Cold Case

What is the movie about? :: ACP Sathyajith (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is in charge of an investigation of a case which has turned cold. As a skull is discovered in the backwaters near Trivandrum, from within a cover, and it becomes an internet sensation, the requirement is to discover its origins as soon as possible. But Sathyajith has to start with no clue on where to begin the investigation, but with the help of CI Ziyad (Anil Nedumangad) and the new recruit Neela (Pooja Mohanraj), he has to make a move quickly. At the same time, Medha (Aditi Balan) is a recently divorced mother of a little girl, and finds a new home somewhere around Trivandrum. She is an investigative journalist who is interested in paranormal happenings, only to find something strange in the new house which she had rented. There is something cold about her new home, and the AC, refrigerator, television, laptop, lights – everything electric seems to have something to do with it. To add to it, her daughter also has a strange doll given by her sister who committed suicide.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Medha finds out a name from a blind occult researcher, Zara Zacchai (Suchitra Pillai), and the presence had a name, Eva Maria (Athmiya Rajan), who has a troubled history. She tries to find out the secret behind the disappearance of the woman with that particular name, while Sathyajith also comes across a similar name, from a dental transplant which remained on the skull. Now the question remains where Eva Maria has disappeared, and whether the skull points to somebody else. Medha’s advocate who filed the divorce, Haritha Manakkal (Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli) points her to Eva’s previous husband who is now married to a wealthy lady, and Sathyajith also digs up her past, from her family which included her stepmother and children. But Eva Maria hadn’t disappeared for everyone, and some people feel that she had taken a spiritual path. There is more than what meets the eye about Eva, but with ghosts and murderers around, can truth somehow make it outside?

The defence of Cold Case :: Here, Cold Case comes up as another interesting thriller with a supernatural side, combining both elements quite well. The supernatural side is also nicely used, even though it is not combined well enough in totality. There are some nice moments of horror around here, and there are fine twists to go with it. With some red herrings added here and there, the film makes sure that we don’t get that much of a clue about who is behind all of these happenings. There is always something here to keep the horror going, and the suspense does keeps us guessing – we do come up with many possible villains, but this asks for more than the usual guesses. The use of refrigerator and the cold works pretty well, but the hair doesn’t. Above everything, the cast is also good, and with fine support, things work better. This one can have its sequel for sure, as there is that opening which is left to be explored in the end.

The claws of flaw :: Cold Case, while trying to do it differently, focuses on too many things, and due to the same reason, has some diversion, which was not needed. The problem with having such diversions is that the most important thing, the police investigation is not always on the lead. The other side following the supernatural lead often seems to be not necessary, as we keep having moments from both sides. An expansion of the supernatural, and making it connect directly with the police investigation would have improved the work further. The idea about another death is also kept in the balance, to be explored in a sequel if there is any. The film certainly had so many opportunities, and it should have taken it, maybe even at the expense of extending the film by half an hour or so. If this had released when most of the Indian states were in lock-down, it would have managed many more audience too, but this is surely going to gain its fans, anyway.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran in a thriller has always been joy to watch, and there is no better example for the same than Memories, one of the best investigation thrillers of all-time as far as Malayalam movie industry is concerned. Kunchacko Boban’s triple thrillers of Anjaam Pathira, Nayattu and Nizhal seemed to suggest that a deviation was coming in the genre, and the usual police officer solving a case was gone, a case reiterated by Tovino Thomas in Forensic – none of these films had the police officers solving the problem. Prithviraj as the protagonist, the police officer goes after the case here in a more systematic manner as we see it. He is certainly the hero here, even though the tale does provide a side for the lady protagonist too. He is indeed the one who solves the problem here, and any ghostly help which comes from outside was not that much needed. We see that Prithviraj comfortably go through the role here, and has no direct contact with the paranormal side to ask for help.

Further performers of the soul :: Aditi Balan makes her Malayalam debut in style too. She does have her moments, but her character doesn’t have that much strength to add to this investigation, which is in control of the police. Almost all the supernatural elements are related to her, and she excels in her first Malayalam film, far above her character, as we also see the focus shifting to her effectively. This is also one of the final films of the talented Anil Nedumangad, who died by drowning in a dam reservior a few months ago. He once again proves to be of fine support yet again. Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli who was last seen in Malayalam cinema in the movies Angels and Salt Mango Tree can be seen in a certain kind of a return here too, and she has done a neat work here. Alencier Ley Lopez has much more to contribute here than what earlier met the eye. Athmeeya Rajan of the Joseph fame is once again here as the lady everyone is searching for, and she has done some fine work, even though we have much less of her on the screen.

How it finishes :: Cold Case is not the usual kind of investigative thriller, as there is the supernatural side going strong from one angle, which might have been less expected from the work. There are lots of interesting moments in this film, and it also leaves a scope for a sequel in the end. It is part of that long list of thrillers which have brought the entertainment to us during the COVID-19 season, and with some horror effects to add to the investigation, this is also one nice flick to watch in the theatre, if there is ever any opening of the same in the upcoming months. We can only thank Amazon Prime Video for bringing us films like these which keeps the entertainment coming to our laptops. When Kilometers and Kilometers released on television, people had the feeling that this was not going to work, but now we have so many films which have released or had a later release in the OTT platform. Cold Case makes it there, and it also scores well, just like the other Malayalam films which came to OTT, with Drishyam 2 in the lead.

Release date: 30th June 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Tanu Balak
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Aditi Balan, Anil Nedumangad, Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli, Nitha Promy, Athmeeya Rajan, Pooja Mohanraj, Suchitra Pillai, Gibin Gopinath, Alencier Ley Lopez, Parvathy T, Baby Aleena, Tessa Simon, Rajesh Hebbar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Warning: Do Not Play

Vampire Owl: I have watched a movie with the name Warning, some years back.

Vampire Bat: Yes, that was in the year 2013. We watched that Hindi movie with the same name.

Vampire Owl: So, this one provides another warning.

Vampire Bat: Well, horror movies do come up with many warnings.

Vampire Owl: Yes, those warnings which the people in the movie ignores.

Vampire Bat: Without such foolish actions, the horror movie losses the charm.

Vampire Owl: I would always support such actions though.

Vampire Bat: There is no need to overdo the same thing again and again though.

Vampire Owl: Yes, even being foolish for the sake of horror has its limits.

Vampire Bat: Let us see what the characters in this movie manage to do.

[Gets a vancho cake and three glasses of vanilla-strawberry shake].

What is the movie about? :: Mi-Jung (Seo Ye-Ji) is an aspiring film director has been preparing a horror film for many years, but is not able to find the right story despite watching many movies of the same genre, and reading many short stories and novels belonging to the same category, and that leaves her in a desperate need for something. As an young and energetic girl looking to shine in her field, she decides to go after a news about one short-film which was taken in a university by a student as part of the person’s project. It is supposed to have caused some strange incidents in the university, and people say that the movie was originally filmed by a ghost. She does travel all the way there, but from the professor who has been working in the film department for about ten years, she gets no information regarding the same. This leads to her looking for some information from the students of the university, but manages to get very little.

So, what happens with the events here? :: It is then that she gets something from a film festival which was supposed to screen the movie, and as she posts the same online, she is approached by a strange man who is supposed to have created the movie. He forces her to delete her post, and tells her nothing. But she follows him to his house, and manages to steal a copy of the movie, as she has to create her film as soon as possible. But these sequence of events does bring her much trouble. She does manage to see a strange figure lurking in the shadows, and within the darkness. She struggles hard to get whole of the movie retrieved, as some part of it was destroyed. After she is successful in doing the same, she hopes to bring a new version of the same story with a lot of edits. But the question remains if she will be alive or with enough sanity to continue what she has been doing. There is something coming right after her, and it is not good – now, it is more about survival.

The defence of Warning: Do Not Play :: It is clear that this movie chooses to go on through the usual horror path, with one video tape at the centre, reminding one of the Ring series of movies which went on producing many sequels after the grand success with the first flick. The idea of a movie which kills people itself is always something of interest. There are some nice scares which comes in the later stages of the movie, and the settings are also pretty well managed, but what scares more might be the selfishness of someone who looks forward to get what the person wants. If you have watched those usual horror movies, this one can be added to that list – we had seen what an electronic device can do with the help of a ghost, as shown Polaroid, and this one also seems to share some similarities with that particular flick. Still, it is nice that this one is not a found footage movie, because that would have brought the level of the film further down in this case.

