Baba Yaga

Vampire Owl: So, we are having a new monster list.

Vampire Bat: I don’t feel that any more creatures from legends need to be added to the castle’s list.

Vampire Owl: So, you think that this monster won’t make its way into the castle?

Vampire Bat: I am sure that Doctor Frankenstein has enough monsters locked in there in his lab for experiments and there is no room for any more.

Vampire Owl: Well, they don’t seem to have a castle of their own.

Vampire Bat: These are creatures of the forest. They don’t need castles.

Vampire Owl: Everyone can use a castle, or rather two of them.

Vampire Bat: What can a monster do with two castles?

Vampire Owl: Well, you can always rent one of the two.

Vampire Bat: Do not give such ideas to Uncle Dracula.

[Gets a paneer samosa and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Egor (Oleg Chugunov) has moved to their new home with his father Alexey (Aleksey Rozin) and stepmother Yuliya (Maryana Spivak), as well as the newly born stepsister. It is quite a strange place, with a highly advanced township with modern buildings very close to a very thick forest, separated with the help of walls. This new apartment in the outskirts don’t really have people mingling much with each other, as they keep away, not really thinking about visiting the neighbours. Egor also finds it difficult to make friends in the strange new place, except for Dania a.k.a. Dasha (Glafira Golubeva) who is also an outcast. But their relationship also goes a strange path due to the influence of a sinister force, and their parents also never cease to be hostile to them, most of the time, for no reason at all. Things are just not normal about the new township and the forests surrounding the same.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Soon, the newly moved family has a new nanny, Tatyana (Svetlana Ustinova), whom Egor doesn’t trust at all, and within no time, the baby goes missing. But it turns out that Alexey and Yuliya don’t remember ever having a child. The baby also disappears from the photos, which makes it extremely difficult to make them believe about the existence of their child. In the forest, the kid meets a man who is supposed to have lost his daughter, but somehow remember about his loss. They understand that it is a Slavic demon who lives at the border between the living and the dead, often known by the name, Baba Yaga. They feel that the real presence of the demon is somewhere near an abandoned power station. But finding the lost babies won’t be that easy, as there is more than what the legends have told them from the internet. They do find strange things in the forest, and having another boy, as Anton (Artyom Zhigulin) with them doesn’t help at all. Back home, things have managed to be worse.

And what more happens here as things go out of control for humanity? :: The demon which has taken the shape of different people has control over people in their world, and they won’t find peace back there either. They have many visions, thanks to the demon’s influence, and now their survival should concern them more than that of the babies. As they wander around the place, they soon realize that may be they are not really at home, and is stuck within a world of chaos. Alexey has already been made to make sure that his son is dead as soon as he arrive. Soon, they will have to fight their own minds to get out of what seems to be a prison created by the demon. But there are other creatures which they have to deal with. Now the question remains if they are matured enough to lead an assault into the lair of this demon, or the witch as some people call her. The fate all the babies of the future depends on their success.

The defence of Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest :: The best part of the film is the visual beauty itself, as we get to see the modernity on one side, well maintained, and on the other side, we have the natural beauty of the forests, and the use of lighting and darkness is very effective in the movie. There is a lot of divergence in how the lights are used to bring a certain mood to the setting. The use of the legend works well, and leaves scope for a possible sequel in the future, which can bring a more interesting work. There seems to be some nice similarities with Stephen King’s It too, but surely has that divergent side. The Slavic legends do have something special about them. We have already heard about Russian movies bringing these tales out there, and may be it is the Slavic vampire that we are all waiting for – after all, we do read a lot about vampires of the past before they became rather too fashionable.

The claws of flaw :: The movie should have used its ideas better, because there was so much that could have achieved here. Well, not everyone can establish a setting like this, and begin to work on the same so early. It could have left some of those confusing moments behind, and kept things straight, staying close to what should be strength here too – the fear generation. When the film seems that it is going to achieve something, it just comes down, and when it gets a lot interesting, it just losses focus – it is certainly a movie of ups and downs, and also without enough background to the tale which it is dealing with. The heroic deeds of the kids are also half baked in nature. The movie is surely not performance oriented, and the cast just has to play along with the horror here. It could have surely been more captivating, but is not that bad as some of the ratings have been worked out in different websites.

How it finishes :: Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest could have been something bigger and smarter in scope, even though it is not without its entertainment. The atmosphere makes the whole thing more interesting, and it does seem like a variant among similar flicks. It is always good to take ideas some different myths and legends, and this is something which we are surely not familiar with. Well, not everything can be that global as the Corona virus epidemic. The theatre itself has been a place of horror during the times of the virus though, as almost everyone wanted to not go into the theatres and watch the movie, instead choosing those OTT platforms. Well, let us watch all those movies as we can, and hope for a later surge in the theatres. Until then, we have the lesser known movies like this one that can make a different kind of impact in comparison with other horror films.

Release date: 27th February 2020
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Svyatoslav Podgaevsky
Starring: Oleg Chugunov, Glafira Golubeva, Artyom Zhigulin, Svetlana Ustinova, Maryana Spivak, Aleksey Rozin, Ilya Ludin, Olga Makeeva, Evgeniya Evstigneeva, Marta Timofeeva, Igor Khripunov

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Wretched

Vampire Owl: These humans often refer us by this name.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is clearly wrong, as we are not in a wretched condition yet.

Vampire Owl: I am pretty sure that the humans are in a more wretched situation now.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the Corona Virus has gotten into them pretty badly.

Vampire Owl: I believe that they have always been wretched enough.

Vampire Bat: I wouldn’t say that for every one of them.

Vampire Owl: You have always been too kind of the humans.

Vampire Bat: And you have always been the cruel one.

Vampire Owl: Nobody in the known world are as cruel and wicked as the humans.

Vampire Bat: Now, this is something you don’t even say about the werewolves or zombies.

