Age of Thrillers: Death Trail

As the year began, it became clear that the Malayalam movie industry was attempting to go through a path which it had earlier tried and succeeded, but later left behind – creating an age of thrillers around a death or a few murders. The success of the Kunchacko Boban starrer Anjaam Pathira might have set the thriller wagon moving, as Anveshanam is also on the trail, even though not becoming that much of a success both commercially and critically with a slow moving drama side keeping it away. Now, what the audience is waiting for happens to be Forensic, the Tovino-Mamta starrer with a well accepted trailer.

Anjaam Pathira made the impact with a series of murders happening, and policemen getting murdered one after the other. It used the darkness effectively, and the suspense was nicely maintained, even though it gave away its strength a little too early in the second half, making it a revenge drama too easily. But Anjaam Pathira found it easy to make the impact that Memories did a long time ago, even though not that much in quality – it has set the wheels of the thriller wagon moving. There was something about Anjaam Pathira in the trailer itself, and it is still running strong in the theatres even with some movies with bigger stars also showing presence there.

At the same, Anveshanam‘s journey could only make itself a pretender to the thriller genre, as it became more drama and less thriller, struggling to create the suspense and thrills, with audience not taken into account as it goes through a slow journey. Set in a hospital, it tests the patience of the audience a little too much that at some point, most of the people would stop caring about the main characters. It also doesn’t end with the right points in the best way, as the struggle continues. Pretending to be a thriller is one of the worst things that a movie can do to its fans, especially with such a talented cast doing so well. Thriller movies not done well make rather too negative impact.

The case of serial killers has always impressed the audience, and Anjaam Pathira is something which couldn’t use its ripper well enough, with Forensic, one can be sure that there is something bigger coming up. The trailer seems to promise a lot more than the usual investigation thriller in Malayalam. There is the extra expectation coming up from the writers of 7th Day. Tovino Thomas in such a role was always going to be interesting. Along with the same, we have Mamta Mohandas and Reba Monica John in the leading female roles. The premise looks too good to avoid, and this is the kind of movie that the thriller fans would be looking forward to on any day.

We await the release of Forensic this March, hoping for the best, with scope for bringing thrillers to the next level. With the number of Hollywood movies getting released here on the decrease, the need for thrillers can only be met by movies like these. Horror hasn’t been getting its due, and it becomes a necessity for thrillers to step up and take the spotlight. It might not be that easy a task, but the audience deserve more from an industry which has evolved so much over the years, and has a the talent and realism which Bollywood never really had with its mass masala and the eternal love for sons and daughters of superstars being the actors who get all the big movies.

Watch the trailers of the three thrillers below:

Forensic

Anjaam Pathira

Anveshanam

 

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TeNy

2016: Favourites in Horror

Don’t Breathe

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2016 have had some very interesting horror movies; among them, the one which I would consider to be not just my favourite horror movie, but also my favourite flick of the year, is Don’t Breathe. It might look like a home invasion movie in the beginning, but it certainly happens to be more than that. It has the best use of atmosphere and darkness, and lives up-to the title making sure that we don’t breathe as things move forward. Well, as long as you hold your breathe, you are watching this movie in the right way.
Read full review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2016/12/09/dont-breathe/

Lights Out
This is one movie that will make you more afraid of the dark than you have ever been. With one creature as the centre of attraction, as it appears with the darkness and disappears with the light, this movie has its scares at the right place. The fear of darkness is where one can strike the best, and this flick seems to realize that right from the beginning. Lights Out is based on a 2013 Swedish short-film which used this same concept of the creature appearing and disappearing with the absence and presence of light.
Read full review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2016/12/24/lights-out/

The Conjuring 2

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Getting more popular for its demon nun than the rest of the things, this one surely has almost everything working in its favour. Becoming almost as good as the original, you can trust the paranormal sources on this one. If you have watched the original flick, you will need to watch this sequel too, and if you haven’t, still you need to check this one out. You see a franchise that surely knows what it is doing, and so there can be no doubt about watching this one. The one question that remains is about how many sequels you will need.
Read full review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2016/06/22/the-conjuring-2/

