Peninsula

Vampire Owl: So, we do have the return of the zombies after a long time.

Vampire Bat: Well, Train to Busan always deserved a sequel.

Vampire Owl: We remember that it was the one movie which took us to Korea.

Vampire Bat: It led to our first Korean films on Movies of the Soul.

Vampire Owl: I remember that there are many other films which followed.

Vampire Bat: That was our entry into South Korean movies.

Vampire Owl: Only to have movies in many other languages follow.

Vampire Bat: South Korea should be among our dream nations too.

Vampire Owl: As far as Asian nations are concerned, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have visited only Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in the east so far.

[Gets a marble cake and three cups of mixed tea].

What is the movie about? :: As a zombie outbreak occurs in South Korea, nobody has any clue about how it started, even though a particular bio-facility is suspected, and there is also no idea about how to contain it. There was pandemonium breaking loose in South Korea though, as people were believing in rumours circulating online, and traveling to safe areas further south – in the end, no place was safe, except for, maybe North Korea. As Captain Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won) of South Korean Marine Corps drives his family to safety, he ignores everyone seeking help on the way, suspecting that they could all be infected. But the infection has also spread in the ship, and more and more people are transformed into the zombie-like state. His nephew and sister are among the people who are bitten and lost to the disease. As they are re-routed to Hong Kong, while the world nations try to quarantine South Korea in whichever ways possible.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: South Korean refugees were no longer accepted in other countries, and the quarantine continued for four years, without any break in between. Later in Hong Kong, Jung-seok and his brother-in-law Chul-min (Kim Do-yoon) are recruited by some Chinese gangsters for a mission which includes retrieving a truck containing millions of dollars from South Korea. They would be paid half of the money if they come back with it alive. As they are certain that they won’t be given refugee status, and are going to be discriminated, they decide to take the offer. They go in at night hoping that they can stay undetected from zombies and most of the ships patrolling the peninsula, and for others, they can pay cash. With the help of the gangsters and their influence, they manage to get there and also find the truck, following it up with the murder of the zombie driver. But this mission won’t be that easy as they thought, as there is something else.

The defence of Peninsula :: Train to Busan was a favourite, and as Peninsula maintains the same spirit up to an extent, we can say that there is enough around here too – the focus on action would be the big change around here. The setting of the post-apocalyptic South Korea is also worth seeing with some fine visual quality. The devastated city is a scene to remember at night as well as the day. The film offers a lot of zombie action as expected, and the fighting sequences happen naturally, as it has always happened with Resident Evil and its sequels, even though this is a more believable one in comparison. The zombies remain as good as they were, even though the attention is less on them this time in comparison to the first film. Well, the world has changed, and we are into another environment now. There is enough action, and some emotions to be added here, and things work well. It is an interesting, thrilling ride from the beginning to the end.

The claws of flaw :: Peninsula wouldn’t get the appreciation that Train to Busan had gathered long ago, as there is not that much innovation being added here. It could have been stronger with the continuation of the original tale. We know that there is a lot that can get added to a post-apocalyptic world, much more than what is seen here. With all the vehicular mayhem that goes on in the end, things do get a little confusing with so much of fights between everyone. The graphics goes closer to a video game than the live action movie at times. It was surely built for the big screen, no doubt about that. The inspiration from other similar post-apocalyptic films to create this particular world cannot be ignored either. The possible messages about selfishness and sacrifice are mostly not there to stay, and are often lost. The focus on the story is not that much maintained when providing too many zombies to kill on the road.

Performers of the soul :: The cast here is led by Gang Dong-won, who manages to stay ahead with ease. He has his moments from the beginning stages itself, mostly emotional, even though that changes later. Lee Jung-hyun is the next one to catch our attention, as she plays the strong mother who has had to make some tough decisions, and lives with a purpose for her children. She goes strong with the emotional side, and becomes part of the big action very soon too. Kwon Hae-hyo adds a funny side at the same time too. Kim Do-yoon plays the brother-in-law role in a believable manner. Lee Re gets a lot of action with the vehicular mayhem, and its a glorious drive through the zombies as far as she is concerned. Those scenes could be taken right into a video game at some point. Lee Ye-won plays the young child in an interesting role. Kim Min-jae and Koo Kyo-hwan plays the two major antagonists, and they do the job well enough. Kim Kyu-baek also adds some humour here.