[Gets a green apple cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: A young girl names Megan (Sydne Mikelle) has a babysitting duty, only to find a creature feeding off the little girl, and as she tries to escape, it seems that Megan also meets a similar end in the hands of the demonic creature. Later we see Ben (John-Paul Howard), a youngster joining his father Liam (Jamison Jones), as his parents are in the middle of having a mutually agreed divorce. Ben gets to work in the local harbour in the countryside with his father on a temporary basis. At the same time, Liam is getting too close to his co-worker, Sara (Azie Tesfai) while Ben becomes good friends with a local girl working there, named Mallory (Piper Curda). Ben also can’t stop himself from noticing their new neighbours, Abbie (Zarah Mahler) and her son Dillon (Blane Crockarell). They do get lost in the woods, and Dillon gets called by a tree into the hole underneath, but they do manage to bring home a deer which their car had hit and killed, much to the dismay of Abbie’s husband Ty (Kevin Bigley). She tries to cut the animal for a dish, but messes it up.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Later, we see that a certain creature is coming out of the body of the deer through the cut which was made earlier, and Ben also sees something sitting on the rails of Abbie’s home – seemingly human, but something else in reality. It does disappear when the light goes off, but makes appearances inside the house of Abbie. Ben tries to mingle with the young people in the neighbourhood with a party, but is publicly embarrassed by the most desired girl of the locality JJ (Gabriela Quezada Bloomgarden). As he returns home, he finds Abbie walking into the woods with her toddler, but is interrupted by Liam and Sara, leading to a dispute. Even though Abbie returns from the woods, she doesn’t seem to be the same. It doesn’t seem to be the usual trouble that haunts the small town, as there is more to it than what meets the eye. There is a force beyond one’s understanding, and if someone tries to solve the case, that person might be considered a lunatic. How many lives will be lost before such an evil vanquished?

The defence of The Wretched :: There is no doubt about this particular movie’s ability to score with the ambiance, as the setting as well as the neighbourhood where the people are living, can all be considered to be very much perfect. We have the small town where people are denying the existence of evil, but there has always been one in the woods, and a tree has been central to everything. To get to the depth of this evil, we have even more twisted ideas in there, and more of terrifying suspense will be revealed in the end. There are also some scares to support the same, and the nature around the place is indeed beautiful. It is more or less like a dark fairy-tale, as there are elements of a dark fantasy which runs right through. The characters are the kind of people whom you can relate to, and that makes the transformation caused by the witch feel even more real. After all, it is always nice to be taken back to the idea of that witch who used to haunt us during the childhood and reached as far as The Witch – until you had the older version of Evil Dead to scare you in the best possible way.

The claws of flaw :: It has to be noted that the movie does try to have a little too much than a regular witch story, which doesn’t always work in its favour. The mixture doesn’t make the best use of its elements, especially as there are so many things which a witch possessing a lady or two can do. The terror could have had even stranger forms, and it also takes some time to make one feel the seriousness of the same. Some scenes are also not needed, even in a movie which goes just above one and half hours. Some people can even find this movie to be confusing in parts, and the creepy poster doesn’t come up in there, which is also disappointing. The mask does come though, and just like the other elements related to the witch, there could have surely been more. The ending has also been left open, maybe for a sequel, but that would need more, and not just the type of material that we have here. There are also some characters who could have done more – some are just left not explored well enough, and we feel the need to see them more.

Performers of the soul :: It is to be noted that the main characters are driven by a terrifying feeling – if you die, and nobody remembers you, where you really alive? That existential crisis is first discovered by John-Paul Howard who plays Ben well enough, but the truth is that it is not just his neighbour who has forgotten his son, as the darker secrets are there to make him realize the terror further. He plays the curious youngster who understands things happening around better than the others, and he does that well. At the same time, Piper Curda remains very cute and brings a lot of charm to the movie – not your usual leading actress, she brings a few joyful moments here and there in what really is a dark movie as it progresses. Zarah Mahler is really good as the young lady next door who is possessed by the witch, as she makes some really scary appearances, and there are scenes with her skin ripping off, which takes it to another level. Azie Tesfai with that deer-skull mask on her face is joy to watch, even though it is only for a short period of time to make a good enough bad witch. Gabriela Quezada Bloomgarden could have been there for more though.

How it finishes :: We have always had the supernatural creatures running around in different movies, but the witches have always struggled to keep it going in comparison to vampires, werewolves, zombies and other creatures of the dark who have been competing well with the demons and ghosts. But The Wretched does manage to bring some of such interest back to us during these days, as the witch gets her due, without a broomstick, staying close to an evil tree in the forest. It has enough surprises in there to keep the whole thing going, and with such a setting to help its cause, The Wretched is sure to take you to a world of forest’s witches whom we have known since childhood. You can always expect more, but this is indeed a good beginning to a type of horror cinema which hasn’t made that much of success in comparison to the others. After all, elves and similar creatures of light are not the only ones you keep finding in the middle of the forest.

Release date: 19th July 2019
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed by: Brett Pierce, Drew T Pierce
Starring: John-Paul Howard, Piper Curda, Zarah Karen Mahler, Kevin Bigley, Gabriela Quezada Bloomgarden, Richard Ellis, Blane Crockarell, Jamison Jones, Azie Tesfai

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Last Witch

Background to the movie :: We are no strangers to the tales about witch hunts, and most of us have read about similar incidents all around the world, especially Salem witch trials which had presence in movies like The Lords of Salem and The Conjuring – we even remember a television series with the name Salem. When we look deeper, there has been no shortage of similar incidents throughout the world. In a number of books, we have read about the witch trials in Early Modern Europe. We read in our schools and colleges about Joan of Arc who was burned at the stake, accused of witchcraft. Even in India, we often hear the word Chudail, associated with the witch, even though the same can be applied to demons and spirits too. Here, the movie The Last Witch has its roots on real incidents related to witches in the past too – on one of those incidents involving allegations of witchcraft, witch trials and execution.