The claws of flaw :: Warning: Do Not Play did have many paths to choose from, and for some reason, it decides to go with the usual one without surprises, and it is not a good sign. It leaves the horror behind for the mystery elements on too many occasions despite being branded as a horror movie, and it surely has some problem with bringing the scares to the screen, which takes too much time to come, and doesn’t elevate itself above those usual horror films. As it makes the attempt to bring the past and the present together for a future horror movie, it seemed to be in a certain amount of confusion at times. Even though it is usual in its basic methods of horror, this complication which comes in here and there causes a certain amount of confusion. When you look at it closer, you can see that one more opportunity for a grand horror thing is lost here, and only a sequel can bring it back. The movie is also too short to bring a story like this to further strength.

Performers of the soul :: Seo Ye-Ji plays the protagonist looking forward to get her movie idea working, but is not able to write well enough to reach anywhere with the script. We see the perfect choice for the cast as her, as we see her worries reflected in her actions and face itself, really well – the determination to do something more is also with her, all the time. The rest of the cast just plays according to the needs of the protagonist. She is the only character in this movie that matters, and the only one person who needs our attention. She takes us through the journey of a struggling film maker who would do anything to have her movie idea working. As she looks younger than her age, it is easy to have her in this role. There is energy, and the emotions are all very well reflected on her face. The obsession that she shows is as clear as the desperation which could be seen in her earlier. Still, the movie could have developed the other characters a little bit more for support, as this one is more or less the one-woman show throughout the run.

How it finishes :: There is always space for another Korean movie around here. During the time of Corona virus lock-down, nothing has kept people entertained like the works from South Korea on the screen. During this time of COVID-19, we are always looking for the other types of horror, and we have it again in this form. We still need work to be done in the usual horror movies like this one, and prepare a better work, even though we do have something pretty good around here. At the same time, I hope that all the readers of Movies of the Soul are safe from the Corona virus during this time. Stay safe, and let us hope that things which are getting worse all around the world as well as the nation now can get better – after all, we are all better prepared now. Let us believe that everyone will contribute to preventing this crisis from getting worse, with people coming from outside keeping themselves inside the quarantine as well as people here continuing the social distancing practice. Well, horror is indeed real in life.

Release date: 15th August 2019
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Kim Jin-won
Starring: Seo Ye-Ji, Seon-kyu Jin, Bo-ra Kim, Cha Yub, Yoon-ho Ji, Jae-Young Joe, Mi-kyung Kim, Kim Jae-In, Yoon Jeong-ro, Tae-boo Nam, So-Yi Shin

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Influence

Vampire Owl: So, another foreign movie here? There has been so many.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have felt an interest in watching those movies.

Vampire Owl: Are the usual types of movies not in the list anymore?

Vampire Bat: Yes, they are there too. But these need our attention even more because they are having some fine movies without many people knowing.

Vampire Owl: There are some English movies which are less known in this part of the world too, if you can remember them.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but you should realize that we get more supporters these days from locations further away from home.

Vampire Owl: Yes, people are rarely appreciated at their hometown, right?

Vampire Bat: You can say that. I have had that feeling for a long time too.

Vampire Owl: At least we vampires are true brethren supporting each other.

Vampire Bat: Yes, doing a lot better than zombies eating each others’ brains.

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

What is the movie about? :: Alicia (Manuela Velles) is a nurse who moves from the city to the little town in the north-west of Spain where she used to spend her childhood. She is greeted there by her sister Sarah (Maggie Civantos) who has been taking care of their mother Victoria (Emma Suarez) with the help of a nurse, Anna (Marta Castellote), as the old lady has been in comma for some time now, after having many other diseases earlier. As Alician is a nurse, she could work in the nearby hospital, and also take care of her mother. Alicia is accompanied by her husband Mikel (Alain Hernandez) and their daughter Nora (Claudia Placer) who gets admission in the nearby school. Nora doesn’t have a good time with her new classmates, as everyone considers her to be a weird girl who came from a distant place. Her only friend is Luna (Daniela Rubio) who is an outsider.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Mikel doesn’t manage to get his usual job as an electrician, and works at the port, handling fish. Alicia doesn’t like being back in the old home, because after the death their father, Victoria had been acting strange, and being abusive to them. But these memories are not the only thing hurting her, as there is a strange presence in the house, and it is somehow related her mother and the strange practices she had directly on indirectly related to witchcraft and demon worship. It also turns out that Victoria had written all her property in the name of Nora, much to the dismay of Sarah who used to take care of her mother until then. At the same time Nora begins acting strange, and she also gets to be terribly violent at times, punching another girl in the school repeatedly. Alicia attributes this to the black magic used by Victoria, and feels her mother’s presence even when she is in comma. Now the question remains if she can save her child, husband and sister from certain terrible evil.

The defence of The Influence :: This movie thrives on its setting, which is very good for a horror thriller. The environment provides the feeling of danger being present there at one corner or the other. The visuals are nicely done, and we are easily immersed in this world, even though not that much with the characters. Most of the scary scenes are left to the end, but there are some moments being provided in between, to keep it going. The idea of black magic works pretty well, even though not fully used here. The children with evil inside are nice to watch, and the creepiness depends a lot on them, just like we had in The Prodigy. There is also the presence of some fine imagery including the head of a goat, book on black magic, terrifying artifacts and more. The Influence can have that horror influence on us with what we see on the screen, and it is more or less symbolic as we look at some of them which feels special.

The claws of flaw :: The Influence is a slow moving horror movie, and it doesn’t bring the scares when needed, until everything is reaching the end, and that does lead to a certain drag, which moves on like a curse on this movie – it is solved only by the end. It is the kind of movie which needed a speed booster, and when we feel that it has speeded up, it slows down, and it is a procedure which repeats itself. In between the slowness, it doesn’t being the class in there, or something which would make the slowness enjoyable, maybe with the haunting. The characters are not the kind with whom we are attached that much, and we also wonder about their actions here. The movie had raised the expectations of its viewers, but doesn’t reach there, and instead becomes a horror thriller which deals with the basics that a horror movie might have, that too slowly.

Performers of the soul :: Manuela Velles plays the main character, and she does well, matched only by Maggie Civantos who plays her sister. Both sisters have some good moments together, and the emotional scenes are handled really well by the two actresses here. They take the movie emotionally forward, with Maggie bringing more of the feelings out there, but the one who gets more space is Manuela – she is not that far behind, as you will notice here. Both do prove that they fit into the horror genre well. I don’t know if the Spanish movies have their own scream queens, but it seems that they will not be short of those who are specialized in horror. Claudia Placer who plays the child might be a fine choice for a future run. Daniela Rubio also makes a fine team with her, as the two become fine evil kids in action. Alain Hernandez who plays the husband is okay, while Marta Castellote who plays the nurse needed more screen space. Emma Suarez is also fine with all the evil inside, projected well.

How it finishes :: Originally titled La influencia, this movie does have an impact as a horror thriller which works on a special setting. When entering into the usual horror world of Sinister, The Conjuring, Annabelle, The Nun and Insidious, and the unusual world of Lights Out, Don’t Breathe, It Follows, A Quiet Place and The Autopsy of Jane Doe, you have to be innovative, or you have to do the best with what you have – The Influence only does the same only upto an extent, and saves its world only in the end. It is the movie that you will want to like, as you enter the house with the protagonists, and you are with them, but in the middle, there is some of that being lost, and in the end, more is being gained. Therefore, it is a movie with its own ups and downs, and you will want to watch this movie as much as any other Hollywood horror movie with the usual stuff. After all, from the movies which I have watched so I far, there is no Spanish horror movie which didn’t have my attention with the setting.

Release date: 11th October 2019
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Denis Rovira van Boekholt
Starring: Manuela Velles, Maggie Civantos, Claudia Placer, Emma Suarez, Alain Hernandez, Daniela Rubio, Ramon Esquinas, Marta Castellote, Mariana Cordero, Felipe Garcia Velez, Sofia Tolina, Berta Sanchez

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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.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Vampire Owl: They once tried to do an autopsy on me, these humans.

Vampire Bat: You mean after you died on that wonderful day.

Vampire Owl: Yes, they wanted to know the cause of my death.

Vampire Bat: And then what happened?

Vampire Owl: I didn’t allow them because I was not dead anymore.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that your vampire transformation was rather too fast.

Vampire Owl: It is because I transformed myself into a vampire. I had chosen my next life.

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about? There has to be a vampire to make one out of you.

Vampire Owl: I was bitten on the soul, as it passed to the other dimension after death, and with the same, it returned to get back to my body.

Vampire Bat: It is very much interesting and impossible. Only a vampire assassin can confirm this.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with paneer paratha].

