward with many twists and turns as well as shocking revelations, instead of revealing a little too much early. When choosing an unconventional path, going for something special is easier, as things will easily blend in – it hasn’t been focused on, that much. Some of the jokes were also less effective, and there was chance to add more in that department too.

The performers of the soul :: Amith Chakalakkal brings life to the role of an ex-policeman and priest nicely. We have seen him in some notable roles, but the most significant one was surely as the leader of the gang of youngsters in Pretham 2. He remains strong throughout this movie, and even goes rather extra-stylish at some moments. The character could have done with less heroism, and without that stylish hero image. Among the senior actors, it is Dileesh Pothan who is there for more than anyone else. With certain negative shades, this is something that he does with ease, in his usual style. We know what he can make out of even the simplest of roles, and the director leaves something for us in the acting department too, every time. The negative side is safe with him, in a way that it rises when needed, so well.

Further performers of the soul :: Lena is there for a short time, but leaves her mark with ease – maybe she could have been there for more, one would feel so. Anjali Nair has that kind of a role which she has done a lot of times before – her smaller roles have remained notable. Shammi Thilakan provides some fine support in between, staying close to the protagonist. This is one role that becomes significant in more than one way concerning the story. Nedumudi Vendu doesn’t have much to do though – his character itself could have been replaced by any other doing the same kind of actions. Sudhi Koppa is also left with a small role, and Nandu has more though. The second outing of the director Rejishh Midhila after Lal Bahadhur Shastri of 2015 also helps him to make a point, as the whole level has advanced from there.

How it finishes :: It is always great to have movies like this without the so called superstars doing so well – Joseph did the same, rising out of its low budget status to become the best Malayalam movie of the year 2018, something which nobody expected with so many big budget movies releasing in the year with many big names associated with them. This one won’t be the same for this year, but the effort has been good to go this far, with its title coming from Manianpilla Raju’s character Hitchcock Kanjikkuzhi in the movie No. 20 Madras Mail. During these times when good thrillers are hard to come, Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam takes the pain to bring something different, and it is to be appreciated. It is to be noted that we have had some good time with Malayalam movie industry so far, and it has been just near 2 months.

Release date: 22nd February 2019
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Rejishh Midhila
Starring: Amith Chakalakkal, Dileesh Pothan, Lal, Anjana Appukuttan, Baby, Dheeraj Denny, Gokulan, Sudhi Koppa, Anjali Nair, Nandu, Kainakary Thankaraj, Shammi Thilakan, Nedumudi Venu

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kong: Skull Island

Vampire Owl: Oh, Mr. Kong. I have heard that the humans used to call him King Kong. What happened to the king title?

Vampire Bat: Well, it seems that the humans has once again decided that only the mankind is the king and ruler above all species on Earth.

Vampire Owl: It is absurd. We are cent percent better than them. These people got such a huge mountain of ego that jumping off it to their sensible side is rather suicide.

Vampire Bat: What can we do? They are just proud of one thing or the other all the time. Then there are a few others who kill their own kind in the name of animals.

Vampire Owl: I don’t understand these humans. I actually understand werewolves better, which should be why are having a war with them.

Vampire Bat: Even humans never understand each other.

Vampire Owl: I would have been surprised if they did.

Vampire Bat: They even form teams to kill each other.

Vampire Owl: I wish werewolves had such teams, but they are so united.

Vampire Bat: Maybe Kong could work to get rid of those really bad ones among them.

[Gets three cups of strong tea with Mariegold biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: We see that two fighter planes which were going through combat in the air crashes on an unknown island. The American soldier named Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly) and a Japanese soldier named Gunpei Ikari (Miyavi) who have been fighting each other as the World War II was coming near the end, continues the combat, this time on the ground. While Gunpei manages to get the advantage with his samurai sword, a giant hand emerges from under the cliff, and the two gets back in shock. Later, in the year 1973, a team is sent by the United States to an island in the South Pacific known as Skull Island intending to discover what awaits inside before its Cold War opponent the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics decides to find its secrets first. The newfound opponent getting there before them was something that they couldn’t agree to, and due to the same, a former British Special Air Service named Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) is hired as the tracker to guide the new expedition.