One particular witch trial and execution :: Here we have our attention towards the Terrassa witch trials which had taken place in Terrassa, a city in the east central region of Catalonia, in the province of Barcelona in Spain between the years 1615 and 1619. During those days, a terrible weather and crumbling economy of the time was credited to the evil plans of witches, and their worship of their masters in hell. This had lead to a lot of rumours during those times, which finally meant that there would be panic, bringing the need for a witch commision to have the suspects arrested, lest people would take law into their hands. A number of suspects who were arrested, agreed to have been part of Witches’ Sabbath, a meeting of those who practiced witchcraft and other similar things. On the date 27th October 1619, Margarida Tafanera, Eulalia Totxa, Joana Sabina, Guillermo Miramunda Font and Miquela Esclopera Casanovas were executed.

So, what is this particular movie about? :: There were those five women who were hanged during the Terrassa witch trials in Spain, and then there is Joana Toy (Clara Gayo), who had escaped death after being brutally tortured by the authorities for many days, as the torture devices like Heretic’s Fork, Iron Maiden, Judas Cradle, Breaking Wheel and Wooden Horse were part of many such incidents. There is no clue about how she escaped, and where she had disappeared after the incident, as it remains a mystery to be solved by a newer generation. Three friends are all set to discover the truth behind all these, and finding Joana’s whereabouts is the key. These three young friends, Sandra (Paula Pier), Eduardo (Jorge Gallardo) and Mario (Alfonso Romeo) are all set for the same, with a desire to become famous video bloggers after finding something which has been hidden for so long. One of Sandra’s grandparents turns out to be part of that commision which found out if the women were really witches or not, and sending them to their newfound fate of brutal torture and death. He had once told her that the escaped witch lived just outside the city and that her house is still there.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: They feel that she could have come back to her home some time later and might have settled down there, followed by her bloodline – the place has been a farmhouse for a long time, as Sandra figures out from her grandfather’s words. This leads to more of curiosity, and they will find more than just a few homeless men and empty spaces as they usually do. It is no more about getting it viral on Youtube and finding maximum viewers – the mystery is darker than what they thought it would be, and too much for them to handle. There is nothing funny about it anymore. They end up seeing a symbol associated with an ancient organization, which Professor Robert (Fernando Tato) identifies as related to be a Satanic organization of the early seventeenth century that has a history of worshipping a witch rather than the devil. But it is only the beginning of what they are going to find in that abandoned farmhouse. Were they even close to being prepared for this?

The defence and negatives of The Last Witch :: Coming from Carlos Almon Munoz, the only Spanish winner of the Horror Society Awards for Best Short film of the year 2014 for his short-film “Face Your Fears”, as his first movie, this one is surely well-crafted within its genre. We know that Spain has a rich history of coming up with nice found footage films including the REC series. As a fictional account is made about what might have happened to Joanna Toy, this one gets the tale going in the right direction. This is not one of those movies which can score big with what comes out of its budget, as The Last Witch is very much simple and without wonders there. But you will surely want to have more scares, and the need to get into action earlier. But after it gets into the action, there are enough of scares to keep things moving towards that end. With the found-footage stuff, maybe the movie makers here also can make some good work in the category, which has never really been here, gaining some inspiration from this one. We have a good story here, without doubt.

The newfound love for the subgenre :: Where I come from, there are not many fans for the found-footage horror, and I am myself not a big fan of the same. But still, I was able to find interest in this one. Even I have watched only two, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Skin I Live In, liking them both – it is only safe to say that I loved both of those movies, with my admiration for Guillermo del Toro beginning there. I was very close to watching REC, but I did watch its English remake Quarantine and liked it, which was one of those moments when I started feeling that I had to look into this particular subgenre of horror. When a found-footage horror movie is related to something which really happened, like the Terrassa witch trials, there is a certain extra strength regarding the same, no matter how much fictionalized the story ends up to be. I would consider this to be my beginning to watch more of found-footage horror.

How it finishes :: It is said that Spain actually had only a few witch trials compared to other nations and states in Europe, and just a few years after Terrassa witch trials, the practice disappeared completely. It is on one of these later, and one among the last trials, that this movie is focused on. Many European records show cases of people being accused of taking part in Witches’ Sabbath, and a good number of them tried and some executed. The Last Witch nicely uses one of those background tales to create and bring an interesting story to light. There might be many other high budget movies with witches, including The Last Witch Hunter, and there are those which are divergent in character like The Witch and The Autopsy of Jane Doe, along with those on full entertainment mode, like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Seventh Son and Dark Shadows. However, you can see here that The Last Witch also brings an identity of its own without going into that possible void, and manages to be a horror movie which uses what it got, to good advantage, with fine performances.

Release date: 1st January 2016
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Carlos Almon Munoz
Starring: Fernando Tato, Pepe Penabade, Alfonso Romeo, Paula Pier, Clara Gayo, Jose Zumalave, Jose Antonio Almon, Jorge Gallardo

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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.

The Witch

thewitch

Vampire Owl :: I once had a chance to talk with the Northern Witches. After that, I haven’t been interested in watching movies like these.

Vampire Bat :: Oh! What did they tell you?

Vampire Owl :: I am not really sure. But I guess I heard it as boomerang, blah blah and abracadabra.

Vampire Bat :: Are you sure that they were not the sirens?

Vampire Owl :: Well, as you are asking, now I am not quite sure.

Vampire Bat :: This is a movie which has 90% rating at the Rotten Tomatoes. Why would you want to bring this while we are going to watch this movie?

Vampire Owl :: There is something about the witch, the lich and the rich that I don’t like.

Vampire Bat :: You mean the itch sound.

Vampire Owl :: It is exactly what they provide me with.

Vampire Bat :: We are such socialist vampires, aren’t we?

[Gets three cups of tea with potato chips].

