The Paramedic

Vampire Owl: Another good Spanish film to watch? That sounds fair.

Vampire Bat: Well, we have always wanted to have more foreign movies to watch.

Vampire Owl: As we speak, the theatres are opening here too.

Vampire Bat: Well, the question remains – for how long?

Vampire Owl: So, you think that the next wave is coming soon.

Vampire Bat: I can already feel it to be close. One only has to wonder about the terror the virus can unleash this time.

Vampire Owl: Nobody is afraid of the Corona virus anymore.

Vampire Bat: They need to be afraid. It is a shame if they are not.

Vampire Owl: Well, people make their own strange choices these days.

Vampire Bat: Not people, just humans. All the other species are fine.

[Gets a chicken samosa and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Angel Hernandez (Mario Casas) is a paramedic who doesn’t care about his patients, and he also steals valuable items from them if he gets a chance. He is also disappointed about not having a child with his girl friend, Vanesa Francois (Deborah Francois) with whom he shares an apartment. He is also very possessive towards her, and blames her for them not having a child. But she wouldn’t care that much about the same, as she is ore interested in her work and advanced level of studies. Things get only worse when their ambulance which his colleague Ricardo (Guillermo Pfening) was driving meets with an accident, and Angel is paralyzed from waist down, leaving him on a wheel chair. This also further strains the relationship between him and Vanesa, and he begins to feel that she is cheating on him. His doubts only increase, and he also starts spying on her – when she realizes the same, she leaves him. But he still remains obssessed with her, and wouldn’t stop stalking her.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, he comes to know that Vanesa has also started a relationship with Ricardo. Soon, he feels that they are going to have a baby, and that further disappoints him. As he goes through his therapy, Angel is more and more concerned about the sequence of events which had occurred earlier. Therefore, he decides to take matters into his hands and calls Vanessa to come back to their apartment, and take her remaining possessions. But when she arrives, he injects him with medicines that leave her unconscious, and ties her to the bed. He also sends messages to Ricardo from her mobile phone, about her not wishing to have the baby, and that she is also not interested in continuing the relationship anymore. He also injects him with drugs so that she temporarily losses the use of her legs. Now, he has plans of them living together like this, and also raise the baby which she would have. Now, it is up to her to try to escape, and him to continue with his strange plans. The question remains about who will succeed in the end.

The defence of The Paramedic :: The Paramedic is partly a thriller and in part a drama, as we look at it. There are moments which raise the level of the movie, and it is very strong in parts, as we look at it. Some moments will be remembered, even though not fully, and the weirdness and sadness of the main character who often gets psychotic will be remembered. The tension does become stronger at times, and at times, we have some anguish and melancholy taking over, even though not at the strongest with the same. Yet, the same doesn’t reach the full potential, even when we feel that it is rising. The setting is really good, with the Spanish streets and an apartment proving as good backgrounds to the work. For a good amount of time, the movie has a certain amount of realistic feeling, and it is also simple enough, even though its characters are indeed complicated. After all, considering the times in which we live in, there are not many things which are not possible among humanity which has come down by a long way.

The claws of flaw :: The Paramedic had the chance to be something bigger, but it doesn’t use its scope to the best advantage. After the premise changes, and the quick turn of events create something for the film to use in the best possibly ways, it keeps itself back instead. In between everything that happened in the movie, we could have been able to add so many things here and there, but this one chooses to go the usual path, without adding the innovative. The movie is also too slow, and it doesn’t pick up the pace even when there was the certain chance to do so. The drag that it had in between could have been easily avoided. The ending is also not that strong enough, as we were expecting something huge happening with the climax too, but that was also not there. It could have also had some very disturbing and scary things to be added in between, and we feel that they could have arrived at many points. It could have been more fun, or with more substance, but both cases are ignored by the film which just goes on without the deviations.

Performers of the soul :: Mario Casas is solid in his role, which turns out to be a very negative one only a few minutes into the movie. He maintains the characteristics of the role throughout the run, and that does brings some unpredictability in between. Deborah Francois also comes up with a strong performance, as it is required from her here. Her character also changes, and gathers a lot of strength throughout the existence. The other characters give some support, and they are of lesser significance. It is to be noted that there are not characters whom we can call good, as most of them have a neutral vibe or the grey side in action here. We are not admirers of any of these characters, and most of us won’t even make friends out of them. Among the smaller performers who catch our attention, the first one is Maria Rodriguez Soto who has a lot of melancholy going on with her, and Guillermo Pfening who becomes a reason to keep the story going. Celso Bugallo also adds a bit there.

How it finishes :: The Paramedic was a fine opportunity to come up with something huge, but the film refuses to take that risk, and manages to provide us with the usual rather than anything else. While reading about the movie, the expectations were surely higher. For a movie which is known more as a thriller, more thrills are surely required, and with such fine performers, the film could have achieved more. With the theatres all prepared to open, one can wonder if what people would choose now, to go to the OTT platforms or go back to the theatres. I would wait in that case, and go for the movies which are still available in those platforms to watch. After all, the third wave of Corona virus might still be ready to come. You have to stay safe during these periods of time, and it has to be a thing of priority, not just for yourself, but also for the people around you. The two doses of vaccine are no guarantee for anything, and so we are supposed to continue to be as careful as we used to be in the beginning of this pandemic and during the lockdowns and quarantines.

Release date: 16th September 2020
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Carles Torras
Starring: Mario Casas, Deborah Francois, Celso Bugallo, Raul Jimenez, Pol Monen, Gerard Oms, Guillermo Pfening, Maria Rodriguez Soto

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@ 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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<— Click here to go to the previous full TV release.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Red Letter Day

Vampire Owl: I have always loved letter with some colour on them.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about those letters which were dipped in blood?

Vampire Owl: We are now getting bloody letters through the usual platform?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the usual letters are no longer used, especially after he had that iron mask.

Vampire Owl: Is this a new method of identification?

Vampire Bat: Yes, for the letters which are meant for the Dracula Castle.

Vampire Owl: I thought that he no longer accepts letters.

Vampire Bat: You don’t know Uncle Dracula well enough.

Vampire Owl: What is there to know now? We have been with him for very long.

Vampire Bat: There is a lot more that we don’t know, and much more to be found out. Uncle Dracula will remain a mystery for longer than we can expect.

[Gets a mango cake and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: Melanie Edwards (Dawn Van de Schoot) had a divorce just recently, and has moved into a new neighbourhood with her daughter Madison Edwards (Hailey Foss) and her son Timothy Edwards (Kaeleb Zain Gartner). It seems to be an interesting neighbourhood, even though they don’t make many friends out there. Things go even further weird, as they receive mysterious letters asking them to kill the neighbours mentioned in their letters, or they will be killed. Melanie is surprised that she is asked to murder Alice Huang (Arielle Rombough), a girl living a few houses away, whom she admires a lot, and are of mutual help. Timothy finds out that he has to murder a strange man who doesn’t talk much, but is seen outside regularly while walking his cat. Madison finds it to be the strangest, as she is asked to murder her boyfriend who is supposed to be a lot older than her, and lives a strange lifestyle – her parents always disapproved of him.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Melanie feels that she could make things better by visiting Alice and her husband Lewis Huang (Michael Tan) who becomes suspicious about her due to a knife pointing out of her bag, and it leads to an exchange of words, and later a fight which leads to Melanie stabbing Lewis on the neck while Alice looks helplessly with her toddler. Meanwhile, the man whom Timothy was supposed to kill reach their home, and after looking at it for some time, starts making attempts to break the door and get in. Madison escapes through the window to find her boyfriend, while the man almost kills Timothy, only for Melanie to intervene, and kill him instead. Now, the question remains about what would happen to them with the whole town going berserk. Who will be killed, and who all can manage to survive without killing anyone? A group known as The Unknown takes responsibility for the problem, and police finally decides to take things seriously. But how many people will be dead by then?

