Nobody Sleeps

Full titleNobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight.

Vampire Owl: People should actually sleep in the woods.

Vampire Bat: Why would they do that? These days people prefer big cities.

Vampire Owl: It is easier to hunt humans that way.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that they would be taking enough preparations if they are to sleep in the woods at some point.

Vampire Owl: There is no preparation that can stop a vampire with night vision.

Vampire Bat: Well, people are not really concerned about stopping vampires either.

Vampire Owl: It is the doing of Twilight. People used to be afraid of us.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that they have many more things to be afraid of now.

Vampire Owl: Tell me that we are still in the top ten of that list.

Vampire Bat: I am afraid that I can give you no guarantee regarding the same.

[Gets a green apple cake and three glasses of oreo shake].

What is the movie about? :: A postman is seen as delivering a letter to some remote area, somewhere around a forest. As nobody answers the door bell, he goes on to look on the other side of the house, and hears some noises from the basement. He feels that there is someone there, and while trying to help, he dragged down the basement. His cries can be heard, and at the same time, there is someone washing bloody clothes inside the house. Then the scene shifts to thirty years later, as a group of youngsters arrive at an area near a forest for a camp. In the camp, mobiles are confiscated, as the organizers attempt to keep them offline, away from technology and close to nature. It is supposed to be a kind of rediscovery for the students who woul have the advanture of their life, meeting local people and even some of the creatures of the forest. Some of the youngsters do feel that it is nice to be away from Instagram because they don’t have to see some of the moronic posts which keep coming up there.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Iza (Izabela Dabrowska) is the leader of a group which goes for a three day hike in the forest. They are supposed to reveal facts about themselves and get to know about each other, a change from what they had been doing on the internet with strangers. Zosia (Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz) and Aniela (Wiktoria Gasiewska) are the only other two female members of the group. The other members are Julek (Michał Lupa) confirmed as the slowest and the least athletic among the groupm being attached to gaming, as well as Daniel (Sebastian Dela) and Bartek (Stanisław Cywka). Soon enough, they feel that something in the forest which they won’t like to face, and they had already seen a dead deer, seemingly a cruel work. Aniela and Daniel soon get to be together, but the former is soon killed while others look for him as he had disappeared all of a sudden. But is this the last of the disappearances which is to happen in the forest? What is the secret that the forest have in store?

The defence of Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight :: Bringing a group of youngsters who have spent most of their lives on the internet to a forest is pretty much a fine idea for horror films. During these times when the youngsters are more into online friendships and trying to get more views on Instagram and Youtube at any cost, this tale of them being in real life is much relevant. We do see people being unable to separate online life from the offline, but this is a warning about exploring the less explored too. The horror does feel real, as much as any film of the genre shot in a forest, and the environment does provide a real boost. There are some nice shots of the forest shown with all its beauty, and the terror that lurks beneath. It is this setting that serves the purpose, even though not that much as it would for an Evil Dead movie. The terror here does feel and the melancholy of the main character is also felt very strongly throughout the movie.

The claws of flaw :: It is natural that the characters here move on the lines of usual horror films, and the mistakes that they make are close to what is repeated. The film doesn’t take that much of an innovation into its slasher mode, as horror always had a better chance in this particular film too. So much was to be done here with the monsters in the forest and with no help coming up any time soon. When we look at the deaths in the film, they are pretty much expected, and predictability is surely there – one wouldn’t hope to go beyond that in a film with slasher mode on. You also feel that this has ended with a need to have a sequel, and a grand finish was always possible. The seemingly invincible murderers here could have been replaced with something else for a change, and the sinister presence here had the opportunity to be something of much bigger scope – yet this one takes the predictable enjoyable route quite well.