What is it about? :: In this story set in the seventeenth century, William (Ralph Ineson) and his family are banished from a Puritan plantation in New England; his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie), elder daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), and twins Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson). Katherine later gives birth to the fifth child, a boy that vanishes while Thomasin plays with him. Katherine blames Thomasin for the disappearance, and spends most of her time in prayer and grief. Meanwhile, Caleb and Thomasin go for hunting, and the former goes missing. Once again, Thomasin is blamed, and at the same time, the twins say that the black goat, Black Phillip speaks to them. The events only get stranger as the presence of evil in the forest is ascertained. Is there a Witches’ Sabbath coming up?

The defence of The Witch :: There are the usual kind of horror movies which use the jump scares to claim that it is worthy of a fine position in the genre – there is the noise and the sudden appearance of the scary face; but The Witch denies the same, and goes not with such familiar scary stuff; instead it goes on to use the mood and the setting to its advantage without trying to make sure that the audience is scared at one exact moment – it tries to create something for which the result will different for everyone, at different points of the movie. It is something bigger than what is seen or heard as part of the regular horror practice, for it goes directly into one’s mind. The elements of mystery go right through the movie too, as we are to keep guessing till that ending, which makes things very clear – that is cent percent the success for this flick.

Claws of flaw :: There is no denying the fact that The Witch is quite a slow movie; it drags in between, and has the characters not doing enough to pick up the pace when they could have done the same. The movie also doesn’t use the image of the witch to its full advantage, when it could have done a lot more with it; the same can be said about the final pact which is too quick to go through. There is the absence of the terrifying imagery which could have been added at some point to do justice to the genre to which The Witch belongs. A lot of people will feel that this is not their kind of movie either, and that is understandable because a lot of fans will surely be looking for something else; for The Witch is a nightmare that feels real within its environment, and it is not the horror flick that arrives with an unparalleled desire to bring the fear into the viewers.

Performers of the soul :: With Robert Eggers making his directorial debut with The Witch, the movie has gathered a lot of appreciation from the critics, and the performances surely has a lot to do with it. Anya Taylor-Joy is amazingly good in this movie. She goes through the situations of her character in the movie in such a way that we never feel that she hasn’t been seen in a big role in any flick before. There is certain transformation going on with her character, and this is not really among the best roles to play, but she nails it here. Ralph Ineson plays the next significant character in a lot realistic and believable manner too. Kate Dickie has her moments here too. The two characters which steal the show otherwise, are the witches of the forest and the black goat.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s focus is on faith, not just on God, but also on each other. Almost everyone in this movie has problems with the same, as the same thing just goes on to break into smaller and smaller pieces as the movie progresses further. It is something that is ready to crumble into dust, and we see that on the faces of the characters. There is the lack of trust that is present, and it develops into something worse. It is the case of unfair judgment that makes things worse, and in the end, leads to the final fall – randomly judging others is a kind of tradition that goes back a long time, right? Due to the same, there are moments when one realizes that it is not God or Devil who are responsible for this fall, and neither is it some witch, for it is themselves and that they can blame in the end.

How it finishes :: The Witch will never be the usual horror movie for you. It is still the variety in horror that we have all wished for. The movie could have surely been better, but the experience that it provides with a difference will surely make it worth a watch. In the world of Sinister, Insidious and The Conjuring, The Witch the one that dares to be different, and for the same, it deserves the applause. There is one thing that you can be sure about, and it is that this movie has everything that is needed to be something that you think it is not. It had won the Directing Award in the US Dramatic category at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and with all the critical appreciation around, you should surely give it a try!

Release date: 19th February 2016
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Robert Eggers
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson, Julian Richings, Bathsheba Garnett, Sarah Stephens, Wahab Chaudhry, Axtun Henry Dube, Athan Conrad Dube

thewitchh

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Seventh Son

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Vampire Owl :: Why the seventh son? I mean who has seven sons these days, or even seven children in total?

Vampire Bat :: Nobody of this generation that I know.

Vampire Owl :: So, should we declare this movie invalid?

Vampire Bat :: After looking at the posters, I have the doubt if the effect of this one might be nullified soon enough.

Vampire Owl :: There is dragon, witch, people with swords, a dark feel – a lot should be there though.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, reminds of too many movies which released already.

Vampire Owl :: So, it is a yes or no?

Vampire Bat :: It is a yes. May be it is the seventh son who always saves the world. Almost nobody has seven sons these days, and so the world is not saved yet.

Vampire Owl :: I hope that watching this movie is not against the “We two, our two” campaign.

Vampire Bat :: Most of the people I know have only one child. So lets welcome the seventh son.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: John Gregory (Jeff Bridges) is one of the last of his kind, as a rare seventh son of a seventh son, and part of an ancient order of knights who battle the evil that exists in this world. His last apprentice dies while trying to capture the most demonic of all witches, the queen of them all, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) who returned to cast her shadow of evil all over the known lands. So he comes to Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) who is also the seventh son of a family. Tom is plagued by visions and also falls in love with a witch called Alice Deane (Alicia Vikander) which makes things further complicated. Her mother is also the sister of Malkin, which trouble the plans further. With the Blood Moon night fast approaching and witches getting more powerful, can the new apprentice be ready in such a short notice and having love around the corner?

The defence of Seventh Son :: The movie is loaded with stylish and beautiful visuals and thrives on the power of special effects with some nice moments of 3D mostly including dragons and witches. The visual splendour which was there on the poster comes alive. The environment is also nicely created, and the images as well as the backgrounds that are shown on the screen are sure to catch one’s attention. There are some nice custumes, and among the scenes, the best includes those which uses special effects. The first possession scene was very good otherwise too. All the fighting scenes are worthy of our attention. The final battle is nicely brought to the screen, and the setting for the same makes sure that the artistic beauty is maintained. There are lots of creatures, and magic is in abundance. For those who are missing such things as The Hobbit as well as Harry Potter, this is another chance to go into that world of magic.

