The 8th Night

Vampire Owl: Another Korean horror film with monsters? That sounds good.

Vampire Bat: Korean movies have some fine monsters.

Vampire Owl: I wish that I could invite a few of them here.

Vampire Bat: Monsters are not allowed here. They are considered the same as werewolves and zombies.

Vampire Owl: But dead monsters are allowed.

Vampire Bat: Well, we do give them honorable burial in the cemetery.

Vampire Owl: Why would a monster come here to be buried?

Vampire Bat: We are now promoting burial tourism.

Vampire Owl: Now you are giving those kinds of ads?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the ads are very popular now.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: A long time ago, a monster roamed free, and intended to create eternal suffering for humans. Unable to kill it, the Buddha was finally able to stop the monster by taking out its eyes, coloured black and red. The red eye continued fighting, and when the Buddha was finally able to stop the red eye, he placed it along with the black one in different caskets. He buried one eye in the great hills of the Far East, and the other eye he buried in the great deserts of the Far West, hoping to make sure that these would never meet and bring the monster back. In the year 2005, a professor Kim Joon-cheol (Choi Jin-ho) wants to prove that the Buddhist myth is real, and finds one of the eyes in the India-Pakistan border. But he is disgraced, and people don’t believe in him. The media makes fun of him, and the authorities say that what he has with him is forged. This angers him, and after many years, he still wants to let everyone know that he was telling the truth.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He reawakens the monster’s red eye, and open the gates of hell, in an attempt to prove that the Buddish myth real, thus also making people realize that he is not a liar. Monk Ha-jung (Lee Eol), a protector of one of the caskets, understands that the red eye has reawakened, as he alwso wakes up from his meditation. He asks another monk Chung-seok (Nam Da-reum) to seek Park Jin-soo (Lee Sung-min), a construction worker who was banished from the monk community – the one who is supposed to be born to stop the eyes’ reunification. All these were foretold, and the prophecy is to be fulfilled – if the eyes are united, on the eighth night, the monster will be unleashed, and it will unstoppable. At the same time, Detective Kim Ho-tae (Park Hae-joon) is also working in the case of the strange corpses that the red eye leaves behind after its grand awakening. But are these people good enough to stop the evil which seems to possess so many people and murder many of them?

The defence of The 8th Night :: The movie has some good divergence with its myth as well as the horror that it brings. There are also the characters who have some interesting past to go with the present, and are defined by past, present and future. The mythological elements about the monster works really well, and its effectiveness only increases as the movie goes forward. There is a certain amount of quality which has been maintained in its use of properties. It uses the settings of the city quite well to gaining advantage in horror. One would initially have the doubt about what a horror movie can do with two eyes lying apart and coming together at some other point of time – how can random eyes be horror? Well, this one answers the same quite well, and has a number of moments which bring some divergent horror, different from what we expect and what we have been seeing. The idea of the ancient prophecies and monsters is used effectively here as the journey never gets less interesting.

Positives and negatives :: The movie could have had more grandeur in the establishment of the characters and terror which is unleashed, and some moments don’t contribute that much like it was intended. It also gets very complicated at times, and also a bit slow in some moments. There is a lot of mystery about what has been happening around here, and with this kind of a monster, you have absolutely no idea what can happen next – it keeps us guessing as well as thinking. There are some shots which are so good and effective that they stay with us for long enough. They have captured the essence of nature, as the movie goes forward with its battle between good and evil too. The eerie feeling which this movie provides, might seem different than the usual, that we would get elsewhere. South Korean movies are pretty much rich in providing some symbolic horror, and this one also does try to deviate from the normal and most traveled course of action for the best. The movie also has some service as an investigative thriller – we know how the spirits and real-life investigations of crimes go together, like in the case of Malayalam movie, Cold Case.

