Free Guy

Vampire Owl: We are all free vampires in a world of slavery.

Vampire Bat: This not really that much of a world of chains.

Vampire Owl: You are not understanding the power of our chains.

Vampire Bat: There are no chains in this realm which can hold a vampire.

Vampire Owl: I am not talking about the physical chains.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that there is a telepath in the realm?

Vampire Owl: Yes, and she is stronger than any vampire mind reader.

Vampire Bat: You are talking about the legend of the witch-vampire.

Vampire Owl: It is actually the vampire-witch. She is mostly the witch.

Vampire Bat: Just because she knows how travel on a broom-stick, she is now a witch?

[Gets a paneer puffs and three glasses of blackcurrant shake].

What is the movie about? :: We are introduced to Free City where people who are wearing sunglasses are heroes, and run the city. They can do almost anything in the city, never really obeying the rules which are applicable to others. Among the many normal people in the city is Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who seems to live a usual kind of life, as he works as a bank teller, and considers his life as a part of a paradise where he lived from the time he can remember. His best friend is the bank’s securiy gurad, Buddy (Lil Rel Howery), who is not really bothered about the bank getting robbed frequently. Everyone out there seems to be very happy, and Guy feels that he has everything that he needs, except for a lover. He attempts to fall in love without success, and feels that he hasn’t really found the right person yet. Soon, he finds a mysterious girl wearing sunglasses, and as he goes after her, is run over by a train. It is soon revealed that the world they are living in is actually a game – a massively multiplayer online role-playing video game, which has Guy as a non-player character.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: The mysterious girl is Millie (Jodie Comer) in the avatar Molotov Girl, a player looking for source code to her original game, Life Itself which she wrote with Keys (Joe Keery). It was stolen by Antwan (Taika Waititi), the Soonami CEO who stole it and turned it into something else. Keys wants to help, but prefers to work with Antwan instead, and continue to have a job. At the same time, Guy has deviated from the programme after listening to that unintentional song from Millie. He starts off by asking the wrong coffee instead of the one programmed for the NPC. He also starts talking differently to many people, which leads to changes in the programming of other NPCs too. Soon, he decides to steal the sunglasses, as the girl was also wearing them. He gets one from a robber, and starts seeing things from the perspective of the players from the world outside. It makes him think deviate even further from his original programming.

And what more is here in a world of chaos? :: The programmers think that a hacker from real life has taken over the NPC, and is playing the role differently, feeling that it is indeed a small glitch which will be resolved soon enough. As Millie comes against him, she also feels that he is a player and asks him to level up, so that he could be of more worth, an advice he takes into himself seriously. Unlike the others, he decides to level up by doing good things only, with minimum use of weapons. He begins to try to be like the heroes that he had witnessed on the streets, but with only the good side by helping people in need and fighting some evil. Soon, he becomes a top level player, and is also an internet sensation in the real world. He also saves Millie when she is on a mission to collect the evidence, and she falls in love with him feeling that he is actually a real person who is playing the game. Soon enough, they will understand the same, and so will Antwan. Now, the equations will be complicated. Can the makers find their code, and where does that leave Guy?

The defence of Free Guy :: The movie’s concept is really good, and is a pretty good addition to what we have seen before in different films before. Among the other more famous films, the one which I remember the most is The Thirteenth Floor, even though the world peculiarities also reminds us of the one most famous film, The Matrix. The main character also reminds us of the protagonist of The Lego Movie and the rest of the people like Nerve. We are reminded of the games like Grand Theft Auto, Mafia and The Godfather too. These reminders serve to provide some nostalgia too. The mixture made out of the combination of different interesting things continue to be engaging, and also has a certain amount of humour associated with it. At the same time, there is a strong emotional side which never brings the overdose. The world in the movie is indeed interesting, and there are some fine visuals which support this new universe. It is indeed a stylish and beautiful environment that we have here, and the connection with the original world is well-established.

