Lake of Death

Vampire Owl: I thought that it was originally the river of death.

Vampire Bat: The river of death has already gone dry.

Vampire Owl: What about the pond of death behind the castle then?

Vampire Bat: That pond is originally something related to life and not death.

Vampire Owl: Yet, it is named the pond of death.

Vampire Bat: So, you feel that this lake might not be about death?

Vampire Owl: There is surely something strange about this movie.

Vampire Bat: This is a Norwegian movie, and the first one of the kind we are watching.

Vampire Owl: Well, the idea does seem to be pretty good when we have look from a distance.

Vampire Bat: The first movie which we watch is often too good, no matter what the language happens to be.

[Gets an orange cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Lillian (Iben Akerlie) had lived the early parts of her life with her brother Bjorn (Patrick Walshe McBride), who had lost his ability to talk in the later stages of his childhood, after former had left him with nobody to take care of, as they were both orphans, The two only had a cabin in the woods for them to live, and Bjorn had lived there beside the lake for most of his life, which Lillian had left the place for the city. Bjorn had no friends in the isolated place, and used to sit near the lake doing nothing for most of his life. One day, she gets the news that her brother had drowned in the same lake, and that was shocking and depressing for her, as it was her who left him behind, deciding not to spend much time with him. Seeing her depressed state, her friends decide to accompany her to the cabin in the woods beside the lake for the last time she is going there, as she intends to sell it, and get rid of her memories forever, moving on with her life in the city.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The four friends include the beautiful Sonja (Sophia Lie) and three men, Gabriel (Jonathan Harboe), Harald ( Elias Munk) and Bernhard (Jakob Schoyen Andersen), who feels that along with helping Lillian in getting rid of her depression and the memories of the cabin, they can also have some fun in the woods, as they had heard about the beautiful lake and the lovely setting of the cabin. They reach the place and meet Kai (Ulric von der Esch), Lillian’s former lover and friend, a local guy who arranges everything for her. Sonja is quick to turn into the party mood and get into her bikini for the much needed cooling time in the lake, but with people seemingly pulled down under water and the dog going missing, something is wrong, and spoils the holiday mood for all of them. They also find breakfast already there when they wake up, and Lillian has some strange visions, as she begind sleepwalking. The five of them begin to doubt each other as well as another presence which they wonder whether is supernatural in nature.

The defence of Lake of Death :: The movie has a beautiful setting indeed, and the advantage of having such a cabin in the woods setting is that along with that natural beauty which we see at almost every point, we can also find the scope for the creepy effects, for the lake itself has a well-known history of violence happening around it as well as the cabin. There are also some fine scares to go with, and we are left with what is to happen next, even though in the beginning, the horror is not really that direct. The feeling is always there, as horror is present with creepiness wherever you look at it. We do have a few final moments under the lake, and it is beautifully shot, with the protagonist moving underneath like a fish or rather a mermaid, escaping the evil – a site to behold, just like the beauty of nature surely requiring a nymph or a wood elf of its own. There are some other interesting moments of terror which had come earlier – those which we remember include the protagonist sleepwalking through the room, her trying to get away from the bathtub, her awakening beside the lake, as well as the way she looks at other on different occasions.

The claws of flaw :: This is indeed a slow moving movie, and the lack of pace can be seen from the beginning itself. There is some inconsistency in the characters too, except for the two girls who remain the same, and they are well-defined. It does go into the usual traps, with elements which we have seen in other movies, and even those things which didn’t work in those films either. The cliches are indeed there, and most of them work as red herrings, as we move away from what we should focus on, but that too, when it comes in the end, fades away too easily – it could have been longer, especially the moments under the lake which are beautiful, but are over as we begin to get a touch of the same. The movie could have actually been more like The Cabin in the Woods, one of the best horror movies of all-time, which didn’t really get a screen in the malls around here. This Norwegian movie, for some reason, decides not to be that, or even Evil Dead – the scope was really there, as elements of old horror sneaks in so well around here.