The performers of the soul :: Lee Sung-min whom we have known from Hit-and-Run Squad leads the way as the man who is part of different missions, having violence and non-violence on two different sides, none of them leaving him, as he serves as the guardian. He has moments as he comes out of the past to face the present, in an attempt to the save the future for everyone in this world. It is a solid work that suits the personality that we see here, strong and with better different abilities than an average monk would possess. Park Hae-joon plays the detective, and he does that in a convincing manner, even though he remains a foolish believer in science and logic only. A detective in a movie dealing with magic and myth might feel out of the place, but he does make sure that it is not the case here, and there is a lot to be done from his side too. Kim Yoo-jung plays the female character with most screen presence, and she makes another interesting character of significance. Choi Jin-ho plays the man who begins all of these, and one can only wish that his scenes were more chaotic in nature too. Nam Da-reum is the usual apprentice who doesn’t know enough until he changes in the end.

How it finishes :: The 8th Night has the ability to rise beyond the typical horror story that we have, with all the monsters coming out of hell, as it establishes the myth, and follows it up with enough horror to go with it. With an investigation which is nicely managed, this one goes forward in an interesting manner. There is the message about destiny, and the roles that one is supposed to perform in this world, as well as something about where conscience comes into play. With the visuals adding to the mystery and horror, we know that this could be another classic horror flick like Train to Busan and The Wailing, which could rise above the rest many years ago, and the later arrivals like Svaha, Metamorphosis an The Divine Fury. You are never really short of some interesting Korean movies to watch, and The 8th Night is the film which you can add to the list of what can be recommended to the horror fans. This is also not to be confused with the Malayalam movie, 7th Day which deals with another investigation of murders.

Release date: 2nd July 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Kim Tae-hyoung
Starring: Lee Sung-min, Park Hae-joon, Kim Yoo-jung, Nam Da-reum, Choi Jin-ho, Park Se-hyun, Lee Eol, Kim Han-sol

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Metamorphosis

Vampire Owl: Do you know that some of the vampires in our group are having a great metamorphosis these days?

Vampire Bat: Vampires are having metamorphosis nowadays? I thought that it was more or less of a werewolf thing.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it used to be. Only the zombies and witches had a small share of the same in the recent past.

Vampire Bat: So, vampires are becoming more or less similar to those people.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but our metamorphosis is rather different in comparison. We metamorphose into something greater, or rather magnificent.

Vampire Bat: Aren’t we magnificent creatures already?

Vampire Owl: Magnificence is no longed counter in the same terms. We are using a new unit to measure it.

Vampire Bat: But, a metamorphosis now is not something that we can afford.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but Doctor Frankenstein has discovered a different method which is cheaper and of a better quality.

Vampire Bat: Mr. Frankenstein! I know that there was someone like him behind all these happenings in the castle.

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with an attempted exorcism on a young girl who is tied to the bed inside her room. In the beginning, things seem to go on without much of a trouble, and the demon seems to be a weak entity, listening to all the prayers in Korean and Latin, not taking over the girl’s actions or words. But all of a sudden, it turns violent, leading the girl’s mother to come in, making the priest lose his control over the incantations as well as the demon, which takes the girl to the window, making her suicide. But before commiting suicide, the girl and the mother of the girl, both mocks the priest, and tells him that they are as old as God, and the Supreme Power has forsaken him, all these being the will of the Almighty. The priest who is originally named Joong-Soo (Sung-Woo Bae) decides to leave priesthood after being blamed for the girl’s death, but the diocese and his superiors do not approve of it.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As Joong-Soo who has struggled to keep the memories of the demons away, his brother and family moves into a new home in the countryside. Gang-goo (Dong-il Sung), his wife Myung-joo (Young-nam Jang) and the children, Sun-woo (Hye-Jun Kim), Hyun-joo (Yi-Hyun Cho) and Woo-jong (Kang-Hoon Kim) have a bigger home at the countryside with a lot of space both inside and outside, but things do not go as expected in the new place, as there is there is something strange going on there. The problem start with their neighbours itself, and there seems to be something weird going on with the person who is staying at the place too. There is undoubtedly a demon out there who is taking possessing people and taking the shape of humans. The family only has one person to turn to now, but if that person can do the exorcism or not is something that is to be seen.