10 Cloverfield Lane
Among all the horror movies, this might be the more divergent, being more in the genres of psychological thriller and science fiction, even though the latter is less visible. A great improvement from the miserable movie which was Cloverfield, this spiritual successor makes use of minimum resources to bring the best effect here. With Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman making the best use of the tale, we have the kind of movie which is clever enough to work the best with what it has.
Read full review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/01/11/10-cloverfield-lane/

Before I Wake
Becoming more than just a simple horror, there is some beauty about this flick; of dreams as well as nightmares. Its own creature is also something that we will remember a lot. It is not the darkness that this one will make you afraid of, but it is the fear of sleep that will drive this one forward. The firector, Mike Flanagan has provided us some of the most interesting horror movies, and this one also gets added to that list. Along with the same, we have Kate Bosworth who leads the way here.
Read full review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/01/12/before-i-wake/

The Witch

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Being different from most of the horror movies that keeps coming to us, this one will catch your attention, in one way or the other. Anya Taylor-Joy as the protagonist, Thomasin is really good in this one – makes sure that the level is raised. This tale of a Puritan family facing what seems to be the forces of evil in the woods will bring a different of the horror, and there is success related to the same. The movie might be slow, but it is surely a steady. It deserves to be watched by more.
Read full review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2016/05/08/the-witch/

Ouija: Origin of Evil, The Boy, The Monster and The Neon Demon
These four movies are entirely different from each other, but leaves a mark in their own ways. There is this sequel to Ouija which is a big improvement from the first movie – it has one possessed child and more scary moments raising it above its predecessor. With a doll as the centre of everything and having Lauren Cohan as the right protagonist, The Boy is a movie which many people are sure to like. The Monster is a very interesting horror movie too, and The Neon Demon will stick to being different, also creating separate effects for each person.
Read Ouija: Origin of Evil review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/01/13/ouija-origin-of-evil/
Read The Boy review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2016/05/10/the-boy/

***The images used in this blog post are from the official Facebook Pages of the respective movies.

TeNy

What Needs to be Remade

How much do we help of a person in need? Ranjith Sankar’s directorial debut talks about the same in the form the 2009 movie Passenger. He has brought the genre of social thrillers to full power into cinema, and he continued the same into the less efficient Arjunan Sakshi starring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Ann Augustine. Even though that movie also brought a picture of the society and criticized the system from the government to the police and the other people in charge, and reiterated the common man’s need to take the responsibility for the society, it was nothing like Passenger.

He had also shown the problems faced by someone who wanted to start a new business venture in Kerala with Punyalan Agarbattis and a different perspective in Molly Aunty Rocks!. But each and every time we watch Passenger, we realize that none of them can be a match to this debut movie from the same director. It was there on television on the day before yesterday too, and one has to wonder how it manages to be so fresh even after being watched so many times. I have watched it more than twenty times myself, and it was the big reason why I watched Arjunan Sakshi on the first day itself.

In the life of modernity, what is it that we can do for the society?

In the life of modernity and tall concrete, what is it that we can do for the society?

The story has Sathyanathan (Sreenivasan), a common man who works in a private company as the major protagonist. He is one of those simple people who goes to work in the city and comes back to his place in the regular passenger train. He finds happiness in the simple things like the local temple festivals, talking about news with the friends and having a few cups of tea. There is nothing special going on in his uncomplicated, predictable life which goes on and on, as he follows the machanical procedure. But as he is the last among his friends to get to down, one day, he falls asleep and misses the station near his place.

