Encounter

Vampire Owl: I have always enjoyed encounters with aliens.

Vampire Bat: Yes, you have always been looking for vampire aliens.

Vampire Owl: If a species requires blood to survive, they would just vampires and not aliens.

Vampire Bat: Well, if they are from another planet, they are surely aliens.

Vampire Owl: You are questioning their basic nature of existence.

Vampire Bat: When on Earth, they are still aliens.

Vampire Owl: Drinking blood is in their nature, and that counts as vampires only.

Vampire Bat: This one is worth a debate at the Dracula Castle.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that Uncle Dracula will accept them as just vampires.

Vampire Bat: You don’t know him well enough after the Corona virus pandemic.

[Gets some French fries and three glasses of strawberry shake].

What is the movie about? :: Malik Khan (Riz Ahmed) is a dishonorably discharged Marine who is having a tough time living the usual kind of life. He sees that there is so much of riots going on the nearby cities, and the is bothered by increase in violence all around the state and the country. His former wife Piya Khan (Janina Gavankar) and children Jay Khan (Lucian-River Chauhan) and Bobby Khan (Aditya Geddada) are now living with her present husband Dylan (Misha Collins), a long distance from him. The sons, especially Jay is not happy with the situation, and has turned extremely arrogant. He visits Jay and Bobby at takes them away in his car, saying that this is a road trip which their mother has kept as a surprise. The boys feel that this could really be a fun ride, but there is more to it than what he says. Malik seems to be waiting for something bad to happen at all times, and there is a lot of worries that he seems to have here.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: When they are stopped on the road by a police officer, he is forced to tell the boys the truth about what has been happening in the last few days. He tells them that there are some non-terrestrial microorganisms taking over the planet, as these aliens are using human bodies are used as hosts – most of the humans are no longer in control, and some heavy research is required regarding this, for which they hope to reach a safe place. He also feels that at least half of the population has been infected. The idea of a parasite growing inside one’s body frightens the boys, but they decide to fight and make it the safe place with their father. As Hattie (Octavia Spencer) is the one who is in charge of Malik’s parole understands that he took the children after tying up Piya and Dylan, she understands that he is in trouble. Back home, FBI is in charge of the investigation on the kidnapping of the boys, and they feel that he might be going to keep his children.

The defence of Encounter :: The beginning of the movie was really good, and it keeps us interested throughout most part of its run. Most of the things which were shown in the beginning turns useless in the end, but they had a fine role in making the whole film engaging. This has the strength to work as a post-apocalyptic movie after the worms, parasites, or anything takes over later, but it chooses to go ordinary, and that is indeed a shame. The performance are really good, and the visuals are also nice, when we look at them. Some action is also added here and there, but there is almost no horror being part of this, even though there was the chance for that too. It is basically what we thought about the movie before watching it that has kept us interested, and one has to say that the talk about the film before its release did go well to create an image – the same is not reflected well here though, as we stare at it.

The claws of flaw :: Encounter is very much a confused movie, as it doesn’t really seem to know what it is aiming for, with a beginning as an alien invasion movie, and then going on to be a strange family drama. This change that the movie brings at a point of time does no favour to it – if everything happened the other way around, things would have been much better. The movie is called a science fiction thriller both on IMDB and Wikipedia, and one really has to wonder how this film gets into that particular category, especially in the second half, as the path seems completely lost. Even though the ending does look realistic, it is not the kind of finish that are looking for, and for a climax like this one, not many people would wish to buy the tickets – well, this is on Amazon Prime Video and when you have already taken the subscription, one might just end up watching it quickly for the sake of it. Promoting a movie as what it really is, would be the right thing to do, in my opinion.

Performers of the soul :: It is the performances that score for the movie which struggles with confusion over its own identity, as Riz Ahmed does a very good job as the former Marine who seems to be trying to end an alien invasion, but is as confused as the movie itself. His feeling of paranoia, worries and strange acts are all things which work well for us. If the movie could have actually stepped it up well enough, this could have brought wonders for him, but unfortunately, he also struggles with the film as we reach the disappointing end. Janina Gavankar has some fine family moments in the beginning, but that doesn’t carry over as the protagonist doesn’t really feel the need to save her from aliens. Octavia Spenser also has some fine moments, as one of the most likable characters that we see anywhere. Rory Cochrance is the typical FBI agent that we see in different movies in similar forms. The two children are good, especially Lucian-River Chauhan who has a little more to contribute in comparison with Aditya Geddada.

How it finishes :: Encounter makes another science fiction alien invasion thriller entry to Amazon Prime Video after The Tomorrow War did the same thing a few months ago. Still, our movie here is rather different, with no big alien attacking people around, and no huge action scenes – in this case, we don’t have too much of sci-fi being thrown around, as no certainty about the alien attack is provided. Almost all the movie, you keep thinking if there is really an alien, a doubt which won’t favour you if you are looking for full action alien flicks. This movie is more drama when we consider the case here. You have an alien movie here without the certainty of the existence of the aliens, and that is indeed not the science fiction that you want. Well, when there are so many alien invasion movies at your disposal, and which a good number of science fiction films waiting for your eyes, this one which degrades into a family drama might not be the one you prefer, but it is still an interesting watch, especially during the first half.

Release date: 10th December 2021
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Michael Pearce
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Janina Gavankar, Rory Cochrane, Lucian-River Chauhan, Aditya Geddada

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Viral

Vampire Owl: This title should be reserved for a vampire movie, and not the flicks like these.

