The Midnight Matinee Review – The Midnight Matinee is an anthology of shorts released in 2017. The movie is presented in a format of 5 short films which has some interesting twist at the end.
The movie’s presentation kept me curious and engaged throughout. The entire presentation had a feeling of walking into a hall to enjoy variety entertainment. Each of the short films had thrilling moments and a very interesting end. The common theme seemed to be horror. I usually do not like run of the mill horror movies that has a horror for the sake of it. The Midnight Matinee had cleverly used the element of horror without creating a cloying effect.
In an old school theatrical style, every movie starts with a textual introduction and a sort of moral and sarcastic ending. This adds a new layer to the storytelling. In a pure Hitchcock kind of style, the suspense and thrills are created out of most common circumstances rather than bringing in some out of the world sequences. The first movie Open Sea is entirely taken in a found footage style of movie making. The ending makes it totally worth it. Having short bursts of stories gives less room to guess the ending which makes it an interesting watch.
Kudos to the writer, director and producer Justin Doescher and his team for experimenting a new way of story telling.
High Points: Theatre style presentation, Surprise twist at the end of the tale, the element of suspense and thrills.
Low Points: For folks who are not fans of found footage kind of treatment would not enjoy all the short films in this.
Overall The Midnight Matinee is a treat for all independent movie lovers. It stands out from the crowd for its unique style of presentation and the difference in treatment of the script. You would find it hard selecting which of the shorts you liked the most. The movie is available on Amazon Prime. Don’t miss it.
The Wailing Review – The Wailing is a South Korean horror movie released in 2016. A policeman with the help of a shaman sets out to find the mystery behind the killings and illness spreading in the village.
I had the opportunity of watching The Wailing in Bangalore International Film Festival 2017. I had read about the accolades garnered by the movie both at the box office and in many film festivals. Although I am not a major fan of the horror genre, I found this to be surprisingly engaging with many, edge of the seat moments. This is not one of the movies which are going to make you wait and pounce upon you with a surprise, rather the scenes here are very explicit and the director has used the mystery behind the situation to keep the audience engaged and create the thrills. When the movie finished I walked out with a lot of questions in my mind as there were many layers that had to be understood. This is a movie that makes you think much after the movie is over. With the help of some very good discussions online I was able to verify my assumptions on the plot points.
On the whole, this movie is more of the battle between the good and the evil which is manifested using the horror stories in the village. The scenes involving the shaman performing the rituals and the sound created for it is the high point in the movie. It is so realistic and keeps your heart pounding. The parallel cuts done during this ceremony has some brilliant editing.
High Points: The metaphorical points in the movie about good vs evil. There is also some biblical references cleverly used for the plot line, The shaman ceremony and the climax thrills. The performances of the lead characters. In particular, the performance of the little girl Kim Hwan-hee.
Low Points: If you are a fan of horror movie you may be disappointed as there are only a few sequences which deal with horror. I felt the ending was left too open-ended for interpretation.
Overall The Wailing deserves a watch for the brilliant plot line and the thrilling sequences. This may not be suitable for kids due to the violence involved.
Worth a Watch
Train to Busan Review – Train to Busan is a Korean zombie apocalypse horror movie released in 2016. Seok-Woo, a divorced fund manager travels with his daughter to Busan on a train to meet his ex-wife on the occasion of their daughter’s birthday. The journey turns out to be a nightmare as the zombies attack the people on the train and making them into one.
I am not a huge fan of zombie movies. However, I decided to watch this one due to the positive reviews it has been getting. The movie gets to the core plot within minutes. There is no unnecessary melodrama and you find yourself in the middle of the action in 15 minutes. The plot gets gritty when there is a clear separation between the zombies and the un-infected humans. In the middle of the apocalypse is a beautiful father-daughter relationship which takes a new shape and each of them gets to understand each more. As with many other Korean movies, there is the core conflict between what is ethical vs what would benefit you. The tension surmounts when people stop trusting each other.
The kid Kim Su-an steals the show with her performance. Initially desperate to see her Mom and sad for not getting her father’s attention, to the point where she starts questioning her father’s ethic she performs so well. Her performance in the climax sequence is very impactful. Gong Yoo too, has played his role very well ably supported by Ma Dong-seok and Jung Yu-mi. The role of Kim Eui-sung as a selfish man adds a new dimension to the screenplay and makes it more engaging.
The Cinematography is done very well. The scene of the train crash and the humans escaping from the zombie on a running train is a treat to watch.
High Points: The performance of Kim Su-an, Gripping screenplay, Visuals brought to the Canvas by excellent cinematography, the climax of the movie is very impactful.
Low Points: Hardly any low points. The explicit violence sequence is not suitable for kids and family audience.
Overall Train to Busan is a well-made horror thriller. If you are a fan of zombie movies you would love this one. If you are like me still you have a lot to look forward to in this movie.
Bhoo Short Film – Boo is a Tamil Short film released in 2015. The central plot of the movie deals with the fear of a young man Kathir regarding the presence of Ghost.