The defence of Red Letter Day :: The idea is the one that strikes us the most as far as Red Letter Day is concerned, and the rest only follows. The thoughts about what people would do for survival, and when having the feeling that the family itself is undergoing a terrible crisis, is something that one needs to think about. But what becomes more scary is that this idea of murdering people is not just for survival as everyone in the movie are concerned – some people just seem to do the same for fun, with inherent evil in humans showing the presence. It proves that people are intrinsically bad, and do not trust others – violence is part of nature, as many poets have proven. Some moments are funny, and it makes the slasher feeling light. As this is quite a short movie, the plot which is too simple and doesn’t have much in it could be handled well enough. There are also very less number of characters, and so the complication is not there at all.

The claws of flaw :: There is a little bit too much blood and gore in this movie, which might not have been the right thing to do, when we consider the fact this was not really supposed to be of slasher genre. People might find it difficult to believe that something like this would happen – that people would just kill each other because of some letters, as they won’t accept the inherent evil. It is the same kind of people who keep questioning movies like Forensic without the true understanding of human nature. To be evil, human beings need no reason, because the tendency is always buried in between. The motive of a psycho killer needs to be the motive itself, for otherwise, it will only be a case of revenge, like shown in movies like Anjaam Pathiraa, making him just another killer. There is also a little bit of missing with the performances in this movie, and gory elements seem to be added with no reason at all. The movie could have also established it in a better way.

Performers of the soul :: Dawn Van de Schoot plays an interesting character, as a mother in the main role, and defending the family. Still, she doesn’t get that much to do around here. Hailey Foss who plays the daughter gets even less to do, and Kaeleb Zain Gartner gets limited too. Arielle Rombough did seem to have an interesting character in the beginning, but later gets limited to almost nothing. Michael Tan’s character is rather the strangest of them all. An attempt to create something like The Purge in the neighbourhood certainly needed better characters, and all of them needed more to do better. Within an hour and a quarter of time to get things going, focus on the characters was less, and it leads to most of the cast suffering, with not able to get their characters going. A movie like Red Letter Day which got the premise and the idea well and working, should have taken care of the same in a better way to help its cast to work further.

How it finishes :: Red Letter Day is not really the horror movie that you expect. It is supposed to be horror comedy, but there is a good amount of blood and gore in this violent movie, and that should confuse many people about the genre. But this one surely makes an effective experience, and we also get a glimpse into the psyche of people, as they think about killing people without thinking too much about it. The inherent evil and the survival instinct in people begin to work, and there seems to be a certain amount of need to move away from law and order to embrace chaos, which can be seen here. Fear might be a catalyst, but in this movie, we can say that it is not really the same – there is distrust and a certain amount of desire to kill that makes people do this in this particular flick. You can watch this one hour and fifteen minutes movie to get that feel. With its short run-time, Red Letter Day doesn’t bring wonders, and just has enough to keep you interested in the idea.

Release date: 5th November 2019
Running time: 76 minutes
Directed by: Cameron Macgowan
Starring: Hailey Foss, Dawn Van de Schoot, Arielle Rombough, Kaeleb Zain Gartner, Roger LeBlanc, Tiffany Helm, Michael Tan, Peter Strand Rumpel, Ryan Irving, Greg Spielman, Josh Bertwistle, Marni Reisig, Cameron Gerlitz

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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

<— 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.

Sibyl

Vampire Owl: I have heard that name before, and not just once.

Vampire Bat: Yes, if you go back in history, sibyls were oracles in Ancient Greece.

Vampire Owl: They had prophesied at holy sites of Greece, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, and their prophecies were supposed to be influenced by the gods.

Vampire Owl: I guess that they also lead to the foundation of many great cities.

Vampire Bat: Yes, because they go a long way back, with Heraclitus mentioning them in the 5th century BC itself.

Vampire Owl: Well, when gods speak through these women, you are forced to accept that it is the truth.

Vampire Bat: What they spoke were also collected in Sibylline Books. The Romans had them.

Vampire Owl: I have seen them at other places too, I am sure about it.

Vampire Bat: Michelangelo shows five sibyls in the Sistine Chapel ceiling. There are other similar art works, and has references in the works of Shakespeare. It is to be seen how this relates the movie here or if it is just a name used for the sake of it.

[Gets an marble cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: A popular psychotherapist Sibyl (Virginie Efira) decides to quit her job and become a famous writer as she always wanted to. Her job no longer interested her, and work satisfaction gets to zero despite her patients feeling otherwise, not being able to continue without her expertise in their lives. As Sibyl begins to turn away patients, she has a lot of time, but no inspiration, reaching the writer’s block earlier than she had expected. It is why when she gets a call from Margot (Adele Exarchopoulos), a young new actress caught in a dramatic affair with a popular actor, Igor (Gaspard Ulliel) in the same movie, who is living with the film’s director Mikaela Sanders (Sandra Huller). This seems to be a complicated enough tale for a story as far as Sibyl is concerned, just like the newspapers finding entertainment from the lives of these celebrities who make news from the dress they wear, places they visit, food they eat and the people they meet.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The celebrity life becomes something special for the new writer, as far as entertainment is concerned, as she asks Margot about the minute details of their life, and records them using her mobile phone’s sound recorder to listen to the same later. Becoming further interested and immersed in Margot’s life, Sibyl begins to use Margot’s life as the main source material for her novel, finally seeming to get the inspiration and ideas that she always wanted, and at times, it also reflects moments from her own life. But where will that lead her, Igor and Margot, as Sibyl also has a one night stand with Igor while trying to help them to focus on the film instead of being uncomfortable with each other? None of them are really happy as they try to move to the end of shooting schedule because the film has already been delayed enough for different reasons. Now one has to wonder if it is the movie or the novel that completes first, whether it is the releasing or publishing that will bring the people earlier – Sibyl and Mikaela would definitely want things to speed up.

The defence of Sibyl :: Here we have a complex movie which has elements that go deep into a person’s eventful mind. The main character, even though specialized in dealing with such minds, is not a strong enough person in herself. As the complicated psychologist, the confused writer, the lustful lover and the struggling mother, all of these going safe with the leading lady who plays the main character, the only thing that the movie and the rest of the characters need to do is to follow her. She has easily risen above the level of the whole movie itself, as she is as much natural as she is a complex personality. There are questions about relationships and professional life, as well as love and career, as people struggle to keep both going in the same pace. There are a few dramatic, emotional and romantic moments which stand apart, and we have other moments which come as a mixture of different feelings. The visuals of France are very good as expected.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about the fact that Sibyl does drag right from the beginning. The slow pace comes on to pull it back a little bit, but we can go past it eventually. The beginning itself was not that great, and the interesting moments takes a little bit extra time to come on the screen. Adele Exarchopoulos who was part of Blue Is the Warmest Colour is also not used well enough in this movie, and she deserved a role close enough to having a similar interest as the main character here. The twenty six year old actress earned such international attention and critical appreciation for that role, that being in a drama movie like this one, she could achieve even more. Adele is indeed that kind of a performer, and she is forced into the shadow of the main character here. The film could have also had some more action in between, and we are left with needing even more.