Vampire Bat: They are using this title for parasitic worms, and not zombies, unlike what you think.

Vampire Owl: What? There are no zombies in this one?

Vampire Bat: There are people mind-controlled by worms which develop a parasitic relationship with the brain.

Vampire Owl: Oh! I had sent my zombie minions to watch this one thinking that it was a zombie movie.

Vampire Bat: It is okay. They can’t differentiate between the two with their infected brains.

Vampire Owl: I hope they don’t. If they get something to use against me, there will be trouble – I haven’t even paid them their wages for very long.

Vampire Bat: What? Where does all the money you earn as a senior vampire associate go?

Vampire Owl: I am building an ark as part of my plan to take over the world.

Vampire Bat: Please make sure that the world doesn’t take over you.

[Gets three cups of Wayanad tea with Patanjali Doodh Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Emma Drakeford (Sofia Black-D’Elia) and Stacey Drakeford (Analeigh Tipton) are two sisters studying at the same institution – the former is rather the studious kind and the latter the hyperactive one who keeps bringing some trouble to her sister. The former is attracted to their neighbour studying in their school, Evan Klein (Travis Tope) while the latter finds her boyfriend in the local boy CJ (Colson Baker). Their father, Michael Drakeford (Michael Kelly) who is teaching at the same institution has problems with his marriage, which he is trying to sort out from a distance. Meanwhile, there is news about a terrible virus causing some parasitic infection. But the United States government is confident that there is nothing in that virus that they can’t handle, and is keeping a close watch on people who travel from outside the country, and those who go out.

So, what happens next? :: When Emma’s best friend Gracie Lemay (Linzie Grey) manages to get the same infection, things turn upside down in their small town which is not prepared for such a thing. It seems that Gracie is going to die, and her parents provide the information that she is going to get better, but both is not correct, as something worse than death awaits them. The infection also spreads through another students whom she is contact with. The infection spreads wide from all corners of the continent and nation, and there is soon a quarantine on the whole county as with many other places in the country, as their father is stuck on the way trying to get their mother from the airport. Their mother can’t get out of the airport either. He asks them to stay at home, but they go for a party only to find out the infected there, unleashing terror, which seems to have Stacey affected, but she doesn’t show the signs then.

And what is to follow in the events to follow? :: They waste no time in getting back to their house and lock it up, only to know that things are only getting worse. The military is there and restrictions are made, with nobody allowed to be outside the limits of the town. Almost everyone stays at home, but that doesn’t really stop the infections from spreading, and nobody is safe. They keep listening to the news which brings them further hopelessness with events all around the globe including governments bombing a full town or city to contain the infections, and also see their neighbours being captured by the military who takes them away. The soldiers keep checking if there is any infected in the homes, and considers it against the law to have one inside, and when broken, would have serious consequences. With every attempt to escape quarantine not being fruitful, can the two sisters do the impossible? They have no idea what they are up against – nobody does.

The defence of Viral :: As many other movies including the many movies of Resident Evil, Viral uses the idea of a virus outbreak to end the world, and with the same, it does a nice, and a more realistic job. There is nothing exaggerated tried here, and we also have the support of the emotional side along with the horror and thrills to make this one a balanced movie dealing with these things. This one’s use of the parasitic worms to control the humans from inside while multiplying, provides a more terrifying feeling as we see them travel inside the skin. The movie also nicely builds its story from the beginning unlike other horror stories, and the protagonists seem to be a lot more likable with their sibling bonding side. The movie has the advantage of Sofia Black D’Elia who, along with being the prettiest person around, also has full control of her work, never straying. Analeigh Tipton comes second, and does pretty well with her big and rebellious sister role.

The claws of flaw :: There are those stupid decisions being made by the protagonists – there is possible virus outbreak outside and you might die, and still our people have no problem in going to a party and socializing with others who might be infected; well, party might be the most important thing for a new generation in some areas, but one would think that life is something of more significance. You are also very much provided with the idea that this movie could have been something bigger, and it keep you wondering about what kind of terrible attacks could have been witnessed on screen, and what all desperate measures the protagonists would have taken to escape them. All these could have been done quicker, without providing significance to a few repeated dialogues – well, we ask for the best from a virus outbreak causing end of the world, don’t we? Infections can bring more on the screen than people not infected.

How it finishes :: Despite reminding of other movies dealing with a terrible infection striving for the end of the world, Viral is also an interesting take on the same. It might feel like a deviation from the usual zombie horror, with people not being control of their minds, but the difference is that there are those worms in control right inside. There is one thing about which you will be sure about more than the rest – it will be about the need to see Sofia Black D’Elia in more horror movies, considering the way she has handled this one. Then there is another thing – this movie is surely a fine way to spend some time with a certain amount of thrilling moments of horror, which rises further above the opinions about it seen online. Also read the reviews of the movies in theatres right now, Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Varnyathil Aashanka, Clint, Sarvopari Palakkaran, Chunkzz, Kadam Katha, Sunday Holiday and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.

Release date: 29th July 2016
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Starring: Sofia Black D’Elia, Analeigh Tipton, Travis Tope, Colson Baker (Machine Gun Kelly), Brianne Howey, John Cothran Jr, Michael Kelly, Stoney Westmoreland, Linzie Grey, Judyann Elder, Philip Labes

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.