Positives and negatives :: One might feel that the idea is not new, but the presentation does have some innovation about it, and it never really gets that dark or serious about the happenings around here. Due to the same reason, there can be some predictability here, which they have managed to hide at some points effectively. Ryan Reynolds is here with a fine performance, and a role which is very much more worth appreciation than Deadpool – here he plays one of the most lovable protagonists around, and he seems to do that with ease. As expected, he also excels in the action sequences. Jodie Comer excels in two worlds, and she strikes well with action sequences within the new world and also outside the game. There are some spectacular action scenes with the two around, and would be a case of grandeur on the big screen. Joe Keery also has a nice role to play which he manages well. Lil Rel Howery adds further to the comic side well. Taika Waititi also makes a good villain, the big rich one with only money in his mind.

How it finishes :: Free Guy is that kind of a movie which needs more attention in this part of the world, as it is appropriate for almost every kind of audience. The movie also deals with the idea of existence – maybe we are all in a video game too, and will never know. Maybe we are all programmed to, as there is something special about all of us – then, maybe life has no meaning; all these could be reminded by this one movie. What if we are not programmed to know the truth about our existence? Even in between all these people go for war, and most humans just hate each other. Maybe it would have been all better if this was a video game, for there is so much of hate, and the futility of one’s actions is disheartening. Those who work harder than others and the ones who are the most honest are the ones who suffer the most. You live a life with life-long learning and it might be some moron who gets the job for which you are best qualified – then there are the reservations which hands them the jobs. Maybe, our lives are also programmed – we might be in a video game.

Release date: 13th August 2021
Running time: 115 minutes
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Joe Keery, Taika Waititi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kimi

Vampire Owl: I know a witch by this name.

Vampire Bat: Witches don’t have such names – it should be nickname.

Vampire Owl: Northern Witches are now known by some special names.

Vampire Bat: Are you trying to say that they are going to modernize soon?

Vampire Owl: Yes, their covens are all with electricity now.

Vampire Bat: The witches no longer use magic to light their covens?

Vampire Owl: No, they are now deviating the power taken from the nodes elsewhere.

Vampire Bat: So, they are now deriving cent percent of power from their chaos node.

Vampire Owl: Yes, they are now more powerful than ever. Two of them now serve as sources of unlimited chaos energy.

Vampire Bat: You have to warn the vampire border fortresses. Nobody can stop a fully chaos charged witch, not even a full werewolf army with armour on a full moon.

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

What is the movie about? :: Bradley Hasling (Derek DelGaudio) is the CEO of a technological firm known as Amygdala, and the newest product in their list is Kimi, a smart speaker which makes use of human monitoring to improve its search algorithm. They are planning to have a stock launch which will help them to earn a good fortune. Sharon (India de Beaufort), a journalist is suspicious about the same, and considers it to be a case of controversy. Angela Childs (Zoe Kravitz) is an employee who works for the same company as part of the Seattle division’s work from home policy. She is supposed to monitor incoming data streams from Kimi devices and make the needed corrections to the code, so that the software can be upgraded and improved. But she continues to stay at home at all times, as she has agoraphobia, and due to the anxiety disorder reaching new heights, things only get worse for her. COVID-19 pandemic did make it almost impossible for her already. Her mother’s advice doesn’t really help either.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She does stalk people living the apartments and Terry Hughes (Byron Bowers) is her man of interest, whom she end up calling into her apartment as she also feels sex starved. Yet, she is not able to start a romantic relationship with him, as it is no longer her point of concern, living all by herself and not caring about anybody else. One day, as she is working, she goes through a recording that she feels is a sexual assault. As her co-workder Darius (Alex Dobrenko) who is initially suspicious that it is just an argument helps her, she is able to find information about the account holder, a lady named Samantha Gerrity (Erika Christensen). She later finds out that the lady was also killed, and there is a hitman associated with it. She intends to talk about this to Natalie Chowdhury (Rita Wilson), a high ranked executive who is in charge of the operations there, but she doesn’t want to go out. But considering her state of mind, will they be ready to listen to her? Is there something sinister about this particular company? Should she be worried about all of these?