Performances of the soul :: Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz plays the character that seems to be the lead from the beginning itself. She maintains a certain amount of melancholy throughout her time, and yet the character remains a strong presence. Her character has gone through a tragedy in the past, and the same is also reflected with flashbacks throughout her journey. Wiktoria Gasiewska plays more or less the character that we usually see in horror films, and she has managed the same with more charm than such characters usually have, and maintains a more realistic stance in comparison with others. She plays that character who is surely going to get killed at some point in a horror movie, and that will be the case here too. Michał Lupa plays a strong character despite seemingly the weaker link among them all. Sebastian Dela and Stanisław Cywka play their part well as the two other usual characters of the horror genre. Gabriela Muskała also remains pretty good when she is there. The lesser characters do their part well.

How it finishes :: Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight keeps the horror genre alive, and we do need to keep the category strong. For the same, this is a welcome addition. All the horror fans would be seeing a regeneration of horror here, as well as the slasher subgenre which hasn’t had too many big movies in the recent past in comparison to what was there earlier. As of now, we need all the horror that we can take, especially when we see all the nonsense which could make it way forward in this world. We are very close to descending into chaos, and therefore horror is the only reality that we have in front of us. Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight doesn’t bring that kind of horror, but does have some effective horror to remind us that the old style scares are still alive. The Polish film does manage to rise above a good number of Hollywood films here. I remember watching Dark, Almost Night which was another Polish horror movie, and now we have this one for the genre.

Release date: 28th October 2020
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Bartosz M Kowalski
Starring: Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz, Wiktoria Gasiewska, Michał Lupa, Stanisław Cywka, Gabriela Muskała, Sebastian Dela, Mirosław Zbrojewicz, Michał Zbroja, Piotr Cyrwus, Olaf Lubaszenko, Wojciech Mecwaldowski, Bartłomiej Kotschedoff, Bartłomiej Firlet, Małgorzata Szczerbowska, Izabela Dąbrowska

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<— Click here to go to the first Polish review.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pretham 2

What is the movie about? :: Famous mentalist John Don Bosco (Jayasurya) is spending his time in peace at Varikkasseri Mana a.k.a. Varikkumanchery Mana, one of the traditional Brahmin houses located at Manissery, a village in Ottapalam, Palakkad. Situated in an area of natural beauty in a plot of about four acres, John feels that there is something strange and mysterious about the place. With a history of popular movies being shot there including Devasuram, Aaraam Thampuran, Raappakal, Drona, Simhasanam, Sufi Paranja Katha, Thooval Kottaram, Valliettan and Manthrikan, a group of youngsters decide to come there to shoot a short-film. They are from a Facebook group known as “Cinema Pranthanmar”, which is known to be a perfect place for movie lovers from all around Kerala. This particular adventure could feed the movie lover in them more than anything else.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The team is lead by Tapas (Amith Chakkalakal) who comes up with this idea of having a short film. He plans to create this film, and run a premiere after inviting all the members of the group which goes into thousands. Joining him are those members whom he had never met, and used the group with their fake names; the first one to join him is the man known in the group by his fake id Mangalassery Neelakandan, Ramanandan (Sidhartha Siva) who is into hotel business in the Middle East and is a big Mohanlal fan. They are joined by Karuthamma, originally Anu (Durga Krishna) who is a nurse and Shahrukh Khan, originally Niranjana (Saniya Iyappan) who is a professional dancer. The last person to join them in Joffin (Dain Davis) who has run away from home due to personal problems with his father.

So, how does the ghost come into picture this time? :: The problem at the resort of Denny Kokken (Aju Varghese), Priyalal (Sharafudheen), Shibu Majeed (Govind Padmasoorya) and Yeshu (Dharmajan Bolgatty) was one which haunted John for a long time, and here, with the youngsters making the short-film, more trouble arrives, and the supernatural only gets stronger. The youngsters are attacked by some strange forces and nobody seems to know what is happening. Their first guess is that it is the spirit of the person who owned and lived in the mansion, but it turns out that there is more than what meets eye at the first place. There is a connection which is making the spirit act there, and John has to begin with it and reach the end soon, before it is too late and someone gets into serious trouble. But it is not that easy, as the clues are less, and the answer to their questions are somewhere else.

