Us (2019) – Movie Review

They are Coming!

Us is a horror thriller film written and directed by Jordan Peele, the director who is known for his excellent work in Get Out (2017).

The film follows the family of four, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), her husband Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) and their children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex), where they head to her family’s beach house in Santa Cruz. Soon their peaceful vacation turns into a nightmare when they are confronted by their doppelgängers (double of a living person).

There are some things in a storyline which are never explained or are just illogical, which may get you out of the film or may feel boring. The film also has a really nice screenplay and direction, along with a spooky musical score. The performance-wise, all the actors have done a good job. The concept of encountering doppelgängers is really fresh and interesting topic. Like his previous film, Peele once again addresses the theme of the oppressed and the oppressors in the society. The film also has some American cultural references and nuances which may not be understandable for the outsiders while watching it.

This is not an ordinary horror film which nowadays heavily relies on the jump scares; it is an unconventional horror film like The Witch (2015), Hereditary (2018), and The Babadook (2014). I liked the way, the director chose not to spoonfeed everything to the audience, rather he had given the little details and hints throughout the film. Although there are some reveals towards the end of the film, still it makes the audience keep on guessing all the time.

Verdict : An unconventional horror film, maybe not everybody’s cup of tea.

Rating : 3.5/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNCmb-4oXJA

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Tumbbad (2018) – Movie Review

You shouldn’t claim everything you inherit.

Tumbbad is a historical period Fantasy horror film directed by debutant Rahi Anil Barve. Anand Gandhi, the director of Ship of Theseus (2012), serves as the co-writer, executive producer and creative director of the film.

The film depicts a mythological goddess who blessed the universe with food and gold, the things go wrong when her first-born son ‘Hastar’ steals gold from her, and when he goes for food all gods curse him. The film sets in Tumbbad, where it revolves around the consequences when humans build a temple for ‘Hastar’ from the greed of gold. The story of the film spans across three generations of a Brahmin family. Vinayak (Sohum Shah) is at the center of the story who has inherited the cursed hidden wealth beneath the ancestral mansion in Tumbbad.

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At the core, the film talks about the consequences of endless human greed. Even before the movie starts, the famous tagline by Mahatma Gandhi is displayed on a screen, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”, which gives a fair idea about the film’s subject, but it shows that in a very fresh and inventive way. The film has so many things to serve like elements of horror, fantasy stories of mythological demon god, and well woven real-world message.

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Atmospherically the film is surprisingly impressive, and every on-screen imagery is astonishing. The production design of the film is remarkable, no set pieces seem fake. The visual effects look so real and are at its best as compared to any Indian film. The camera work is splendid, some moments are shot with hand-held camera which actually feels real. The background music and songs lifts up the overall movie watching experience. The performance by Sohum Shah is flawless and very much convincing as a greedy protagonist. Some of the moments in the film really scary including some graphical violence.

One more thing, before the film starts, the film shows their sincere thanks to Anurag Kashyap and Rajkumar Hirani, not so sure about their contribution to this film, but it definitely boosts the audience for the ambitious and incredible story they’re going to witness.

Verdict : A surprising treat for horror and monster movie lovers, that too with great story and performances.

Rating : 4/5

Click here for trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN75MPxgvX8

The Nun (2018) – Movie Review

None is scary about ‘The Nun’.

The Nun is a supernatural horror mystery film directed by Corin Hardy and written by Gary Dauberman and James Wan. The film is a spin-off of The Conjuring 2 (2016), and the fifth installment in The Conjuring Universe.

The film sets in 1952 Romania, wherein the opening scene, two Roman Catholic nuns living at the Cârța Monastery are attacked by a mysterious demonic entity appearing as a nun. When the Vatican learns about this unusual situation, to investigate this the Vatican sends Father Burke (Demián Bichir) and a nun in her novitiate, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) to travel to Romania. Unaware of a malevolent force waiting for them at the abbey, the two must uncover the deadly secret behind unusual deaths and activities at the abbey and must prevent living from the demonic nun.