Performers of the soul :: The movie’s spirit is entangled into Iben Akerlie who actually becomes a reflection of the atmosphere itself, and she perfectly fits into the role and setting with ease. There is something about her at all times, and we are drawn to the way she looks and acts throughout the movie, like that fairy-tale nymph who reached the world of humans all of a sudden. The way she looks at everything, from the cabin and the woods to people, as well as her simple actions give us a feeling that she is not of this world. She nicely blends into that strange girl whom nobody can easily figure out. Patrick Walshe McBride’s brotherly figure is even more weird, but we don’t really see much of him around here. Then, it is Sophia Lie who has our attention as one of those characters who are better defined than the others. As the only other female character in the movie, she is the one whom we can consider to be the sane one among the other unpredictable ones. The other actors do just the usual in a horror movie as we look at them.

How it finishes :: Lake of Death, the first Norwegian movie which I have watched, has managed to be an interesting horror movie, even though moving on at quite slow pace from the beginning itself. This could have actually worked better as a usual horror movie with this kind of an atmosphere without complicating things too much or lowering the pace rather too much. We could have had the feeling of terror always being there directly rather than bringing them in the form of strange events which don’t seem to be that much dangerous, or through those hallucinations which makes us feel not to be considered serious. Yet, this can begin your movie watching procedure in style as far as Norwegian movies are concerned, because a horror flick with such a setting is always the best option to begin with. You can go through this world of creepiness, beauty and fear, all mingled into one, and then follow up with more Norwegian horror at some other point. After all, horror is the most real thing that you can ever experience in life.

Release date: 1st November 2019
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Nini Bull Robsahm
Starring: Patrick Walshe McBride, Ulric von der Esch, Iben Akerlie, Sophia Lie, Elias Munk, Jonathan Harboe, Jakob Schoyen Andersen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

howtotrainyourdragon (2)

Vampire Owl :: I have always preferred dinosaurs and Godzilla to dragons, wyverns and all kinds of flying machines.

Vampire Bat :: What about the Golden Dragon Restaurant?

Vampire Owl :: With that chicken and noodles which should not be named?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, that variety which we tested and tasted.

Vampire Owl :: In that case, I guess I will have to make an exception.

Vampire Bat :: Let’s train a dragon then.

Vampire Owl :: As long as it is not named Fernando Torres. I need it to score when opportunity comes.

Vampire Bat :: It is not easy to make the sequel to one of the best animated movies of all time. Still, the reviews are great and lets hope for the best. After all, there is no strong opposition this weekend.

[Reaches the multiplex].

The day of the dragon :: The past goes back to 2010 when the first movie was released, and at that time in the movie, vikings and dragons have been fighting each other. The battle was something which defined their lives and seemed to go on forever. The chief of the group is Stoick who is a firm hater of the dragons. The son of Stoick and the heir to the title, Hiccup is not having a good time with his Viking blood, but happens to capture a blue dragon whom he couldn’t make up the mind to kill. This rare Night Fury dragon and the boy becomes friends and is given the name Toothless for its retractable teeth. The boy would no longer find killing the dragons an option as he feels that it is not right. Even as it did infuriate his father and most of the other vikings, this would lead to a chain of events which will finally lead to the end of war between vikings and dragons. The first idea would be that this is the end of the story, as everything seemed to go on happily ever after. But the need for the sequel comes up and it takes off from here, as this had gone on to become one of the more popular animated movies at that time.

What is it about? :: As the peace has been established and the dragons live happily with Vikings, it seems that nothing bad can happen. Close to taking over as the new chief of his village, Hiccup goes on random adventures with his dragon and best friend, Toothless, as they discover and add to the map lots of unexplored lands and the water-bodies which surrounds their island, as the assistance of flying creatures have made things easier for them. On one such day of exploration, he encounters a dragon catcher and knows about his boss Drago Bludvist who is building a dragon army. Hiccup decides to get to the root of this and find the one who is taking the dragons for himself. Even as Stoick tells his son that the new villain is a mad man and it is impossible to prevent a war and their only possible defence was being inside the walls of the city, Hiccup continues on his path to find the enemy. But on the way, he will meet another dragon rider who will bring some changes to his plan. At the same time, he is chased by dragon catchers as well as his own people who are trying to bring him back. It is to be seen how things will go on.