Performers of the soul :: It is Virginie Efira’s performance that elevates this movie to another level, and we can be only glad that we could witness he same, as it has many sides to it – she plays a character having so many sides, and all of them are indeed interesting. The forty three year old actress brings both experience and style into this movie, and it has to be noted that she looks at least ten years younger in this movie, as there is a certain amount of youthful vivacity in her, and this enthusiasm catches our attention more than anything else. Playing a complicated character like this required quite some skills. Adele Exarchopoulos is more or less known for Blue Is the Warmest Colour, a movie which has been known for its controversy, but was appreciated more – yet, it has to be noted that she doesn’t have that much of a work to do here while Virginie scores highly with each and every moment she is on the screen. But she remains close to her character, and so does Gaspard Ulliel. The rest are just smaller parts of the movie’s proceedings.

How it finishes :: Unlike the other French movies which I have reviewed on this page, this is one film which provides us with the feeling that it is clearly not American or British – maybe, the French feeling is there throughout it, somewhat the same being already there in Portrait of a Lady on Fire which made us feel the same less because it was more or less historical drama. Sibyl is not the kind of movie that everyone would love to watch with a psychotherapist with a complicated past trying to write a novel in which the characters who are from real-life, and they also have some similar problems. There is also the question about the meaning of life being asked, as many events happen with hope not being the strongest thing. The movie makes an interesting slow journey through the lives of these people, who become more or less like the common people rather than the big complex personalities which they seem to be in the beginning, and the movie comes to a simple end.

Release date: 24th May 2019
Running time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Justine Triet
Starring: Virginie Efira, Adele Exarchopoulos, Sandra Huller, Laure Calamy, Gaspard Ulliel, Niels Schneider, Paul Hamy, Arthur Harari

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Athiran

What is the movie about? :: The year is 1967, and a worried Lakshmi (Shanthi Krishna) finds their family murdered while Nithya (Sai Pallavi) is seen playing with a thread. The situation seems to points to her as dangerously abnormal and a murderer. Five years later in 1972, Dr. MK Nair (Fahadh Faasil), a psychiatrist from Trivandrum Medical College is sent to check out the activities in a mental asylum situated far away from civilization, between the trees in the wilderness. This grand mansion which was built by the British has limited access to other places. Dr Benjamin Diaz (Atul Kulkarni) who served in the 1972 India-China War and a master hypnotist is the resident doctor as well as the owner of the asylum. He is very strict in his methods and doesn’t like anyone from outside making a visit. Renuka (Lena) is in control of things there, and Avarachan (Nandhu) provides further help from outside.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: There are strange incidents happening in the asylum. The inmates include Anna Maria (Leona Lishoy), a religious person, P Subrahmanya Iyer (Vijay Menon), an English professor, Vadakkedath Kamala Lakshmi (Surabhi Lakshmi), a person of too much concern for everyone around her, Jeevan Thomas (Sudev Nair), and a happy and strange romantic person. But it turns out that there is one more patient, and she is hidden and locked away in a cell, considered to be extremely dangerous and uncontrollable – the person is none other than Nithya who lives a restrained life, hostile to those who very rarely come to visit her. The newly arrived doctor realizes that there is something strange about her as well as the working of the hospital – he even has some dream visions and hallucinations when he is there, but some of them might be close to reality.

The defence of Athiran :: We have had a good number of psychological thriller, but after the 1990s, not many movies could rise above a certain level, and Athiran comes as a breath of fresh air – we always needed our own Shutter Island, and this one becomes the same, but with its own different twists. A Cure for Wellness is another movie we are reminded of. There is a similar beautiful setting here just like that island in Shutter Island and the mountain ranges in A Cure for Wellness, as the camera nicely brings all of the same to perfection. There is a Gothic building out there, and has a similar setting as one would have seen in movies like Crimson Peak, even though in the absence of the ghostly presence, is not used to the maximum – we had already seen 9 using a similar setting. The songs and the picturization also prove to be really attractive, and the suspense is maintained until the end as we remain thrilled.

The claws of flaw :: The similarities to A Cure for Wellness and Shutter Island can’t be ignored. There is another movie called The Ward which deals with a similar situation. All these are set in places dealing with “wellness” of the patients, and has similar moments of horror related to treatment procedure, along with secrets there that should be revealed. There is clear influence in bringing a certain Hollywood style, also resembling the Victorian Gothic Model, but the success of the movie is that it has done the same really well, and local elements have been mixed with some skill behind the same. We still have the feeling that something missing in there, and the other patients’ characters could have been better developed. With a setting like this, there was hope for bringing some intensely terrifying moments, but it is not there. Nights in a mental asylum far away from civilization can always bring more, and so can a mentally unstable murderer of family members.

The performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil is one actor who has come up with minimum guarantee in the last few months, and we look at his previous movie to make sure about that. His last three ventures in Malayalam movie industry were Kumbalangi Nights, Njan Prakashan and Varathan, all three gaining both critical and commercial success. These movies also had less hype in comparison to the others, and Athiran actually came up with no real boost in marketing – I came to know about this movie very late, and even then I didn’t know that this was a Malayalam movie; the film survived with people’s opinions. It is to be noted that there is a certain change that comes across the character he plays in each of the four movies including this one. One can also note that Fahadh has done a fantastic job here as the main character in a psychological thriller – playing a character in a mental asylum wouldn’t come easy, whether the role is of a mental patient or not.

Further performers of the soul :: Sai Pallavi has returned to Malayalam movie industry once again, and it called for a change, a welcome one, as there is no dance performance around here. She is the kind of actress who can do this role so well, as she showed such signs in Kali itself, even though it was not needed then. Well, here she excels in portraying the character with autism and more. This one is her best performance in the industry so far, clearly better than Premam, and surely better than that which didn’t really matter in the miserable Kali. Atul Kulkarni who has come up with some memorable performances in Malayalam movies before, brings a strong antagonist. Leona Lishoy, Surabhi Lakshmi, Vijay Menon and Sudev Nair who have their moments as the patients never really get going though, with no real mention about their tales of the past. Lena and Nandhu gets limited in their roles, Shanthi Krishna is there for a few minutes. Renji Panicker is impressive when he is there.

How it finishes :: Athiran is one movie which has been running for so long despite releasing without making much of a noise. One month later, it can be seen that the movie is still going strong, despite Avengers: Endgame taking the most number of viewers, creating the collection record like never before, overtaking Titanic and closing in on Avatar, the effect being seen here too. Athiran, one month later, is challenging the bigger movies like the crowd puller Oru Yamandan Prema Katha and the critics favourite Uyare. It is nice to see a psychological thriller doing such a job, as it has been the genre, with a fee exceptions not bringing the major part of audience to the theatres, especially the family audience. But things have changed now, and Athiran has stood tall when the opportunity came, and it does so in Hollywood style, in a grand environment.