How it finishes :: We have waited for very long to have a sequel to Train to Busan, and here we have it – that film along with The Wailing are the two first Korean movies which I had reviewed, and that was indeed a game changing moment, the next Korean film reviewed being The Divine Fury coming much later. When Peninsula makes sure that the same zombie feeling returns, there is the similar feeling. We get to see the zombies in Korea yet again, and during the time of Corona virus pandemic, we are seeing the viral apocalypse again. It does feel different when we look at it now, after going through the COVID-19 pandemic, and seeing the viral outbreak unfold before our eyes. The movie continues the journey through the world of zombies in a way that keeps us interested, and I would recommend this film for all fans of the first one too. After all, what is better than a group of fully powered zombies in this world of quarantines and lock-downs? Especially when they come with so much of action on the streets. Well, zombies are forever too, just like vampires and werewolves.

Release date: 15th July 2020
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Yeon Sang-ho
Starring: Gang Dong-won, Lee Jung-hyun, Lee Re, Kwon Hae-hyo, Kim Min-jae, Koo Kyo-hwan, Kim Do-yoon, Lee Ye-won, Jang So-yeon, Moon Woo-jin, Kim Kyu-baek, Bella Rahim

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Lazarus Effect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Gets a cup of tea and butter cookies].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Warm Bodies

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Welcome to Zombieland – not as the name of the movie, but as a world with is not only a “zomcom” like Go Goa Gone, or “romcom” like all those pathetic movies which have eaten the brains of Bollywood and still continues to do so; for this one from Hollywood is everything at once, “zomcom”, “romcom”, “zomrom”, or even “zomromcom”.  This movie is a pleasant surprise, in a world where teenagers wish to lose their humanity and be the Twilight vampires, this one comes up with something different. It is the story of a zombie who reclaims his humanity, and leads to a transformation among his own zombie people. The first question that should come to one’s mind is about how much it would work in a world of movies and literature where the vampires are glorified, and the werewolves are also given their due with the cross-connections (thanks Underworld and Twilight), and zombies are still shot on the heads with no hesitation. As the question remains about this prejudice, this movie comes with a pleasant surprise which reverses both the zombie situation as well as the supernatural glorification giving the world back to humans. There might still be no zombie wishing for a human to bite them and turn them human, but as we have seen in Daybreakers, there is always the scope to try the reverse transformation.

There is the direct, secure packing and sending of the viewers into a post-apocalyptic world instead of any explanation of what caused the same, which is actually a good movie, as there are always the logic-seekers who would find something wrong in turning these zombies into human. The human survivors who keeps getting lesser in numbers have retreated and have barricaded themselves inside a walled area surrounded by our dear little protagonist zombie and his friends. Most of them are still in comparatively human phase compared to the horrid skeletal structures called Boneys attacking anything that lives, which they become after they lose all hopes (another moment of reminder about Daybreakers, where vampires degenerate into subsiders, the psychotic bat-like creatures). So when the zombies increase in population to infect most of the world and the human supplies get low; Julie Grigio (Teresa Palmer) and her trained friends go out to the zombie world to get something from the abandoned buildings. They are attacked by a group of zombies, but she is saved by R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie who narrates to us, and from whose angle we see the world (not before he eats her boyfriend’s brain though).

So, this R who has been trying quite hard to seem more and more human, has now a girl with brain for company; a brain he doesn’t want to chew on. He keeps her safe in a permanently grounded airplane and the bond makes him move even further towards humanity. Affected by the fact that R killed her boyfriend, the girl of brain leaves the brain eater and manages to reach home safely. But the problem remains that the whole thing has caused such a chain reaction in the zombie society that more of them seem to show the signs of humanity including R’s best zombie friend M. But the Boneys seem to detect this life and is all set to attack both the remaining zombies with their superior strength, agility and the lack of humanity. It is up-to R to get to the human world and find the girl, along with using all the memories from that brain of her boyfriend which he has been chewing on for quite a while. As vampires and zombies are practically the same, and there has been quite a lot of popularity for Twilight, this should have been received better, but these coffin-less, fang-less poor corpses haven’t got the attention they deserved in this part of the world, and it is our supernatural duty to give it to them. I would believe that there are many different ways to read this movie. [Preachy-philosophical stuff ahead: Uninterested people are expected to skip to the third-last line of the last paragraph after the next].