The film explores the origin story of the character “The Nun”, from The Conjuring 2. In that film, the character has frightened the audience with its impacting screen presence, mysterious backstory, and engaging screenplay, but this film lacks it all. I have watched this film in IMAX, and undoubtedly, the atmosphere, the picturization, the performances and the background score of the film is powerful and effective. The main problem with the film is its weak narrative and its over-reliance on jump-scares. Nowadays, the jump-scares have become the crucial part of the horror films, but in this film, it is just too much, and feels like “been there, done that”. Apart from this, some of the moments in the film were supposed to be super scary but actually turned out to be funny.

Verdict : Supposed to be the darkest chapter in the Conjuring universe, but turned out to be stereotypical and not that scary one.

Rating : 2.8/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzD9zGcUNrw

Stree (2018) – Movie Review

She is coming…

Stree (A Woman – in English) is a comedy horror film directed by Amar Kaushik and produced by Dinesh Vijan and Raj and D.K. The film is based on the Indian urban legend about a witch who knocks on people’s doors at night.

The film sets in the strange and small town of Chanderi, which is haunted by a ghostly woman named ‘Stree’, who abducts men during the nights of the festive period. The film opens with a tagline saying, “The film is based on the ridiculous phenomenon”, and yes, as the topic of the film is completely fresh and unusual, it successfully delivers the same. The film revolves around Vicky (Rajkummar Rao), a skilled tailor in a town, who falls for the mysterious girl (Shraddha Kapoor), who also only appears during festival season. As the festival starts, Vicky’s close friends start disappearing, which makes him set out and confront the ‘Stree’ and bring his abducted friends back, with the help of librarian Rudra bhaiyya (Pankaj Tripathi), who has analyzed the myth of evil spirit ‘Stree’.

As the film’s trailer had suggested the film is the really good combination of its comedy and horror aspect. This type of combination was previously seen in Go Goa Gone (2013), a brilliant horror comedy film, which was directed by Raj and D.K, and Amar Kaushik was on the assistant director’s team, so the same flavor of comedy can be seen in Stree. The film is a mixture of satire, dark comedy, and ample but impacting horror. Along with all these elements the film also talks about a common woman’s condition in India and gives a clear message that all women should be empowered and respected and should be considered as a powerful human being as men.

There are some jump scares in the film, which with the screeching background score and subtle visual effects works really well. The performances are top notch, every single character in the film gives the outstanding performance. Rajkumar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi are among the proven talent pool of the industry and they actually steal every scene they are in. It’s not a perfect film, the film feels a bit longer at some places, and there are some flaws and loose ends, but those can be expected in its scheduled sequel.

Verdict : A fun ride for comedy lovers with some flavor of horror.

Rating : 3.8/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzeaGcLLl_A

Hereditary (2018) – Movie Review

Evil runs in the family.

Hereditary is a supernatural horror mystery film written and directed by Ari Aster, which is also his directorial debut film. The film is receiving really positive reviews and getting acclaimed by critics, who called it “truly, upsettingly powerful on an emotional level”.

The film is centered around a family of Annie Graham (Toni Collette), a miniaturist artist, who is living with her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), their teenage son Peter (Alex Wolff), and their 13-year-old daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro). The film starts at the funeral scene of Annie’s mother Ellen, who was extremely secretive and had not so good relationship with Annie. Following this event, the strange things start happening with each family members, and not so long into the film, the family faces Charlie’s death in a fateful accident, which builds the more tension between family. What follows next is the deadly drama where the family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets, will the family be able to survive this?

The film has defined a completely different genre with horror and emotional gravity. The film has delivered the spine-chilling horror without using much jump scares. The film is unconventional in many aspects and will definitely make you remember The Witch (2015), Get Out (2017), and A Quiet Place (2018). The film is an unsettling, edgy, and really effective mixture of frightening visuals and background score. Most of the scenes are silent, but every time when background score joins the scene it’s just terrifying as hell. The film is slower at some places but picks up eventually. It is strictly not for faint hearted people, and not everybody can appreciate or handle the film filled with grief, others can go and just feel the horror being at the edge of your seat.

Verdict : It is not everybody’s cup of tea. Not everybody can handle uneasy and painful stuff. An artistic, unconventional, and emotional take on horror-mystery genre. The horror film lovers should not miss this at any cost.

Rating : 3.9/5

A Quiet Place (2018) – Movie Review

Dont Make a Sound.