On the day on which he falls asleep, he wakes up to find that he was sleeping for so long, and asks another person Nandan Menon (Dileep) about the present situation. After a few moments of humorous conversations, they get down at the Guruvayur railway station and separates. But as Nandan is suddenly kidnapped by a group of goons in a car, Sathyanathan wishes to help, but is caught in a situation in which he can do nothing. He decides to travel to the man’s place inform his people about the same. But it is about more than what meets the eye, as he is a lawyer fighting a case against the home minister, and his wife is a leading journalist looking into the same case.

The journey of life continues, but at the end, what do we earn?

The journey of life continues, but as we reach that end, what do we earn?

There are no songs in this movie, and there are no stereotypes either. But life of the common man caught in a strange situation is brought to light here in a realistic manner. There is nothing spectacular done by the protagonist, but simple acts, as he goes on to make a difference without trying to be the superhero. There is a certain amount of simplicity in the portrayal of the character by Sreenivasan as he perfectly fits the role of a common man, something which might not have been the case with a superstar added. It is the kind of role which suits him without anything special added to it.

Dileep also plays a role which has no heroism, despite the character consistently trying to bring a change in the society while fighting the powerful politicians and businessmen in a legal way. Meanwhile, Mamta Mohandas has played the role of a determined journalist hoping to bring change in the society, with a lot of strength. Jagathy Sreekumar plays the man who wants to hold on to the political power in any manner possible, and Nedumudi Venu plays the character who is a reluctant helper and he turns the man who realizes his duty as the story gets tougher and things get to the next level. I would love to have Irrfan Khan or Naseeruddin Shah in the lead.

Passenger is a movie which should have been remade in many other languages, and not something like Bodyguard. With its situations, Passenger asks a question to the common audience about why one should help a fellow human being when there is a chance. It asks the common man to understand that one simple help might mean many things, and may be this helping hand can bring a big change in the society. May be someone will think that he or she is not capable of that change, but it is the sincere attempt that makes all the difference in the end because none of us know what results it can bring despite we being the weaker ones. It needs go further like the original Drishyam to be remade like Drishyam in Bollywood.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me at Aluva (Alwaye) on my Sony Cybershot Camera.

TeNy

Thrillers Make it Home

This is a day on which nothing interesting happens. Still, today is the day meant for making some unknown thriller movies popular, or at least a little better known. This is not about Inception, Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, Shutter Island, Hannibal, Red Dragon or the rest of those popular ones, as they are better known that even those superhero movies. I have added more than one kind of thriller, and with these movies, horror and philosophy mostly joins with the thriller genre to create the impact provided. I would start with the movie which has its situation in the title itself.

Unknown (2011): Liam Neeson rules the show in this psychological thriller which has us on the edge of our seats. As a thriller, its ability can’t be questioned as the suspense is well-built and maintained to reach an end where everything comes together and there is nothing lost in the process. It tells the story of a man who travels to another nation, but after an accident, can’t seem to be back with family again as his wife refuses to accept him as her husband – another person has taken his place there. In this adventure to find one’s place, Diane Kruger plays the supporting character, and she also does very well.

uknown

Shuttle (2008): Knowing when to improve the pace and how to go on to make its point, Shutter is an interesting thriller with a message. Peyton List and Cameron Goodman nicely plays the ladies who are lost in rather unknown territory as the driver of their cab turns out to be not just a driver. There are many thrilling moments and twists keep happening to help the story unfold as the movie go through into the final revelation. There is some blood and gore, but never reaches a high level. This is not to be confused with the horror movie Shutter, which released in the same year.

Clinic (2010): Based on the real incidents which features the abduction of newborn babies, the movie has six pregnant ladies who wake up in the middle of nowhere with their children removed. The suspense about this unknown world is maintained very well in this movie. Tabrett Bethell does a wonderful job here, unlike what she was supposed to do in one of the most ridiculous Bollywood movies ever, the doom of logic which is called Dhoom 3. There is also a final shocking twist in store. All the actresses in this movie has done a good job, and there are not many male characters in this one who gets much screen-time.