So, what happens next? :: William Randa (John Goodman) is in charge of the operation, and intends to prove something, and Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) who has suspicions that there some secret warfare going on, also manages to join the gang to know what war is coming up after the failure of the Vietnam war. When a team lead by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) joins the expedition, her suspicions increase. As the team drops explosives at different part of the island according to the plan by the seismologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) to map out the island, they face something which they had not witnessed before, a giant creature which reveals itself as a huge ape, of the size of a skyscraper – the creature attacks the helicopters, easily destroying all air units, killing a number of men, and the others crashing at different parts of the island.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Preston feels that there is more than what meets the eye about this island, and when confronted, William reveals that he has been tracking these monsters for a long time, and there is a secret government wing which deals with these supernatural creatures, and they have been trying to get enough proof about the same, so that this possible threat against humanity could be dealt with, in one way or the other. He asks Preston to get him out of there, so that he could prove to the outside the world that such creatures exist, and there is reason for humans to be afraid of the monsters, thus proving that he has always been right, and not a nutcase. But Preston is more interested in something else, to kill the giant ape which murdered his soldiers – he would not stop until he sees the monster dead. The other team meets Hank Marlow who had survived on the island from the Second World War times, and he tells them that it is not Kong whom they should be worried about, as there are more, including the Skull crawlers – well, will anyone survive all these horror?

The defence of Kong: Skull Island :: You know what to expect of this movie, and you know that there is no chance of such a movie doing terribly – well, this one really manages to work on that formula so nicely. There is no shortage of fun in an old-fashioned tale about an island full of monsters, and will some skill, they have brought more quality into that idea. The special effects are too good, and CGI, as usual is nothing less than grand – we see more than one creature causing trouble, and we see the monsters battling each other, as we had seen in the last Godzilla movie, and this one doesn’t have that dark setting; the whole setting on the island is just some great joy to watch. We are also have a certain improvement from the 2005 version of King Kong, and this feels so much bigger on the screen. You will end up asking for more of Kong after this movie, and we have the monster who is capable of more than just destruction. Here, you will get to witness the monster power and all the action with less drama.

The claws of flaw :: You will always want more with a monster movie with the giant ape. The human characters are also very less significant in this movie which provides them only secondary or even lower status compared to the monsters on whom the movie is all about – we have so many of them here, but not much is there to be done with them. We would have also wished for more monsters – Kong could have used all the space used by humans too, because they do less and be the bad side of the movie, despite a lot of talent being present there. They could have at least thought and talked further about a philosophical side like Godzilla of 2014 did. We also wanted terrifying sequences with those which were called skull crawlers, or even other creatures who had the scope to unleash terror. Getting closer to simple monster horror would have been the best point of this movie, but this one chooses to go around on so many occasions – we can forgive most of them, but the viewers have to wonder what would have happened otherwise.

How it finishes :: Kong: Skull Island leaves us with the idea that there are some lines which shouldn’t be crossed, and that humans are not in control of nature or Earth, as they think – there will always be enough within this world to teach humans one lesson or two. We had seen the same in the movie Godzilla when balance was brought, and humanity was saved as monsters battled each other. There is even more to come in that case with Godzilla: King of the Monsters coming up in 2019, and the two movie series combining to bring Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020. Well, the monsters are going to attack our theatre screens more and more, and lets get ready for the same by watching Kong: Skull Island, which is the one King Kong movie which will take you back to your childhood, and enjoy this new, superior take of the myth with all that nostalgia and also the newly found glory with the best of visual effects, and the wonderful evolution of the tale of the giant ape. Well, when a monster calls, you have to listen and see the wonder that he is.