The defence of Metamorphosis :: Being a movie about demons and exorcisms, it does have that, even though there is a certain shortage for sure. The power of exorcism is shown in the beginning as well as the end, and there is some fine display of creepiness with the neighbour’s house and the talk of the demons. It has blood nicely used, and having the evil entity more powerful than everything has more to be lost in this flick. Well, this time, the demons go personal, and it has more powers than one can imagine, making the idea of defeating it rather difficult and complex, especially with a failed exorcist trying to do the same. The scares are there, but there are limitations considering the fact that not many things scare people these days. The demons don’t have the belief in them coming from people in the modern world, but the movie does manage to rise above it, thanks to the visuals and the performances.

The claws of flaw :: It seems that the Korean film industry is trying a little too hard to find its perfect exorcist movie, just like the zombie movie was found in Train to Busan – the signs can be seen in this movie, where it struggles at times to keep it as what the flick was supposed to be. When you have a shape-shifting demon in your pocket, you are supposed to make more out of it, especially with the scares regarding who is who, and more like who is the demon and who is not. It was that demon who could have had its origin stories and had the strength to keep the whole thing creepy throughout its presence, but that is not done here. The movie also doesn’t use the protagonist’s guilt that much, and comes up that creepy scene in the shower, another one over the bed and another one in the dining room, all of them needing a boost to rise above the usual. Yes, cliches are going to be found here, and repetitions too.

Peformers of the soul :: Metamorphosis, as many other horror movies, has to depend on its demons and exorcists more than anything else. With the demons, it remains safe as usual, as they never stops doing what they were to do in a world of horror and demonic presence. Sung-Woo Bae plays the priest and the exorcist, and we see that he makes a fine priest in the movie, working through the terror very well. Dong-il Sung plays the father figure really well, with the concerns over his daughter worked nicely. Young-nam Jang plays the mother, and that is also done well enough. Among the children, Hye-Jun Kim stands out, as she plays the responsible elder sister, and she also gets to be part of more of the exorcism – she is the believer and the one with most faith than anyone else. Yi-Hyun Cho plays the younger sister who is not the kind of person who is happy with the family, and that also works out well. The rest of the cast adds on well too.

How it finishes :: Another interesting movie about demonic possession comes into the picture with Metamorphosis, and it is something which you can depend on, because it mostly follows the usual pattern, but is not without some divergence here and there. It can be considered as that kind of a movie which stays close to Hollywood flicks like The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun, Insidious and The Vatican Tapes, but still manages to bring something which the regular English movie won’t dare to bring, unless it is something like It Follows, Lights Out, Don’t Breathe or The Autopsy of Jane Doe – the movie which could show full divergence. Metamorphosis is the kind of movie which can at least give the usual horror movie with demonic possession horror, even if you don’t like the deviations brought about here, and so the movie makes a safe title to watch among the rest. But you are most probably going to find it to be something more, depending on your taste.

Release date: 21st August 2019
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Hong-seon Kim
Starring: Sung-Woo Bae, Dong-il Sung, Young-nam Jang, Hye-Jun Kim, Yi-Hyun Cho, Kang-Hoon Kim, Se-hee Kim, Jeon Mi Do, Kwi-seon Kim, Dae-han Ji

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Deliver Us from Evil

deliverusfromevil (1)

Vampire Owl :: You are obviously talking about me.

Vampire Bat :: No, I am not. Why should I talk about you now when I am going to watch a horror movie?

Vampire Owl :: You said “deliver us from evil”. I am evil.

Vampire Bat :: No, you are not evil, not even remotely close to being a bad guy.

Vampire Owl :: But I am bad. Super evil.

Vampire Bat :: Owls are not evil. It is impossible. Bats are evil.

Vampire Owl :: You cannot take my right to be evil. I am going to owlify the world and establish my greatness.

Vampire Bat :: As if that is going to happen. You said you would do it before Mangalyan reached Mars.

Vampire Owl :: Damn. It all happens too fast. These strange space related things are not covered by the vampire newspapers.

Vampire Bat :: I would say that it is more due to your brain’s clock working so slow.

[Gets into the theatre].

What is it about? :: A cop Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) is going through some strange situations, as weird incidents happen in the city, and some of them has almost no reason or solution. A Spanish priest Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez) tries to convince the police officer that these incidents have something with it than what meets the eye. There are three former soldiers from Iraq who seems to be involved with the crimes that has occured in the city, and the priest warns Sarchie that it is beyond the human comprehension as there are two types of evil, primary and secondary, and it is only the second about which the humanity can find answers with its ability to understand things in the scientific way. At first, the cop refuses to believe that the three men are possessed, but he might not be able to hold on with that viewpoint for too long, as things go out of control, and it affects even his own relationships with his wife and daughter.