The Grey (2011): Liam Neeson plays the newfound leader of a group who are stalked by wolves waiting for an opportunity in the cold. Based on the short story called Ghost Walker by Ian MacKenzie Jeffers, this one is more like a survival thriller or adventure thriller. It even has a powerful philosophical side running through. For the abusers who hate humans and go racists in the name of dogs, they should be happy because there are no dogs hurt in this movie, but only the wolves. I had to clarify this for them because they see anything and will start hating humans for no real reason. Well, some hate for the fellow humans averted is that much of goodness restored for humanity. Full review here.

thegrey (5)

The Cell (2000): I have watched half of the movies directed by Tarsem Singh and this is his best as I know. This comes with a very interesting concept which brings things together. It sends us into the dark world inside the mind of a serial killer, as a virtual reality device allows one to enter there and collect information. Also note that Jennifer Lopez is the heroine here. There is a lot of artistic beauty in this dark psychological thriller. This one brought variety and life to the genre long before there were more twists added. Well, one has to imagine how worse it would be in the minds of the new age racists who have come up with an idea to hate humans in the fake pretence of loving dogs, as the focus is on skin colour.

After.Life (2009): This one might not be suitable for all kinds of viewers, as the pace is slower, and it is more interested about giving the viewers more philosophical thoughts about human existence, and what it means to live or die in a world which doesn’t really care. Who is alive and who is not, is a question that goes beyond reality. Liam Neeson and Christina Ricci are the two people who are present throughout this movie, and in the creepy atmosphere of a morgue. Liam Neeson had his usual strengths with simplicity, and Christina Ricci was stunningly good as a person disconnected from life so much that her being alive never ceases to be a mirage. It makes you ask questions.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of the movies.

TeNy

Your Cabin in the Woods

Horror is forever; just like the vampires. There are only a few full horror movies which can claim to have 91% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and in the last three movies, no entertaining horror movie has managed to gain that. Do mark that I don’t consider the overrated flick, The Babadook as entertaining – I am still to figure out what brought the better ratings for that one, and I will write about it when I do find out the truth behind the same. Even The Conjuring did fall short, and so it is a great achievement that one movie has made among the usual ones.

The name of this movie can be guessed from the title itself – it is The Cabin in the Woods which did excellent with the critics and good at the box-office, but still remains a rather unknown title in South Asia. Well, it never really released here, and may be it could have got a theatre after the release of The Conjuring, after which all those horror movies started releasing one after the other, none really making the same impact with the audience. The Cabin in the Woods just came a little early, and the big horror fan teams were not active at that time.

cabinwoods (1)

The Cabin in the Woods is not just horror, as it is also a slasher. Another thing that it manages to be is to become a satire on the movies which can be classified more into the category of torture porn than anything else. It can also be considered as a horror comedy which makes fun of the use of violence, nudity, torture and sadism in those movies which uses them for no reason instead of integrating them or working them as necessary part of the flicks. The Cabin in the Woods doesn’t add them as stupid fun, but uses them effectively to mock a few other flicks which have brought the genre down.

There are horror movies which have used all the elements in the right manner, and while making use of those which never did along with becoming the satire, The Cabin in the Woods actually becomes that horror movie which is never to be missed. It also knows where to use the elements and when to stop. Even its bloodiest moments are controlled, and never going beyond a certain limit. The dumb movies like Kingsman: The Secret Service which tried some of the similar things and miserably failed becoming the true nonsense, which was strangely appreciated, can actually learn from this movie.

cabinwoods (2)

Kingsman: The Secret Service was a bloody stereotype which should have been blown right out of the theatre, as it is kilometres away from being funny or interesting. It couldn’t go on to become a satire and glorified all the possible stupidity. Meanwhile, The Cabin in the Woods manages to become every good thing that this year’s spy movie couldn’t. The people without the ability to think differently will still consider this one as just another horror movie. It should happen with a lot of people, and so a warning has to be issued related to the same.

