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 Forest

Vampire Owl: I once went to this particular forest known for suicides.

Vampire Bat: And then what happened?

Vampire Owl: I just couldn’t live up-to its reputation as I had already died.

Vampire Bat: Even the undead can die, you know.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the ghosts were against it. They told me that it is cheating.

Vampire Bat: Why did you even have to listen to them?

Vampire Owl: Well, they told me that they would transform me into a human.

Vampire Bat: What? It is so cruel. It would have been better to keep split personalities instead.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I just couldn’t bear being part of an inherently evil species. So, I said no.

Vampire Bat: I have to say that you did the right thing this time. The blood wars are coming, and we have to say no to more than one thing.

[Gets three cups of lemon tea with 50-50 biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: Sara Price (Natalie Dormer) is spending her time with her fiance, Rob (Eoin Macken), and is having some happy moments of her life in her home in the United States of America when she gets an unexpected call from Japan. She is informed that her twin sister, Jess Price (again Natalie Dormer) is dead. The idea is that she was last seen going into Aokigahara forest known more as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees, and those who go there alone at night rarely come back as it is a place where people commit suicide. It is rather believed to be the most popular suicide destination in the world which has so many strange tales associated with it. The forest is known to be home to yurei or or rather the ghosts of Japanese mythology. It is also said that long ago, the elderly or unwell people were left to die in the forest, and the place had its dead bodies and ghosts from centuries ago. The place has that kind of a terrifying reputation.

So, what happens next? :: But that doesn’t stop Sara from looking for her sister, and despite the concerns of Rob, she travels to Japan, and after talking to the people at the school where she was teaching, gets to the hotel where Jess was staying. There she meets a man named Aiden (Taylor Kinney) with whom she share a drink and they become friends. After listening to her story, he tells her that he is a photographer and will accompany her to the forest. They are also to be accompanied by a guide named Michi (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) whose presence will help them to get out of the forest if they lose their way or if anything goes wrong. As they go to the forest, Michi tells her that Jess should most probably be dead, and there is nothing changing the same. But Sara says that it is not possible, and as they are twins, she will somehow know if she was dead. She is quite convinced that her sister would never commit suicide.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: After traveling for some time in the forest, they come across the tent which Jess had used, but it was nearing nightfall, and Michi tells them that they have to go back as soon as possible. But Sara is convinced that the best option for them is to stay there, as Jess might come back to the tent by night. But Michi tells her that it is not safe, as the forest has its own ghosts, and they will make her see things which will drive her mad, and it will be she who will be lost on the next day. With their best efforts not seeing anything good in the end, Aiden says that he will stay with her throughout the night, and Michi leaves them to what seems to be a complicated fate. So, by staying in the dark forest which is believed to have more spirits than people, can Sara finally find Jess, and can at least one of the two sisters return home alive from the forest? Well, it is not that simple as it seems to be.

The defence of The Forest :: Aokigahara Forest is a nice location for a change, and with the tales that are told about the same, we become more and more interesting in watching a horror movie based on the same location. Natalie Dormer does a very good job as the twins here, and we are glad to see her in two roles, and she does her job very well. Known the best for her work in Game of Thrones series and also in The Hunger Games, it is great to see the talented actress doing the big role in a horror movie. The forest is also a solid character by itself, as we see possibilities going endless from the beginning itself. It does bring the question about what really is the reality and what is the hallucination – something that the ghosts use to confuse its new preys. The visuals are nicely used to support the same, and we surely have to say that there is an attempt to go different here.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have surely used more scares, especially with such a mysterious forest at the centre of everything – the site of tragedy and strange beliefs hasn’t got the due that it deserved. The Forest could have used more ghosts than any other movie, and the variety that it could have brought with its scares would have made it close to a masterpiece; but such an effort is certainly not made here. When such creepiness is around, you expect the scary side to hold on and get to be better, and it is something that you never see anywhere around here. This struggle to use the material in hand should feel strange for many viewers. It also has to be noted that other than Natalie Dormer, there is nothing much of a cast to do anything big. Maybe it is the lack of focus that bring the trouble rather than anything else, as we see the struggle towards the end from a movie which began so well.