The defence of How to Train Your Dragon 2 :: The movie takes us into the world of vikings and dragons again, and begins another saga of awesomeness which is a great continuation of the previous one. It is connected quite well to the first part. The story has nice new elements even as some part of it is undoubtedly predictable, but that is to be expected in an animated movie. There is some good 3D, nothing special though. There are moments when nothing special happens, but no boring moment. The Vikings are nice to watch and the dragons are glorious fun; for there are so many of them this time with even two alpha dragons fighting with each other. The villain characters is nice, and the father and mother characters are lots of fun along with our hero’s friends, girlfriend and the friend of the chief. But the best thing is still the relation between the hero and his dragon, followed by his relationship with his father and his mother. The environment of the movie is nothing less than a Avatar in animation as far as the whole visual splendor is concerned, and the dragon designs are nice even as some of them might seem a little too funny for some – well, this is a movie for the kids too and so such things were to exist somewhere.

The claws of flaw :: If we take the major characters out, the movie is centered around dragons and it is their existence that defines this movie, and vikings come only next. There is less about the lifestyle and more about exploration. The Vikings and their way of life takes second place and becomes something based on the existence and presence of the winged creatures. The only other creature which we see is the sheep in a world which seems to be shared by just two creatures. Some of the dragons are actually too cute even for the bigger kids. It was already cute with everything and this gets further. Even as the story is nicely done, there are some areas where it gets predictable. It will also be difficult for those who haven’t watched the original movie, as those incidents have quite a lot to do with this movie, and the characterization is also dependent on what happened earlier. Therefore, the connection will obviously be weak for them, even as the same can’t be said about the fun. The emotional and dramatic scenes often go out of hand, and they are rather far-fetched and still not that effective as Frozen or Mr. Peabody and Sherman. The talks about this being the movie of the year or the best animated sequel won’t work.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s most important theme is co-existence. The lack of tolerance has been something which has been hurting more than just one race of people. Well, if dragons can co-exist with a race like Vikings, anyone can do that. This is the age when hatred is spread through Facebook, as people come up with some random post which has no truth in it, and present it as fact just to degrade others and their political, social and religious beliefs. It is a shame that some of these are actually learned men with good status, and in that case they are able to make the fools share what they share. It is quite difficult to reason with people who pervert history for the same, and come out with nonsense to support their cause. In the outside world, there are always wars, but they are all the products of the hatred that is burning in the minds because of the greed or personal agenda of some people. The Vikings had their own purpose and the dragons think only of their major needs, but lets experience this movie and learn something about co-existence not only with other people and creatures, but also with the environment. Avatar did the same, and instead of the tree at the centre, we have the alpha dragons which controls them all.

How it finishes :: The original movie was a smart one, and it was surely not going to be easy to make a sequel to the same. But this movie has accomplished something which only movies like Kung-fu Panda 2 and Despicable Me 2 have achieved, and Rio 2 came pretty close to doing until losing its way. This one becomes a very good sequel to the first movie, and there are occasions when it seems to rise above the first movie. It has all the ingredients to rule the box-office; a strong base which is already constructed by its predecessor, the absence of any better movie in the theatre and some good developments of its own. The only remaining challenge is from what is left over by Edge of Tomorrow, but that should be no real problem considering the kind of audience targeted by the two. It is surely leading the weekend until now. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is the second best animated movie of the year after Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and the same can be said about the fun that it carries. There were expectations and this one meets them steadily. Watch this one on the big screen and nowhere else, and it won’t really matter if you are an young man, an older person or a kid, this one is going to make your one hundred minutes count.

Release date: 13th June 2014
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Dean DeBlois
Starring (voice) : Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington

howtotrainyourdragon2 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.