✠ As the reversal of situation: It is the reversal of the vampire addiction and the overdose of humanity in vampire fiction. As the zombies have been portrayed as the most mindless attackers even in the recent World War Z as well as in the collection of Resident Evil movies and games, this could inject an amount of thoughts which might make people value their human existence. Daybreakers couldn’t achieve this and there was no attempt either, as the vampires were more powerful, intelligent and also always winning. Teresa Palmer has looked more like a blonde Kristen Stewart throughout the movie and there are times when she sounded similar enough, but this is undoubtedly better characterization and a better performance in a well created movie. This character is surely one of brains, and not Bella, and can thus create a good replacement for her, and surely there are expressions – the character doesn’t fall for the supernatural like Bella did, as she is clever enough to value her humanity, and neither does she asks him to turn her into a zombie; may be she realizes how gorgeous she is too. Nicholas Hoult’s R is a more hardworking type of undead, even as this one also worries incredibly about keeping his girlfriend safe. When blood-drinking is replaced with brain-eating, there is another psychological impact which brings people back to their human nature.

✠ The old Shakespare and the Fairy Tale: The R should surely stand for Romeo and Julie for the one Juliet, with forbidden love set in motion. R just remembers the first letter of his name, and the lady can surely use a “T” if needed. They do see each other by the balcony, and trust me, there is no sad ending this time. In one way, it is the drama of the dead and in another way, this is the fairy tale of the dead/undead. There has been so much the need for the superman and the knight in shining armour that here, the need to be alive takes that place, and the need to have a beautiful girl with brains. This tale involves the brain used for thinking instead of satisfying the hunger, and the drams taking over the void initiated by one huge nightmare. It is up-to the zombies to connect with the human world, as the humans would do about the Supreme Being, and the ones who give up the hope and belief would be left with their skeletal structures, with no faith and no real life. There is always the hope for a better place, and for the zombies, humanity is one of them, and one man-zombie gets connected to that world by chance.

✠ When most of us are zombies: The middle group represents most of us, when we move on through life doing what the others, the zombie friends do; when we join the course they join, and when we study what we don’t want to study, and live a life of survival which everybody does. But when we choose to be different, we are the zombies for the others, and in our own point of view, we are the chosen ones to be alive. We are not them, and what they feel important can’t be of any significance to us, and vice versa. R became alive when he chose to be different, and one has to wonder if he is one of those people who had chosen to pursue arts instead of the professional courses, and made him realize how important it is to be different, and how much is there to know and understand instead of feeding on those brains symbolizing logic. He understood what creativity is, and its pure awesomeness above logic. It is choosing that good path to be different that matters, and for all the others who take that different evil path, there is the world of the walking skeletons. The advantage of this gained humanity is that one would know its value and it won’t be wasted on anything silly. It is our choice, and out of the knowledge of the Supreme Being, and the world would become more of truth and wisdom. The opportunity to reclaim the lost humanity is to be embraced.

✠ The value of humanity and faith: By the end of the movie, it is the human contact and never ending faith that saves the day. There is always the need to take that leap of faith at some point of life, and the strong belief in God and being humane are all that matters. If a zombie could go beyond his needs and prevent himself from devouring what he needed for diets, where does the humanity lie? Does the zombie’s need to feed strike lower than the human need for war and destruction? When an undead creature could come up with so much faith, why is it that humans fail miserably? This is where the questions begin and answers hide behind the bushes. The movie might not interest those who are looking for quick undead action, but this clever twist to the old myth of undead is a must watch for all those who feel like a zombie, or has the desire to see humanity in action at its base level in the most humane way. After watching this movie, some of you might surely hesitate a second before shooting an undead during the next zombie apocalypse. From what this movie has achieved, that much I am sure about; the rest is for you to decide.