The defence of Deliver Us from Evil :: The scares are surely working, especially with a number of scenes in the basement which brings the best out of horror. The atmosphere is creepy, and is successfully kept that way and the tension is efficiently maintained. The darkness and the rain are two elements that nicely supports the shocks that the movie dares to come up with. The movie nicely manages to stay in control with the blood and gore elements as well as the horror, and this intermediate path which it has taken can make it a safer bet. There is an attempt to explain evil with the need for faith, and there is some skill in the characterization of the two leading characters who go on to fight evil. The moments in the zoo and the basement of a family with a complaint are two very nicely done scenes, invoking terror as well as mystery, and a certainty that there is something yet to come. The cast is also a fine boost for this movie.

The claws of flaw :: The movie needed a lot more explanations about what is happening around with demons possessing people and making them do things, and by passing through the portal into this world from the other dimension, the question would remain about what they achieve other than scaring people and in the process, killing a few. There had to be a plan which isn’t seen anywhere here. A comparison to The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister which comes from the same director is not possible as this belongs to a lower level, and any comparison to The Conjuring is clearly impossible. The movie should have used more special effects, and it could have given a much needed boost to the scary sequences. The end scene is also weaker with a usual exorcism performed in not that powerful manner as it was expected from the way the movie was working with its creatures from the other world. The second half is weaker compared to the first which was an impressive start.

Performers of the soul :: Eric Bana is in full control of things here in one of my favourite performances from him ever. There is something about him that makes him good with this character, and I would guess that his looks and style is pretty much best suited to playing this role. Édgar Ramírez also has left a mark as the new generation priest who has kept himself modern, but has still remained within his priestly world. I remember him mostly as Ares from Wrath of the Titans, and here he seems to fit in better. The prettiest one around, Olivia Munn has an admirable stay, and her character has presence, but she is left is not much to do in a world of demons repelled by one priest and a police officer. Sean Harris as Santino is impressive with his possessions and nicely compliments the horror elements of the movie with his performance. Meanwhile, Joel McHale is also good in his supporting role. Olivia Horton also delivers some terror with her role as the possessed lady.

Soul exploration :: The movie is based on the real life experiences of Ralph Sarchie recorded in his book, Beware the Night also co-written by Lisa Collier Cool. I would guess that it would add to the spookiness and surely has me wishing to read the work some day – it would be difficult to get it here, but there will be a way. The title of the movie is the ending of the Lord’s Prayer. It is that need to be saved from evil that we can see in this movie. There will always be things which are not in our control, and humanity’s minuteness and vulnerability are among those factors which will solidify the same fact. It is a clear thing that we can’t know everything, and no mater how or to whom we pray, there is something that prayer can always do. There is evil in this world, and however we categorize them, there is the need for God’s grace to save ourselves. The free will is there, but it is not the permission to do evil; as there is the presence of sinister forces at work, and only by goodness and faith that one can be redeemed.

How it finishes :: The reviews from critics which were negative, has now improved and the movie has come close to getting a fifty percent, and I would expect it to increase further as the opinions from most of my acquaintances have been quite positive. The other movie of the week happens to be November Man which should have its own audience due to the presence of Pierce Brosnan. Surprisingly, Lucy and The Maze Runner are the movies which stay on to this week, and I wonder more about the former, as it seems to have stayed there so much longer than it was expected to thrive. Deliver Us from Evil should be the movie of the week, and it is going to be replaced by Annabelle as the most awaited horror movie of the year. There is also that expectation for Haider the Hindi contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet along with the seemingly dumb remake of Knight and Day which has been named Bang Bang! which attempts to repeat what Besharam did during last year’s Gandhi Jayanthi. Let’s hope that horror will find a way to thrive!

Release date: 26th September 2014 (India); 2nd July 2014 (US)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris, Joel McHale, Chris Coy, Olivia Horton, Dorian Missick, Rhona Fox, Valentina Rendón

deliverusfromevill

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.