The defence of Pretham 2 :: Pretham 2 is indeed a better movie than its predecessor which had too many terrible jokes, even though the final moments were nice for that one too. Pretham 2 has the advantage in almost every field including its setting and cast. The idea is also smarter here with the social media, internet, fake identity and online frauds at the centre. The messages about the possible dangers of being friends with fake ids and trusting strangers without names are all shown in this particular flick. The mystery is nicely solved here, and there is no exaggeration here with the elements of the other world – the first image of the spirit that we see is in the form of a shadow, and the creature from the other world doesn’t overdo things as the happenings would be in a usual horror movie. The thrills are strong, and there are also some nice jokes – we are left guessing with the suspense factor being very high till the end.

The claws of flaw :: Pretham 2 never really rises above most of the problems of its predecessor, as it follows too similar a path, and the spirit also follows the same pattern, as we see no attempt to deviate much. We would wonder if so many spirits are looking forward to have the mystery behind their deaths investigated. There seems to be no other plan for the people on the other side. Some jokes are just repetitive, especially the talks regarding those old Mohanlal movies. The movie could have also used more scares, as the film itself is marketed as a horror flick, and the name itself suggests the same. The movie could have surely used darkness better, and the ghostly presence itself could have done more, at least when the youngsters were alone. Pretham 2 doesn’t try to frighten people much, and that is not acceptable at a time when Hollywood is running movies like The Conjuring, The Nun, Annabelle, Insidious, Sinister and others.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is back with an avatar to remember, unlike Punyalan Agarbattis 2 and Aadu 2 which struggled to live up to its predecessors with all its characters. His mentalist is a rock solid character, and this time, he is better than last time too. Saniya Iyappan, with her flexible dance moves, is a joy to watch here, and has a clear improvement in acting from her previous movie Queen, which was one of the worst collection of elements deserving not to be called a movie at all. She can certainly bring variety to the Malayalam cinema, as her skills are yet to be used in the best possible ways. Durga Krishna after Vimaanam, gets one nice role to perform, and she does that well. Dain Davis and Sidhartha Siva gets to bring the elements of fun well, even though the latter gets too much of Mohanlal dialogues from those old movies, which become too repetitive. Amith Chakalakkal is very good with his character which is rather solid.

How it finishes :: Pretham 2 holds the advantage over Thattumpurath Achuthan, Ente Ummante Peru and Odiyan for this Christmas, and by being a smart horror-mystery-comedy-thriller, it is many things in one movie. With Jayasurya at the centre as one character who has a certain iconic status, and the new faces like Saniya Iyappan who has become another name for dance, Durga Krishna in her second movie, the crowd favourite Dain Davis and others, Pretham 2 makes the Pretham franchise much better than what it was in the first movie. It also leaves a few messages about the problems due to uncontrolled use of social media by teenagers, the dangers that lie behind the fake ids in Facebook, possibilities of different kinds of frauds by online groups looking for easy money etc among others. Pretham 2 makes Christmas a lot of fun, and I wish you all a very Happy Christmas. Enjoy the holidays!

Release date: 21st December 2018
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Saniya Iyappan, Durga Krishna, Dain Davis, Amith Chakalakkal, Sidhartha Siva, Sreejith Ravi, Jayaraj Warrier, Aju Varghese (cameo), Sharafudheen (cameo), Govind Padmasoorya (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

AUFDRUCK

AUFDRUCK

What is the movie about? :: Beginning with a quote from Heimito von Doderer, the movie features two women, Pansen (Mary Krasnoperova) and Schluppe (Kira Mathis) who are having some talk about various things as they sit facing each other at a cafe. These two young women who are somewhere in their twenties will talk about anything under the sun, and the focus also remains on the cup of coffee and the cigarettes which they are having; they don’t seem to ever end up with enough of these and they are of the opinion that people should be better. They don’t seem happy at all with what happens around them, and have that kind of opinions which are not just strange, but also too direct and won’t be really acceptable to many.