Release date: 1st February 2013
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Analeigh Tipton, Rob Corddry, Dave Franco, Cory Hardrict, John Malkovich

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

World War Z

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Even in the world dominated more by vampires as the popular fantasy creature, there is no lack of support for the zombies, even in India as shown in Go Goa Gone. Otherwise, the Resident Evil series always had the complete control over that zombie world which came up as the result of an infection. The animated corpses which were something more than just a mindless vampire or human, has had more success with the stories of science rather than magic, with virus infection rather than being resurrected by necromancy or being summoned from another world by a sorcerer or a witch. Even then, they would remain the most important weapon for the battle in the box-office, as vampires have had too much run on the big screen. I would still miss I Am Legend for the kind of vampire mix which was given to the zombies, a combination of intellect which has been completely destroyed by Twilight. There are many people whom I can recommend to be zombies without being dead and coming back, but I choose to remain silent now due to the respect which I pay towards them – not those people, but the real zombies of the world. Still, I can’t hesitate to say that the hunger of the human flesh or the human brain should exist with both of them. I would thank Mary Shelley and her Frankenstein more than anything else on this occasion, and move forward.

A global pandemic in the form of a zombie outbreak has become so interesting these days that even if someone prepares for it as if the end of the world is near, there is no need to be surprised. A zombie apocalypse is something which needs its own glorification, as it is already happening with some of the mindless hypocrites who are slave to logic. But here in this Brad Pitt starrer, we have the true, respectable undead zombies, based on the 2006 novel with the same name by Max Brooks. Even as seeing Brad Pitt among the list of producers reminded me of what happened with Will Smith’s After Earth which shattered those hopes made of glass into so many pieces that it was not easy mend, there was a certain belief about this one. In that case, it would have been surprising that this movie made it to the theatres here, as there was a great chance for this one to miss the multiplexes belonging to this part of the world. The presence of Man of Steel and its reluctance to move out of the theatres might be a major blow to this one as well as to Monsters University which has been restricted to a single show if present. None of these can give even a small fight to Superman and his impact on this part of the world, something which is rooted in the childhood memories – the presence of Now You See Me and Fast & Furious 6 shouldn’t really hurt this one though.

After Tom Cruise and Will Smith jumped into the world that was post-apocalyptic Earth in the same year, with the former been a vampire in Interview with the Vampire and the latter been a zombie-vampire killer in I am Legend, Brad Pitt already had the vampire experience as Louis de Pointe du Lac, the complete vampire despite of the human conscience and existential questions of life and death, good and evil, God and Satan, heaven and hell. This time, he is not part of the attacking gang, but still raises his own questions about humanity in not that effective manner. Anne Rice’s works had its own versions of zombies, even as they were also called vampires, like the ones the leading characters encounter in Eastern Europe, with no mind of its own, attacking everything that moves, driven by its own need to feed; the only characteristic that can define them. One has to wonder what differentiates a zombie from the human beings without civilization in a world which has quite a shortage of resources. Won’t each and everyone act the same as a zombie in such a situation, in the absence of the rules and regulations of the society and the restrictions of sin imposed by the religion? That should identify us more with the term zombie rather than the vampire, knowing our need for society and religion to keep us from becoming zombies or even worse.

It must be clear from the title by now that the “Z” stands for Zombies. There is no doubt about the fact that most of the people who came to the theatre were not expecting the same, thanks to the posters which gave no clue about such a thing. Another thing is that there is no scope for 3D, as those glasses give you almost nothing other than some words which would seem to project off the screen in the beginning of the movie. There are some good CGI moments for sure, and the special effects are limited; not a very good thing for a movie of this genre. There is a good chance that most of the comon zombie fans might choose to say a no to this one. It is the story of former UN employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family who are saved from a group of zombies who turn all who they bite into their kind, and after being taken to a US Navy ship in the middle of the sea, he is forced to invetigate into the matter using the special skills he achieved through his missions, so that the origins of the virus could be found out and the pandemic could be stopped. Not without reluctance, but still agreeing for the sake of his family’s staying on the ship rather than in a refugee camp on the land surrounded by zombies, Gerry joins the team of experts on a plane for a military base in South Korea from where some of this is supposed to have started in the first place.

