Rings

Vampire Owl: This sounds a lot cooler. Does the “s” in the end mean that there are many rings?

Vampire Bat: Why does this feel cooler when the critical appreciation has been so low with this one?

Vampire Owl: Because there seems to be more than one ring. So, there could be more than one spirit in play.

Vampire Bat: Are you going towards talking about the wedding ring that is planned to be given to Lady Death?

Vampire Owl: Yes, something like that too.

Vampire Bat: Dude, don’t you know that being married to Lady Death means that you have to die?

Vampire Owl: Yes, but I am already dead and risen. I am undead, we all are.

Vampire Bat: But the undead can also die in some ways, and you know that too.

Vampire Owl: But death by Lady Death has its special advantages.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is your undead call in the end.

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

What is the movie about? :: On an airplane, two passengers Carter (Zach Roerig) and Kelly (Lizzie Brochere) discover that it has been seven days since they both had watched the infamous Samara Morgan’s (Zoe Pessin) cursed videotape which has been circulating well to take enough lives all around. The two realise that they are going to die soon, but at some point, it feels that being on airplane provides them some protection as the cursed entity from the video tape can’t reach there as they are so much above the ground and in the presence of many people, but it turns out that they are wrong. There seems to be some problem with all the screens of the airplane whether it is of the pilots or the passengers, as the evil entity arrives on the video, and the plane crashes killing them all, with no evidence of what caused the disaster.

So, what happens next? :: Julia (Matilda Lutz) sends off her boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) to the college, and after being in contact for months, suddenly has no information about him. One day, she finds Skye (Aimee Teegarden), a beautiful girl on the other side of the video chat, and there is no sign of Holt. So, she decides to search for him all by herself. She reaches the college, and find the professor whom Holt said was an interesting person with whom he was working with projects – Gabriel Brown (Johnny Galecki). But the professor denies having known this particular person, and tells her that she should move on, as people of his age finds something more interesting, or maybe it is about him finding someone better. But she doesn’t give up as she follows Gabriel to a secret area of the college, which is more than what meets the eye.

So, how does the big mystery reveal with its twists? :: There she meets the beautiful girl whom she had seen in the video chat, Skye, who takes her to her apartment, and asks her to watch a video. But Holt who contacts them asks her not to, and then there is the evil entity, Samara arriving, and she takes Skye’s life while Julia locks her inside the bathroom. Holt arrives soon to confirm everything, and she comes to know that he is in trouble. Gabriel, who had bought a VCR with the tape inside, had watched the mysterious video, and was keeping on transferring the curse to another person before the seven days end, a process that has been going on and on, so that nobody died. Gabriel was so much interested in learning about this tape which is the gateway to the other world, so that the process continues. Unable to watch Holt die, Julia watches his copy and carries over the curse to him, but this time, the video is more than the usual one.

The defence of Rings :: This is the tale that becomes more of an origin story than anything else. This could have easily been a reboot, or the tale of another girl who is not the popular horror character who has been there for so long. The mystery factor gets the advantage over the horror side. Also, among the cast, it is Aimee Teegarden who seems to be able to become the best scream queen, and they could have used her throughout the movie, while Matilda Lutz brings enough of the same. There is something that we can always be sure about though; it is that a movie from The Ring franchise will always be that, and no matter how much people try to degrade a movie from the series, there will always be something in it, as the continuation of one of the most loved horror movies of all-time, and what might be the best horror adaptation from the Japanese.

The Claws of flaw :: You would expect that a movie like this which has a powerful foundation can do very well to make this franchise even better, but that is not the case, as there is no symbol of improvement everyone, and at times, one has to wonder if this has deviated so much that Rings is a movie which has not much to do with the franchise except for the antagonist proclaiming the same. The movie also has a certain shortage of scares, which is surprising, because the antagonist here is someone who has attained an iconic status, not just with the movies of this franchise, but also with the Scary Movie franchise, most notably Scary Movie 3 which had used the scary moments to evoke laughter brilliantly. The expectations were so high, but what was delivered was just a movie just manages to do enough because we had forgotten most of that movie which released fifteen years ago, and the gap here is so much to bring a comparison without watching the original again.