What is the movie about? :: There is the location of a terrible homicide, and the police officers are left with no clue. The clues are of people trying to escape from the house and not of anyone trying to break in. There are also no prints of anyone who are not part of this home either. Then in the basement, they find the body of a beautiful, unidentified woman, completely naked and it seemed that someone had tried to bury her. They refer to her by the name Jane Doe (Olwen Catherine Kelly), a name which is commonly used to refer to a dead body or a hospital patient whose identity can’t be found out that at the time. Sheriff Sheldon Burke (Michael McElhatton) is left clueless, and has no idea how to face the media with one unknown naked dead body and all the people in the house dead. So he decides that in one way or the other, the identity of the naked corpse had to be found by the morning so that the investigation can proceed.

So, what happens next? :: Meanwhile, a coroner in the town, Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) and his son Austin (Emile Hirsch) who is a medical technician who has been assisting for a long time, are having just another day with a corpse. The experienced Tommy is quick to find the cause of death of the man, and as it proves once again to Austin that things are more than what meets the eye, with the burns not the real cause of death even though fire did cause all that was to follow. Austin’s girlfriend Emma (Ophelia Lovibond) arrives at the location, and is curious about everything that happens in the morgue including a bell tied to the ankle of a corpse – it is revealed that the bells were used to signal if someone was not really dead even though proclaimed so. Austin was supposed to go for a movie with Emma, and they are planning move away soon, but their plans are spoiled by sudden, unexpected arrival of the sheriff.

So, how does the mystery reveal itself in the morgue? :: With the need for cause of death by morning, Austin decides to stay and help his father and join her later, much to the dismay of Emma who asks him to tell Tommy about them moving away to another city. With her and the sheriff having left, they are left in charge of the corpse which looks perfect from the outside. There is not even a scar on the body, and there is visible mark to indicate what might have casued the death. There would be nothing more than a beautiful sleeping beauty without clothes, if the eyes were closed. Despite her body looking so fresh, the eyes do look as if she has been dead for very long. But as they checked further, they found that her bones were broken from the inside and her tongue was removed. The soil on her body also seemed not from that area. But it is not all, with more strange things being found and stranger things actually happen in the morgue.

The defence of The Autopsy of Jane Doe :: The success of this movie depends on that feeling of curiosity and uneasiness that it successfully builds on its viewers, and also plays with their imagination to keep them guessing about what this particular naked body might be all about, and what kind of mystery and horror that it holds inside it. There is that certainty of terror that awaits to be unleashed inside this unblemished body, and the beauty that is seen outside hides something more than a secret, which is to threaten humanity – it has our attention right from the beginning itself. You feel the discomfort, and at the same time, you are the edge of your seat, and it is a perfect setting at this morgue, and the perfect mystery has the claws and the fangs to make your fear come at you with all the needed strength. The performances are also good, from those who are there whole the time to those who just come and go – the girl chosen to play the corpse is also rightly chosen with all the features. There is also vengeance and sacrifice to go with it, as we get to know an ancient evil with a twist.

Positives and negatives :: There is a lot of gore here, and people can feel uncomfortable, especially with the autopsy being performed on the dead body along with the details also being talked about. But what you get here is the closest to some original horror, far away from those which you keep watching all the time. Maybe something bigger could have been made out of how the movie began, and with where the tale goes, but as it is, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is one smart horror movie like Don’t Breathe and Lights Out in the last year, and divergent in its core like It Follows, The Witch and Occulus. Some people will also find the movie to be slow at parts, but one has to admit that certain slowness helps in building all the pressure to come to that revelation by the end. There is also no walking corpse in this one, and that is new, for a horror movie which centers around a corpse to have it staying on the table all the time – but the evil is unleashed without having to do that. One location, one corpse surrounded by others, two people, and all the horror is here for you!

How it finishes :: There are those usual horror movies which depend on the usual tale, the usual settings and the usual kind of proceedings with scares, and then there are movies like The Autopsy of Jane Doe which decide to think differently. It is indeed a must watch for all horror movies, specifically those who are tired of going through the same tales about ghosts haunting people and houses all the time. In between all these horror movies which seem to be so close to each other in material, The Autopsy of Jane Doe becomes the movie that thinks differently, and is surely the kind of flick that a real horror fan would watch without any delay. This might be a lesser known horror movie, and surely won’t be the big horror franchise that The Conjuring and Insidious series of movies had gone on to be contribute and become; but our movie here is certainly a flick that will be remembered for long, and might even become a horror classic a few years later. Andre Ovredal’s first English movie here is the one that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Release date: 21st December 2016
Running time: 86 minutes
Directed by: Andre Ovredal
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Olwen Catherine Kelly, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Parker Sawyers, Jane Perry, Mary Duddy, Mark Phoenix, Sydney

@ 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.

Ezra

ezra-2

Vampire Owl: Malayalam movies have always needed more horror movies.

Vampire Bat: This has come after a long wait too.

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time we really loved a Malayalam horror movie?

Vampire Bat: I am not sure about that. We have been loving the Hollywood horror only.

Vampire Owl: I heard that it has a little bit of Jewish culture in Kerala.

Vampire Bat: And that it was also going to be dubbed into more than one other language?

Vampire Owl: I hope one or two vampire languages are added.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that this one will be different. It is evident from the poster and also from what people talk about it.

Vampire Owl: Ghosts need to be shown different, because they are all not the same.

Vampire Bat: Well, maybe this is the answer to the prayers of many such spirits.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and caramel popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Ranjan Mathew (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is an orphan and a successful professional working in Mumbai. After falling in love with an interior designer Priya Raghunathan (Priya Anand) who is also based in Mumbai, they get married against the wishes of her parents. One and half years later, he gets a transfer to Cochin, and despite Priya’s reluctance to move from the city which had become a part of her, they relocate to the new place, which is a mansion-like old house rented to them upon the recommendation of Father Samuel (Vijayaraghavan) who is not just a priest, but also Ranjan’s uncle. Ranjan’s company is dealing with disposing the nuclear waste from the nuclear reactors in South India, and he is in charge of the operations. Meanwhile, A.C.P. Shafeer Ahammed (Tovino Thomas) is tired of investigating a strange murder in an antique shop which leaves no clue.

So, what happens next? :: As Priya has a lot of free time, she tries to do some interior work for their new house and buys some interesting items from the shop of Moosa (Alencier Ley Lopez) who had managed to bring a few new things of interest from the house of a Jew who died without a heir in the country, as everyone had left for Israel. After getting a box from the shop and opening it, things begin to change, as Priya sees a creepy figure in the mirror as well as the wardrobe, and Ranjan hears footsteps from the roof – and more spooky things follow. As Father Samuel finds Jewish inscriptions on a strange box, he advises Ranjan to consult Rabbi David Benyamin (Babu Antony) who resides in Mumbai. As Ranjan comes to know that Priya is pregnant, he becomes more desperate, but David’s death follows, and now the only hope seems to be in the form of Rabbi Marcus (Sujith Shanker) who has arrived at Cochin.

The defence of Ezra :: There is variety without doubt in Ezra, and the same can be said about the quality displayed in this movie. The visuals are really well-used here to create the advantage, and the darkness as well as some spooky elements are created well with the use of sound effects, and these work really well in the first half to make us interested in the second. There is also a lot in the story told here, unlike the other horror movies, and the creature that this flick chooses here is not among the usual ones, as the myth used is something not many people around here have known before. The use of a perfect setting and antiques happen to be something that works for this flick more than any other horror movie. There is also one twist that happens by the end, even though it is the only big surprise in the movie, and could have been presented in a better way. The songs are good, especially “Lailakame”.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does get a curse, and it happens in the second half, as many other movies – this evil spirit doesn’t really make that much impact as it should in the latter part, and the final exorcism, brings nothing huge. There were so many possibilities with this movie, and the infinite chances are not used at all – it is kind of strange that the movie doesn’t bring the special ingredient; there were so many opportunities and Ezra hesitates to think out of the box, even with a spirit from inside a box. As we see the characters watching The Conjuring 2 on television, one has no doubt about one movie which has inspired this one. But Ezra has so much of hesitation in unleashing the terror – the viewers find so many situations which could have been scarier, but the movie doesn’t seem to find the need to bring huge scares. Also, at one point, you feel that this is the Odette Annable starrer The Unborn, but then it is not; there is just the dybbuk and the pregnancy in common.

Performers of the soul :: In a movie that has Prithviraj as the protagonist, it is him who leads the way – it is the first half that gets the best of him with a simple and rather natural touch to the proceedings – not that much with the final scenes though. Priya Anand makes a Malayalam debut which the Keralites will remember. Sujith Shanker makes a surprising entry here, and in this role, most of us might not even recognise that he is the same person from Njan Steve Lopez and Maheshinte Prathikaram – it is quite solid work. Tovino Thomas, even though he is there for less amount of time, has his moments. Vijayaraghavan is fine there, but Babu Antony’s stay is cut short; the same is the case of Pratap K. Pothen and Alencier Ley Lopez who leaves the proceedings rather too early. Sudev Nair and Ann Sheetal has a nicely created flashback scene which is done fine.