Release date: 12th April 2019
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Vivek
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Sai Pallavi, Lena, Sudev Nair, Leon Lishoy, Prakash Raj, Renji Panicker, Atul Kulkarni, Shanthi Krishna, Nandhu, Surabhi Lakshmi, Vijay Menon

<– Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Tattooist

Vampire Owl: The title here is something that caught my attention early.

Vampire Bat: It rarely happens related to short-films, right?

Vampire Owl: I stopped differentiating between short-films and long films some time ago.

Vampire Bat: This is actually a micro short-film, much shorter.

Vampire Owl: That saves a lot of time then.

Vampire Bat: So, you are going for the shortest of them now.

Vampire Owl: Why not? It is best to show the most, within the shortest period of time.

Vampire Bat: Everyone is too busy these days.

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why they won’t be. The challenges are too many. Shorter movies are thus helpful in saving time.

Vampire Bat: It is a competitive world. Let us take that option of saving time then.

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

What is the movie about? :: The Tattooist (Wang Yanhu) is a very popular man in the town who gets many customers, as his skill as well as the resulting work is something which has been widely appreciated. Most of his clients are young men and women who are enamoured by what he does. His reputation in his field is so high that it is near impossible for anyone else to work and gain such popularity. But there is something sinister behind his much acclaimed work. There are people drugged, imprisoned and tortured in a secret lair under his tattoo studio. Can at least one of these people survive and escape to tell the tale of brutality to others? Or will the tattooist continue to have more victims, and enjoy his run as the best of them all in the field – the grand villain? Is there hope in between the chaos, or will it be all about evil and extreme violence?

Similar Dark Legends from the Past :: The first thing that came to my mind while watching this was regarding Sweeney Todd. This tale which we literature graduates have studied as part of Victorian age literature had a barber who makes his customer victims fall down through a trap door by pulling a lever on the side of the chair on which they sit. The people who land in the basement usually dies which broken necks or skulls, and the rest are finished off. He also has a partner in crime, Mrs. Lovett, who assists him in getting rid of the bodies by making meat pies from the corpses and selling them to the u customers at her pie shop. The two shops are also connected through an underground passage. We had also heard about the same as a movie, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter as the main characters. Such dark legends of villainy never ceases being amazing.

More about The Tattooist :: We are quickly taken through this vision of the director, which keeps us asking for more. We begin by seeing the tattooist at work, and it seems like some elegant work being done there – all of a sudden, the mood changes, and we are taken to the bloody, gory side. We also see how the music changes, and the sound effects are used to a fine effect. We see what the tattooist actually manages to do, and there is that transformation from a paradise-like atmosphere to inferno. There are people imprisoned inside cages and cells, people being dragged away, corpses, and a lot of blood and gore. Then we are back to what is happening in the world of beautiful tattoos – it has us expecting the terror which is to come for the customer who is having her tattoo done by the same person. This is exactly how our imaginations are made to run far, and how we are made to wish for a longer version.

The Beauty of The Tattooist :: The charm of the movie lies not in just one element, as this creates a perfect collection of things, something that would make a near perfect horror movie if the same tempo is maintained. There are movies like American Mary which talks about body modification and the horror that comes related to that. It had one of the queens of horror, Katharine Isabelle playing a medical student desperate for money ending up taking clients from the body modification community to solve her financial troubles. Well, tattoos can have the same effect as long as the right elements are added, and we can see that Michael Wong has succeeded in doing exactly the same. Well, as of now, tattoos have come to this part of the world very rarely in movies, like in some funny sequences like the fainting moments in the Malayalam movie Aanandam.

How it finishes :: Watching The Tattooist as a full-length movie will be a horror movie lover’s dream, as this one could serve as a fine trailer about what can come. Michael Wong’s directorial debut short film The Story of 90 Coins was a lovely flick which dealt with an entirely different topic, and extreme opposite if we look at it. It had picked up more than sixty accolades from different international film festivals including the Best Direction and Best Cinematography. The Tattooist hasn’t been far behind in creating some grand waves all around. As he has easily gone through two different genres, creating two interesting movies with ease, we can be sure that there is more to expect from him. Until then, enjoy watching this micro short-film, and the same can be found at the bottom of the review. Along with the same, enjoy the summer vacation going on at this part of the world!

[Returning after the movie and snacks].

Vampire Owl: You can see that my opinion about having a micro short-film remains the same.

Vampire Bat: I see that you have enjoyed watching this short-film, and at the same time, keeping your valuable time to make a good use of the same.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and still we have watched what we needed.

Vampire Bat: It is an idea which stays and expands further in our minds, after we finish watching the movie.

Vampire Owl: Yes, we can even contribute with our own version to add to the already existing idea through imagination.

Vampire Bat: It makes me wonder what the tale of each victim would be.

Vampire Owl: This is certainly worth a longer version too.

Vampire Bat: I would keep my hope high about that.

Vampire Owl: I am recommending this for the whole vampire community.

Vampire Bat: I would be doing the same thing too.

[Takes a long walk into the darkness].

Watch the film here:

Release date: 9th June 2018
Running time: 2 minutes
Directed by: Michael Wong
Starring: Yanhu Wang, Li Lu, Myra Mala, Mayela Magrou, Dan Litza, Simon Shiyamba, Chase Lichtenberg

<— Click here to go to the previous review

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Raman Raghav 2.0

What is the movie about? :: The movie makes it clear that it is not about Raman Raghav a.k.a. Psycho Raman who was a famous serial killer, who unleashed terror in the city of Mumbai in the 1960s. About fifteen years later, another serial killer named Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who seems to follow the same kind of methods, starts his work in the same city. His way of operating is rather strange, and the police has not much clue about what his operations are. His list of victims only get longer, and it also includes Ramanna’s own sister, Lakshmi (Amruta Subhash) who is living with her husband (Ashok Lokhande) and their only son. She reluctantly lets him stay and cooks him food, only to get into an argument with the family. She leaves the place and comes back to take their money as well as kill them all one after the other.

So, what happens next? :: Ramanna is not the kind of person who has any kind of remorse for his actions, and he is surely not the kind of man who thinks twice about what he is to do. He is the worst kind of serial killer whom one could have on their trail. Even after being caught by the police and questioned, there is nothing that comes out of him, and he even escapes with the help of some local boys, thanks to the natural acting that comes to him. ACP Raghavan Singh (Vicky Kaushal) is in charge of the investigation, and has no real clue until finding the photo of Ramanna on the scene of crime, where Ramanna had murdered his sister. He figures out that the man whom they had apprehended a few days earlier has some kind of connection with these brutal murders which have been happening all around the city, keeping the residents terrified.

And, what is to follow next in this tale of terror in the streets? :: Even as he puts a tough cop act all the time, and seems to be righteous cop looking after criminal when someone looks from outside, Raghavan Singh is a a troubled person in his mind, having an unparalleled addiction to drugs, and has an even more terrible anger management issue. He is in a relationship with Smrutika Naidu (Sobhita Dhulipala) at whose place she is staying. It is another terrible relationship that they are having, with him forcing her to have more than one abortion after she keeps getting pregnant as he has his way as he likes. He also has no shame in beating her, but she stays faithful to him, and refuses to go home even after her family hopes for her return. Raghavan gets obsessed with catching Ramanna to such an extent that his issues deepen, and Ramanna at the same time, keeps an eye on the investigating officer – where does this game end?

