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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Deliver Us from Evil

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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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.