A Quiet Place is a horror thriller film co-written and directed by John Krasinski, who is also working as a lead character alongside Emily Blunt, his real-life wife.

The film sets in the year 2020, where Earth has been invaded by a species of mysterious creatures with unimaginable hearing ability – which they use to hunt their prey, i.e., humans. Resultantly, most of Earth’s human population has been wiped out. The film mainly focuses on the family consisting of, husband Lee (John Krasinski), wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), sons Marcus and Beau, and their deaf daughter Regan, who are living alone in the whole town maintaining the complete silence to hide from those deadly creatures. Now this family must run by rules – without making a sound in any condition, in order to survive in this life-threatening situation.

The film is very well focused on content, depicting the story of a family’s survival against deadly creatures with ultra hearing capabilities. There are many intense and terrifying scenes which make audience bite their nails while keeping quiet. The audience can’t even make any movements on their seats or even they just cannot cough properly sometimes, which could break the silence. The plot is very refreshing and the film has successfully maintained the fine balance between its horror and thriller aspects. The performances by every single actor are so real and applauding, which makes characters compelling, and which actually makes the audience root them. And where the film manages to bring the audience to its character’s emotional state, and make the audience feel for them, then that’s where the film truly succeeds in its moto.

Verdict : Just Go for it. Get Thrilled. Sshhh… Just don’t make any sound.

Rating : 4.2/5

Pari (2018) – Movie Review

Not a Fairytale

Pari (Fairy in English) is a supernatural horror mystery film co-written & directed by debutant director Prosit Roy. The film stars Anushka Sharma Kohli in a lead role who has also co-produced the film.

The film starts with Arnab (Parambrata Chatterjee), while on the way in a car with his family meets an accident, causing the death of an old lady who was passing by the road. The police get involved and they track the residence of that old lady in the isolated dark forest area, where they find Ruksana (Anushka Sharma Kohli) chained in the house. Now being alone and afraid of the world Ruksana finds shelter at Arnab’s house, and Arnab being filled with guilt kindly accepts it. What happens further? who is Ruksana in real? whom is she running away from? and what is her purpose? these are the questions which keep the audience guessing until the end and gives memorable frightening experience.

Definitely, it is not a typical horror film with overdone background score or jump-scares or the story of possession and exorcism, it is a very fresh and daring attempt to explore the totally different aspect of the horror genre. The film is not what it has promised through its trailers, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad, it is an actually unique supernatural thriller in its own way. The film proceeds linearly with mystery hints at every step. Surely there are some flaws with pacing and execution of the film, but those are actually needed as per the tone of the film. There are some disturbing and unusual scenes in the film, so beware. Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, and Rajat Kapoor have given really good performances, which cover-ups the pacing issue and keeps the film refreshing.

Verdict : It is not an usual horror film. Totally different and refreshing. Worth a watch for horror genre lovers.

Rating : 3.2/5

Insidious: The Last Key (2018)

Scream before it Silences you.

Insidious: The Last Key is a horror thriller film directed by Adam Robitel and written by Leigh Whannell. It is the fourth installment in the Insidious franchise following some of the characters from previous films with a separate plot.

The film continues after the events of the previous film Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015), the paranormal investigator Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), visits her family’s home in New Mexico, a house in which she used to live in her childhood, to investigate the recent supernatural activities and disturbances which have been resurfaced, sinking her deeper into her past hauntings.

The film has a really good plot with a compelling opening prologue but as the story progresses it loses its path. Lin Shaye single-handedly with her performance has made the film gripping, and it is not every day happens that a 74-year-old woman is leading a whole film. In a first half, the film promises so much but fails miserably to deliver any. The horror element in the film completely depends on the jump-scares, sound effects, along with some really good techniques. The demon (key face) is just wasted. Overall it’s an average horror film, which is not as good as any of the previous Insidious films.

Verdict : Not that bad but not that scary. A one time watch for horror genre lovers.

Rating : 2.8/5

The House Next Door (2017)

Thanks to The God & The Devil..

The House Next Door is a 2017 Indian horror film co-written and directed by Milind Rau. The film stars Siddharth in a lead role, with him also working on the film as a co-producer and a co-writer. The film simultaneously shot and released in three different languages as Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi; and the film is receiving a surprisingly positive response from the audience even after the publicity like nothing. This film has made its mark among the very few Bollywood’s best horror films after Raaz(2002), 1920 (2008) etc.