How it finishes :: A lot of things have changed since the first movie had released, and there is no doubt that we have a different world for the entity to enter right now. It was like fifteen years ago when the horror genre hadn’t become this huge as far as the common audience are concerned. These are the days when even Malayalam movie industry which focuses so less in horror, thought that bringing a superstar horror movie with high quality special effects was required, and Ezra came into being. Rings might not be anywhere close to bringing justice to the series of novels wriiten by Koji Suzuki, the Japanese versions of the movies, or the first movie which made the big impact and brought alive the other remakes from the Japanese including The Grudge, Dark Water and Pulse. But Rings still remain a movie which can keep the franchise moving forward, and it surely has those moments which will keep you wish for a sequel that could do even better. Just don’t look for a Don’t Breathe, Lights Out or It Follows, as this is the sequel to a big horror movie, and it will be fine enough.

Release date: 3rd February 2017
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Starring: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan, Chuck David Willis, Patrick R. Walker, Zach Roerig, Laura Wiggins, Lizzie Brocheré, Karen Ceesay, Dave Blamy, Michael E. Sanders, Randall Taylor, Drew Grey, Kayli Carter, Jill Jane Clements, Adam Fristoe, Zoe Pessin

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

3G

The Vampire Bat’s desire for horror has been getting stronger and stronger every day. The procedure of watching Murder 3 actually accelerated it to the maximum and therefore 3G was not to be missed. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, The Cabin in the Woods, House at the End of the Street or The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia never came to the theatres here. There was no question of The Woman in Black. For Paranormal Activity 4, they might have had an early heart attack. But unfortunately, Piranha 3DD did arrive as pseudo-horror. The only hope was to adjust with the Resident Evil and the Underworld series as horror even as they could no longer fit into that category. This ridiculous attitude towards horror might be the worst thing about the theatres and malls around here, as they don’t really mind the local language horror movies, not checking if they are any good. At least 3G made it to most of the theatres around here, even if it is no material of Silent Hill quality. The silence of depression which every horror fan faces around here needs to be treated, and therefore, this review is going to be quite lenient – there will be no hard measures taken on this movie and it will be given a free pass in many departments.

“Wherever you go i am there: Gadha Jam” said Mohanlal in the 1989 Malayalam movie Vandanam. Here, it is a mobile phone which says the same. It is an advanced phone for a spirit to try and infect, with touch screen and 3G facility. The movie begins with a guy murdering his girlfriend stabbing her through the right eye right after proposing to her in an abandoned area. Then the screen shifts to a stylish opening credits shown in a very innovative way in the beginning. There is the mention of the billions of phone users in the world. It also talks about the large number of phantom calls which are received worldwide which cannot be traced. Here, these calls are related to spirits of the other world trying to connect to this world. That did sound a little overreaching for me, but that also gave a push both to the expectations and the skepticism. This is the beginning of an ambitious plot and we might be talking more about its ambiguity later, but for now lets get on with it.

The 3rd generation of mobile telecommunications technology makes way for Sheena (Sonal Chauhan) who comes out of the saline water of Fiji in a red bikini; and that much talked-about scene ends with a not-so-happy conversation with her lover Sam (Neil Nitin Mukesh). But all the minute problems are solved as he comes to Fiji to be with her, losing his mobile in the process and initiating the “Kaise Bataaoon” song. There are surely in love, but are always interrupted, first by Sam’s own hallucinations which makes him see demonic faces not only on others, but also as a ghost – something which interferes with their relationship. The second stage makes him near-possessed and almost makes him strangle Sheena in her bath tub and also to take his own life by hanging. Then the spirit seems to take over him completely. To add to it, there is a video of a girl getting murdered inside the phone while strange sights and voices happen on the outside. The attempt to get rid of the phone has already failed, as it came back from being deposited in the sea as well as being broken into pieces. That should have been expected when there are dead people involved.