The Claws of Flaw :: The movie is that experience which reminds us about so many other movies. There seemed to be nothing new in the story with an unlikely young hero managing to be a great fighter, but even that is not nicely shown. The characters and the supernatural stuff are here and there, with not much work done with them – we can’t have much thoughts about them as they are just everywhere without making us feel much about them. The romance as well as the revenge struggles to go ahead in the intended manner. The first half mostly drags while getting almost nowhere, even as things get better later. The idea of “Seventh son of a seventh son” is not explored enough, with things just made to exist as they are. The dialogues mostly don’t make the desired impact. There is no justice to what it has in the pocket, on what is shown on the screen.

Performers of the soul :: Performances haven’t been a strong point of this movie, as Jeff Bridges, even when making an impression at times, makes less impact than expected. There are many things having our attention in this movie, but the performances are not part of them. Julianne Moore also looks faded except for a few moments. A thought about Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman might have inspired that further thought; or may be even a little bit of Angelina Jolie being in Maleficent. Ben Barnes remains okay throughout the flick. Alicia Vikander play the lovable witch in a believable manner, and she surely looks suitable for that role which needs both the cuteness and a certain amount of the other darker side. But the creatures do overpower all of them, and that was not something unexpected.

Soul exploration :: Seventh Son has too many similarities with a number of movies, and the first one that comes to mind is Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, which had two witch-hunting protagonists with one good witch as the lover. There is also a little bit of Season of the Witch here with the possession and the skills of the protagonists. The lady villain here is more or less a reminder of Maleficent or Snow White and the Huntsman, and so even as it is based on a book which came up earlier, this one came too late to catch the interest of common movie goer. But for the rest of those viewers who are not used to such stuff can find them to be very interesting. After all, the movie comes after making the fans wait so much with the delays. We have been hearing about this one for such a long time, and it has been a painful wait with Seventh Son.

How it finishes :: The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney is the book on which the movie is based on, and the fans of the book may not be happy with the reception for this much awaited movie. The challenges of the week are from bigger movies, but none an entertainer like this, and that explains the large number of shows this one has, and those theatres and multiplexes which has this movie as the only Hollywood flick of the weekend. But still, it seems that the general audience of this part of the world hasn’t been able to connect with this movie, while it should be just okay for the rest. With Foxcatcher not being here, and with the rest finding trouble to have enough shows, this movie should get some good collection from this part of the world – after all, it is the only Hollywood movie available at almost every mall.

Release date: 30th January 2015 (India); 6th February 2015 (USA)
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Sergei Bodrov
Starring: Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges, Alicia Vikander, Ben Barnes, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue, Djimon Hounsou

seventhsonn

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dark Shadows

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✠ The rating given to this movie might shock a few mortals, but as this blog written from the Vampire Bat’s perspective, he has decided to take control to fulfill his partially broken promise to that Count who lived as a recluse inside a coffin in a castle. Yes, the Vampire Bat doesn’t broke promises, or rather doesn’t break anything other than may be, his own teeth – blame the root canal offers from local dentists in that case. To add to it, the Vampire Bat shall write this review on a Wednesday, as he was born on such a day. He is mentally depressed after writing a test, and after asserting what he had found out that each and every other person of his world wants the questions from the syllabus while he wants the same from outside. May be he never belonged to the world of humans, and should rather fly away one day. But the depressing side is that he can’t fly – so he will write a bloody review about one of his favourite vampire movies, and undoubtedly his favourite blood sucking movie of 2012. Yes, this is that movie.

Count Dracula: Here you are again. I think that your review of Dark Shadows has been pending for long. Do you have it with you? Its time Barnabas Collins gets his due. He is one of those few vampires who could see McDonalds and feel the presence of Mephistopheles. He is our saviour against Twilight and Mortal Instruments creatures of pseudo-darkness.

Vampire Bat: I can see that you feel the need for some good vampires like Barnabas Collins and Victoria Winters. I love that scene when he sees M for McDonalds: Over 1 billion served. He was accidently quite right about the fast food and the beverages being the demons who suck the soul out of our insides, leaving us nothing of much use. Twilight and Mortal Instruments are the result of the same fast food, as they mess up our brain rather than the stomach.

Count Dracula: So what do you think about this vampire and his family? I did feel the presence of other wonderful forces of the supernatural right from outside the theatre where it was showing – I was wandering around in the mist until I crashed on the wall of that place, it was not good for my fangs, but still felt good for the presence.

Vampire Bat: Barnabas returns 196 years later, after feeling the wrath of unrequited love from a witch, Angelique Bouchard who cursed him into a bloodsucker, killed his parents and also forced his true love to commit suicide. She is a witch who curses his family and gets him buried alive in the middle of a forest, takes over his family business and puts his descendents into ruin. The worst thing is that the witch is still alive, using her magic to identify herself as her own descendants. This love has always been so overrated, right?

Count Dracula: Yes, even with me it is the same. I already feel a lot of love for Angelique Bouchard. Eva Green is that good, and I still can’t forget The Dreamers. I can remember my first infatuation with a witch already. Why would he not return the love baffles me. Whom does he have instead?

Vampire Bat: There is Bella Heathcote taking rebirth, from Josette du Pres to Victoria Winters. She appears as if an enchanting fairy vampire, not as some random Bella. But the two characters you will surely love are Michelle Pfeiffer’s Elizabeth Collins Stoddard and Chloë Grace Moretz’s Carolyn who asks “are you stoned or something” to which the recently risen Barnabas says “they tried stoning me dear, it did not work”. To add to it, he calls a lava lamp “pulsating blood urn”, and the crane as “a giant dragon with millions of teeth and a thousand shining eyes” – you have to love him. His seriousness is awesome!