The defence of Kimi :: There is something about Kimi that will keep us going. The protagonist and his struggles are quite close to what the introverts might come across, and in the current world, it is only appropriate not to trust another human being. There are some fine camera angles which make things better too – how her situation inside the house and also when she ventures outside are all nicely taken. The first exit out of the place after a shower and brushing is to be appreciated further. The talk in the bedroom had nicely served to let us understand her character already. They have also served a happy ending here, and there is never a situation of too much of danger around – it seems like she can handle them all by herself even though she does get unexpected help. Even with so many complex happening in between, what we see on the screen is kept simple and things get solved also with a certain amount of luck here. As the movie is on Amazon Prime Video, more people will watch this lesser known interesting thing.

The claws of flaw :: There seems to be a dark side to the main character’s past, but it is not shown well enough for anyone to believe if that really happened or if she was hallucinating, having mental problems for a long time. The use of flashbacks doesn’t seem to be something of importance around here. We also have times when the main character is just an irritating person rather than anything else. After all, the movie itself focuses on her all the time, and the other characters seem like people with no identities for most of the time. Well, humans have the right to be irritating and evil, and therefore we go through that. There were many moments when some action could have been added – fight scenes can serve fine around here. This would have also been a big thriller with a few moments given better focus. This could have been the girl on the run, and throughout the process, there could have been a big adventure, with some funny moments to add to it – the humour could have been used more effectively here.

The performers of the soul :: You will not be able to take your eyes off Zoe Kravitz in this film which is all about her – it is clear that she is so good, as she adapts so well into this character, evolved a lot from Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant. This wouldn’t be a role that can be easy to play for the usual celebrities who are so much used to being part of the public fame. This is the same reason why almost nobody from this part of the world will find it easy to play this kind of a role, except what you had seen in North 24 Kaatham. The moments of her going out for the first time after a long time is among the best scenes – from a shower and electric toothpaste to how she goes on unnoticed by the the public is something worth noting for sure. For all celebrities, this kind of roles would require more work, and she has has surely nailed it. The other performances are of so much less significance in comparison here. Byron Bowers has a few dialogues and some moments to add. At the same time, Jaime Camil makes an interesting killer, and it would have been nice if there was more of the action with him around – some fight scenes could have been added here and there with him and the gang around.

How it finishes :: Kimi seems to remind one of Amazon Alexa, and the movie also serves as a cautionary tale about the possibilities of secrets being leaked through some of the newer technologies, which seems to offer more, but is also doing something else in the process. It also gives a nice picture of anxiety and agoraphobia, both being blended in here. It is also something which most of the introverts would love, and being at home all the time is not considered strange anymore with the Corona virus pandemic and work from home establishment changing things. Well, one wouldn’t be able to live a life like the protagonist of this movie though, as the person would considered mentally unstable and forced to an institution, or will be forced by the family, friends and locals to go out and talk with people. Being at those so called developed countries does have more advantages. Then you remember that this is the least of the advantages that you can have there.

Release date: 10th February 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Zoe Kravitz, Betsy Brantley, Rita Wilson, India de Beaufort, Emily Kuroda, Byron Bowers, Alex Dobrenko, Jaime Camil, Jacob Vargas, Derek DelGaudio, Erika Christensen, Devin Ratray, Andy Daly, Robin Givens, Charles Halford, David Wain

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kaanekkaane

What is the movie about? :: Deputy Tahsildar Paul Mathai (Suraj Venjaramoodu) is still not out of shock after his daughter Sherin Allen Mathai (Shruti Ramachandran) died as part of a hit and run accident. He is running a case against the man who was responsible for the incident, and he reiterates the fact that he will not forgive the driver not because of the accident, but because he didn’t stop to check on her daughter, and didn’t try to take her to the hospital. Paul believes that it was this hesitation that led to the death of his daughter, as he went missing, and was not found for a long time – an earlier treatment could have saved her. Paul hopes that he will get justice for his dead daughter soon enough. His son-in-law Allen Mathai (Tovino Thomas) is now married to a woman whom he had met during one of his business trips, Sneha George (Aishwarya Lekshmi), who is also pregnant for the first time at the moment. They seem to be a happy family, and his grandson Kuttu (Master Alok Krishna) is also a happy child when he is among them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Sneha’s father George (Prem Prakash) is concerned about Paul’s infatuation with the case, but Paul is determined to keep his eyes on the case all the time. It is then that he feels that there is something strange about Allen and Sneha, as he looks into her past. Even though Allen had introduced Sneha to him much later, and had asked him permission to marry her, he finds out that they were together much earlier, from a photo dated many months earlier. Even when he was supposed to be alone for work, he was with Sneha. He feels that Allen was cheating on Sherin for a very long time, and for both Allen and Sneha, it was a comfortable death – with Sherin out of the way, they could quickly get into a relationship. He also figures out that Allen reached the accident spot from the exact opposite direction of where he was then. He decides to find out if there is something more to the death of Sherin than what meets the eye. But as he gets closer to the same, he is not finding it easy to live with anymore.