Neil’s territory is divided into two, one of a passionate lover and the other of the possessed. His performance as the former is never under doubt and the as the latter is incredible at times and okay on the other occasions. One of those moments is when he is seen possessed over the bath tub of his lover and the other when he asks a priest, “Have you forgiven yourself?”. The moments are strange, but effective enough. There is also a scene of bloody murder which is strange, but still powered by his thrilling performance. Sonal has the supporting role, looking gorgeous and playing the character who hesitates to leave her lover despite of the haunting that happens around him and inside his mind. She never looks less than stunning throughout the movie. Her presence here only does the movie good, even though it is surely not for giving a big performance that she is there. I wouldn’t guess that people were expecting something else around here.

This movie is less of a thriller and more of a horror flick, and in that case, this one is far ahead of any of the movies in Bollywood. I would not deny that Murder 2 and Murder 3 were better in wholeness, but the fact remains that 3G better in parts. But, the problem is that this lack of wholeness makes this one inferior to the other two I mentioned. Still, the advantages of 3G includes its ability and its use of that ability to successfully generate the visual and audible fear supported by good use of sound effects & camera, in a much spookier way compared to its predecessors. The creepy environment is successfully created even in the presence of two of the best looking people on the screen, and the attention successfully shifts more to the horror elements than them. The fact that things get kind of absurd and fails to make much sense as a movie with its weaker logic still makes it good in parts. 3G certainly has its moments of horror glory, but there also those of extreme stupidity creating moments of unintentional comedy. This is more of a minor oasis in the desert of romantic comedies and mindless action for the starving horror fans in India.

There was a lot of scope for this movie, but the ghost who tries to be Miss India and a grown-up version of The Ring girl at the same time, along with the fluctuations in the story has left the audience with more to ask for. There is a certain absence of intellect as well as the presence of ambiguity throughout the movie, even as the first half rarely explains anything. The best not-so-hot, not-so-intimate scene in the movie still came in the first half, when our hero is playing a game of car race in a taxi in the mobile and with a crash in the game comes a car crash in real life, as they land in the hospital with the spirit mobile which is left unscratched. Well, watch it for Neil Nitin Mukesh’s depiction of two personalities, the possessed and the unpossessed, the dazzling beauty that is Sonal Chauhan and the interesting concept of horror which hasn’t been tried this effectively in Indian movies. There is also a message against porn in the movie, and the presence of a hidden message against the effect of technology in our lives, especially that of the mobile phones. I hope you can recollect that much remembered scene from The Ring when Samara crawls from the tv and kills Noah with fear. Nobody crawls out of the mobile though, as the ghost is both inside and outside; but keep that in mind.

The need for horror has reached its highest point right now. Unless, the multiplexes and regular theatres do not hesitate to show the bloody movies of International horror standards, there will be no satisfaction for the common horror fan. The movies like 3G, Murder 3 and Table No.21 might serve as satisfactory thrillers or sources of horror which might give a small, but certain amount of relief. If one thinks about Dracula 2012 3D in Malayalam, no lets just leave the literary works alone; for they are to be more classics than just horror and the vampire life would just be like a random Twilight unless the soul of the work makes it way to the screen. Well, how can you reach the heart even when you cut incredibly deep if there is none? How can you influence the brain if it is already frozen and unavailable? 3G doesn’t really appeal to the brain, but for the heart, it is another story. It won’t really matter how this one would turn out to be, but there will be no stopping the horror genre. If the best horror movies are brought to the theatres, that would be incredibly satisfying, or otherwise there is 3G.

Release date: 15th March 2013
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Sheershak Anand-Shantanu Ray Chibber
Starring: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonal Chauhan, Mrinalini Sharma, Asheesh Kapur

3G

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.