Release date: 10th March 2017
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly, Eugene Cordero, Miyavi, Richard Jenkins, Marc Evan Jackson

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Joseph

What is the movie about? :: Joseph George (Joju George) is a retired police officer spending his time with alcohol and cigarettes. He doesn’t have much time for the outside world except for some of his friends from police department, and lives alone in his house. He is a brilliant police officer who never really managed to use his skills to the best effect. He has suffered losses in his family life too, with his daughter Dayana Joseph (Malavika Menon) being lost to an accident a few years ago. He is separated from his wife Stella (Aathmiya) who is now married to Peter (Dileesh Pothan). When Stella meets an accident and dies, it sends him into further depression, as he had always loved her, despite not being able to express his feeling well enough. As an expert investigator who still helps the police department with finding clues to twisted cases, he feels something strange when standing near the place where Stella had the accident.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Joseph finds a few things to be out of place there. He tries to read all the reports together, but is able to feel that this is more or less a planned incident rather than an accident. He calls his friends in the police department who are also retired, and Sudhi (Sudhi Koppa) who was a senior of his daughter in the engineering college, and is now working in the cyber wing. The result is that Joseph finds something shocking behind all these. There is one link between everything, and the roots go deep, and long. To solve this mystery and bring those behind the crime to justice, he would have to travel through those paths less traveled, and take that kind of a risk which someone else wouldn’t even think about. So the question remains if he is ready to do that, and can his friends support him in the same?

The defence of Joseph :: There are many other movies, and then there is Joseph. The movie thrives on the strength of its emotions, and with its investigation, there is even more. There are some twists to follow, and the music nicely supports the mood as well as the elements of mystery that goes right through. The songs are pretty good, and we are sure to enjoy listening to them. There is also one thing that we can value the most, and it is staying close to reality. Joseph has no exaggeration, something which similar thrillers with superstars would have. As there are no superstars who want to beat up their villains, we have a story here which is very much believable. There is no action here, and the police officer here does nothing physical – he is just the smart one, and yet not the perfect one in any way. He is with his flaws, and he is an everyman police officer in whom we can find someone whom we know.

Positives and negatives :: Considering the mood of this movie, it is Memories that we remember before any other movie, with one protagonist, a police officer who has lost his wife and child looking forward to solve a murder mystery or two. The next movie that it reminds us of, is Angels, a movie which had its own twisted ending – something we were not expecting at all. The idea in that movie as well as that of Apothecary can find the reflections here. There might be certain doubts about the genre, as the movie goes on between more than one of them. People can feel that the flashbacks were somewhat longer, but they are all beautiful – almost every moment of this movie has beauty in one way or the other. The visuals are nice, and the feeling of terror that is shown is real, that too without showing anything disturbing with blood and gore.

The performers of the soul :: Joju George is indeed the biggest asset of this movie, as he comes up with a terrific performance as the protagonist, the man with the scar who has lost almost everything he held close to his heart. There is abiding sadness on his face which strikes the hearts of the audience very hard. There is a beautiful scar that he leaves in our souls, and it is due to a performance that stays with us for long. With his career best performance, he has our admiration, and the choice for the protagonist here is perfect, with no seeking perfection to become a hero – Joju’s police officer is the common man, and someone whom we can relate to, because he is not in the sky, but on Earth. From the beginning to the end, we are into his journey, from those simple moments in life to the complex times. Along with the same, we also carry the weight of his emotions, as the character gets so close to the depth of our souls. We, with our waxen winged hearts, like Icarus, burn in the fire of those emotions, and we are delighted about the same.