The defence of Kaanekkaane :: If you consider the emotional side, this film is one of the strongest in that category, and there is no force that can drive it out of there – this one is an emotional thriller with class. Combining family elements and bringing the thrills is no easy task, and such emotional feeling takes some extra skill. The melancholy mood is always there, and defines the work, even before the revelations are made, and we move to the ideas of remorse and vengeance in multiple dimensions. In the end, all these lead to the message of forgiveness and the relief that lies in the same. It reaches the same by following multiple paths, and we never really feel that there is such a revelation. The emotional strength of the film grows on you, and it is at its top most level by the end. All these emotions are shown as ruling these characters. The emotional undercurrents never seem to disappear, as we keep coming back to it, like the Lake Poets to the beauty of nature and the Gothic Novelists to the dark terrors of any ancient castle.

The claws of flaw :: The emotional side often takes over long above the tale of people which is explored here. The story is basic, and we see that the pace doesn’t really pick up here at any point, and there is no attempt to focus around there. The moments before one main character’s death are not that much explored, as the first wife only gets a little less of screen space for our liking. The chance to throw in some thrills here and there has also been missed, and there too, the focus shifts to the emotional side. There is not much of colour in this film, and that should be because of its melancholy side rather than anything else. The movie could have had more advertisements before its release, even though we are seeing more of it right now. It does have a big heart, but that could be something which the people outside the film might be lacking. But when we are immersed in the emotions of the film, any problem is easily forgotten.

Performers of the soul :: Suraj Venjaramoodu leads the way here, and he comes up with another emotional performance, the kind in which he has excelled in the last few years, moving out of that comedy genre for long. As far as he is concerned, the list of fantastic performances is just too long, and my favourite has been Finals, in which he played the determined sportsman and father. The same fatherly strength can be seen here too, and the determination that he shows here, and how his character is displayed here are all, a few things to be remembered. There is a lot of melancholy that runs through his face, and we go through his pain as much as he does. His character is also as close to reality as possible, and the emotional depth of the film starts from him, is strengthened by him, and comes to a close with his own actions. Prem Prakash plays the father of the second wife, and the veteran actor has no problems with the work here.

Further performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas also plays a different kind of character, and like he did in Luca, has a heavy emotional performance to come up with. Here, he is okay with playing the second most important character, and he once again excels without doubt. One has to wonder how well he has risen in the last few years, and last year he had Kilometers and Kilometers as well as Forensic, but this year, he has many more films to his credit. Shruti Ramachandran who was last seen in Anveshanam has rather smaller role, but we note that down too. Then we have Aishwarya Lekshmi as the leading lady in the movie, one of the best young actresses of our times, keeping the melancholy mood of the film going forward. Seen with Tovino in one of the best combinations through Maayanadhi after her debut in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, she is indeed the one actress whom everyone needs to watch out for, as she impresses each and every time, leaving nothing to criticize – the same is the case here.

How it finishes :: This is the movie of Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Thomas and Aishwarya Lekshmi, all three coming up with splendid performances, and when we add these three to the melancholic mood which deals with themes that run through here, there is something of fine quality. The human emotions are really well portrayed through these performers, and the strong emotions are always running strong in the background. With such a strong cast, the film has no problems in portraying what it has been trying to do. It is so much multi-layered that we won’t be able to take the side of any character, and therefore we choose to travel through this journey. This is also the first Malayalam film to directly release in this particular OTT platform. Well, for every other good movie in Malayalam, we seem to have the choice of Amazon Prime Video. There is a lot more to release there in October, and that should be enough to keep the movie lovers interested even during the times of Corona virus.