Count Dracula: I have felt that myself, rising from the grave and seeing the world different. I know you feel the change each and every day. The world is indeed to fast, and I am sure that most of us hope that each and every day we go to sleep, we never wake up again. I wish for the sunlight to disappear, and you hope for the day to end, and there is not much different in how we see the world, and we are as outdated as Barnabas Collins; it is just that we have no lover witch.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have always thought that, and Dark Shadows makes sure about the same. Moretz is wonderful in the movie, and the way she says “I’m a werewolf, okay? Don’t make such a big deal over it” to her mother, and always special mention needs to be for Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Meanwhile, if you don’t like Bella Heathcote in this movie, you have to be blind – not that closing of eyes you do with sunlight, but the real blindness of the physical world.

Count Dracula: You make the point there. I have read about the many faces of Johnny Depp too, and I shall not doubt him at any moment. This face is my favourite indeed, and then comes that Jack Sparrow followed by the crow-carrying head in The Lone Ranger. Then comes Sweeney Todd and The Hatter – who won’t love Alice in Wonderland by the way, and they were two special characters. I am not going to count the faces of such a versatile actor, as that won’t even please my coffin. Instead tell me more about Eva Green.

Vampire Bat: Her character has angel in her name and some strange love which keeps her in the attitude that “If I can’t have you, my love, I’ll destroy you!” – not that much of hatred as she keeps him alive; should be too much admiration. She tries everything she can, but true love finally wins – not really a surprise, isn’t it? Eva Green is fantastic in the movie, as she is beautiful, charming and perfect as the pretty witch. The cast itself is the real strength of the movie. With such awesome names involved with it, who would not wish to watch this movie? The comedy is also well done.

Count Dracula: That sounds like interesting stuff. A vampire movie with all of these? That should cure me from the death strike which fell on me with Twilight and Mortal Instruments. I shall have a new life of blood. You should have reviewed this one much earlier – remember how long ago I had told you to do the same?

Vampire Bat: Despite the good box-office returns, the ratings haven’t been good with it. I would think that it is the result of an anti-vampire sentiment and possible cruelty which has been unleashed on vampire movies due to terror which was Twilight and all the sequels that followed tried desperately to destroy man’s faith in vampires. No wonder Byzantium didn’t release at this part of the world. There is only one chance for us to reclaim that lost faith, or rather two – release a movie from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, or create the much needed sequel to this movie which has left a good chance for another story by the end of it.

Count Dracula: It is much needed, that is for sure! These undead creatures are bothering me too much just because they had to watch Twilight. Even the wolves no longer listen to me – they think I am going to wear their skin as clothing and call myself a werewolf. See how these movies are badly affecting my children of the night. We need that, or I might have to turn my whole castle into a one big coffin.

Vampire Bat: There is less hope for both of them. The problem about having a Vampire Chronicles movie is that nothing can live up-to the awesomeness of Interview with the Vampire. The scope of a Dark Shadows sequel is less, due to the lack of need and the not that positive critical reception. One day, we will take over as official undead reviewers with bad teeth, and then we can change the whole thing.

Count Dracula: Then we shall stick with this Barnabas as the vampire hero of this century so far. The last century’s control was disputed, but for this one, it has become pretty clear, the only challenge being from Selene and the next closest was indeed Rayne, but they were rather the heroines who enchanted us. I shall pray for the rise of more vampire in movies and literature which are as good as Barnabas.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is worth your time for sure, especially as you have not much to do, and all the souls are going to love it. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you, especially the dark shadows if you got what I meant.

Vampire Bat (to himself): I am fully in support of this movie mostly due to the great performance of Johnny Depp in his new avatar, and then due to the good work put into it by Eva Green with great support from the rest, especially Bella Heathcote, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Here, we have that true vampire comedy movie which adds almost every ingredient correctly, thus making this a great choice, and the reason why you need to go back in time and check the theatres.

✠ I don’t know about that television show or soap opera on which this movie is based, and that might not be necessary, but if you love vampire flicks and bloodsuckers in literature, you will like Dark Shadows which keep the worlds of Twilight and Mortal Instruments away. Even if you don’t care much about the same, the comic side of the movie will keep you interested. Still, there is so much seriousness underneath striving for true love, which makes this a wonderfully layered movie. I am pretty sure that whatever you like and wherever you are from, most of you will at least like this one as an average movie, and there are not many places where you can have this much vampire fun along with looking at such a great cast. Behold the beauty of the shadows of this movie, and you might end up loving it along with Bella Heathcote. This one won’t even make Count Dracula think twice, and in that case, long live Barnabas Collins, who has survived a witch’s love and watched his own dark shadows in a coffin for such a long time.

Release date: 11th May 2012
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Bella Heathcote, Eva Green, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller

darkshadows copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Go Goa Gone

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In this world touched by the vampires of the last century and dominated by the not-at-all scary pseudo-vampires powered by works like Twilight, zombies have been forced to take the back-seat. Some would say that it is deserving to be so, and that is al they need, but without solid proof. Still, it would not be wrong if one says that this is more of a racist prejudice against a species which is on its very first stages of understanding the new world after being dead and back as a new person with a little brain as big as a vampire fang. We had seen Zombieland, the 2009 zombie comedy movie making enough fun of the poor creatures of the grave who are just trying to listen to their basic instinct of survival, that is to feed. So, what happens is that instead of finding a flesh and blood substitute for them with the use of what is at their hands, the so called heroes just murder them, not always on self-defence, sometimes as a routine thing. In Zombieland, our heroes take an extended road trip across the United States in an attempt to find a place free from the zombies, and Go Goa Gone is also a trip, and it is another zombie comedy, thus starting a number of similarities there. They should end when they both get positive critical reviews and become good commercial success stories – our movie has to go a little more to be sure about it, but for now, and from what it seems to be, it is surely on its way to becoming a success by all means.