Further performers of the soul :: Dileesh Pothan, the master of Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is one the other side, showing the enduring sadness from another side, and he contributes with the same as does the rest of the supporting cast. Irshad and team bring nothing less than some wonderful support. Aathmiya also has a memorable performance in there as the wife, and it is also an emotionally touching role from her side. Malavika Menon has a rather small, but notable role here. Johny Antony is once again good in the role of a priest after doing the same in Shikkari Shambhu. You also notice how solid Sudhi Koppa is once again – we had seen the range of his performance in Paippin Chuvattile Pranayam, and here he plays a solid police officer in the cyber wing. His character can actually have a spin-off – I might be asking for a lot, but that is certainly a nice possibility.

How it finishes :: Joseph is that kind of an emotional investigative thriller which will stay with you for so long, and the melancholy that it provides will stay strong. The sadness that this movie possesses has the power to take over you too, as the feelings of the protagonist here are the same as any other common person would have. There is a certain amount of skill in the way in which the whole thing is presented, and we have the kind of protagonist who stays close to life rather than go for the exaggerated heroism. The way in which the whole story is built, will have you interested in each moment, and as the final scenes point to something that needs our attention, everything comes together and we have the best Malayalam movie of the year so far – Joju George can be proud of this one.
Release date: 18th November 2018

Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: M Padmakumar
Starring: Joju George, Dileesh Pothan, Madhuri Braganz, James Elia, Sudhi Koppa, Johny Antony, Idavela Babu, Irshad, Aathmiya, Malavika Menon, Jaffer Idukki

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Kuprasidha Payyan

What is the movie about? :: An orphan, Ajayan (Tovino Thomas) was doing different kinds of work, and finally he settled down in a Restaurant named Paradise with Jineesh (Balu Varghese), his good friend who is also with him. He does almost every job in the restaurant, and has the special duty of bringing idli from Chembakam (Saranya Ponvannan) to the restaurant – it is something that he has to do early morning. At the same time, Jalaja (Anu Sithara) who also works in the same restaurant is in love with him, and soon their attraction towards each other grows further. But things change for the worst when Chembakam is murdered by an unknown assailant. The local police investigation doesn’t reach anywhere, and crime branch is assigned the investigation after the protests from people. The new police officer in charge of the case is Simon George (Sujith Shankar) who has an envious record with the number of solved cases.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Simon is determined to solve the case in one way or the other, and the local people seems to know nothing much about what could have happened on that night of murder. It is then that they interrogate Bhaskaran (Alencier Ley Lopez), a drunkard who comes up with a strange and baseless accusation. Simon decides to develop on the same, even though there is not much truth in it. Soon, Ajayan finds himself framed for the murder of Chembakam. Simon makes sure that he confesses to having committed the murder, after days of torture. Everything is perfectly planned by Simon, and against Ajayan, the famous lawyer Suresh Narayanan (Nedumudi Venu) is set to appear. The court has the junior lawyer Hannah Elizabeth (Nimisha Sajayan) fighting the case for Ajayan as her first case. This one wouldn’t be the case she wanted to begin her career, but she decides that it is her best chance.

The defence of Oru Kuprasidha Payyan :: The movie deals with a variety of themes and we alienation, society’s labels, human emotions running high, and more, as the movie goes through its journey reflecting the contemporary society itself. It is a struggle of more than one person, even though it is just one person whom we see. Everyone has something to prove as well as a few things to lose, and more than one worlds collide in proving the point – the movie shows the same nicely, and never does it back down from showing the people as they are, and the society as it is, with no exaggerated character. The movie has some nice courtroom scenes with nothing overdone there. We also have some twists with the proceedings, and the struggle of a lone man without hope is not something that has reflected in our world so well, just like the abuse of power, prejudice and opportunism go along with the movie well.