Release date: 17th September 2021 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Manu Ashokan
Starring: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Thomas, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Shruti Ramachandran, Prem Prakash, Rony David, Dhanya Mary Varghese, Binu Pappu, Sruthy Jayan, Sreeja Das, Master Alok Krishna

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Acceleration

Vampire Owl: How far can you accelerate here?

Vampire Bat: Well, the movie has a world of crime in it, and so, we can be sure that the acceleration will be related to action.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that such an acceleration will affect the plot negatively.

Vampire Bat: I am pretty sure that there will be just the usual plot.

Vampire Owl: They are not really into create a story to run beneath the action, or do they value it too?

Vampire Bat: I have read what the movie is about. It is nothing that you have heard about – we have only that tale without surprises.

Vampire Owl: So, this movie is to be watched only for the action sequences.

Vampire Bat: There could also be some thrilling moments in store.

Vampire Owl: Well, if it works with what it needs to, I have no real objection.

Vampire Bat: Let us see how it manages to work out.

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

What is the movie about? :: Vladik Zorich (Dolph Lundgren) is one of the much feared and respected crime lords of Los Angeles. As he is double-crossed by his most trusted operative on crime, Rhona Zyocki (Natalie Burn), the man who runs many businesses including weapons, gambling, drugs and skin trafficking, decides to make her dance according to his songs. With no more risks possible in his current business, he kidnaps her only son, and with the little kid by his side, he gets the power to make her obey everything that he asks him to do, like a slave under command, the chain being attached to the child. As her son’s life is in his hands, Rhona struggles to obey Vladik’s orders, as she has to face some of the most twisted men and women in the business. But with her son’s life on the line, she will go through punches, kicks, gunshots and torture, with one goal in mind. Can Natalie do all the necessary things needed to keep her son alive, as Vladik has more plans for her? Will she and her son survive?

The defence of Acceleration :: The movie does have some nice action sequences, more related to shooting, and thanks to Natalie Burn being perfect in doing all that, Acceleration does manage to accelerate through its short run-time which is actually shorter due to the longer credit scenes, making it lasting about one hour and twenty minutes, losing another five minutes in the process. With such a low budget, they did manage to make this much, and has also managed to have some good performances from the main cast. The visuals are good too, as we look at the city which is coloured nicely in the night and with the darkness to set the mood for some action with much at stake. As the movie progresses you want to see more of Natalie on the screen, as sooner or later, this becomes all about her, the character on whom everything around here focuses on. You will have to watch it without thinking too much, and things will come together with progress.

The claws of flaw :: There are times when we feel that the writers were in a hurry to finish this movie. This is already a very short movie lasting less than one and half hours, and they don’t find it enough, as it seems from how this movie has been jumping from one scene to the other. There could have been better editing in place for sure. In the end, there is a rush, and at times, the protagonist has it easy – she beats up people easily, and escapes from bondage by herself, not really looking as if she ever had even a little trouble. You shouldn’t make things too easy in a movie like this, as the way she escapes here is just too silly, as the man who caught her and tied her up is a human trafficker and had intended to punish her hard in a way which she would remember throughout her like until she dies, but she just frees herself and simply stabs him after walking through his evil lair which is supposed to be so difficult to escape from. The movie’s twists are not interesting either – there were opportunities to add to it, but the movie doesn’t do so.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has Natalie Burn written all over it as far as performances are concerned, as she becomes the perfect action star with looks and style as much as the action sequences. With her looks, she is separated from the usual leading actress – she possesses that intensity that cannot be unmatched, and that is more or less due to her appearance, as she becomes someone we expect to beat people up, and maybe even shoot them nicely. But action surely is not her only skill, as Natalia Guslistaya, the Ukrainian model can do much more, without doubt. She was also seen in Mechanic: Resurrection, Expendables 3 and Criminal, all of them action thrillers, even though not in those main roles, and so there is a good chance that you might have missed her in those films. Dolph Lundgren was last seen in Aquaman in a significant role, and you can try finding him there, and the clue is that it is linked to Mera, the superhero’s lover underwater in the Kingdom of Atlantis. He is the one other actor worth mentioning, and the others just manage to play along at most of time.