The defence of Raman Raghav 2.0 :: The dark and terrifying avatar is given more and more life as the movie progresses, and then there is the other side which gets rather scarier. You feel the power of darkness in this movie, and there is so much of energy throughout the flick, thanks to the two main performers. It successfully makes you depressed and leaves you disturbing, with not much hope in the world of chaos. Humanity is surely capable of terrible things, and a lot of these capabilities are there right from the beginning, and are further powered by upbringing and the society. We keep wondering what is to happen next, and we are always interested to know how it all ends, or reach a new beginning. It takes only one serial killer to inspire more, and lets hope that Ramanna becomes our Hannibal to bring more of such movies which can prove to be even better. The final twist is something that breathes life like no other.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that we had expected more from a movie like Raman Raghav 2.0 with its cast and the people who are the helm. We feel that a certain amount of hollowness do exist at times, and this one isn’t that much focused on what we would have been hoping to see with a police officer after a serial killer – this one has almost nothing about the investigation about the murderer. More focus could have been on the characters, and they could have had origin tales, even at the cost of the movie going longer – there are some parts of the movie which could have been cut down to provide space for more of the tale. This kind of movies should have more action, thrilling sequences and deeper story-line which should make us wish to remember the tale more than once; but the focus of Raman Raghav 2.0 seems to be rather a little too much divergent. Then there is the violence – nobody is a role model here.

Performers of the soul :: There is Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal doing a fantastic job in this movie, which surely keeps things going strong. We keep wondering when we will see more of them with movies which get the wider release here. If it was more about the former in the beginning, the latter of Masaan fame takes it to the next level in the second half towards the end. You will also notice Sobhita Dhulipala and Amruta Subhash, as two actresses who brings some great performances in two of the best sequences of the movie. The one thing about Bollywood is that these names which are not regularly talked about as superstars are the real actors and acting stars – I really hope that their movies get release in every theatre here rather than those which brings the crowd; if I was running a theatre, I would run a special show for sure, no matter how much of box-office collection such movies are to bring.

How it finishes :: The movie leaves one with the message that everyone has the tendency to be bad, or rather evil, as it is the inherent evil in man which has more certainty to it than anything else. It is the situation that brings the worst out of people, whether they are branded good or bad. The hopeless state of humanity is directly or indirectly reflected in this movie, which struggles to find goodness which seems to fade away further and further as the flick progresses, and by the end of this, we have lost almost all hope in mankind – it is the ultimate truth, right? We do our best, and still we live in a society which is all about money and power, and the need for it as well as the possession of it, will only turn more people against each other. Evil is so easy, right? Being good is so difficult, especially with a new generation caught inside more than one kind of addiction. Raman Raghav 2.0 has that kind of protagonists, and we know that there is a good chance that we are all going to die an early, terrible death considering where the world is going.

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala, Amruta Subhash, Vipin Sharma, Ashok Lokhande, Harssh A. Singh, Anuschka Sawhney, Hitesh Dave, Rajesh Jais, Kalidas Parthitan, Rhea Pagar, Arun Singh

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shut In

shutin-1

Vampire Owl: I am used to hearing a part of this title.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you have heard of this movie title?

Vampire Owl: No, I am used to listening to “shut up”.

Vampire Bat: That should happen naturally to you in a growing vampire community which is building a new code of conduct.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that the critics don’t like this movie?

Vampire Bat: Is that a reason why we shouldn’t like them?

Vampire Owl: Well, they liked I Am Not a Serial Killer.

Vampire Bat: That is absolutely ridiculous. They really need the “shut up” instead of “shut in”.

Vampire Owl: It is time for us to bring the balance by supporting the correct movie.

Vampire Bat: This is indeed that movie to support!

[Gets three cups of masala tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Richard Portman (Peter Outerbridge) and his son Steven Portman (Charlie Heaton) meets an accident while leaving home after a fight between the two – their car crashes into a truck as the differences between the two continue even inside the vehicle on the road. After the accident takes the life of her husband and leaves the son paralysed, Richard’s second wife and Steven’s step-mother, a psychologist by profession, Mary Portman (Naomi Watts) decides to care of the boy, even though it means being isolated from her own friend circle and spending most of her time with him. Separated from her own people, and often questioning her own decisions, she keeps herself going against all odds. But there is one thing that she is sure about, and it is that she has to take care of the boy.

So, what happens next? :: There is also a young kid Tom Patterson (Jacob Tremblay) who was her patient, but has gone missing. This ten year old child is deaf, and she had seen him for the last time at her own home. She does hear strange noises in her home, and there are also stranger happenings around, for which she can find no explanation. She also has her own nightmares, and the only rational explanation seems to be her inability to sleep during nights, which is bringing these hallucinations to her – but she is not satisfied with the same. Then, later, during a storm, on a strange dark night, she begins to believe that someone else is inside the house trying to harm her and Steven. Who or what is this that has come to her home without an invitation? Why does it/him/her want to haunt her and her paralysed son? Then the bigger question is about the missing child!

The defence of Shut In :: There is a strong line of mystery going right through Shut In, as it keeps us guessing from the very early stages itself. There are those moments of scare and there is suspense, as we get to that twist in the end. If you are going to ask why the protagonist didn’t figure out this or why she didn’t act like that, I am sure that I can ask why the protagonist in your favourite movie acts in such an unbelievable manner – well, it is different for each person, and being a psychologist like the main character of this movie won’t help at all; for you will never become the master of others’ minds, as each person is different as an individual and not as a robot whose “metallic emotions” could be treated by science. It is also the message of this movie – it doesn’t matter how much you think you know about others and their minds, and there is no point about claiming that you have studied it scientifically: you just can’t predict human nature.

The claws of flaw :: There are similarities to another movie which released in the same year, The Boy which also had problems with the critics, who might have decided that these movies were bad even before watching them – it is a clear reflection of the fact that some people are not qualified enough to judge horror movies, for such flicks surely need separate reviewers who understand the soul of horror, hopefully none of them includes those who reviews Bollywood drama. There is something strange going on with these people who keep rating the scarier horror movies low, and give a better score to horror movies which are not horror at all – even the thriller genre suffers from the same. This movie surely had the potential to develop better with its basic idea, and there are some points when things are not that smooth, but the shorter length makes sure that the movie survives that.

Performers of the soul :: From the beginning to the end, Naomi Watts remains the heart and soul of this movie. Seemingly getting younger every time, she is the kind of actress that everyone would love to have a in a horror movie or a mysterious thriller. You remember watching her in Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering a long time ago, but we all better recognise her from the much loved horror movie The Ring and its less acclaimed sequel, The Ring Two. But the best of her for me is the 2007 version of Funny Games – she has been perfectly suited to this genre which has the thrills and scares in store. It is the same that she makes sure in this movie, as once again does her job in the perfect way – we appreciate seeing her on the screen in this flick too. Charlie Heaton and Oliver Platt also scores in between, but Jacob Tremblay only gets less to do unlike in that nice horror movie named Before I Wake.