The claws of flaw :: With this movie coming from the director of the critically acclaimed movies like Thalappavu and Ozhimuri, the expectations were certainly high. Such a level of movie isn’t here, as another path is taken. The first few minutes of the movie were also not really needed, because a quick entry to action is always the best in a flick like this, and that could have made this movie just above two hours – an appropriate length, and also very quick with its proceedings. The court room scenes are the movie’s strength, and therefore, being there early would have done the movie more favours. The film also chooses a middle path, not going for the mass audience, and not going the exact other way either, which means that it won’t be for all, but is meant mostly for those who are looking for a believable and good cinematic experience. Still, we feel that it ends too soon without that expected grandeur in the end.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas is back at the top again, after his Theevandi and Maradona, both having a great run as well as some nice opinions as he reflected this generation of youth with two tragic flaws in both cases, even though none of them lead to his fall. Well, Mayaanadhi, just like Guppy was that movie which set a wonderful fairy-tale kind of path for him, which seems to be at the strongest point right now. You remember him doing secondary roles in Ennu Ninte Moideen, Charlie and Style in succession, but you see where he is now – there is that display of simple and human emotions which is there better than ever this time. The emotional side is nicely handled, and he plays the character that is the representative of someone who has nobody to help, and as the character says, there is always someone from above who will be there to help.

Further performers of the soul :: Anu Sithara is one actress who has done very well in the industry with certain charm, but never really managed to go beyond a certain level with her movies, as almost all of them couldn’t rise to become the flicks which they promised to be. She has a smaller role here compared to what we thought, but she is really good in this avatar. It is very much a suitable one, as she proves. Beginning with a lead role for the first time in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, Nimisha Sajayan also couldn’t get a movie of that level after that. But Nimisha is too good in this movie in which we can see the struggling junior lawyer seeking to give her best, perfectly placed in her hands. Sujith Shankar’s police officer is a solid one, and so is Nedumudi Venu’s lawyer lacking in humanity.

How it finishes :: With Drama and Kayamkulam Kochunni still running in the theatres, Oru Kuprasidha Payyan makes a grand entry into the shows, promising to be something special considering the fact that it comes from the director of movies like Thalappavu and Ozhimuri. Malayalam movie industry surely needs some thrillers, as those days of Drishyam and Memories seem to be long gone. We are in need of more thrillers like Oru Kuprasidha Payyan which doesn’t just have the murder investigation in there, but also something hidden behind the real scene. A mirror to the contemporary society is another recommended factor in cinema, and it is exactly what Oru Kuprasidha Payyan becomes, in part. There is more than what meets the eye to Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, and it is why the flick shall endure and won’t yield to the rest of the flicks currently running in the theatres.

Release date: 9th November 2018
Running time: 145 minutes
Directed by: Madhupal
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Anu Sithara, Nimisha Sajayan, Dileesh Pothan, Alencier Ley Lopez, Siddique, Balu Varghese, Saranya Ponvannan, Shwetha Menon, Nedumudi Venu, Sukanya, Sreelakshmi, Maala Parvathi, Sujith Shankar, Sudheer Karamana, G. Suresh Kumar, Madhupal

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aanakkallan

What is the movie about? :: The central character of the movie is Pavithran (Biju Menon) who is a man spending his time in prison for committing robbery in a palace and museum. But his life gets better when a skeleton is found in the palace while the place was undergoing renovation. It is found out that the skeleton is almost as old as the time when the person was committing the robbery at the place. The police figures out that he could be either the suspect or the witness, and Pavithran agrees to the fact that he witnessed the murder taking place, and the killer getting rid of the body. As he assures them that he can recognize the killer, the police officers in charge KV Esthappan (Siddique) and Rajendra Babu (Suresh Krishna) decides to get him a parol. With a special permission from their superior officer Alex T Kuruvilla (Shivaji Guruvayoor), they make a master plan.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This master plan involves taking Pavithran to Esthappan’s wife house, from where he eloped with his wife Nancy Palakkal (Sarayu) a long time ago. By returning there, they would get a chance to stay close to Anandapuram Palace where the body was found. Pavithran would be forced to stay in the house as Esthappan’s friend who is a rich businessman from Palai. Despite their doubts, the parents of Nancy, Thomachan Palakkal (Sai Kumar) and Kochu Tresia (Bindu Panicker) welcomes them home. From there, a series of confusing events occur related to their lives. There are secrets to be revealed and mysteries to be solved, about Pavithran’s past, and that particular night on which the murder is supposed to have taken place. But as someone who is in prison for robbery and cheating, can Pavithran be trusted to help the police well enough?