How it finishes :: Acceleration is more or less the time-pass action movie which you can watch without spending much time thinking about. There is not much otherwise as far as this movie is concerned. There is enough in this movie to keep you interested as a crime action thriller. But escapism does get the advantage over the other things, and thus this movie is left with not much for the brain. It goes on the lines of many other action thrillers, but doesn’t use those elements of the genre to the best of advantage – but that might not have been needed considering the fact that this movie doesn’t try too hard. It lets everything go accordingly, because with Natalie Burn and Dolph Lundgren in the lead, an action thriller can go on as expected, without attempted to come with something grand. Acceleration accelerates just enough for you, and the escapist entertainment runs on that initial acceleration which is a little boosted at times.

[Gets some friench fries along with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: This movie could have been so much more.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they could have used the leading lady to more potential.

Vampire Owl: This is a movie which was not watched by many people, and so, not many people know about it.

Vampire Bat: She surely is perfect for an action movie, don’t you think?

Vampire Owl: Yes, but more as the lady villain rather than as the heroine.

Vampire Bat: There is no question about the fact that she looks quite lethal with the action sequences and more.

Vampire Owl: I never knew that Hollywood has such actresses custom made for such roles.

Vampire Bat: We didn’t know that there would be Corona Virus either.

Vampire Owl: There are so many things that we don’t know.

Vampire Bat: Well, knowledge doesn’t come with immortality. You have to read a lot to come up with that.

[Vanishes into the shadows behind the oak tree].

Release date: 8th November 2019
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Michael Merino, Daniel Zirilli
Starring: Natalie Burn, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Liddell, Sean Patrick Flanery, Danny Trejo, Dobromir Mashukov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Evidey

What is the movie about? :: Symphony Zachariah (Manoj K Jayan) is a busy, but not so rich musician who keeps traveling all the time, not caring much for his wife and children. Jessy Zachariah (Asha Sharath) is left to care for the family which consists of her father-in-law, Kuttichan (Prem Prakash) and two children. When one day, Zachariah goes missing, Jessy is determined to find out what happened to him. Police Inspector Simon Tharakan (Baiju Santhosh) is the one in charge of the case, and it seems that the case is solved when a letter from Zachariah reaches them. But there is something strange about the letter – Jessy doesn’t believe that it was written by Zachariah. A man named Kabir (Kunchan) who comes to see them makes things even more complicated. Jessy even begins to doubt that Zachariah has another wife and kids.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Their son Leen (Shebin Benson), a college student is in love with Shahana (Anaswara Rajan), a girl whose life he saved when she was drowning, an incident which fetched him a bravery award. But it seems that he is no longer the person that he used to be. Studying at a college far away from home, he seems to be having more opportunities to go divergent from the studies rather than be the student who used to be the face of the college earlier. He doesn’t come home much, and has been a difficult person to find even for his family. This, along with the missing husband is breaking the family apart, but Jessy is determined to find Zachariah. For that, she would have to take more than one journey, through Mangalore and Goa, as he was supposed to perform at one of the events there.

The defence of Evidey :: The movie belongs to the genre of a family thriller rather than anything else, and the approach also seems to suggest a journey through such a path. The short length makes sure that there is no dull moment in the movie, and there is no drag, even when it seems to be trying to be preachy. The issues that are shown in the movie are genuine, with messages against drug abuse, and the parents’ failure to guide children along with the inability to become good role models. This is the time when students need to be told about the terrible effects of drugs and alcohol more, and with parents having no time to take care of their children, along with everything negative influencing them better, the movie has becoming very relevant. There has been too much of such things in the news, and this is a movie which can be shown in schools and colleges.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s songs are all very much interesting, and such a thing does no good to a family thriller – a good family song or even a song on friendship and love if done well enough can lift a movie of the genre and provide it with a boost, covering its faults up to an extent. Evidey doesn’t have that, and it also doesn’t seem to try too hard with its thriller side which was to serve as its stronger point. The investigative side could have also been done in a more interesting way, and a better backstory was needed with the family members – it would have worked well with a good song, and that much time could have been enough to have the characters settled, especially the two pairs. Even the sequences at Goa could have taken a boost, with some more wandering around the major areas of the state which is not short of providing some good visuals at any point.