How it finishes :: This is another nice thriller movie which has been wronged by the critics. It is a thing about them to combine and build flaws on some movies, and the critics in India usually have the tendency to copy those in the United States without shame, unless there is someone from Bollywood performing in that movie [then it will be, watch the movie for him or her]. Some people really needs to know what “bad” and “terrible” movie means, and some of those flicks include those which they have been praising so much in the last few years. Maybe they were watching another movie instead of this one – who knows? Or they do judge in a way that only their group of people understands. Shut In is worth a watch; it is no big horror thriller, but it is surely something in which you can try and spend your time – it has enough in store.

Release date: 11th November 2016
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Farren Blackburn
Starring: Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay, David Cubitt, Clémentine Poidatz, Crystal Balint, Alex Braunstein, Peter Outerbridge

shutin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fender Bender

fenderbender-2

Vampire Owl: A movie on a minor collision? How minor is that?

Vampire Bat: It is not really minor, as you consider what happens after the collision. You should read the synopsis of the story somewhere.

Vampire Owl: Yes, that person is a serial killer. It is quite natural.

Vampire Bat: It is not natural! Are you thinking Joy Ride, Wrecker or Duel?

Vampire Owl: No, people drive like serial killers these days.

Vampire Bat: It is a human thing. The whole humanity finds it difficult to drive. It is because they have lost all their magic to science.

Vampire Owl: We could provide them with more magic. Then there will be more necromancers than serial killers. We will be doing them a favour.

Vampire Bat: Necromancers are really not that good for them under the current circumstances either.

Vampire Owl: Then they should really learn how to drive.

Vampire Bat: Well, I hope that they do.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with jackfruit chips].

What is the movie about? :: A girl named Jennifer (Cassidy Freeman) is alone in her house, and after talking on phone about some random incident during the day, gets the message from an unknown number – the person on the other side seems to know what she is doing though. Even though she feels uncomfortable in the beginning, she just dismisses it as one random guess becoming correct. Soon, she is attacked by a masked figure right out of darkness, and while trying to escape through the window, is stabbed to death by the man in the mask. Then there is Hilary (Makenzie Vega), a teenager has just found out that her boyfriend Andy (Harrison Sim) is cheating her with another girl whom he kisses in front of her. Just a few days after getting her driving license and driving her mother’s new car for the first time, it happens that some random car just hits her vehicle on the back.

So, what happens next? :: She provides all of her information to the driver of the car (Bill Sage) who also shares his information – from address and phone number to taking photos, they keep the information, which Hilary uses to contact the insurance company that tells her to wait till they process the data. Her boyfriend apologizes to her, but she goes with what her friends had said, and dumps him. When she returns home, her parents are really angry about her relationship with the recently dumped boyfriend, and it gets worse that she has ruined the new car. They decide to go on their intended trip without her, and despite her repeated requests, they leave her alone in house after declaring her grounded. She notices that the car which had hit her earlier was moving on the road in front her home too. But it does disappear soon enough, and she gets back to doing her things.

So, how do things go from here? :: But strange things begin to happen as she finds her own photo in her mobile which was taken by someone else, and the photos of the car and the driver which she had taken were deleted. She hears a knock at the door, and is relieved to find that it is her friends Erik (Kelsey Montoya) and Rachel (Dre Davis) who have come to check if she is okay. The ex-boyfriend, Andy also comes at the door, and they blame him for the pranks on her phone, but it is certainly not the case, as it turns out to be. A late call from the insurance agency reveals the truth about the owner of the car, and the killer soon begins his game. Can Hilary escape from this madness, or will she become another victim on the long list? How can her friends help, and what role will the ex-boyfriend play with death sneaking around the dark corners?

The defence of Fender Bender :: Even though we know who the killer is and who the next victim is supposed to be, there is no shortage of thrills in this flick. The scary moments come in very well, and we will like this as a slasher movie too, with all the gore. As a home invasion movie, this one gets to a good position in the list too. There is also one other costume, which can nicely establish this villain as another big name like Jason, Freddy, Chrome Skull, Rusty Nail, Michael Myers, Harry Warden or Victor Crowley – if there is a sequel, that could work really well to establish a new franchise; the ending also makes sure that the scope is there to do the same. We can make sure that people will drive more responsibly if one such antagonist is unleashed only on those creepy ones on the road. Among many things, one thing that the leading lady Makenzie Vega proves here though, is that she can be in more of similar movies – a future scream queen in store here for sure.

The claws of flaw :: For some reason, Fender Bender just tries to keep close to what has been tried before, and doesn’t bring anything that new, even when there was a solid chance in store. There could have surely been more intensity with what the movie deals with – there is one serious serial killer right here, and the movie’s inability to make the maximum use of the same is rather confusing. We could have also done without the antagonist making his intentions clear too early – more suspense could have been added there. After it is made clear, the movie delays too much to get into the killing spree, which is really a bad idea. Also, the characters other than the leading lady gets killed too fast, and these characters are also there for a less amount of time for us to get to know them. This story could have gone deeper too, with the antagonist more established, but this should work pretty well for most people with all that is present in the movie.

[Walks into a bakery after the movie].

Vampire Owl: It was not bad as I expected.

Vampire Bat: Your expectations have been flawed for some time.

Vampire Owl: Do you know what kind of people need to be taught a lesson by some fender bender people?

Vampire Bat: Those who drive like maniacs, especially those on those huge motorbikes riding like psychos, right? You were talking about them last day.

Vampire Owl: Yes them too. But more than that, it is about those people who cause traffic jams. A few days ago, I was traveling from Aluva to Perumbavoor, and there is this auditorium on the way at Thottumugham which has very less parking space, and people are parking everywhere on the road. Disgusting, anti-social creatures who have no respect for others. At least, if they can’t arrange enough parking, these people shouldn’t invite this many people for wedding receptions.

Vampire Bat: I faced the same thing near Muvattupuzha on the Arakuzha road which has an auditorium which seems to have not enough parking. These people have everyone parking on the sides of the road – actually both sides on a road which is not a big enough one. Along with the same, they had buses for this particular wedding reception, and it was held in the evening. There was almost no hope to escape from this traffic trouble – it was so long.

Vampire Owl: The same was the case of the wedding reception I am talking about. When will the auditoriums provide enough parking space, or will these idiots have the brain to park responsibly?

Vampire Bat: We should note down those who repeat the offence and send the list to the responsible humans.

Vampire Owl: They all need their fender benders.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they do.

[Gets one sweet porotta, one blackcurrant shake and a glass full of grape juice].

Release date: 23rd May 2016
Running time: 91 minutes
Directed by: Mark Pavia
Starring: Makenzie Vega, Cassidy Freeman, Dre Davis, Kelsey Leos Montoya, Harrison Sim, Bill Sage, Lora Cunningham, Steven Michael Quezada

fenderbender

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Boy

theboy (1)

Vampire Owl :: All I see is a doll. There is nothing much scary about this one’s appearance either.

Vampire Bat :: We have always been taught and trained to believe that there is more than what eyes can see. What you are doing here is just passing judgment.

Vampire Owl :: I am not judgmental. The hypercritical ones are not my people, but yours.

Vampire Bat :: Still, you are judging this one too early.

Vampire Owl :: The critics have already judged it low.

Vampire Bat :: That is what they do, not us who live with these movies.

Vampire Owl :: I have liked Dead Silence’s Billy, The Conjuring’s Annabelle and Child’s Play’s Chucky. Unlike what you think about this, I am not really judgmental about dolls.