How it finishes :: You will surely find The Forest to be a rather strange movie, which means that whether you like it or not, it is very difficult to ignore it. With Natalie Dormer in full form, you might expect more and more, and what you get might not satisfy you enough. If you consider the mystery elements more and the scares a little less, you will not find this one to be less interesting. As you think differently, you will find this movie to catch your attention with its divergence. After all, it is one reality that we have in our lives, and the inability to understand what is real and what is unreal, and what is good and what is evil, is something that should be scary even out of the limits of a horror movie. Well, this one is creepy enough, and you just need to read less number of reviews before watching this movie. You remember the movie Pet, which was different in its own way.

Release date: 8th January 2016
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Jason Zada
Starring: Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney, Yukiyoshi Ozawa, Eoin Macken, Rina Takasaki, Noriko Sakura, Yûho Yamashita, James Owen

@ 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.

Law Point

lawpoint (2)

That point to be noted :: There are some movies which come silently and go unnoticed. This was going to be the case of Law Point as it didn’t release in a good number of local theatres where even The Amazing Spider-Man 2 released, and that comes as a big surprise considering the fact that a Kunchako Boban – Namitha Pramod pairing has some good scope to attract audience, not just the fans of Kunchako, since Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum. Now, where is that much needed hype which should have been present here at least a little bit? A movie which released in silence and went on to become a big hit was Memories, but that belonged to another class, and also to a director who had never known to have evaded victory, and the creator of greatest hit of all time in Malayalam (Drishyam), Jeethu Joseph. Meanwhile, this one comes from Lijin Jose who directed the 2012 movie Friday. It was a fine movie, no matter how some of the audience might have rated it, and it surely gave the viewers a lot to think about. Now, thinking isn’t what most of the fan-boys do these days right? If they do that, they would never be the minions of actors, but a lot above that with their own individuality. Friday had given us a director who could innovate well in his directorial debut, and it is on that same director that I trust while watching this movie.

What is it about? :: Sathya (Kunchako Boban) is a brilliant lawyer who has the ability to do wonders at the court, and spends most of his time taking the cases of big-shots and saving them from the crimes which they have committed. He is proud and shows more interest in money than anything else. After saving a rape-accused, Kuriyachan (Suraj Vencharamoodu) from the law, a millionaire named Ramakrishnan (Nedumudi Venu) comes to meet him and asks his help to get his son out of trouble. The son was in a big problem as his girlfriend tried to commit suicide as he refused to marry her and they were going to file a case against him according to the last letter that she had written. Sathya agrees to become a mediator and solve the case for which he is going to get rupees twenty lakhs and the girl’s family is going to get a crore rupees. Even as her father Philippos (Joy Matthew) seems to agree a bit, the girl Maya (Namitha Pramod) is not ready to agree. Therefore, Sathya asks her to come with him for a ride in his Volvo, to which she agrees as she has been spending too much time locked in her house. As the simple ride gets longer than expected, a lot more comes out of it, and sooner or later, it will change the life of Sathya with a twist.

The defence of Law Point :: Whatever is expected from Law Point, it has nothing to do with them, as it is not really a courtroom drama, suspense thriller or action romance or a mixture of any two of these combined in another combination. There is nothing about the court and neither is there much to justify its title. The movie chooses to be different and go in a path which might not be unexplored, but which is not expected to follow with such a cast and settings. The beginning setting is just the base for what is to be revealed in the end, and the whole thing that happens between works just to connect and make things interesting. The visuals are nicely captured, most of the best ones around Vagamon and the surrounding areas. The background music is nice (despite reminding of the Yuvvh music by the end), and the songs as well as their picturization are nice. The movie is very short for a Malayalam flick, lasting just above an hour and forty five minutes, and that makes sure that this becomes more of a fast food for the movie watchers. As the other Malayalam movies except 7th Day which has released since Vishu haven’t managed to work, Law Point might just work well with some audience with its points.