How it finishes :: There is a little shortage of horror movies in Malayalam movie industry, and there is a lot of shortage in the case of good horror movies – the latter is also applicable to the Bollywood film industry too, which is why, for the Indian cinema as a whole, the requirement is for more good horror. There is no need for more drama and more romance – there is too much of the same already, and there is nothing closer to life than horror, in one way or the other. Therefore, Ezra‘s presence is something which has to be appreciated, and despite not using all the possibilities in the scary side, manages to be a horror movie with a difference as far as the Malayalam movie industry is considered. It is evident that the Malayalam movies are back after that break – and each release this year, including Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, Jomonte Suviseshangal, Fukri and Ezra have stayed different from each other.

Release date: 10th February 2016
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Jay K
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Priya Anand, Tovino Thomas, Sudev Nair, Vijayaraghavan, Sujith Shanker, Pratap K. Pothen, Babu Antony, Alencier Ley Lopez, Ann Sheetal

ezra

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lights Out

lightsout-2

Vampire Owl: I often feel that Don’t Breathe is Lights Out.

Vampire Bat: Where does the confusion come from? Why is that so?

Vampire Owl: Because lights are out in Don’t Breathe.

Vampire Bat: And I hear that you don’t breathe in Lights Out.

Vampire Owl: But lights are also out in Lights Out – so we don’t breathe too? So there are two movie titles inside this one.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and with lights being out in Don’t Breathe, there are two of them there too.

Vampire Owl: Such confusion! So many of my friends are confused between these two impressive horror movies.

Vampire Bat: Yes, they end up talking about one movie when asked about the other flick.

Vampire Owl: Why can’t people be better informed about horror movies?

Vampire Bat: Because people just not good enough to know the eternal truth in life, which is undoubtedly horror.

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

What is the movie about? :: Paul (Billy Burke) is running a textile warehouse, and is married to Sophie (Maria Bello) who seems to be having certain mental problems, talking to herself in the dark which has their son Martin (Gabriel Bateman) a lot worried. One night, Esther (Lotta Losten), Paul’s assistant sees a dark figure when the lights are turned off, but nothing is seen when the lights are turned on. He warns Paul about the same, but he doesn’t want to listen to her as he is busy with his own problems at home. Left alone in the warehouse, he himself sees the shadowy figure when the lights are out. Despite his best efforts to keep the light turned on, they just keep going out. Even though he manages to lock himself inside his cabin with lights turned on, the figure manages to enter after turning off all lights at the warehouse, managing to murder him.

So, what happens next? :: Paul’s stepdaughter, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) lives separately, after problems with her mother. But when Martin starts having problems at school and his mother doesn’t pick the phone, Rebecca is called by the authorities and she visits Sophie only to decide that it is better to have Martin move to her place. As they move to her place leaving a depressed Sophie behind, Rebecca sees a shadowy figure at the door which attacks her, but disappears with the light. This reminds her of something that she experienced as a child, and determined to do something about it, with the help of her boyfriend Bret (Alexander DiPersia), she gets the much needed information about this creature of darkness that was referred to as Diana during her childhood. But there is more to it than she thinks, with a long flashback which ties this creature with the memories of Sophie.

The defence of Lights Out :: Are you afraid of the dark? Well, this one makes sure that you stay afraid of darkness no matter how hard you try to escape from that fear, so better be warned. With a creature that vanishes with light and appears with no light or a very low amount of light, this movie manages to bring the best possible scares in a short amount of run-time. There is the creature which one can’t seem to stop, except for hoping that the lights don’t go, and with the realization that the absence of light is darkness, which is the reality as the night arrives, one can’t dare to stop being afraid. With the idea from the director’s own short horror movie, this also manages to be clever just as the short-film. It brings to us variety in horror, and with a run-time of less than one and half hours, it keeps us not breathing for most of the time. If it does bring back to the valiant, the most common fear of the dark, one needn’t be surprised.

Positives and negatives :: Your need to be afraid while switching off the lights is back – this kind of horror movies which uses the basic fears have been missing for long, but has returned for the best. Consider yourself in the theatre watching this movie in the dark, and then the power goes – what would you think? Watching this one late night is surely the better idea. With better attempts from the protagonists to stop this creature, we could have had more here though, but this movie ends too early – less than one and half hours is too less for this kind of a movie at a time when pathetic movies are rather too long. We need movies like this one, to be longer, as this is one creature that we are going to miss except for when the lights are turned off and we misunderstand one of our hanging shirts to be a creature. Maybe a better flashback story and more of it would have helped – maybe we could have had more scares before the family comes together with the creature.

Performers of the soul :: As Lights Out attempts to use your most possible fears against you, we have our cast which is very well suited for this movie. Teresa Palmer, as expected, leads the way, as she looks less like Kristen Stewart like she did in Warm Bodies and Point Break, and once again performs a lot better than her in Twilight and Snow White and the Huntsman. She does make a fine choice for horror movies, as she has proven in this one. Having her in this one was a big bonus with the creature being too good by itself, and we can say that Maria Bello keeps her character safe. Gabriel Bateman also joins in, and Alexander DiPersia does better than a usual supporting character in a horror movie will do. Before Insidious: Chapter 4 and Annabelle 2 coming up from him, James Wan has produced another gem here, which goes with a long list of fine horror movies.

How it finishes :: This interesting horror movie, Lights Out is based on a 2013 Swedish short-film which had the same concept of a creature of darkness using the same to bring the scares to the viewers. Running for just three minutes, it was one nice scary work from the same director, and the actress featured in the short-film also had a small role in this flick, as the assistant at the warehouse. Among the two movies, the way the short-film brings the scares in such a short amount of time, is just an act of brilliance, and it is sure to scare you more than enough to get you interested in this full-length movie. If you haven’t watched the short-film yet, do watch it below, and then you can understand what this movie is about. Most of the people have already watched this one, as it had went on to become very popular on Facebook and Twitter.

 

AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! 🙂

Release date: 22nd July 2016
Running time: 81 minutes
Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke, Maria Bello, Amiah Miller, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Ava Cantrell, Lotta Losten, Andi Osho

lightsoutt

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pretham

pretham

Vampire Owl: So, you are saying that the ghost has finally arrived.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it has come to provide us with its presence.

Vampire Owl: I heard that this one even has a mentalist?

Vampire Bat: Yes, one mentalist played by Jayasurya.

Vampire Owl: The looks do seem very interesting.

Vampire Bat: And when it is from the director who has brought us a number of good movies.

Vampire Owl: It has been a long time since we have seen an interesting ghost. I hope that this one will qualify to be there as a good one.

Vampire Bat: There is no reason to think that a ghost can’t be good. It will hurt the creature’s feelings.

Vampire Owl: Yes, we shouldn’t be judgmental towards the poor creatures from the other world.

Vampire Bat: Exactly. We need them too; they bring the balance in a boring human existence as we can’t always do the same.

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

What is the movie about? :: Three youngsters Denny Kokken (Aju Varghese), Priyalal (Sharafudheen), and Shibu Majeed (Govind Padmasoorya) has begun their own business of a resort after working hard till their thirties. The three are best friends keeps remembering things from the past. They invest most of their money and also what they could manage from their ancestral wealth to buy this resort on which they have placed their hopes. They go through their lives with a crush on Suhanisa (Pearle Maaney) who learns dance at the resort, and doing only those things which are of interest, as they are no longer working under a person as they used to, and are completely out of control of their parents. Living a life full of enjoyment, and doing nothing other than those small things that come upon the resort, the three feels that this could go on forever.

So, what happens next? :: But as strange incidents begin to happen in the resort, they consult John Don Bosco (Jayasurya), a psychic and a mentalist who is referred to them by the local priest (Harish Perady) after failing to bring any change with the use of holy water. After making some attempts, he finds that the person behind all these is the restless spirit of Clara (Sruthi Ramachandran), who has a history that goes back to this resort when she last stayed here. Is John strong enough to get rid of this revenge-seeking ghost? What does she want from the three friends? Are they responsible for her death and the hopeless nature of her spirit? How can a mentalist work with a ghost who is not even interested in contacting and talking with humans? Is there something bigger hidden under the resort that should not be brought out?