The performers of the soul :: The movie remains mostly centered on Asha Sharath, who once again plays the mother of a son gone the wrong way, like in Drishyam. It is once again the duty to save him, but the task remains difficult as it is too late – the tormented mother continues to be on the spotlight. Prem Prakash, at the same time, brings some very emotional and controlled moments to remember, as he has done before on many occasions. Manoj K Jayan is not there for much time, as he is the missing character who can only be there with some small flashbacks. One would feel the need for more of such flashbacks to get a better idea of the character. Baiju plays the police officer who is working on the case, and he makes one believable cop. Kunchan has shorter presence too, and Shivaji Guruvayoor as well as Sunil Sukhada got even lesser time on the big screen.

Further performers of the soul :: Suraj Venjaramoodu makes his appearance in the later stages of the movie, and has some of the best dialogues in the whole film. He becomes an integral part of the movie in the second half, and continues to assert his presence until the end. Even though some part of it seems forced, the character sticks on well. Shebin Benson shows some skills in this role, and the emotional sequences are handled very well. We see how the changes occur with the character, and how the same has been portrayed in a believable manner. Anaswara Rajan of Udaharanam Sujatha fame does a wonderful job here, as her character is a well-written and well-performed one without pretensions. From the early happy mood to those emotional sequences, she shows a controlled, realistic version, and tranquility when needed is a skill that we rarely see on the younger stars these days.

How it finishes :: Evidey easily takes its message against drug abuse to the next level, even though it does take some time to be there. With clubs like SADA (Students Against Drug Abuse) being formed in colleges to provide awareness regarding the same, we are slowly, but steadily realizing the fact that the drug menace can’t be left unchecked. Evidey will surely help to bring the awareness, as did Kerala Excise Department with the Vimukthi Short Film Competition and its winning entry “Midhya” by Mar Baselios Institute of Technology and Science, Kothamangalam. After so many short-films tried to make the point in that certain competition, and a number of them winning runner-up and consolation prizes, we now have a full-length movie which doesn’t glorify the evil at any point, and scores with an emotional climax and message against it.

Release date: 4th July 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: KK Rajeev
Starring: Shebin Benson, Asha Sharath, Anaswara Rajan, Prem Prakash, Manoj K Jayan, Baiju Santhosh, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Kunchan, Sunil Sukhada

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Culprit

Vampire Owl: Do you know that I am a culprit in love?

Vampire Bat: How is that relevant right now?

Vampire Owl: I just wanted to remind you that the word applies to me too.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that your experience cannot match the genre of this short-film.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that you are not finished reviewing short-films?

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why I should ever stop doing that.

Vampire Owl: What about those big movies which have got you most of the hits?

Vampire Bat: They have stopped being something that matter. I am supporting smaller ones right now; they are the future. There is more material in them.

Vampire Owl: You are talking like a true vampire apprentice.

Vampire Bat: I am the first vampire apprentice to write movie reviews. So, my opinion counts more than most of the others in the New Vampire World.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Amal (Akhil Vivek) reaches Mumbai from Cochin to meet Jithu (Danish Ashokan), a friend and an elder brotherly figure. It turns out that he has run away from Kerala after the circumstances which lead to a girl named Ancy Kuriyan Thomas (Dona Shankar) going missing, pointed fingers at him. There hasn’t been much progress in the case which only has him as the sole link to the events, but about which he has no clue. Amal tells Jithu his story, which has his best friend Sooraj (Akash Sheel), and an unknown phone call from a female voice which introduced itself as a girl named Devika Varma. As they get closer, Amal asks for her to meet up with him instead of being the random voice on his phone. But despite her agreeing to meet up at Cherai, later calls him to warn him against calling her again unless he wishes to get in trouble.