So what are the points of discussion about? :: The exact translation of AUFDRUCK is “label”, and LABEL is also the English title of the fourth short-film directed by Jaschar L Marktanner, who have taken six films so far; this is also his first work as an editor. Each dialogue in the movie reminds us of the labels, the symbols of those miserable conclusions that the society come across related to what we do; something which is often declared by our own relatives themselves. A “label” is something from which there is no escape, as it has been pasted on us with so much ease, as the repetitive words work as the glue. There are times when we wonder if the society had already made a decision on us when we were little kids; sometimes we feel that the relatives always knew what to label us according to certain factors which we know nothing about. It is really difficult to get rid of the labels.

Soul exploration :: The movie is shot in black and white, except for the little colour in the end, and there is a certain piano sound playing on the background. The subtitles are in colour though. The language used won’t go on well with everyone, especially a lot of people from this part of the world. But it can be seen a reflection of the new generation types which we see all around these days. Even around here, we can see such abusive language being used in local languages throughout the social media. It has become part of our lives, and people just randomly use it against people whom they don’t like. The two lady characters in the video are reflections of such people who can do nothing much other than being disrespectful and abusive to the strangers about whom they come up with random opinions in a negative way. The funny thing here is that they even brand the aliens!

More soul exploration :: Such opinions which become nothing less than labels, are put upon people based on just random thoughts. It is clear from the opinion about waitress job that is said with such clarity and confidence that it will make one wonder how people can so easily have a personal opinion regarding people just based on their jobs. The case of dignity of labour is still not there, even after so many years of modernity, and even with the teaching in schools that no job inferior. The teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, never really maintain any influence on most of our countrymen as we have a look around and see how the labels fly and how some people are mistreated. The class divide has only increased with the new millionaires, and so many people still living below the poverty live a miserable life.

Further soul exploration :: If it is looked at directly from the point of view of a common man here, the points are that the two things here coffee and cigarettes have been considered as more of the capitalist matter. The replacement for cigarettes have been beedis, which were the common man’s cigarette for quite a long time, and has had a relationship with the socialist and communist movements here. Nationalists also used to support beedi in favour of the home-made products. The situation is even more radical in the case of tea. Coffee became popular here because of the IT companies and call centres which have the machines offering free coffee to which the professionals are addicted. The common man’s drink has always been tea, as it remains the cheapest available drink in the country.

And a little more about it :: Tea has been considered the socialist drink, and the communist parties here have used them through the ages, with some movies featuring the same providing tea with the title of being the drink of the masses. Tea still remains the most consumed drink here, and is also the national drink. India’s ruling nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also successfully used tea as part of its campaign, with “conversation over tea” idea for the common man. So, the idea of having coffee and cigarettes and being abusive towards the working class is a symbol of the class divide which has been widening, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The poor gets the labels put on them by the rich and the successful people – even the parents of the successful men and women comes up with such labels, don’t they?

How it finishes :: But these people who belong to the higher class can actually act very well, and they will pretend to be good. They can hide their contempt as much whenever they want to because they are trained to pretend. They will just blame the society which consists of the working class, and as they are the more influential ones in the society, this society will take over the labels which these people create, and paste them right on the common man. When they see people who are different, they are even quicker to come up with the labels; it is the depressing state of our society. It has the first leading role for Kira Mathis and the first role for Mary Krasnoperova, and the two ladies have done some excellent job in reflecting the true nature of the society – the latter is my favourite here. It is an interesting work from Jaschar L Marktanner, which will work for you depending on how you think about it, and what you decide to take from it. I consider this flick as a representation of the class divide and the basic human contempt/vanity that leads to labeling others. You will also see the reflections of the online trolls and abusers who do nothing, but keep talking in an abusive tone. The message here which you can take home is to stop judging people, especially based on money and job! If you get deeper into it, you will want this short-film to be at least a little bit longer. You can watch the trailer of the short-film below, and the full movie will be available online soon.

Release date: 10th October 2014
Running time: 4 minutes
Directed by: Jaschar L Marktanner
Starring: Mary Krasnoperova, Kira Mathis, Steffi Charlotte Fluri, Jaschar L Marktanner

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.