The defence of Pretham :: This one successfully gets rid of the white saree idea which was too common in our horror movies – instead it goes for the black churidar which the spirit was wearing while committing suicide, which is fair as there are no shops supplying white sarees in the other world no matter which religious text we look at. The visuals are really good with the resort on the beachside, and we do get the horror comedy as we wanted to. There is just enough of both horror and comedy, not in high doses. The entertainment factor is there, varying for different people according to the tastes. With Jayasurya entering the scene as the mentalist, things get more interesting, and it is from there that the movie gets more engaging as a horror movie. In the end, we also get to see some of the cruel, sadistic face of the new generation youth which looks for success only, as it doesn’t matter for them that whose little dreams are crushed in the process – there is also the social issue.

Claws of flaw :: This one still happens to be predictable, and the message is also not brought to the screen in the best way. It is also not for the people who have watched so many horror movies and are looking for big scares – they are not much there for some reason. There were so many moments which could have had them, and we think that they are going to arrive, but that doesn’t happen at all. This one doesn’t really go on to become a special one with big difference, even with a mentalist as its main character, and that is a disappointment that Pretham doesn’t even try hard enough for the same. The comedy is also flawed at parts, with the adult jokes getting nowhere and some of them won’t connect with anyone at all. With a cast that has full ability to bring the fun, one has to wonder why that was not utilized to the maximum.

Performers of the soul :: As expected, Jayasurya is the pick of them all – it was already clear in the trailer, and it is reiterated very often in this movie from the first moment he shows up on the beach. Just like a wide variety of characters that he has played throughout his career, this one also leaves a mark, and it is due to him that the movie gets to be at a better strength all of a sudden. He comes, and delivers as it was expected of him – there is no question of doubting this man and the character played by him. He is no Sunny Joseph of Manichithrathazu, but a mentalist is indeed something new in a Malayalam movie. Among Aju Varghese, Sharafudheen and Govind Padmasoorya, it is the first two that create the fun here. Pearle Maaney looks strangely uncomfortable with the whole situation. Harish Perady is sadly limited to a smaller existence.

How it finishes :: One can be pretty sure that this won’t get to the level of Su.. Su… Sudhi Vathmeekam which was the last effort from the same director, but I would consider this to be surely better than Punyalan Agarbathis; in these three movies, it was all Jayasurya, and he is the pick yet again. This is surely a big escape from the past this year that had what might be Jayasurya’s worst movie which was IDI – Inspector Dawood Ibrahim. If you are looking for an enjoyable horror comedy, you are sure to have it; but there won’t be anything more than that – there is enough for some fun, and we get to take the messages home. Well, we don’t get many horror movies in Malayalam; and there are surely not enough ghosts. The Prithviraj Sukumaran-Tovino Thomas starrer Ezra might change this in a very different way, but until that, lets watch Pretham as we are not looking for The Conjuring or Insidious here.

Release date: 12th August 2016
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Aju Varghese, Sharafudheen, Sharanya Menon, Govind Padmasoorya, Sruthi Ramachandran, Pearle Maaney, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Sunil Sukhada, Sathi Premji, Harish Perady, Devan, Vijay Babu, Nyla Usha, Arya Rohit, Anjana Appukuttan

pretham

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jessabelle

Jessabellee

Vampire Owl :: Are you sure that this isn’t related to Annabelle? There is not even a distant relationship that you know about?

Vampire Bat :: Not at all. There is just the name which ends in the same way. There is no relationship with The Conjuring either.

Vampire Owl :: I know many people who thought that they were related, and there are some who thought that there was another doll of the same kind.

Vampire Bat :: We, the people of the horror, shouldn’t fall into such rumors. But the similarity in the name might have attracted more viewers.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I know. But I just believed that for some time.

Vampire Bat :: We could actually go for it in the name of some nice sequences which are there in the trailer. The poster is quite interesting

Vampire Owl :: And also after looking at the producer’s long list of horror filmography.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, that too. But nothing in the name of Annabelle which is not related at all.

Vampire Owl :: Let it be so then! We shall take on this ghost too.

Vampire Bat :: Okay, now we can proceed for the movie. Keep your mind open for more horror.

[Gets a cup of tea with chocolate chip cookies].

What is it about? :: Jessabelle Laurent (Sarah Snook) and her boyfriend has an accident with their car hit by a truck just before they decide to start a new life together. The pregnant Jessabelle has miscarriage and her lover is dead in the accident, with her limited to a wheel-chair. A few months later, she decides to go and live with her father Leon (David Andrews) at a small town of St Francis as he agrees to pick her up from the hospital. It has been a long time since she last saw her father, as she was raised by her aunt after her mother died of cancer when she was a baby. He takes her to their old home, and provides her with the room of her mother which was kept locked for many years. She doesn’t remember anything about her childhood, and she decides to look around the old house and the beautiful surroundings on her wheel-chair.

So what happens at this new place far away from the city? :: Jessabelle is not a person who will keep herself on the bed all the time. For passing time, she finds some videotapes shot by her mother. She decides to watch them and know more about her mother whom she never met as a kid. Even though, the tapes begin nicely with words of motherly love, it soon gets weird with talks about death, transition to something else and the feeling of a certain presence in the house. Leon says that her mother was getting weird and not herself in the final stages of cancer as he tries his best to stop her from watching these tapes, but as he tries to burn them, gets burnt himself inside the shed. She also has regular nightmares, and feels the presence of something in the house. With her father dead, it is only her old friend Preston Sanders (Mark Webber) who is left with her for help.

The defence of Jessabelle :: There are scary moments in Jessabelle and there is creepiness, even when not fully utilized. The environment contributes to that feeling, and this is done by keeping blood and gore to the minimum. Coming from the director of two movies of the Saw franchise, that might be a surprise for some people. The bath-tub scene is the best one, even though that too could have been better. But the movie manages to maintain a certain mood, not trying to bring anything huge – not a big attempt here at all. The final revelation is a fine one, and the twist is something which can be rather easily guessed only for those who have watched many horror movies. But it keeps us guessing until the movie reaches the final stages. It often becomes a mystery thriller instead of a full horror movie, and there is even some drama – it also works as part of another genre which makes up for what is missed out with the horror side.

Claws of flaw :: There is no denying the fact that this movie has its own dose of cliches. There are moments of such horror which have already been tried, and the story itself reminds oneself of the Kate Hudson starrer movie, The Skeleton Key – especially with the ending; but the difference here being the use of Voodoo while it was Hoodoo in that horror movie which came earlier. The chances of you liking this movie if you liked that one is high, but there will be some repetition associated with this in the final moments. There is also a certain amount of slow movement in the case of Jessabelle, and more horror could have been brought here especially while using the marshy surroundings of Lousiana. The environment was something which could have been better used to the advantage here. The potential was surely there to bring something better than what is on screen.

Performers of the Soul :: As you might have noticed in the movie Predestination, Sarah Snook is very much a talented actress, and she does an excellent job here too. Here, she proves to be the right choice for horror too. If she did a bigger job in that science fiction drama, here the movie is better, without ambiguities or boredom as there is the direct entry into horror and mystery. Mark Webber has very less to do here though, and it is the same with David Andrews and Joelle Carter, as the movie is completely focused on Sarah Snook and her Jessabelle. Amber Stevens West plays the ghostly Jessabelle with the needed intensity, but the number of appearances of the ghost is also too less as far as the horror fans are concerned. The bath-tub scene and the car scene are the two notable ones related to the same.

How it finishes :: When you look at the critical appreciation of this movie and the total rating at IMDb, you will hesitate about watch this one. But this movie is undoubtedly better than what you see everywhere; it has never been easy for the horror movies to get the critics on their side – it is more like a curse which this particular genre has inherited through the ages, even though there are exceptions. Sometimes, most of the critically appreciated movies are not really that good horror at all. So, watching Jessabelle is not a mistake that you make, but an attempt to see how another horror movie will work. You have to note that The Lazarus Effect, The Remaining, The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death and The Pyramid got lesser rating on IMDb. You can watch this one along with The Skeleton Key which is a similar movie in heart and soul.

Release date: 7th November 2014
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Kevin Greutert
Starring: Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, David Andrews, Joelle Carter, Ana de la Reguera, Amber Stevens, Larisa Oleynik, Chris Ellis, Brian Hallisay, Lucius Baston, Jason Davis, Vaughan Wilson

Jessabelle

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Lazarus Effect

thelazaruseffect (2)

Vampire Owl :: The zombie minions have sent us a request signed by four hundred and fifty seven of them.

Vampire Bat :: As Uncle Dracula is in the hospital after watching a few terrible superstar Bollywood movies, I guess that we have to deal with this ourselves.

Vampire Owl :: It is sad. We have to accept their request though, or the Lich Queen will take away all our zombie labour.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, they consider the Lich Queen as a weird revolutionary ruler and we shouldn’t just give her the advantage.

Vampire Owl :: So, what do you think about this? They are asking for the review of a movie, The Lazarus Effect. It is about death and return to life.