Here is the paragraph which might give you the spoiler – and the story till the end. From there the journey is to Jerusalem, as the nation of Israel seems to have had a prior knowledge about a possible zombie infection, as they did already bring up some walls. But he gets nothing useful from there, and Jerusalem is also attacked, as the zombies climb over the wall, as they form a ladder by piling on the top of one another. As the ultimate chaos follows, he manages to escape from there by boarding a Belarus Airlines flight with his escort soldier, a journey which is cut short when one of the zombies get to bite an airhostess from where hell breaks loose, and Gerry manages to throw a grenade which divides the plane into two and leads to a crash from which the two survive. They finally reach a World Health Organization research facility and assists them in finding a cure, and the find out that the virus needs people who are healthy, and those ill and therefore unsuitable as hosts for viral reproduction are not bitten, and are rather more invisible than anything else. This camouflage helps them to fight zombies, and that should save the day for the world, but the war would continue, as it might seem to the audience. There might be a question though, about this being all that we have been waiting for.

The huge pile-up of cars and the zombie attack in the beginning as well as the Jerusalem zombie attack forms the highlights of the movie. But it remains without enough moments when these two sequences are removed. The attack on the plane is the only other thing worth mentioning. Brad Pitt has done a great job to add to it. He plays an effective character, and without him, this movie would have surely collapsed. The zombies are fine, with their own pros and cons added in this one. But this movie remains slow, and without a good enough reason other than Brad Pitt to attract the viewers. All the awesomeness which was expected to follow after the initial zombie attack never comes, and as it doesn’t attempt to do anything extraordinary, the expectations are scattered and the 3D glasses are wasted. The catchy dialogues might be about the mother nature being a serial killer and how she disguises her strengths and weaknesses. The noises that the zombies make are somewhat attractive too. I would still prefer the zombies and special effects of Resident Evil, and it is a little depressing that this one lacks action, but the advantage is that this one is closer to reality and there is absolutely no exaggeration at any point of time.

The movie is just a little scary and a little thrilling. It might be the slowest zombie movie of the recent times and the most realistic of them all – it is an exaggeration, as these hardly get close enough to reality to be identified with. This world war of the zombies never tries to expand its entertainment elements beyond what is ordinary. It could have been its achievement, but for now, it is clearly working against it. Zombies and vampires have been too commericalized these days, and when the entertainment value is somewhat drained from it, there is only a little to gain. If this was about the wars from A to Z, and this one is the final one of them, there could have been a slightly better chance. World War Z does its job and there is no denying it. With Brad Pitt’s never ceasing charm and acting, and the realistic portrayal of a supernatural world stained with scientific curiosities, this one can go the distance, and stay there until something bigger comes its way and take over. One should choose to watch this one for the one leading actor who carries the movie on his shoulders, and a zombie world which takes a different stance. It is a war which this movie got to face now, as a certain amount of uncertainty is ready to pounce over it.

Release date: 21st June 2013
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, Daniella Kertesz, David Morse

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hotel Transylvania

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This review features the major excerpts from the interview with Count Dracula by the Vampire Bat during the last full moon night when both the Vampire Crocodile and the Vampire Owl were able to predict what was to expect in the movie After Earth and initiated a cryo-sleep on themselves to save themselves from visiting the theatres, something of which they are incapable. Any relation to any person living, dead, undead, going to die, half-dead, partially alive or those watching Malayalam new generation rom-shit movies/Hindi supposed-to-be-romantic movies (Eg: Annayum Rasoolum/Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani) might be a co-incidence and never practical. To add to it, no vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons, monsters or aliens (both Avatar blue and general green) were harmed while this interview was going on, but there is no guarantee about what happened after that. Well, this is that kind of an animated movie which can’t stand alone without Count Dracula, the supposed to be proud owner of Hotel Transylvania, where the world’s most awesome monsters can get away from human civilization and take rest. No, he is not the one who should not be named, so lets not call him just “D” or “CD”, and lets get on with what he thought about this flick.

Count Dracula: Oh its you again. Welcome to Hotel Transylvania! No, wait, welcome to Dracula castle. Hope you will never enjoy your stay here and get lost as soon as possible. You called my place a hotel in your letter – how can you even think so? I have a reputation to keep here, and movies like Twilight and whatever followed already took away half of it, and I am adjusting with whatever is left. Do I look pale? Do I sparkle right now? It has been so difficult to keep up with the new vampire fake myths. Nobody thinks that I am a vampire any more. To add to it, they are using the names like ward and swan related to vampires. And now, you come here with your fangs thinking this is a hotel. This is the worst thing that has happened to me since Twilight, New Moan, Ellipsis and Breaking Teeth – I lose my mind thinking about them and can’t even pronounce them right! Make it quick, Vampire Brat!