The defence of Aanakkallan :: Being a movie which has a certain amount of confusion in itself, Aanakkallan can use some defence in its favour. There is no doubt about the fact that the movie begins well, and even before Biju Menon makes his entry, the beginning is set. The idea is good here, with an attempt made to solve a mystery regarding a skeleton found in a palace – to solve the case, a thief is needed too, and that man has a strange past. Well, this could have surely developed into something bigger as there is no shortage of content, and the fun is always there to be added. We remember how well Biju Menon added to the same in Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu. The funny side gets some regular contributions even when there are those problems of repetitions as well as the confusions.

The claws of flaw :: There is much that one would expect from a movie like Aanakkallan with Biju Menon in the lead, as people will have their own idea about how it would turn out to be. But the movie struggles to do the same, to meet the expectations. There are moments when the movie keeps making us feel the drag, as it goes above two and half hours, without that much of a content to boast about. The songs are all bad, and unnecessary – all of them seem to drag this piece of work towards that eternity, and most of the viewers won’t appreciate the same. There is so much of repetition here, not just with the old jokes, but also with the same kind of jokes used within the movie. The first and the second parts seem to be confused in where the movie is heading, and the long flashback in the second half is the worst part. The predictability factor is also very high.

The performers of the soul :: Biju Menon was supposed to be the one person who could hold the parts together, and one surely can’t doubt his ability in doing that – the movie surely depends on him a lot. He seems to find things easy here, as no surprises are added here in any department. Hareesh Perumanna and Dharmajan nicely contributes to the comedy at the same time, and Sudheer Karamana also joins in. But it is to be noted that none of these performers are used in a way that evokes that kind of fun to be remembered for long – there were opportunities present. Dharmajan’s Baahubali moment stands out, and Hareesh with his counters keep the movie on a better path. Suraaj Venjarammoodu once again has a rather serious role to perform here, and he has no problems in getting into this character of a thief.

Further performers of the soul :: The main female characters in this movie, Shamna Kasim, Sarayu and Anusree fail to have much to do. While Shamna Kasim’s role is more or less about being the fairest of them all, the other two are given even lesser work to do. It strange that we can’t have more. Siddique plays the police officer with ease, as he has the second most important character related to this one. Suresh Krishna does leave an impact with his funny police role here, being divergent from the serious one he played in Abrahaminte Santhathikal. Indrans is also here with an interesting character, even though limited in scope. Bala and Kailash are also there, contributing nicely to the story. But the focus, as we all know is on one person, and it is no surprise at all.

How it finishes :: The movie doesn’t go on to become a Vellimoonga, and it doesn’t even go on to become a Swarna Kaduva. This one is rather closer to Sherlock Toms which was a half-baked movie unable to stay within any genre, or do justice to at least one of them well enough. The director’s previous movie was Ivan Maryadaraman, and in comparison to that, this flick is surely an improvement. But the question would remain if that much is enough. The fact that there is still the use of the same kind of strange stereotypes and cliches after so many years and movies of attempts, doesn’t leave a true movie lover a happy one. But Aanakkallan does serve to waste some time for a lazy weekend, and this particular weekend is indeed one. There is just Kayamkulam Kochunni to make you think otherwise.

Release date: 18th October 2018
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Suresh Divakar
Starring: Biju Menon, Siddique, Suraaj Venjarammoodu , Shamna Kasim , Anusree, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Sudheer Karamana, Suresh Krishna, Hareesh Perumanna, Bindu Panicker, Saikumar, Sarayu, Bala, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Indrans, Kailash

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@ Cemetery Watch
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