Zombies are typically depicted as mindless, re-animated corpses with a never-ceasing hunger for human flesh and at times for the flesh of a few other creatures, with a special liking for human brains which tastes more like fried rice, and with blood added to it, they have enough flavour. A vampire is basically a re-animated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at night to suck the blood of the unsuspecting humans; this never-ceasing thirst for human blood and at times the blood of some other creatures, with a special liking for fresh blood of beautiful women which tastes more like strawberry shake with a blood topping. Forget the vampires of Twilight, as they don’t count – they are just mutated humans with superpowers which can only be maintained by drinking human blood; a case of just random parasites of the world. The zombies can trace their popularity to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, while the vampires can trace theirs to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is basically John Polidori’s 1819 work, The Vampyre that got the vampire into the spotlight, while Mary Shelley’s 1818 work had already got the world’s first official zombie for the common man to understand. Did he eat human brains? No, but he did eat the brains of his own creator, and that is nothing less than cannibalism in an intellectual manner. Thanks to 28 Days Later and the never-ending series of Resident Evil movies and games, the zombies have finally found their address, in a different way, but not by losing their identity as in Twilight – not by choosing to sparkle rather than being what they really are.

It is known that they are both undead supernatural humanoids who hunts humans to please their instincts. In return, both are usually killed by burning or decapitating. They are both originally the creatures of the night and the undisputed rulers of the grave. The infection is spread and more of their kind is created by biting and infecting the wounds. They usually lack souls and are on the side of evil on a long scale which stretches from pure good to pure evil. zombies can walk in sunlight; vampires can only come out at night. But while zombies continue to decay and continues to lose their body parts, even as they won’t really mind it, vampires are preserved with their looks for eternity unless destroyed by an outside force. The zombies work solo even if they come in hordes – they don’t use nature, creatures or other fiends for help. The difference in looks and the food habits is evident. While zombies move slowly, vampires are incredibly fast. The violence in zombies is passive, but disheartening, as in vampires, it is active and still precise enough with the fangs on the neck of the victim. As zombies continue their mindless walk, vampires can use intellect as well as the superpowers, may be even shape-shift into animals like bats. Whatever is said, they are both still dead, but still moving, and they belong to the other side of the mirror, no matter how much Twilight try to make them assimilated.

Considering the movies like I am Legend and 30 Days of Night, there is surely a mixing of the two in history; forget Underworld‘s vampire-werewolf combination, this is more like that feasible undead combination. The origin through the death of the supreme evil men is one theory, but a virus infection seems to be more suitable to the age these days – zombies have been enslaved to this notion for more time than expected, while vampires also got themselves the scientific side with Daybreakers. Zombies are still scarier than vampires for the new age fans, as the latter have been portrayed in a romantic light not only in Twilight, but also in True Blood. Well, everybody needs their own dose of fear, and if vampires and witches can provide them no more, one has to turn to the zombies. There is always more than one side to horror; for more than it scares you, it rather prepares you for the worse which is to come. In the case of a horror comedy, it does the same without the problems of being that much scared. When Evil Dead didn’t release in India, it was a clear lose to the common horror fan. Whatever the reason might be, it is a clear case of absolute cruelty to a movie watcher to which many people should be answerable. Our movie is horror, comedy and the much needed experiment in this field for a movie industry which hasn’t really ventured to such a world before. Therefore, it is my privilege to welcome all of you into this world of zombies which is closer to the world of vampires than Twilight and True Blood.

The movie is the story of three friends, Hardik (Kunal Khemu), Luv (Vir Das), Bunny (Anand Tiwari). The first one needs a break from work, the second one a time away to deal with his break-up, and the third one has a presentation in Goa, which means that the first two accompany the third so that they can utilize all the facilities which are available to the more nerdy of the three as he goes for the presentation. In Goa, the whole scene takes a wrong turn when Luv meets the gorgeous Luna (Puja Gupta) in a violet bikini at the swimming pool and loses his broken heart once again. She introduces herself as one of his many facebook friends whom he rarely knew, and invites him for a special Russian party at an island not too far away. The party is hosted by a supposed-to-be-Russian guy named Boris (Saif Ali Khan) who is launching a special party drug, a prototype from Russia during this bash. The three friends have good time at the party. But what happens is that almost everyone on the island seems to turn into zombies on the very next day. Bunny even ends up telling a zombie girl to brush teeth before they meet up. As they slowly realize the hell that has come down on the island, Luv talks about saving Luna, to which Hardik replies that he will buy him a better Luna; the Kinetic Luna is always memorable isn’t it? They find Luna and are almost killed when Boris arrives in time to save them. Now, they have to survive, kill some dead people and get out of the island.

Kunal Khemu and Vir Das has complimented each other and has done a great job as the extremely lazy guys who argue so much about who will pick up the remote control andchange the television channel. They drink, smoke and run after girls with no interest in their works. They create the major part of fun in the movie, mostly with their lines. The third friend Bunny, played by Anand Tiwary, is just the opposite, as he is the nerd and he never gives an opinion otherwise. Saif Ali Khan steals the show from the moment he makes his first shot at a zombie. The Russian gangster is surely going to be a model for many characters in the future. He says “I kill dead people” and delivers. Along with the two friends in crime, he gets more of the better lines. He is an excellent zombie slayer and I hope he slays Twilight vampires too. Puja Gupta plays the gorgeous lady lead, and her arrival in the violet bikini marks the beginning of the twist, which would be complete on the very next morning. She transforms from the hot girl to the damsel in distress and then to the shotgun-murderer of the zombies by the end. She is undoubtedly a great addition to the beauty of Goa. Look out for the pool scene and when they take refuge in an abandoned house and try to figure out if one of them is really a zombie with question about Uganda and Mathematics. Go Goa Gone is undoubtedly a clever movie, and it is evident in the execution rather than everything else combined.