Vampire Bat: Well, this is the seven hundred and twenty seventh time in he last five hundred and one years of acquaintance that I am telling you that it is not the Vampire Brat, but the Vampire Bat. The “R” is not there ; it doesn’t even exist. Where do you think you are? In The Matrix trying to be Neo and bend the spoon even as there is actually no spoon? Is that what you want?

Count Dracula: Neo and spoon! Can I feed a little bit of that Neo thing in the spoon to my Zombie Dog who is caught in a loop chasing that local Vampire Cat for eternity? He can’t even stop for death; isn’t that the worst thing that can happen to anybody?

Vampire Bat: The first thing is that I hate that dog. The second thing is that there is no time. The third thing is about your home and your lovely monster friends who come to visit you very often.

Count Dracula: You are talking about Frank frankie freak? Frankenstein’s monster as you call him, is my oldest and the best friend even as he belongs to the zombie category which gives him reservation. He used to get thirty five marks moderation in his exams for which the pass mark for his category was twenty five. We vampires used to be given a maximum of thirty five out of hundred in all exams so that the balance was maintained! He even passed the interview for the job at The Demon’s Keep soul ferry service by only pretending to apply for it. But he is a good friend as I can murder him so many times and he won’t mind as he is already ugly and dead.

Vampire Bat: This doesn’t really feature in the movie, and I would like to stick to it. Your best friends include Wayne the werewolf, Frank the zombie, Griffin the invisible man and Murray the mummy. Your wife was murdered by a mob who set fire to your house and it was for your daughter Mavis that you built this hotel, I mean castle.

Count Dracula: That doesn’t make any sense as I was never married and neither did I have a daughter. I do call doctors here though, most are dentists. Do you like my golden tooth or the silver one? Never mind, please continue, as I like that story even as it is in no way related to me as a vampire.

Vampire Bat: On your daughter’s 118th birthday, you use your zombie minions to trick her and make her stay away from the humans whom you consider dangerous. But a human named Jonathan arrives, and you are forced to make him look like a monster to the other monsters to save your hotel. But soon, your daughter becomes attracted to him and the rest is history. Any part of this which you agree to?

Count Dracula: None of it. This mortal-immortal love story is the worst thing in the world. But I am glad that they didn’t add wolves to it this time. There is still a little bit of attraction which even a vampire would feel to such a simple, and yet different story. Was the movie a good watch for you?

Vampire Bat: I think it was very good during most of the parts. But the death of that mortal and Mavis living the right immortal life would have made it more interesting. She is the most evil one among the monsters as she chooses to go after a mentally retarded creature of modernity who doesn’t care about anybody but himself and his personified stupidity, a characteristic which changes only by his stay with the Count. She will surely be in hell for making such a nasty decision out of pure selfishness, but as it is fiction, let her rest in hell, for that Lucifer, Belzebub and Mephistopheles won’t mind. The visuals were pretty good, but the characters were kind of shallow. You are kind of strange in that movie and so is your daughter. To be frank, none of the monsters retain their basic qualities except for the looks which are made funnier, and this fun is the bright side along with the variety which has been brought.

Count Dracula: I would watch it then. I have many ways of watching a movie undetected by the humans at their own places. Do you think it deserves me by its portrayal of the great Count Dracula of Transylvania?

Vampire Bat: I would say yes. You have been depicted more good than ever, which is not always a bad thing. It is shown that you are a loving and caring father, and also has concern for the fellow monsters. You would even do anything to make all which you believe happen. If you can forget the funny part as just part of the complete fun, you surely won’t find it humiliating or anti-vampire.

Count Dracula: I shall watch it on next full moon with Frank. I trust you on this, and if you fail me, I shall make you watch some movies of nothingness – like that Malayalam movie Kili Poyi.

Vampire Bat: I have watched it and died many times in my immortal hours, Count. Now, it is the time to take my leave, until we collide on a hunt again. Good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, brother; for now.