The short film Bhoo deals with the Horror comedy genre. The movie starts with an unfortunate death of four people. Meet the hero Kathir who suffers from Phasmophobia. There has been a lot of time taken to establish the character of Kathir through a series of incidents. The team has also put together a song sequence which introduces the protagonist. The song combined with the list of establishing shots makes the introduction a bit lengthier. However once, the story reaches the main plot about few friends ending up in the house haunted by the ghost it gets back on track. This portion of the movie is done well with the limited resources the team has had.
High Points: For me the entire sequence in the house involving the ghost has been the most interesting part of the movie. This combined with a twist, in the end, makes it an interesting watch. Having a music video for a short film is yet another high.
Low Points: The Team has tried their best to bring a good movie with limited resources. The only low point is the length of the movie which could have been shorter.
Overall Bhoo is a good attempt at the horror comedy genre. The end with a twist definitely makes it a good watch. But for the length of the movie Bhoo has a lot to offer for its audience. Kudos to director Ajith and team. Best wishes for their next venture.
Worth a Watch
You can watch the full short film here
The team also went the professional way of promoting the movie with a promo song combined with an audio launch at Spathagiri hall in Coimbatore. The team organized a ticketed show at RR Grand auditorium on September 27, 2015 which was a well-participated event. These are good signs for the upcoming short film market.
Post the short film release the team has also released the making video which is funny and at the same time highlights some of the challenges the team has gone through in making the movie.
Darling Review – Darling is a Tamil horror comedy film released in 2015. Three youngsters decide to end their life in a guest house near the beach. But the beach house has more mystery in it than they had imagined.
Darling joins the recent list of horror comedy movies that had worked well in Tamil language. This is a remake of the Telugu movie Prem Katha Chitram. This is the first movie of G.V Prakash as an actor. He had taken a subject that is too light which is good. The best thing about the movie is the humor that had worked well. The horror part may not scare you like many other movies but the humor part would definitely make you laugh your heart out. The scene in which Rajendran appears as Ghost Gopal Varma is a laugh riot. Given that this is the first movie for GV as an actor we can forgive the nuances that he had missed. Nikki Garlani has also tried her best to act. Karunas and Bala Saravanan are a great addition to the cast and they steal the show in many places of the movie. Credit should be given to Director Sam Anton who in his debut film has given a very decent product.
High Points: The genre of horror comedy, Comedy scenes, The scenes in which Rajendran appears as Ghost Gopal Varma, Staying away close to the core plot
Low Points: Novice actors, if you miss the jokes then you may not like this one as many of the jokes are very much related to other Tamil Cinemas
Overall Darling will keep you entertained throughout and make you laugh your heart out if you care for the jokes. If you go with the expectation of getting chills and thrills then you would be disappointed. This is a good addition to the movies in horror comedy genre and definitely deserves a watch.
Pisasu Review – is a Tamil Horror movie released in 2014. A young musician tries saving a girl who had met with a road accident; she dies in the hospital when trying to tell him something. When he comes home strange things start happening at his home.
Director Mysskin has ventured into a new genre for himself. Pisasu has turned out as a very nice product at the end. The movie has a very convincing plot and very engaging screenplay. It is complete Mysskin show and you would see his trademark shot making as in his other movies. The long and continuous shots, characters spread out on the screen; dark shots with high tension are present in Pisasu as well.
Naga’s performance is very apt for the story. As his face is half covered with his hair there is an air of suspense in his emotions. This has worked well for the story. The climax of the movie has been done well. Certain aspects in the movies are left to the interpretation of the audience and you might feel it as incomplete at times like the visibility of the ghost when it appears and when it does not. There is also subtle humor in the first half of the movie when the three friends go on the search of finding ways to get rid of the ghost. The background score fits well for the screenplay.
High Points: With horror movies picking up in Tamil this cashes in as well, Screenplay is very engaging, performances by the lead actors, the twist in the tale, and horror story with a strong message
Low Points: The visibility of the ghost has been used liberally and not consistent, thrills and chills are far apart
Overall Pisasu is a horror movie with a message. Its intent is not to scare you but to emotionally move you.
Aranmanai Review – Aranmanai is a Tamil horror comedy released in 2014. The owners of a old palace get together in the palace after many years to sell the palace. But things go awry when they encounter an evil spirit in the palace that kills people.
Off late the genre of comedy horror is becoming popular in Tamil Cinema. Movies like Yaamirukka Bayamey did well in the box office. However Aranmanai fails to capitalize on this as it is caught somewhere between a comedy and a serious horror drama. It neither gives you the chills and the thrills not it makes you laugh. The overload of cast and characters leave very less scope for many of them. Only the three leading ladies and Sundar C has some role to perform in the movie. The movie employs plots that would have worked well in the 80s and 90s. Also the length of the movie is very long and makes you very tired and exhausted. If the director had cut down the length, few characters and stayed away from the clichés of age old formula the movie might have been a decent one.
Overall it seems to be a mash up of Sundar C and Rama Narayanan’s movie that may not work well for the present time.
Can skip it