Vampire Bat :: Coming back from the dead? I don’t believe that the zombies can come up with a better request.

Vampire Owl :: It is a horror movie, and so it should work for the vampire clan too. The request can be honoured without much trouble.

Vampire Bat :: It is a shame that we have to watch this movie without Uncle Dracula. But it is time he realize that he should choose actors over superstars when watching a movie.

Vampire Owl :: So, we will reply to the minions with a yes?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and lets have some tea and get ready for a movie adventure.

[Gets a cup of tea and butter cookies].

What is it about? :: Two scientists, Frank Walton (Mark Duplass) and his lover Zoe McConnell (Olivia Wilde) have developed a special serum which they have named Lazarus. They are helped by Niko (Donald Glover) and Clay (Evan Peters), while they are joined by the videographer Eva (Sarah Bolger) as this particular serum attempts to do something huge. Even though it was intended to assist coma patients to give them a second chance at life, it turns out that it actually brings the dead back from life. They do manage to bring a dog back from the dead, and all of a sudden, a major pharmaceutical company buys the firm that funded their research and shuts them down. They decides to repeat the experiment, but Zoe gets electrocuted. Frank decides not to lose her and uses the Lazarus serum on her, but it turns out that the returning lady is not the same as the one who left.

The defence of The Lazarus Effect :: I am sure that most of you can agree to the fact that the movie is scary. It is loaded with the scary moments here and there. The moments of the return from the dead, for both the dog and the human are very well portrayed. Another nice design in relateed to the depiction of hell and the ideas behind the same. There are some jump scares which are very well used to make sure that the audience will feel that there is more horror coming. Not only the visual stuff, but the sound effects and the music contributes well to the frightening situations. It also asks us the relevant questions about life, death, soul and hell. The gore is also kept to the very least, even though a movie like this which combines science fiction and horror could have had a lot of it, especially with the death and return from the dead around. Over everything else, it knows how to entertain.

Claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that this movie could have been a better horror movie because it had all which was needed in its story, even though with similarities to other horror movies – the basic idea is not new and so are the scares. This one could have used the abundant darkness to a more creepy effect instead of using the same for some quick scares. The idea of life, death, hell and soul could have been expanded further more. The battle here between the living and dead is also too one-sided and predictable. With the movie being short in length, more scary and explanatory sequences could have been added here and there. The ending could have also been a little more creative. But it is surely better than what the critics claim that it is, no doubt about that – far ahead of this year’s other big horror; the remake called Poltergeist.

Performers of the soul :: The acting department looks safe around here. The best moments in the movie undoubtedly belongs the one who plays the returning loved one an scientists from the dead – Olivia Wilde as Zoe McConnell is clearly the leader here. She begins as the heroine and returns as the demon, balancing both really well. The transformation that happens is not that gradual either as she turns and embraces the dark side further and further after the return from the other world. She is not someone whom we usually associated with the horror genre, but it has suited her very well. Sarah Bolger plays the lead who doesn’t really belong to the group, and she does that fine enough. Mark Duplass has a good run in the movie, and the rest of the cast does some good job in this flick which mixes two genres effectively.

Soul exploration :: The three movies that come to your mind when you watch The Lazarus Effect are Event Horizon, Carrie and Lucy even though this flick is no match for all the three – consider the original movie from long ago when I am talking about Carrie this time. Do you know what else this movie is? It is Frankenstein, as here is an even more modern Prometheus than what Mary Shelley had intended. The idea of bringing back someone from the dead hasn’t gone that well for many characters; Victor Frankenstein paid for it. The Biblical Lazarus of Bethany on whom the title seems to be based did have a fine return from the dead after four days, and may be the serum in the movie was also supposed come out positive, but unfortunately for the characters in the movie and fortunately for the horror fans, it didn’t.

More of the soul exploration and the finish :: The movie’s idea of hell is also interesting; it talks about how hell is your worst nightmare repeated again and again. Its journey to hell and back is like Event Horizon, but not that strong. It has the returning person with the powers of Carrie, and also comparable to Lucy – there is also that idea about using more than ten percent of the brain. This movie has those elements which bring the horror about not just what is seen, but also what extends beyond that. Jason Blum who has been behind horror and thriller movies like Insidious, The Purge, Sinister, Dark Skies, Paranormal Activity, Ouija, The Lords of Salem, Jessabelle, Area 51, The Boy Next Door, The Gallows and The Gift along with the sequels of some of them, has produced this one too. With its collections, The Lazarus Effect will make into the list of the successful ones.

Release date: 27th February 2015
Running time: 83 minutes
Directed by: David Gelb
Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Donald Glover, Evan Peters, Ray Wise, Amy Aquino

thelazaruseffect

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Insidious III

insidious3 (1)

Vampire Owl: Uncle Dracula was asking about this movie. The Vampire Oracle had told him that Count Dracula III will be only as good as Insidious III.

Vampire Bat: You can’t really expect anything to be as good as the original. There can be only be one original Dracula. It has been proven by characters in the works like Twilight.

Vampire Owl: Lets test the movie then and let him know.

[Gets the tickets].

This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com where I handle the Hollywood movie reviews division: http://kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/885-insidious-chapter-3-movie-review.html

Even though The Conjuring has been considered as the most exciting horror movie of the recent times by the common audience, there has always been something about Insidious. The journey through the astral dimension and the demons of that world which they called The Further, has worked very well with the viewers. Insidious: Chapter 3 is actually not a sequel to the incidents of the previous chapter, as it does the job of being a prequel to the first movie. It goes a few years behind the Lambert haunting which was shown in the first movie. It is clear that it never intends to go that far back to become an origin story, but Insidious: Chapter 3 does come close to being one.

Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott), a teenage girl finds it difficult to cope with the loss of her mother. She has been trying to contact her dead mother Lillith (Ele Keats) and believes that her mother wants to communicate with her from the other world. When she contacts Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) with the same desire, the lady tries, but stops the procedure telling the girl that it is dangerous and she shouldn’t call out to any of the dead, as the other spirits will also be able to hear her. As days pass, Quinn sees a dark figure waving at her multiple times, and when she tries to check it when on road, she is hit by a car which leaves her on a wheel chair with fracture on both her legs.

The paranormal activities only increase as she sees visions, and a demon continues to cross over from the other world and torment her, most of the incidents leaving her on the floor with further injuries. A collar on the neck is just one of those extra additions that the demons give her as things continue to get worse. Despite her father keeping a close look at things, nothing positive comes out of it, and he is forced to seek help from those who deal with the supernatural. Elise is not confident enough to go back to the other dimension as she is afraid of being murdered by a demon who threatens her. Will she be able to face her fears and save the girl before the youngster’s soul is gone forever?

The scares in the movie are very much working through these incidents. The new demon is a very good addition to the creatures of the other world. It scares whenever there is an opportunity, and the creepiness of the movie continues to impress. The setting only helps with the same, as there is this nice little apartment which has an abandoned room above it. The world of spirits also continues to make the desired horror impact. Some of them include the demon’s first close appearance, the girl’s possession and the scene at the abandoned room – actually, there are many scenes which make the horror work, and it succeeds where Annabelle was confused.

The ending also leaves something more to desire for the fans, as a movie between this one and the first flick can be expected. People can still feel that this doesn’t bring enough innovation, but by staying close to the material, Insidious: Chapter 3 has managed fine. There is not much of blood and gore, but just the scares in the old style. Darkness has been nicely used as the movie’s best friend, and so are the doors, windows and walls. If you are not happy enough after watching it, you might have been expecting much more. There is no touching the level of The Conjuring, but this is surely the best horror movie which has had a wide release after that one.

Lin Shaye is once again plays the expert in all these spirit-related things, and she is the soul of this movie as she handles things with ease. Along with the three movies of the franchise, she was also there for Ouija, and this is a familiar territory for her. Stefanie Scott gives a high quality performance too, as she plays the teenager troubled by her mother’s death, the one with hope to provide wings for her ambitions and also the person tormented and possessed by the demon. She is impressive throughout the movie. Dermot Mulroney just got a simpler thing to do as the father. Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell brings the humour as Tucker and Specs.

As you have reached the third movie of the franchise, you can notice that the director has changed, and there is no more James Wan at the helm and the writer for the franchise, Leigh Whannell has taken over. But the movie hasn’t lost its best qualities, unlike X-Men, Species and Alien franchises which had their least interesting movies as the third entries. Instead, this movie improves from the second entry and becomes almost as good as the first film, and in a world of mostly lesser quality sequels, it is an achievement. There might be no huge innovation here, but if you want to be scared this weekend, Insidious: Chapter 3 is the right movie for you.