Vampire Bat (to himself): It might have been sad for such a legendary Gothic horror character to live through something as modern and horribly romantic as Twilight. The same would have happend to the Frankenstein monster as well as the Mummy, but in a lesser manner. This movie doesn’t give him his lost glory, but it surely does provide an alternative to Twilight for the faint-hearted ones who can’t really handle the supreme vampire with all his horrifying powers.

There a few things which are to be kept in mind while going for this movie. It has great animation, and the way in which each monster is detailed needs special mention, especially the Mummy and the Frankenstein monster. But the plot doesn’t stay that powerful, and there is the lack of use of the evil side of each and every monster except Quasimodo whose dark side is not that black to be explored in such a way. The characters are not that strong enough to create a grand experience. It is perfect for the kids with its lovable characters who show no shade of their original evil, and the love between a mortal and an immortal would interest many, as a Twilight inverse made in a cute way. Even Count Dracula gets his due, still not in the way he might have wanted; yet, works in the right manner. But, each and every second, you know what is going to happen, and there are no surprises in this one. If you are expecting something like Megamind, Monsters v/s Aliens, Finding Nemo or Kung Fu Panda, you are going to be disappointed. The attempt is still good, and I would wait for its sequel supposed to release on September 25, 2015 – lets see how much they can improve on this beginning. Adam Sandler voices Count Dracula and Selena Gomez is the daughter Mavis; that should add to the need for watching the movie.

Release date: 28th September 2012
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky
Starring (voice): Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Cee Lo Green

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Cabin in the Woods

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On one of those days which supported flashbacks in a big way, I could unintentionally fall into the wonderful trap of horror which was this movie. In this trap that is a horror movie, there was another world, which had a lot from the former horror movies, thus serving as a tribute along with being a great horror treat. It is a perfect story of five friends who become part of a perfectly executed horror reality in an environment which is more of a cage – they are watched through hidden cameras, and are made to act in the way the people watching them wants them to act. But the fact remains that this not just a horror movie, as it drains energy from the earlier slasher movies and along with paying homage to them, there is a little bit of satire involved in the treatment. There are elements of The Evil Dead, Hellraiser, as well as all the vampire, zombie and werewolf movies, and not even leaving the mythological as well as the natural beasts behind. The movie has combined all of these to create an astonishing effect, a mixture which can be scary and creepy enough as well as funny enough. It leaves the horror movies with lots of nostalgia with all these, and there might surely be pure satisfaction on most of those faces. This is a mixture which leaves a long-lasting impression on one.

Five college students Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly), Jules Louden (Anna Hutchison), Holden McCrea (Jesse Williams), Marty Mikalski (Fran Kranz) and Curt Vaughan (Chris Hemsworth) travells to a remote cabin in the distant woods away from civilization for a vacation. But the abandoned cabin is more of a controlled environment, as a number of people manage whatever happens in that cabin as they view each and every incident in there with hidden cameras. It is seen that they have an influence throughout the area and not just the cabin. They also give drug the students to reduce their awareness and capability to think in a rational manner. A cellar opens automatically which they feel a result of the wind. Inside the cellar, they find many strange items, including a diary of Patience Buckner, a girl who was abused by her sadistic family. Reciting a Latin incantation from the diary, Dana accidentally summons the whole Buckner family in the form of the walking dead, a group of zombies. Jules is the first one to be killed by the zombies outside, and soon the cabin is attacked by the monsters. With a number of people frequently monitoring and guiding the monsters, as well as trying to weaken the possibilities of the remaining four friends in surviving the horror, it will be a perfect hell-ride for each of them, and escaping the living dead might be more difficult than death itself.

The movie keeps giving that feeling of The Evil Dead throughout its first few minutes in the cabin. There is going to be a little bit of a spoiler from now on, and the base of this movie lies on ritual sacrifice. This is about the need to appease the ancient gods, resembling more of giant monsters who live beneath the facility under the cabin and are kept there in satisfaction by these rituals. The sacrifice should have five constituents, the Whore (Jules), the Athlete (Curt), the Scholar (Holden), the Fool (Marty) and the Virgin (Dana), and the Virgin is supposed to die last with the process usually starting with the Whore. All of these begin with the future victims choosing their method of torment and death, in this case the diary of Patience Becker. They are lead to choosing these, and being unaware through the careful tactics of the people in control, who always check the camera for each move, and manipulate the environment so that the victims will fo what they want, including opening a door or window as well as closing it, or drugging them. Another person could have unleashed the Lord of Pain, a vampire, a merman, an anaconda or a werewolf – the list is almost endless as these creatures are all locked away in the facility.