In an opening scene, the film gives the glimpse of 1930s era in the British occupied India where a happily living Chinese mother and daughter is shown, and quickly the film traverses at the present time to the happily married couple Krish (Siddharth), a neurosurgeon, a loving husband and Lakshmi (Andrea Jeremiah), caring and loving wife. Not so long into the film, a new Catholic family (D’Costa) consisting a grandfather, a mother, a father/Paul (Atul Kulkarni) and their two daughters Jenny (Anisha Victor) and Sarah move into their neighboring house. The two families being very supportive and caring neighbors, they get along well. A sudden incident at a housewarming party at D’Costa’s house horrifies everyone including Krish and Lakshmi. Following the series of terrifying and thrilling events and unstoppable horror in the first half builds up the solid suspense which does not let the audience take eyes off the screen and continuously makes the story more and more intriguing. These events leave Jenny possessed by the demonic entity in the house whose identity is uncertain which is first recognized as the psychic case but soon leads to her exorcism by Father Joshua (Prakash Belawadi). Who is that demonic entity? What is it’s purpose? What path of hell both families has to walk to battle against these supernatural powers? what are the deadly and violent secrets hidden behind all this? These are the questions which makes a movie much more engaging and serves the purpose right.

There are some really intense moments which can make a viewer disturbed and uncomfortable. As compare to the family of horror films in Bollywood the performances of the leads are just right, supporting cast have not much to serve so those can be neglected. Along with performances the horror elements like scary visuals, camera work, and the jump scare sounds are well utilized and that’s what elevates the film’s entertainment value, and those will definitely send the chills down to the viewers’ spine. At some places, these horror elements overlap each other and it feels like a mess, and sometimes those are overdone. Even after these little drawbacks here and there, this film with very fresh and convoluted but strong plot surpasses the expectations.

Before the opening scene, the film gives it’s sincere thanks to the God and the Devil, which makes people in the hall chuckle but has its own genuine meaning. This film has the potential to be the benchmark for horror genre family films, and yes it literally makes the audience remember Insidious (2010) and The Conjuring (2013)films in smaller details, even in one scene Jenny is seen reading the classic Hollywood horror film The Exorcist’s (1973) novel, what a treat!

Verdict : Horror genre lovers should not miss this at any cost. Go for it, and get haunted.

Rating : 3.5/5

It (2017)

You’ll Float Too…

‘It’ is the latest horror film based on Stephen King’s terrifying novel & directed by Andy Muschietti. Nowadays horror films are more about jump scares with unnecessarily convoluted plots with some thrilling sound effects, but ‘It’ has changed the dynamics of conventional horror/thriller film making and raised the bar in all aspects.

The story sets in the summer of 1989 in the Town of Derry, where kids are getting disappeared, leaving behind no clues. Now rather giving us time to think, the story gives away the first screen appearance of this demonic Pennywise, the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård), who hunts, kills, and then eats his prey. The look of evil clown is so horrific with scary voice tone and the dripping fluid from his mouth while he’s talking makes it legit, damn scary. From that point till the end he just rules the screen he’s in, it is just the unstoppable spine chilling haunting thrown at us.

The story revolves around the band of kids (The Losers’ Club), who are either getting bullied or have some fear factor, at home or at school. And soon this whole pack becomes the target of this demonic clown who feeds on their own personal fears. Their individual encounters with shape-shifting evil Pennywise in the form of their fears make them unite and face their biggest fears to get rid of this latched evil entity once and for all.

The performances by child actors are so real and applauding that we can clearly see the fear of demonic clown on their faces. The sound mixing techniques used for making the jump scares more striking and frightening, works unbelievably. There are some disturbing gory scenes which are absolutely unexpected and that too regard with children which make the story more firm and dashing. As children are the parts of central characters there are some fun friendly and warm moments which are woven cleverly into the script. This is the film which will definitely get you to the edge of your seat and will make you bite your nails out of fear. And Yes, You’ll float too.

Verdict : Definitely a worth watching horror film. Just don’t watch it alone.

Rating : 4/5