Release date: 26th June 2015 (India); 5th June 2015 (USA)
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Lin Shaye, Hayley Kiyoko, Michael Reid MacKay, Tate Berney, Tom Gallop, Phyllis Applegate, Ashton Moio, Ele Keats, Adrian, Tom Fitzpatrick, Phil Abrams, Ruben Garfias, Samantha Ramraj, James Wan, Amaris Davidson, Anna Ross, Joseph Bishara

insidious3

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Darling

darling!

Vampire Owl :: You mean Darling Darling?

Vampire Bat :: No Darling just once, unless you want to create an echo.

Vampire Owl :: Vampire Owls don’t echo. We are immune to such inferior special effects.

Vampire Bat :: Then its easy to follow. This is the remake of the Telugu horror comedy romance, Prema Katha Chitram.

Vampire Owl :: That movie in which Nanditha Raj plays a Nanditha?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and here Nikki Galrani plays someone not Nikki.

Vampire Owl :: You mean Nikki Galrani of Om Santhi Oshaana, 1983 and Vellimoonga, the not-so-owlish movie?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with no doubt. How many other Nikkis do you know?

Vampire Owl :: Well, what about Nikki of Neal ‘n’ Nikki?

Vampire Bat :: That ruins my day. Why did you have to even try to mention that movie?

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Kathir (G. V. Prakash Kumar) is looking to commit suicide and for the same, he is joined by two other people consisting of his friend and another girl, seemingly leading to a nice small group suicide. Kumaran (Bala Saravanan) and Nisha (Nikki Galrani) who become part of the suicide gang, try to make their last wishes happen before committing the awesome act of self-destruction. There are things which they do, like having a new car which they steal and slapping an MLA in front of the news channels. They escape from the police and goons and go to a house accompanied by another man trying to suicide, Athisaya Raj (Karunas). Nisha is in love with Kathir, and her real plan is to stop him from killing himself, and Kumaran is also hoping to stop his friend from doing the act. But the house where they are staying has a back-story and things won’t go as planned.

The defence of Darling :: There are some improvements on Prema Katha Chitram that this movie has made here as the remake. The best of them is the climax and the ending which has some interesting changes. It is quite faithful to the original, but not a blind copy. The movie is funny and scary in parts, and does full justice to its genre of horror-comedy which hasn’t been an easy thing to do. It is time Bollywood also has some horror-comedies of this quality. There is ghost, romance, comedy, mystery and even the ghost slayer Ghost Gopal Varma. All four of the main actors are very good, and one thing that you can’t fail to notice from the posters of the movie in Kerala is that Nikki Galrani is the Queen of Luck or the Goddess of Fortune – judging from the Malayalam movies which she has acted in: Om Santhi Oshaana, 1983 and Vellimoonga; the three big hits – can we dare to disagree?

The Claws of Flaw :: As a remake of Prema Katha Chitram, the movie might seems redundant for a few. There are some scenes which doesn’t improve the original, and there is no big improvement in quality here. The original was a movie which a lot of people had watched here too, but Darling should still be a new experience for another good number of people. The movie does have some of the same problems as the original, with some misplaced jokes and some loss in the horror department, but those were expected as the remake. One big change which they could have done was with the face of the ghost, and even the first possession moment was no surprise. A scarier ghost could have been there, and the total spooky atmosphere should have been enhanced. Some innovation could have only done this move good, with a shorter flashback and more elements of mystery. Yes, more scares would have brought the awesomeness here, and there was the need to match the comedy.

Soul exploration :: The resurrection of horror genre in the right manner is a need among all the Indian movie industries. Bollywood seems to combine it too much with erotica and spoil the whole thing, or just copy something from Hollywood and add below average things here and there. Horror no longer seems to a genre that is interested in being spoken in Hindi. But a better working combination at this part of the world is horror with comedy and simple romance as it has been proven here. It is a good form for the horror genre to exist, without the extra seriousness that comes in and often fails to connect with the audience. There will always be people who want to laugh at the horror movies, and may be what people deserve more is the horror comedy. I would expect better times for horror with this mixture of genres in work, and I hope for such a movie in Malayalam too, without going too stupid or absurd.

How it finishes :: It is surprising how well the movie has attracted the audience here even as there is only one popular face for the people here, which is Nikki Galrani. It has come to only selected theatres here and at some places just to fill in the blanks, and may be that is a reason. The multiplexes hadn’t had much shows. I would say that Darling was a movie which could have done wonders here with some better promotion – after all, Nikki is one of the favourite actresses of the common movie fans here, and that has been accomplished by her presence in just one year – 2014. It is a sure entertainer and has its existence at a number of theatres in Kerala – you might have to search for them, but if you haven’t watched Prema Katha Chitram, this a movie that you should give a chance for the effort and the difference that it brings to the screen.

[After the movie]

Vampire Owl :: You didn’t tell me about the special 3D effects in the theatre.

Vampire Bat :: 3D at that theatre? We were in the same theatre, right?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, didn’t you see those effects?

Vampire Bat :: What exactly are you talking about?

Vampire Owl :: Didn’t you see the black kitten and the smoke outside the screen?

Vampire Bat :: That actually seemed like a rat. The smoke was just people with the cigarettes. This is why you should go to local theatres more often.

Vampire Owl :: It is still a special effect. We should have brought the Vampire Cat.

Vampire Bat :: So do you think that the hiking of ticket price by twenty rupees was justified?

Vampire Owl :: Absolutely not. These conditions deserve a maximum of fourty five rupees, thats all. We have better effects at the Dracula Castle.

Vampire Bat :: Then lets hope for another theatre next time.

[Runs to the Indian Coffee House].

Release date: 15th January 2015
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Sam Anton
Starring: G. V. Prakash Kumar, Nikki Galrani, Karunas, Bala Saravanan, Srushti Dange, Rajendran

darling

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ouija

ouija (3)

Vampire Owl :: Halloween and no horror. Never thought that such a day will come in this century.

Vampire Bat :: There is horror. We can watch Ouija.

Vampire Owl :: Really? The Vampire Panda told me that it was a bad movie and critics gave bloody low ratings to it.

Vampire Bat :: Lets not trust the critics on a horror movie. Besides, that panda is not a vampire. He is just the Kungfu Panda on disguise attempting to sell his noodles and action figures among vampires.

Vampire Owl :: I shall deal with him later. For now, I can surely use a summoned spirit. According to the latest version of the Book of the Dead, the Undead and the Brain dead, they are very useful creatures. We need to get an Ouija Board.

Vampire Bat :: Do you realize that you already create enough problems for yourself?

Vampire Owl :: Absolutely yes. See, I am an evil entity. I am supposed to create problems for the world which includes myself.

Vampire Bat :: You should have a dosa. You turn evil when you need it.

Vampire Owl :: No. I am a dangerous owl. I need to keep it that way.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, dangerous to yourself.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The protagonist Laine Morris (Olivia Cooke) is searching for answers as she hopes that she could have done something for her best friend Debbie Galardi (Shelley Hennig) who had committed suicide, and she laments the fact that she was the last one to talk to her and yet couldn’t stop her from doing such an act. As she finds an Ouija board in her house, along with her sister Sarah (Ana Coto) and other friends of Debbie, Pete (Douglas Smith), Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), and Isabelle (Bianca A. Santos) decides to try and contact their recently deceased friend. Soon, they contact a spirit which addresses them as friends, but what they are not aware of is that Debbie already had made a connection to the other world which lead to her death, and they understands that more than one entity is now free. The friends realize that they will just be killed one after the other and there will be no stopping the terror. A relative to the dead people returning as spirits, Paulina (Lin Shaye) who resides in a mental asylum seems to be the key to stopping the evil, but will it work?