The claws of flaw :: The movie comes up with good drag in between, especially the time close to the interval, sometime before and after that. By the time the interval is reached, people might be left a little confused about where the movie is heading, as it doesn’t reach an interesting position by then. The first aim of the movie should have been to keep the viewers interested, but that is not the first preference here. The end might actually destroy the purpose of a lot of things which happen in the middle, but for others, there is good reason in the end. The end twist should have had a little more punch, and the lack of the dark side makes this one end up with a feel-good effect, but that won’t satisfy those with different expectations. The dark themes remain absent even as they threaten to come up in the beginning. The impact is less, and the movie ends when the viewers expect a little more twist or some addition to the romantic side or even a change of character from the protagonist who seems to remain the same proud young man with that over-confidence still failing to disappear.

Performers of the soul :: Kunchako Boban has a nice introduction, and comes up with a nice performance as the young lawyer even as he has just one scene in the court and the rest are all outside. He plays that kind of a proud and confident advocate who thinks that he can even save the devil himself if in trouble and he is that damn smart. His negative shade is nice, but kept under control throughout the movie. Then there is Namitha Pramod with her best performance ever, as she carries that character on her shoulder beautifully. There are times when one wonders if the middle period of the movie is meant to prove that she is pretty, something which doesn’t need any proof as far as any viewer is concerned. She looks better than ever, and her acting graces her beauty so well. They form a nice hit pair, second only to, may be the Nivin Pauly – Nazriya Nazim pair. Suraj Venjaramoodu has only the initial scenes, and there are the funnier scenes around. Meanwhile, Joy Mathew’s role is nice as usual.

Soul exploration :: Law Point plays a twisted game, something which looks rather plain in the first half, but it is not, as proven later. But this game of twists remain faithful to the lighter side. The centre of this movie is a suicide attempt. Yes, suicide is a punishable offence in India, and that is re-asserted in the movie. There have been something about repealing the same, but not active yet. Yes, the one who attempts to commit suicide and fails in the same is not just the victim, but also guilty in the eyes of the law. Here, that is often repeated in talking about the victimization, the culprit and the two sides of the same law, the only law point which keeps moving through the movie. Is it right to have the depressed suffer again just because he or she made the wrong choice at that moment of extreme emotions? As our lady protagonist asks, hasn’t everyone thought about committing suicide at some point of their lives? Still, isn’t each individual life so important that suicide is a sin? But there is that nice game that is being played, and after that twist, we come to know that all’s well that ends well.

How it finishes :: The current situation is favourable to Law Point, considering what else are the Indian movies running in the theatres released in the last few weeks. The movie needed a lot more publicity as well as a few additions here and there which could have made it complete. There is a lot that such popularity can do to this type of movies. I searched for its Facebook page and was disappointed not to find one, but found information about its release and other stuff from the official pages of the leading actors. It is a sure watch for the fans of both Kunchako Boban and Namitha Pramod. Kunchako has been a minimum guarantee star, and with Polytechnic and this one, he is coming back to the form slowly but steadily. Namitha’s success story has continued well so far, and even the lesser appreciated Puthiya Theerangal was a nice one, something which I can certify with ease. There is shortage of action and there are no real thrills, but the movie’s twists can pull it up from any trouble that it causes to the viewers.

Release date: 1st May 2014
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Lijin Jose
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Namitha Pramod, Joy Mathew, Nedumudi Venu, Praveena, Devan, Suraj Venjaramoodu, KPAC Lalitha, Kalabhavan Prajod, Shari, P. Balachandran, S. V. Krishna Shankar

lawpoint copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.