This movie uses the idea of the “deserted cabin” which has been successfully used in many other horror movies. The movies which used it successfully include the Evil Dead franchise, and Cabin Fever has it in the name itself; I Spit on Your Grave and Wrong Turn had their own cabins, and here, we use the perfect example of the same, and at the same time making fun of the whole setting. This one has college students at an abandoned cabin, and a number of horror cliches are unleashed on them leaving them with no option but to fight them off watched by unknown people.

Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly), Holden McCrea (Jesse Williams), Marty Mikalski (Fran Kranz), Jules Louden (Anna Hutchison), and Curt Vaughan (Chris Hemsworth) are the five people left for the fate this time. The performances are really good, and they themselves make fun of the stereotypes used in horror movies. There is also a final twist in the end, and the movie itself becomes a reflection of how horror movies are made, or a thought about what would happen if reality shows were made based on horror rather than the repeated things that are shown on television. This is fun, and it works on brilliant idea, that of more than one existence – as a horror, comedy, satire, slasher, thriller and also that of a separate existence in the mind of a horror lover and inside a possible reality show.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of The Cabin in the Woods.

TeNy

Please Let Them In

There was a time when I was depressed about how the vampire movies were being made. Byzantium was a relief in that case, and before that movie, there was another flick which brought a certain relief, but it was even more unknown and didn’t do much at the box-office either. It was not that well-received because people were really not expecting this kind of a vampire movie, which they will consider not their kind of entertainment and also not the kind of horror that they want.

Well, the situation was more about making a choice. But it also meant that another vampire movie which had the true essence had to go down. It is never a good sign for a true vampire lover who wishes to keep the vampire essence closer to the vampires rather than mixing or bringing it to the human side so much that it makes one wonder if the resultant creature is a human in a vampire disguise. So, it is once again up-to us to bring such lesser known movies further attention.

Based on the novel Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist and also coming after a Swedish movie of the same name had already released, this one has a lesser reception. Let Me In has managed good critical reception though, even as most of the people who have watched the Swedish original are stubborn and not ready to watch or accept this because they were too attached to that one. You don’t usually see this much critically appreciated movies in the horror genre, and Let Me In is not just about horror.

Chloë Grace Moretz is the future: She has been one amazing child actress, and now into even more mature roles

Chloë Grace Moretz is the future: She has been amazing.

Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a boy neglected by his parents and bullied by other students at school, has a girl called Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz) arriving to live next door with her father Thomas (Richard Jenkins). She is pale, acts strange, has no friends and wishes to have no acquaintances outside what seems to be her small world of two. Still, the boy and girl soon become good friends, but it turns out that the latter is not what she is actually believed to be. There are mysterious deaths happening in the neighborhood, and soon, it is the father who goes missing.

Bullying is a central point in this movie and the movie speaks against it. It is the major factor on which the protagonist’s life is developed, as he remains hopeless, and feeling eternally weak before the bullying students until he meets the girl, his first real friend and a strange source of power. The relationship between the two develops slowly, but beautifully, without any exaggerated additions. She is the strength that he has longed for, and as the movie reaches the end, the two are good enough to compliment each other, as he finds the strength to resist the bullies.

letmein

The vampire’s need for blood and their hidden lifestyle is shown without the style and glorification that it had with some of the movies of the time. There is nothing that much of beautiful about it here with being the creature of the night. There is not even the strange mystery which is often equated with beauty. Things are rather clear here. It is not that interesting being the immortal vampire. The need for blood is beyond control and the requirement of hiding is so much. There is no usual kind of entertainment, but there is the skill of story-telling and the strength of strong emotions in display here.

The kids are too good in this movie; there is not much about the adult characters here though. Chloë Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee come up with incredibly mature performances. The former adds a very significant strength to the adaptation, as she works through her vampire-self with elegance in this movie. She adds her own charm to the character, and once again proves herself as the future of the movie world. You will surely need to watch Let Me In, and may be the Swedish version, Let the Right One In depending on which one you get. Here is another #UnknownMasterpiece.

TeNy