So, what happens next? :: As they attempt to investigate on the matter, it leads them to Dr. Shafeeq (Anwar Shereef) on whose name, the sim card is taken. He tells them something about the missing girl in the news, Ancy Kuriyan Thomas, which shocks them. But it turns out that they can’t tell that to anyone else, as it would put the shadow of doubt on them. But the police ends up getting a photo which works against Amal, and puts him directly in trouble from the cops as well as the media. Now, he has come directly to Maharashtra and hopes to solve this confusing problem. Can he do that before time runs out? Who is this Devika Varma and how is she related to the mysterious disappearance of Ancy Kuriyan Thomas? Is there a chance than Ancy might be alive after so many days? Why does all this point to Amal when it seems to be clear that he has nothing to do with the girl named Ancy?

The defence of Culprit :: The suspense that the movie has is pretty much huge, and we enjoy how it is told, and it is twisted, in a positive way. From the first few moments, it is established that we have a thriller in store, and then, after a few minutes of the usual stuff to set up the whole thing, we are taken back to staying on the edge of our seats. One would still feel that the end was too quick, and wonder if the absence of the explanation for some deeds were the need – it still lets us think more, and come up with our own conclusions. The movie is actually longer than most of those usual short-films that you see, and so there is plenty of time for the viewers to get drawn into it. With its half an hour run-time over, we end up wishing for the length to be little more, and that is surely a rare thing. Whenever the movie seems to stray away from its path, there will be something, a moment or a dialogue to bring it back on track, and it has a smooth run all the way.

Soul exploration :: Culprit explores what all are there as more than what meets the eye. It shows a protagonist being clueless against a force which seems to have worked against him right from the beginning. There is a mystery here that needs to be solved, as it threatens his own existence, and he understands it should be done as quickly as possible. What we see here is a crime committed, and the person who does that goes to any end to make sure that he is not convicted; for it is something planned well enough to have more than one escape route – there is not much of friendships here to save the day, as the protagonist can trust nobody. We see the movie slowly and steadily getting hold of things, leading to that wonderful revealing in the end. There are things that the movie doesn’t try to tell, and on everything else, what you see and understand gets the clarity.

How it finishes :: Culprit is a fine example of how the right talent shows itself when there is a chance. On one side, we have those big movies struggling to become interesting thrillers, and even with that high budget and big stars, they fail – but here, we have something small in scale, but strong with the idea, which is presented really well on screen. We get a great quality here, without waiting in the queue or spending that extra money on online booking, along with those increased ticket prices – we just need a few MB of data to get into some nice thrilling moments. Culprit also comes at a time when there have been too many short-films dealing with the great nonsense romance in many absurd ways. A well-made thriller lasting half an hour is something that has the strength to go far, and it is hence proven by this short-film.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: Do you think that such people can exist in our society too?

Vampire Bat: We are an alcohol-free society – so it would be difficult, but evil always finds a way.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that they could come through the portal which Doctor Frankenstein had opened earlier?

Vampire Bat: Mr. Frankenstein can only be the means to evil if we allow him to be.

Vampire Owl: It could be through anyone, someone whom we trust the most.

Vampire Bat: Yes, Evil as a person is a clever manipulator.

Vampire Owl: It could be the Lich Queen, Werewolf Anger, Vampire Kung Fu Panda

Vampire Bat: Why do you keep waiting for evil to come, when there is the chance to embrace goodness?

Vampire Owl: Well, you just can’t see so much evil, and still go with goodness.

Vampire Bat: Goodness is difficult, and evil is easy. It is on this that we wonder, and get inspired to think more about the same.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 9th July 2017
Running time: 31 minutes
Directed by: Jithin S Babu
Starring: Akhil Vivek, Danish Ashokan, Dona Shankar, Akash Sheel, Anwar Shereef, Santhu Bhai

Watch the interesting thriller, Culprit here:

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.