A week had the movie 3G as the big release, and here, two movies starting with alphabet G – 2Gs were the big releases from Bollywood, and this one would surely eclipse the other – after all, this movie has three Gs while the other has only one. Zombies would approve that it is reason enough for their success, running a full-time of 111-Nelson. The fun begins from the start itself, and it never ends; with the ending it has got, I would be looking forward to a sequel. This movie is what the Malayalam movie Kili Poyi could have been; with the heroes wandering around in Nee Ko Nja Cha style, the zombies add to the fun which is to be expected when the youth goes to Goa after a break-up and work-tension. Go Goa Gone is unlimited fun, and not your logically superior movie, but it still comes up with a strong message against the use of drugs. They have managed all of these and brought them together in such a manner that there is lots of blood and gore, and the zombie terror, still it is incredibly funny. The references to the movie Evil Dead, and the vampires and zombies of Hollywood just adds to the fun. Overall, it is non-stop entertainment without brains – for all the brains have been eaten by those zombies who are as hungry as any of the non-Twilight vampires a.k.a the real vampires.

Release date: 10th May 2013
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Raj Nidimoru & Krishna D.K.
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Puja Gupta, Kunal Khemu, Vir Das, Anand Tiwari

gogoagone copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Hansel and Gretel

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We have had the darker versions of fairy tales, one each in the last two years – Red Riding Hood in 2011 and Snow White and the Huntsman in 2012. The latter getting better reviews than the former was a strange a thing just like this one getting negative reviews – this is astrange world for sure. The one thing which might be agreeable to the fans of all three movies might be that none of them really made an impact on the critics like they did on the box-office. While Amanda Seyfried lead the way in the former, it was the antagonist Charlize Theron who made the impact in the latter. But, here comes Hansel and Gretel, which surely is a much better watch; and a clear winner as a creation of dark fantasy.

It did remind me of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but our good re-telling of the old fairy tale happens to do better by a long way. Then once again, the critical reception might favour the wrong movie even as it is marginal. But trusting someone else who doesn’t know your taste is the worst mistake you can do. I almost made the same mistake, but I could see beyond it, as Ghost Rider 2, the worst Hollywood movie to reach the theatres of India in the last two or three years had more approval than some of those above average movies. This might have been a little long introduction, but it was strange to see that the shows of Hansel and Gretel were cancelled and I had to wait for days to watch it. Therefore, forget the critical ratings; and may be ask your friends who share your interests, and go for the movie.

The Grimm Brothers had given the world the story of two kids who outsmarted a witch; a story which was one of my favourites during childhood. After saving themselves from an abusive step-mother and the evil witch, these children do live happily ever after, as I can recollect. It is absolutely correct until the death of the witch in the movie too. But then comes the “living happily” part, which is a little existential in character. They are witch-hunters – professional ones; one of them is diabetic and the other one is later found to be a ” ” (it is a twist and there will be no spoiler here). But still, they might have found fun in doing their job – it is athletic and they get good payment for it. There is the possibility of ending in a witch’s cauldron or simply as a corpse, but considering what people do these days for attention, I would say that witch-hunting is not that horrible unless that witch got too many fans on facebook. Vampire bats do that often in the dreams.

Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton are the grown-up versions of the awesome little ones, who have dedicated their lives to fight the evil: to save the world from the broomstick-riders who fly better than some of the airlines. Hansel and Gretel start the latest adventure by preventing the town’s Sheriff Berringer from executing a young woman who is accused to be a witch (has the same name Mina – reminding of Mina Harker) after the siblings were hired by the mayor to find and bring back a number of children believed to be abducted by witches. Berringer hires his own men who are killed by a powerful witch, Muriel in the dark woods. The one who is left alive doesn’t last long with a curse for the hunger of crawling things.

Hansel and Gretel discover that the witches are preparing for the notorious ritual of Blood Moon, which requires sacrificing six boys and six girls with certain peculiarities.  The town is attacked by Muriel and her minions, which include a troll Edward (never away from that name from Twilight, but the fans can forgive the appearance of this troll). Now the witches have enough children to sacrifice for Blood Moon, but they need something else (which shall not be revealed to break the suspense) and the remaining question is whether the witches succeed in the ritual which would make them almost invincible. The twists include the truth about their step-mother who was not really evil, the mystery about Mina and the last ingredient of the Blood Moon ritual which would change the siblings’ idea about witches and witch hunting.

This story might sound too familiar and not that awesome to follow, but it is made better with the movie’s great CGI which is one of the best. The 3D effects make it one of the best horror-action experiences through the glasses with bullets, explosions, arrows – all coming towards you in frequent intervals, as well as the dark beauty of the atmosphere which catches you out of the screen. Right from the opening title scenes to the ending credits, it promises and delivers the same. Famke Janssen does remind one of her role as Jean Grey / Phoenix in X-Men III: The Last Stand, but she is surely better as Muriel. The witches look much better than in any movie released in the last few years, and the variety in them brings the culture element into the play – they are not the same. They are incredibly detailed to be just side-kick witches. Their screams create that fear element even when they are not on screen.

The most conservative, horror-hating, gore-fighting people of the pseudo-realistic world needn’t watch this movie though. Let the wonderful action sequences and breath-taking fights be missed by you. The 3D and the CGI can treat the deserving eyes. There are times when one has to cease being intellectual, and what is science but full of contradictions and uncertainty? Therefore, why be against a movie of magic and fantasy saying that it is not real? There is thousand times more chance of this happening than anything of the Twilight series. But the fact is that you don’t even realize why you are in this world; none of us do. Our life is in the hands of the greater power that guides us. So don’t be judgmental on this one, for this is not there to be judged by some superior intellect which goes to Moon or Mars and search for water – this is there to be enjoyed, supported by imagination. This is not a product of perfect reasoning power supported by some random theory; this is not simple every day life – this is dark fantasy. I love action-horror movies and I feel this has only strengthened the genre.

Release date: 25th January 2013 (USA); 1st February 2013 (India)
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Pihla Viitala, Thomas Mann

hansel copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.