The defence of Ouija :: The name would be enough to draw people to the movie, and the Ouija board has always been the centre of curiosity for a lot of people for a good amount of time. We have a lot of curious cats among us, don’t we? This movie banks in the same with the board at the centre, throws the usual stuff at us again and again, and there are some scares as one would expect from it. The sewn mouths are not something new, but they surely work here especially according to the circumstance, and the twist, even if small is a working one. There are possessions, suicides, murders, sewn mouths, blank eyes, with some scares here and there, and a creepy environment of the house. The sound effects are very good and the visual horror has its moments. It is quite a success as a haunted house movie, with the board being found from the home where evil has happened sometime ago. Some moments near the end are good, even as their failure to end the movie with the same surprises me.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t try anything new at all. Its biggest asset is that one board, but the flick fails to capitalize on the same. There is not much about that one big thing that it could have used to its effectiveness, and instead the same becomes only the means to what is to come next. It only does the job of any other possessed item which could gain the attention of the spirits. The movie should have stuck to its title, explaining more about the board and how things come to this dimension in relation to the same. But it tries to make the movie go on in the usual pattern often forgetting that the movie is about the board, with the existence of a house where something terrible did happen a long time ago and there is a spirit waiting to possess or murder people. Even a good number of scares are not that effective, but there are a few which work nicely. The plot and the narrative could have had some more attention to make the whole thing better.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has a rather cute lead at the top, and the performances are overall decent. Olivia Cooke plays the protagonist here, the lady who is hopelessly trying to connect to her dead best friend, and she has indeed played this role with such expressions of fear and uncertainty which makes this character so much believable here. Her cuteness helps the cause a lot, and she is a perfect one for this role which has more hopelessness and desperation which she could nicely reflect on her face. You will instantly like her, that is for sure. The next one is Shelley Hennig, and even as she dies early, has her moments too, and is not done even with that separation of the soul. She adds to the beauty of the cast and does enough, while the rest of the cast manages to hold on, but not with anything special. Meanwhile, Lin Shaye is here too, and she is once again impressive in another horror movie – catches our attention.

Soul exploration :: In its search for the spirits within the Ouija board and also outside it, the movie losses its soul. It can’t realize what it has in its soul, whether it is to focus on the board or the haunted house and its scary past. When we finally decide that it is on the latter, then comes the board again as if it is Count Dracula who wants to be part of everything vampiric. The spirit also works a lot like the Final Desination series, planning to just kill them all in freaky ways, even as it is not that heartless to make things too violent. Then you realize that Ouija is a mixture which is created to make it a safe bet, and it adds so many things to itself and makes those factors work in parts even as in totality, there is some mess. There is the lack of soul to hold it together, and it is the same reason why we are unable to bring much of it back home – even Annabelle living in the shadows of The Conjuring had more for us. Ouija boards can inspire better horror movies, and this one has the spirits not that powerful.

How it finishes :: The conclusion is still that even with its list of flaws, Ouija is your movie of the Halloween, even as Annabelle does exist at selected theatres with less number of shows. It will be the choice of the Halloween enthusiasts as Ouija board is not something that is not tried that much, and there are not other big Hollywood entertainers released this weekend. I have successfully kept my distance from Bollywood since Diwali as I had sensed certain danger. Meanwhile, I wish all the followers of this blog and the readers of this post a very Happy Halloween, and the November first is also the birthday of the Indian state of Kerala, the occasion known as Kerala Piravi, so I wish all my fellow Keralites a Happy Kerala Piravi too. For more details about the same, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala_Piravi and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala. Happy Birthday, Kerala 🙂

Release date: 31st October 2014 (India); 24th October 2014 (USA)
Running time: 89 minutes
Directed by: Stiles White
Starring: Olivia Cooke, Shelley Hennig, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith, Bianca A. Santos, Ana Coto, Matthew Settle, Lin Shaye, Vivis Colombetti, Robyn Lively, Bill Watterson, Sierra Heuermann

ouija

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Annabelle

annabelle (2)

Vampire Owl :: This is the day I have been waiting for.

Vampire Bat :: Are you sure this is the movie you waited for?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I am hoping that I can adopt that doll soon. I have also written a letter to the Dracula Castle requesting permission from Uncle Dracula for the same.

Vampire Bat :: You don’t need that doll right now. You are pretty much a scary owl as of now.

Vampire Owl :: No, it is part of my plan to owlify the world. I would need a side-kick, like Robin is to Batman. Otherwise, I know that I am scary and dangerous.

Vampire Bat :: Annabelle doll doesn’t play supporting role. She always does the main role. She is a level five demon, not a level zero vampire.

Vampire Owl :: What? Bad doll. What makes it think that it can get the main role outside movies? Especially when super hero-villains like me are alive?

Vampire Bat :: Because she has pride, and also the rest of those seven deadly sins. It is why she is an evil demonic doll.

Vampire Owl :: I shall rate this movie low.

Vampire Bat :: No, it is me who does the rating, and I choose not for an owlified world.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie has the same beginning as The Conjuring, with people telling the story of a demonic doll. From there, the movie goes to a flashback which shows John (Ward Horton) and Mia Gordon (Annabelle Wallis) expecting the birth of their first child. But they are attacked by a satanic cult which kills their neighbours and causes terror before the cops arrive. Annabelle Higgins (Tree O’Toole), a member of the occult group marks their wall with a symbol and a drop of her blood is left in the eyes of a doll which was in the house. Even as they throw the bloodied doll away, it makes another appearance at the house after a baby is born and they shift the house. They keep it feeling that the doll made its way to the new house during a quick packing and decides to keep it this time. But strange things begin to happen at the new home, and Mia begins to suspect the doll. She contacts the local priest and a detective, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop the terror, or is there a solution?

The defence of Annabelle :: The scares that this movie provides are impressive, just like it was for The Conjuring, even if lesser in a comparison, which should be avoided at each and every moment of this one. There is a very nice creepy environment and chilling atmosphere already created for the thriving of this doll and its scary demons. The way in which the lighting and the darkness are managed can be considered pretty much admirable. The sound effects support the visual horror in an impressive manner. There is one scene when an elevator keeps stopping at one floor full of darkness, and when you think you can avoid this moment by taking the stairs, there is a demon waiting downstairs. There is the moment when a young girl appears and runs towards you and when the door closes and opens, she transforms into something else. There is the bloody guarantee to scare the audience here, and it is something which is not easy to provide. It is time you respect the dolls, and may be after watching this movie, you will.

The claws of flaw :: There are those expectations which make things a lot worse than they really are, and what people expect after watching The Conjuring should be something not less than marvelous, and even as that movie’s fans will surely watch this one, the same has badly affected the opinions which have come out. Considering how much of a big level that movie had left for all the horror movies which were to follow, especially for a flick which claims to be its prequel. Annabelle lags behind The Conjuring with its ideas and the repetition of things that we have seen so many times in our horror watching life, as its plot gets thinner. Even as the end is satisfying, it is rather too predictable and not something that was wanted by those who wanted the evil to end or for the same to thrive. There is no grand success in a pure evil manner, or the end of evil with an exorcism, and also the movie takes a little bit too time to get into full flow of horror and those who are looking for ghosts end up getting restless early itself.

Performers of the soul :: Annabelle Wallis is lovely in her role (with the name of the doll for herself – that’s a nice surprise in the credits section and makes one wonder if it was intentional), but being scared becomes the more important part of her presence, and that indeed seems to work well with her character. Ward Horton and the rest of the cast are left with not much to do, except for a little bit from Alfre Woodard and Tony Amendola. Otherwise, there is not much to do for the actors and actresses, and that is no surprise from a horror movie. Its ddependenceon the performance of its cast is pretty low, as it keeps bringing those moments of terror now and then to minimize the focus on everything else. But the question remains if some more for the acting department would have been good, as this is nothing like The Conjuring, and needed more doses here and there to elevate its status.

Soul exploration :: Annabelle reinforces the faith in the supernatural, and it is always a good thing to have, in a world where people live with the false pride of being everything and believing to the be the centre of the world. Such movies are necessary for the realization that we can’t always know everything, and there will always be things beyond our comprehension. The more we remember about our minuteness, the better the world gets. There might be too many supernatural horror movies which are better than Annabelle, including the two parts of Insidious, Sinister and The Conjuring, and the dolls of Curse of Chucky and Dead Silence surely seems to do better than our demonic doll here. But Annabelle has life of her own, and despite the need to take a few lessons from Chucky, her power as the demonic doll will also stay. Do watch those other two doll movies I mentioned if you missed them. For a review of the former: https://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/curseofchucky/

How it finishes :: People will obviously want to think low of Annabelle due to the high expectations which haven’t come down even after the bad reviews. A number of reviewers from this part of the world had given even better ratings to below average movies like Pizza just because it was produced by Bollywood – is it how the quality is to be decided? Yes, one has to wonder how such a thing should even happen. Lets not come to any conclusions here though, as there is the certainty that Annabelle scares the audience, and any denial of the same directly takes the viewer with such an opinion into the demonic realm where he or she can join the devil. No, Annabelle is nowhere close to being perfect, and it has its moments of struggles. You can ask for many things extra in this movie, but that it clearly a direct result of your deadly high expectations which had ventured too high and as a result had gone to Mars with Mangalyaan. Just remember that there is chance for another movie between this one and The Conjuring 😀

Release date: 10th October 2014 (India); 3rd October 2014 (USA)
Running time: 98 minutes
Directed by: John R. Leonetti
Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard, Tony Amendola, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, Eric Ladin, Ivar Brogger, Tree O’Toole, Keira Daniels, Morganna May

annabelle

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.