Red Dot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sacrifice

Vampire Owl: Vampires have always been against sacrifices.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cadaver

Vampire Owl: I have got some doubt if they are talking about us.

Vampire Bat: This is surely not about the undead. You can have my assurance.

Vampire Owl: Well, dead people have no rights in the human world. So, we cannot be sure.

Vampire Bat: Such doubts that you have are usually wrong.

Vampire Owl: This is just our second Norwegian film to be watched.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the last one, Lake of Death was a good one, right?

Vampire Owl: There is something sinister about these movies. I can feel it.

Vampire Bat: You can reserve your feelings for later, after watching the film.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but I am a vampire of extreme doubt, you know that.

Vampire Bat: Yet, you remain the leader of a large vampire battalion.

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

What is the movie about? :: One of the big Norwegian cities was hit by a nuclear disaster, and people struggling to survive with devastation all around. There is no hope for future in this post-apocalyptic situation – food is very difficult to find, and there is also no electricity. Dead bodies could be seen in different parts of the city with devastated buildings, and the climate seems to be very rough, as news about nuclear disasters, conflicts and possible world wars are everywhere. Leonora (Gitte Witt) and Jacob (Thomas Gullestad) live in this particular city with their little child, Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman). The child has regular nightmares, as they live alone in what seems to be an abandoned apartment. They understand that they cannot just hang in there with nothing left other than each other. It is then that they find out that there is a theatre play happening nearby, with a free meal. They understand that it is their chance to have some food for the family, and decides to go there at night, even though they do have some initial doubts about the same.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Leonara hopes that these are the signs of things getting better, and her optimism leads them to the thaetre building – she feels that even if the meals are not enough, they could still have some fun, which the child desperately needs. Even though Alice is first refused entry, the hotel director, Mathias (Thorbjorn Harr), personally gets there and allows the child inside. The building seems to the one last thing standing tall in between all the destruction around. They are all happy to see what is like a new world for them, with a lot of food and it is more like a festival. Everyone seems starved, and they all eats as much as they want. There are other people who are also there for the first time. Mathias tells the guests that the play will be performed by using the whole hotel without curtain, seats and intermission. Everything during the night would be part of the show, with spectators given masks to wear, and the actors would be without the masks, as they move around.

And things can get only stranger in this world of chaos :: The performance starts all of a sudden, without a warning. The guests have the option to attend any performance at any part of the huge building with so many rooms and floors. Everyone keeps looking for things that would catch their interest, and there are so many different spaces without masked people. As everyone keeps walking around, soon Leonara and Jacon understand that Alice is not with them anymore. They remember seeing her just before, but now she seems lost. They keep searching for them, while others also seems to have lost people who were with them. Soon, it seems that there are no more spectactors, and all of them seems to have disappeared without trace. The show still seems to continue in the same manner, but without people. There are some strange trapdoors and creepy rooms around, while things only get more sinister as they keep moving on. It seems that we have more than what meets the eye with this particular building and the show – how dangerous is it?

The defence of Cadaver :: There seems to be so many mysteries hidden in this particular world, and after the initial introduction to the world of chaos hit by an apocalyptic world, we have a terrifying post-apocalyptic world outside, and we are then introduced into something even more frightening inside a building, that is two levels of horror unleashed without warning. The world inside is creepier than one can imagine. The structure, with its creepy corridors, rooms, paintings, darkness – this old-style building is something which will stay in our minds for a very long time. The terror that the movie brings feels much realistic than it is supposed to be, because it is more or less a reflection of humanity and the inherent evil that has led it for a long time throughout history. People have always been evil, as William Golding had shown in Lord of the Flies, a long time ago – it is the same reflection that we see here. As we look at where humanity has reached as of now, what happens in this film is only a little distant probability, for modernity has taken a part of everyone’s soul, as people go for riches above everything else.

Positives and negatives :: The film could have made itself a bigger blood and gore fest with terrifying secrets being brought to light on after the other, but it gains some remarkable ground in its current form. There were more opportunities in between, with all those strange acts being possible with this premise – the film could have used it for the better. The conclusion is pretty good, there are some moments in between that seems to stretch the movie rather than doing anything else. There is also a little bit of predictability, but we can go past that quick enough. Yet, when you are transported into this particular world, you are more or less in a mystery which seems to get thicker and thicker as time passes. When you have a horror thriller set inside a strange building which is part of a post-apocalyptic world, what can be there other than consistent scope of danger? Well, that much has been achieved really well with this particular movie which thrives on its atmosphere again and again. The idea of survival of the fittest, when applied here works remarkably well. The performances are pretty good, but that is not the focus here.

How it finishes :: This Norwegian film seems to rise above the usual horror flicks, as it rises above the genre which has depleted some of its strengths due to modernity and the lack of belief in traditions. The way in which Cadaver uses its scares should come as inspiration to Hollywood too, as one cannot always depend on The Conjuring, Insidious, Annabelle, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe among others to do the thing, and even come up with more and more sequels, for originality matters. Cadaver is innovative enough to create something special out of an already terrifying premise, and the ability to display some extra skills to keep the audience engaged makes sure that this is one of the most effective horror flicks of these times. The atmosphere, setting, situations – all seems to come together so well. If you haven’t watched this one, you are missing the opportunity to watch a well-made horror movie making unexpected impact. This is indeed a film to stay with you even after the whole thing ends – as effective as you can expect from such a world of mystery.

Release date: 22nd October 2020
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Jarand Herdal
Starring: Gitte Witt, Thomas Gullestad, Thorbjorn Harr, Tuva Olivia, Kingsford Siayor, Maria Grazia Di Meo, Jonatan Rodriguez, Trine Wiggen

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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.