Two

Vampire Owl: There are two of us here. Therefore, watching the movie is relevant.

Vampire Bat: This movie seems to have something to do with the number, two.

Vampire Owl: I don’t really like that number though. I like “one” – I am the greatest one.

Vampire Bat: Uncle Dracula is the greatest of us all.

Vampire Owl: You just cannot put so much greatness on him anymore.

Vampire Bat: The times haven’t changed. Dracula is still relevant.

Vampire Owl: Vampires are still relevant. Dracula is not.

Vampire Bat: There are no vampires without Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Owl: Maybe in the Dracula Castle. It is not the same case outside.

Vampire Bat: Well, you can just wait and see, after his birthday party which is coming up.

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

What is the movie about? :: Sara (Marina Gatell) and David (Pablo Derqui) wakes up in the bed somewhere, stitched to each other. They don’t really have any memory how they reached there. The two try to figure out what has happened with them, and where they are. They guess that someone drugged them and brought them here and stitched them up. The people responsible seems to have taken away everything from them, from clothes to wrist watches. They try to make some connection between them, but there is nothing in common between the two. It is also realized that they are being recorded with cameras all around the room. The room seems to be something that gives an aristocratic feeling, making them feel that someone rich and influential is behind their situation. They do find some clues about the same, but someone seems to get into the room at times, and they are not able to find out who. The room seems to be too secure for anyone to go out, with lock being strongly applied from outside.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Sara has the feeling that her husband, Mario (Esteban Galilea) has something to do with it. He is supposed to be someone very rich and influential, with doubts that she is having an affair with another man. She feels that there is also something about him that has resulted in David also reaching there. He also has the feeling that maybe he also knows her husband, who is a much older person. There is also a name Rita (Anna Chincho Serrano) that comes across them, as part of a photo which is placed in the room. Yet, they are not able to remember any of such a name as part of their lives. They feel that maybe this will end only in their death, and try to break down the door, which feels very reinforced. The windows also lead nowhere. There are some big revelations to be made, but they wonder if they will stay alive to understand all of those. Soon, their past will come back to them, and the one thing which makes the two connected with the man who is behind all of these.

The defence of Two :: The movie is just one hour and ten minutes long, which makes sure that there is absolutely no drag about it. It doesn’t slow down even though there were many chances in between. There is also the successful maintenance of suspense with twists, as we don’t guess what is coming in the end, even though there are so many things happening in between. The red herrings are delivered effectively, and we make so many guesses about the antagonist who is responsible for what is happening here. It does work as body horror, a subgenre which is difficult to appeal to people – unlike other movies of the same kind, this film actually knows where to keep the borders, and not to be disgusting at any point. The genre is often too much to handle for many people due to the amount of gore and extremities related to body parts, but this one stays at the border related to that. The setting of the room which this movie uses throughout its run also adds on well, and the mysteries to be revealed here are also of interest.

Positives and negatives :: There have been a number of Spanish movies which have tried to be different from the rest – there was The Platform, and here we have this one. This one still seems to have rushed through things too much, as we look at the final moments. It could have taken more time finish it though, as the length here is just seventy minutes and nothing more. The setting which is one place at all times, is nicely managed too. This is also one of those rare films which maintains the Classical Unities of Aristotle. Unity of action is maintained with that one principal action of being stitched together and being together at all times, while unity of place is maintained with where they are trapped, and unity of action is clear as everything happens within twenty four hours. It has been difficult to maintain these in movies, as people look forward to seeing many other things and occurrences as films progress. But in this case, they have made the situation very interesting. Even though this is not the usual horror, the situation of the protagonists is surely a scary one.

Performers of the soul :: With everything dependent on two people, this film focuses on their performances, one can safely say that this works effectively due to the same. We also see that the characters do evolve as the tale progresses. The conversation between the two becomes very important too. Marina Gatell places herself in the situation very well, and comes up with a fine performance. She plays a person who is confused and wants to figure out what is happening quick enough, and even suspects the person who is with her – the character works out really well for her. Pablo Derqui who plays the other person in trouble, takes things slowly, and has better idea of how criminals works – makes the person with him doubtful. The situations which are nicely created for them, is managed well by the two. The whole idea is made better with the performances of these two. The rest of the characters only arrive by the end, or are present only in photos. In the end, we know that in Two, there are only two characters who gets the chance to come up with worthy performances.

How it finishes :: Being stitched to someone else is horror enough, and this Spanish movie use that to its advantage, getting to the list of films in that language which have tried to be different in multiple ways. Thanks to the performance of the leading cast, this one never lags behind, even when there were so many opportunities. It provides us with the opportunity to make so many guesses, and it also has us coming to that twist when least expected. The short journey is very much an engaging watch, and as long as you don’t have a problem with some body horror, this is to work just fine. During the time of Corona virus pandemic, a number of films had people quarantined alone, while this one has two people locked in a room as one. It is indeed an interesting, but strange concept, as you look at it. The creative imagination behind the movie seems to be working well in this particular case. Netflix has once again scored with another fine addition to the grand list of horror and thrills.

Release date: 10th December 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 70 minutes
Directed by: Mar Targarona
Starring: Marina Gatell, Pablo Derqui, Anna Chincho Serrano, Kandido Uranga, Esteban Galilea

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Color Out of Space

Vampire Owl: Does space have preference for any particular colour?

Vampire Bat: The colour here does look pink during the alien invasion.

Vampire Owl: Oh! I had considered it to be blue after the release of Avatar.

Vampire Bat: So, you didn’t think that it is black after Alien released.