Vampire Bat :: Well, Chucky did put a knife on your neck to make you accept that.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but I have accepted that dolls can be awesome, and that is the point which I intend to bring here.

Vampire Bat :: Whatever it is, just watch the movie.

[Gets three cups of tea with tapioca chips].

What is it about? :: Greta (Lauren Cohan) is caught in an abusive relationship with Cole (Ben Robson) at Montana. She hopes to escape by becoming a nanny for the Heelshire family based in the United Kingdom. After traveling to Great Britain and reaching the place, she introduced to Mrs. Heelshire (Diana Hardcastle) and the man who brings the grocery, Malcolm (Rupert Evans). Mr. Heelshire (Jim Norton) introduces her to their child, Brahms. But she is surprised to find out that the boy here is just a porcelain doll, treated by the family as if it is a living person. Mrs. Heelshire tells her that the boy had rejected many other nannies and they hope that he likes her. She also asks Greta to follow certain rules, as Brahms is like other children, and special care is needed for him.

So what happens next? :: Greta decides to ignore the rules and just spend her time there. She and Malcolm gets a lot interested in each other, and the doll remains neglected. But Greta finds out that there is something strange about the doll. She feels that it moves a little at times, and there are other strange occurences. On one occasion, she gets locked in the attic, and her clothes are also stolen while she is taking shower. She also feels that the doll is staring at her when she is talking to Malcolm, changing clothes or even while doing anything of personal nature. On another day, a sandwich is served at her door, and she also hears voices calling her name. She decides to find out more about the real child who is supposed to have died in a fire at the age of eight, years ago.

The defence of The Boy :: The idea here is working, and had a lot of possibilities towards horror. It does get working early with its central idea, and we get to the moments featuring the doll easily. The setting in the big old house actually helps a lot. There are lots of spooky moments in this movie, and the scene at the attic as well as the final twists worked very well in the end. How they have changed the supernatural idea works very well by the end of the movie too. The Boy does entertain, that is for sure – among the horror movies which released on one of those days around this one, there were not many of them as much entertaining as The Boy, which follows the much expected horror idea. As the movie follows the basic horror elements, there is sure to be some fun watching this movie for everyone. For people who don’t want movies like The Witch and It Follows as the different horror flicks, this would be the usual kind of replacement following the known path.

Claws of flaw :: It is rather strange that the movie doesn’t really use the elements in hand to the best strength. When there is a spooky doll around there, we expect that things get really scary and remain so throughout its run – but there are those weaker moments here and there. The doll could have been a lot bigger thing than it turned out to be. The movie also does remind one of two other movies, the Jocelin Donahue starrer The House of the Devil and Sarah Thompson starrer Babysitter Wanted. This one could have deviated further and should have come up with more innovative ideas. With so much mystery around, I am actually surprised that they have managed only this much – there was so much to be seen and so much more to be developed further. But our movie here manages to work even with all its inability to bring the best out of there.

Performers of the soul :: The performances of the cast here remains really good. Without doubt, Lauren Cohan as Greta comes up with the best of them all. Best known for her part as Maggie Greene in the television series, The Walking Dead, and being part of other series, here she plays the young lady with a troubled past in a lot believable manner, and so does she manage well with those horror sequences. I have to say that she makes a really good addition to the horror movies, and I hope that she will be there in more of such movies belonging to the genre. Her character actually undergoes changes throughout the movie, and she manages the same without any problem. Rupert Evans also makes a good addition in the flick. Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle who play the old parents also leaves a mark here.

How it finishes :: Well, there has been some impressive dolls in horror movies; Chucky from Child’s Play series might be the most popular of them all, and Billy from Dead Silence has been one scary thing; Annabelle has gained popularity with The Conjuring, and one can never underestimate the strength of a doll when it comes to horror movies. This one here, the Brahms doll is no exception either. It has enough to stay in the minds of the viewers too. There will be something about The Boy that can catch your attention here – from the cast to the setting, and more than everything else, the doll. Unlike what the reviews have mostly said about this movie, The Boy has more strength than most of the other horror movies around here which have somehow managed better reviews.

Release date: 22nd January 2016
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: William Brent Bell
Starring: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, Jim Norton, Diana Hardcastle, Ben Robson, James Russell, Jett Klyne, Lily Pater

theboy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Honeymoon

honeymoon (1)

Vampire Owl :: I was planning for a Honeymoon with Lady Death myself.

Vampire Bat :: But you are not married yet.

Vampire Owl :: Yet, but it has to happen some day. I am preparing my soul for the same. I have even bought a Suit of Death from Vampire Best Deals.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that the suit is supposed to prevent death for a few hours?

Vampire Owl :: What? It is not supposed to bring death closer?

Vampire Bat :: No, it is not. The original prototype was used by Uncle Dracula to travel to twenty seventh dimension of eternal death. Vampires and the rest of the undead can’t go through the realms of death without permission from the dead, as it can cause slow disintegration of the vampire body. This suit prevents the same.

Vampire Owl :: What? It is totally unfair. This is going to prevent my Honeymoon from ever happening. Mountain of Death brings death, Isle of Death is known for dealing with death, Valley of Death causes more deaths than any other place, and why is this Suit of Death so much the opposite?

Vampire Bat :: Well, you should have read the full description before buying it. Vampire Raven once bought something and didn’t speak even a word after that.

Vampire Owl :: My honeymoon plans are ruined. You could have at least given me false hope by not letting me know.

Vampire Bat :: Well, we will watch the movie Honeymoon instead.

[Gets a cup of tea].

What is it about? :: A newly married couple, Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) finds the right place to celebrate their honeymoon, and it is a cabin in the woods. It seems to be the perfect and extremely peaceful are as they enjoy their time and explore the surroundings. In a small restaurant, they meet Will (Ben Huber) who seems to act strange and his wife Annie (Hanna Brown) who is acts even more weird. One night, Bea goes missing, and later she starts showing some strange behaviour which upsets Paul. She forgets things and write down even basic facts about her life. She often acts opposite to how she had been earlier. Paul sees strange lights at night and feels that a third person is involved. But he finds no real clue anywhere as things don’t get any better.

The defence of Honeymoon :: The movie uses its environment related to the cabin in the woods to come up with the much needed advantage. The two main characters are also made a lot more interesting by the cast. There are a lot of interesting moments between these two characters, and the performances are excellent throughout. The time before the major incident and after that are actually presented in different ways, and it makes us feel the change with a powerful psychological impact. It also leaves a lot of things to our imaginations, and it plays on our mind to know what is wrong, and who is the one actually in trouble here. You feel caught between the two characters, thinking and imagining to recreate what could possibly have gone wrong between the two lovers who seemed so happy and energetic just a few moments ago.

Claws of flaw :: Honeymoon surely drags, and it takes quite a lot of time to get into its more interesting part. Even between the thrills, it goes rather slow. There is a certain amount of beauty about this slowness at times as it adds to the mystery elements, but at some other times, it is not there. The ending is actually a little bit of a let down [A little bit of spoiler stuff to follow even though nothing of heavy dosage] considering the fact that this was going so nice as a psychological thriller-horror movie until the finishing line doesn’t really justify the same, but attributes things to unknown creatures. Even with surprises thrown in here and there, it finally comes to those moments which are rather more predictable, and things become what a good number of people might have thought in the beginning.