Kristen Connolly as Dana Polk a.k.a the Virgin; the first movie I ever watched starring her, and she is one of the characters who are in control, keeping within the limits, thus surviving much longer. Even as she keeps tp herself, she is still part of the gang, very unlike Amber Heard’s character in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. But it is debatable if she is really a virgin from what they talk about in the beginning of the movie. She does seem surprised when the director mentions her as the Virgin, and the facility had to admit that they work with what they have, which should imply that she was clearly the better of the two, consider the character of her only female friend in the gang. Jesse Williams as Holden McCrea a.k.a the Scholar is her lover in a relationship which seems hundred percent platonic for now. He works as the perfect gentleman who doesn’t force her into anything and even decides not to look at Dana’s nudity through a one-way mirror and alerts her of the vision he is having in the other room while she undresses. There he also put a block on the desire of the facility’s employees who are watching the same scene to see something. But he is still proud and very confident about his skills, which doesn’t really serve him that well when affected by the drugs.

Chris Hemsworth as Curt Vaughan a.k.a the Athlete is the strongest member of the group, and is extremely confident about his power, and this confidence leads to his death. Anna Hutchison as Jules Louden a.k.a the Whore is a character which proves to be closest to the title from the beginning itself, and even solves the employers’ sadness of seeing no nudity. Her death occurs right after she undresses, about to make out with her boyfriend Curt, as she has completed her role as the archetype which is seen in most of the horror movies. She had already done a sexy dance and even kissed a wolf-head on the wall before this, thus reiterating her position as the one stereotype, the immoral one who gets killed first, and at its perfection, when topless – the facility works with what they had, and therefore, considering her abstinence and also her relationship with the lover, Dana had to be the Virgin, and therefore, Jules had to be the Whore. In that case, even Holden is not too less of an athlete and just loses out to Curt. These roles might have been assigned by the facility’s helper at the petrol pump, who already called Jules by the same title. The employees looking to the screen and waiting for her bare bosom or even extended nudity as well as the betting is less a result of their prejudice and more based on what information the man outside had already given them.

Fran Kranz as Marty Mikalski a.k.a the Fool is the most intelligent one among them all, and the only one without a heroine; no Virgin and no Whore. He is more of the lone wolf who still sticks to the gang without any problem. As he is always on drugs, the drugging never really works on him and he remains in control of his full brain. He might be the first person ever to kill a zombie out there, or at least semi-murder or half-murder those undead creatures. He doubts the presence of puppeteers around right from the beginning, which Dana acknowledges only after the death of Curt. He also saves Dana from sure death in the hands of a zombie. His intellect seems to be more based on movies, and not what is taught in the school and the college which might have helped him to guess things that others couldn’t in such an environment of horror. With his limited arsenal, he has humiliated both the Hercules equivalent and the Socrates equivalent in survival, and he still had remaining darts in his quiver. He even fooled the experts who spent most of their lives in front of the camera, and thus even faked his death, something which might have been unintentional, but still, perfect.

Well, other than the facts that the monster details are awesome, and the leading ladies do a great job along with looking stunning, the more interesting thing is the philosophy involved in it. The gods who are kept underground by ritual sacrifice are more like the viewers who need those good doses of movies in a certain pattern, and the breaking of that pattern might destroy the movie by depriving it of the common viewers, but the gods are change, and variety would come in another generation of movies. May be for a change, the Whore survives, or the whole situation might be reversed. In the case of the giant monstrous gods coming out of the ground to destroy humanity, as the Fool would agree at any point of time, there is the need for another species to be given a chance where humanity failed in its treatment of its own species as well as nature. This movie is a surprise, and it leaves so much for its viewers, to find and deconstruct in their own world, as the gods that they are, and not as the voyeurs who look on the screen from darkness with full confidence that nobody is watching them. There are so many possibilities for imagination related to this movie, and the movie audience got the power. It would have surely been a grand success if its had released here, but what to do for people who can’t even release Evil Dead.

Release date: 13th April 2012
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Amy Acker, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford

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@ 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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.