Vampire Owl: No, blue just gave a better feeling, and nothing could rise over Avatar until Avengers: Endgame broke its box-office records.

Vampire Bat: But here, we have a pinkish colour which is almost pink.

Vampire Owl: We can take that for now, and leave it after the movie ends, because then it will always be blue.

Vampire Bat: Well, this one is from a story by HP Lovecraft, a master of horror. So, it is better to accept this colour as the alien shade.

Vampire Owl: I can’t do that. I have tried the same before with Stephen King.

Vampire Bat: Well, you can at least watch the movie and make the final decision.

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

What is the movie about? :: Theresa Gardner (Joely Richardson), a financial advisor has been losing her clients after she was diagonised with breast cancer, and had a long treatment. As she settled down in a rural are with a farm where the family attempted to grow tomatoes and have alpacas for milk, she also had limited access to the internet, leading to a further problems in her career. Her husband Nathan Gardner (Nicolas Cage) had received the huge farm from his father, covering a grand area which extended towards the river on one side, and one the other side, it was almost impossible to find the borders. Their son Benny Gardner (Brendan Meyer) has been hanging around with Ezra (Tommy Chong) a local recluse who has been drinking a lot of alcohol and smoking weed all the time after he stopped being an electrician, and settled down in an area surrounded by woods. Nathan and Theresa are disappointed at the same, but there is nothing they can do.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Benny is not the only one affected by her mother’s disease and their move to the ancestral property, as their youngest son Jack Gardner (Julian Hilliard) is not even interested in talking to anyone else other than his pet dog Sam as he kept to himself all the time. Their only daughter Lavinia Gardner (Madeleine Arthur) becomes a Wiccan, and starts pagan witchcraft with the help of guides on black magic, hoping that one of those rituals close to nature can cure her mother’s remaining cancer cells completely. She keeps wearing strange and revealing Wiccan or Gothic clothing, and has coloured her hair in shade of violet, often traveling on a horse, much to the dismay of her parents. It is then that Ward Phillips (Elliot Knight) a hydrologist, surveying the water for an upcoming hydroelectric dam arrives there, and meets Lavinia in the middle of a pagan ritual involving a lock of hair.

And what else is to follow in this rural setting, making things different and divergent? :: One night, they are woken up by a Pinkish colour and a huge sound, which seems to be not of this world. While Lavinia feels it to be something magical, Benny finds it to be something from another planet, and they all finally agree that it is a meteorite after seeing a pink piece of the same lying on their lands. It is not exactly pink, with the colour feeling to be rather unearthly, and there is also a foul smell related to it. The very next morning, the meteorite is no longer glowing and is crumbling to dust. The mayor and the sheriff of the nearby town of Arkham also arrive to see it, followed by the television channels. But by that time, there is not much of the alien object remaining, seemingly having crumbled to death, leading to nobody taking it seriously. But on the next day, it is continuously struck by several bolts of lightning. Ward finds something wrong with the water there. How has the meteorite influenced the land, water and people around there? Is it safe anymore?

The defence of Color Out of Space :: HP Lovecraft is known to have blended science fiction with horror well, and it can be seen here too – use of science to reinforce the terror can be seen here, and it is displayed well in the movie. Use of recognizable monsters, jump scares and gory stuff is not longer the case, as a we go for the weird. It leaves a lot to be imagined too, as the fear feels more than what is seen here. The primordial forces from different worlds are stronger and beyond control, with no chance to escape, as no conceptions of reality can go beyond them. We are left with no power in front of things we don’t understand at all – it is the kind of horror from where nobody leaves alive. The colours are beautiful to watch on screen, adding to the lovely visuals of the countryside, but is supposed to be terror inside. Nicolas Cage does the usual job here and nothing more, but he is the one we trust every time. Madeleine Arthur remains cute even when going on the witch mode, and comes up with the next best performance, followed by Elliot Knight in this different horror thriller science fiction with colour itself as the alien life-form.

The claws of flaw :: As you already know, Colour Out of Space is not your usual type of horror thriller with a science fiction background present too – it is not for everyone, with all the weirdness, and a certain amount of disgust related to the same. The strangeness that one can feel in this movie goes rather too much for many people, and for Lovecraftian works transformed into movies, this might be found to be natural. This is the kind of tale which came before Alien and its sequels, and so, right now, we expect this movie adaptation to be even better – we don’t see that much of an extra effort which is put in here. The horror could have been added with something more, making it even more suitable for the age. There are times when one feels a comic effect, which should have been avoided, considering how terrifying, an inescapable this situation seems to be. One also has to doubt the use of Nicolas Cage here, who is not at his usual self. The final moments could have been better managed too.

How it finishes :: The movie is based on The Colour Out of Space, which is a science fiction as well as horror short story by the famous American author HP Lovecraft, who has come up with special interpretations in his tales regarding humanity’s place in the universe. His popular tales like The Call of Cthulhu, The Rats in the Walls, At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow over Innsmouth, and The Shadow Out of Time have all been needing film adaptations, due to them bringing something a lot different than what we have had during those times. There has been many previous adaptations of his works, especially this particular story, but most of them haven’t been that popular, at least at this part of the world. This one has the ability to be more popular, even after some time after its release, because it has Nicolas Cage at the centre of things, and supported well, this one will rise above the others – this surely is one interesting journey, and you can go through that Lovecraft divergence nicely here.

Release date: 7th September 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Richard Stanley
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Madeleine Arthur, Joely Richardson, Q’orianka Kilcher, Tommy Chong

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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.