Performers of the soul :: The movie needed its performances because it uses them more than anything else due to being a psychological thriller on one side despite being known as a horror movie – may be that ending confused the genres and even added a certain amount of sci-fi to the same. You have to love Rose Leslie in this one, and you once again get to see Game of Thrones‘ own Ygritte doing what she does best; giving the feeling that her husband knows nothing as her character undergoes changes. She has managed two sides of her character so well that we can see the changes clearly and impressively managed. Lets see what she can offer in The Last Witch Hunter – wait for it. Harry Treadaway does a very good job, and the chemistry between them in amazing.

Soul exploration :: The movie asks the basic question if you really know the one who is close to you – it is something that is worth feeling scared about. Well, people do pretend to be someone else, and acting comes naturally to a lot of people. You see those people with profiles on the matrimonial websites with descriptions being God fearing, non-alcoholic and never smoking, but do you think that it is true? Well, even in the case of love marriages, people are blind in love and can’t see through the masks. If people missed this idea, that makes an opportunity gone for this movie. Will someone whom you love undergo so many changes that one day, that you won’t be really sure who he or she is? Well, it is a point to think about, and something that this movie could have focused further on. It is not that the same is not in the movie, but it is not that clear.

How it finishes :: The first movie that comes to my mind when thinking about this, is Under the Skin. They are surely not the same, but some moments do feel similar from a distance. Well, this one keeps the audience wondering though; couldn’t this have been a lot better with the premise? It is good with its stress and intensity, but is this all that this movie could come up with after showing a lot more promise? May be they could have stuck to the psychological side throughout, and in the end, we could have had a minimum of one psychopath or even two. It could have surely achieved better ratings with that. It already has a powerful drama side to power the same. The horror that this movie required was purely psychological, and with the same not being fully there, Honeymoon could have really been the true honeymoon.

Release date: 7th March 2014
Running time: 87 minutes
Directed by: Leigh Janiak
Starring: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Hanna Brown, Ben Huber

honeymoon

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

In Fear

infear (2)

Vampire Owl :: But I do not know the meaning of Fear.

Vampire Bat :: Then what do you call that expression when you were chased by a dog last month?

Vampire Owl :: I was simply giving the dog a lesson in running.

Vampire Bat :: Then when you jumped over the wall, it was a lesson in high jump?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but it was a poor little creature with such a small brain. It couldn’t jump over the wall.

Vampire Bat :: You didn’t take the flying classes when all the other owls were doing that, and now you want to pretend to teach others running.

Vampire Owl :: It is actually okay because you can’t fly either. You should attend my classes too. It will help you to run away from a bad movie.

Vampire Bat :: But this is still a good movie. This is simple, raw horror.

Vampire Owl :: I have watched this and won’t approve. I am bigger horror than this little movie.

Vampire Bat :: I would have made a bet for three hundred zombies that you can only say that about this movie.

[Goes to watch ISL].

What is it about? :: Tom (Iain De Caestecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert) are on their first trip after falling for each other, and even as they are planning to go to a music festival with friends, Tom suggests that they rest in a hotel on the way, to which Lucy agrees, despite having promised her friends that she would be there early. They follow a vehicle to the hotel where they were planning to stay, and after showing them the directions, that person drives off. They move on and looks for directions, but following them doesn’t lead them anywhere and it seems that they have seen the same place again and again – it is as if they are trapped in a maze. The rain starts pouring and Lucy keeps seeing a masked figure while going through the path and they are attacked once. They end up giving lift to another person called Max (Allen Leech) who claims to have been attacked too, but the tension only gets higher as there seems to be no way out of there.

The defence of In Fear :: Most of the movie is in the middle of nowhere and we have so much action inside the car which turns into a claustrophobic world, especially with the third person around. There is already a spooky atmosphere created as the darkness falls and the rain pouring, with nowhere to go. It is smart in its anxiety and tension, and the feeling of being nowhere in hopelessness is disturbing. Being in small pocket road with no lights and no signs of civilization around, having no idea how to get anywhere? Everyone needs to be scared about this, especially as some masked villain is ready to pounce if you stop the car – he might even find a way to stop the vehicle. You have the right to be scared here. The stuff is believable too, as this goes on without anything out of the world added to it. There is less stupidity from the characters as they seem to act more as anyone would have, if caught in such a situation. It is good to see something different being tried in the horror genre.

Claws of flaw :: The movie is not for everyone, especially as there is almost no jump scare at all. There is no big scary killer who keeps coming at you and creating all those gory scenes out of nowhere. The locations are limited, and there is darkness around. There is not much of a backstory, and things happen straight. There are minimum resources used here, and there is no murder shown happening on the screen – there is not even a cut on the screen even as there is blood after the cut. There are just three people in this movie and for most of the time, we see only two of them. Some horror fans can find this method uninteresting, and a few others might be more disappointed about the same. The power of the villain is not much, and the ending is actually a little too uninteresting, even as it has the mind not to bring something up in hope for a sequel. The inside the car setting might also disturb a few. There are still a few things unanswered, and the moments of stupidity does come into play when the protagonists are out of the car. There is nothing big in the plot either.

Performers of the soul :: There are just three people acting in this movie, even as there are others who we do from a distance; nothing much here is about another person other than what we hear our leading actors talk about them or contact them through the mobile phone – yes there is a scarecrow if you want to add him to the actors. Among the three, Alice Englert is the pick. The last time I had seen her was in Beautiful Creatures, and even as I did think that she was good, I doubted about her being in a horror movie – but then, I was wrong, and this young lady who was just nineteen when this movie premiered, has just nailed the role of the young damsel in distress in a believable manner. I couldn’t feel anything else but be surprised about the fact that she had made her character so much believable rather than becoming another lady in a horror movie. Iain De Caestecker comes only second, and becomes the weaker character leaving him with less scope. Allen Leech is good, but still not up-to the movie’s power.

Soul exploration :: The soul of the movie is in its atmosphere, and the success of the same is in creating that situation which can haunt any other person. It is a case of genuine fear, as it makes way into our known world. Ever got your car’s tyres punctured in the middle of nowhere at night, or have you ever got lost your way somewhere while taking a shortcut and there are no lights anywhere? There is no range in your phone with GPS already stopped working and rain also stops pouring down. So where do you go from there? In Fear has that situation and successfully drops us into the world of fear and nothing else. Fear might want many things, but this movie proves that what it actually needs is a realistic situation and happenings that can be connected by the audience. A better working of the plot and a better development of the situation could have done a even more for this movie, but for now, there is some realistic horror in its core.

How it finishes :: In Fear is a movie so much less known, and its existence might be something that so many people are unaware of, unless Alice Englert’s filmography keeps catching too much attention. It is a movie which has pretty much low rating at IMDb, but is something which has good ratings from critics. That should explain a few things. No, this doesn’t have the entertainment side working much, and its horror is something of the mind. It has less for the majority of the viewers who would hope for something that thrills outside the borders of realism. But this movie doesn’t have that, as the choice to go with realistic things can gain more critics and lose more viewers. But In Fear still maintains enough to gather the usual fans, at least in my opinion. For the same, one has to think more than what is seen on the screen.

Release date: 20th January 2013
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Jeremy Lovering
Starring: Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech

infear

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.